Tag: Alysha Healy

SANFL Women’s Round 9 preview: Fourth spot up for grabs

A WEEK ago it looked like the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s finals series might be decided a fortnight out from it occurring, but after a stunning effort from Sturt to draw with Norwood, fourth spot is very much up for grabs. The top three sides – North Adelaide, South Adelaide and West Adelaide are locked into finals, the latter for the first time in the club’s history. Fourth spot will be one of Norwood, Sturt or Glenelg, with the Redlegs needing to win just one of their two remaining games.

 

CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. SOUTH ADELAIDE
Saturday, July 25, 12.00pm
Thebarton Oval

Central District takes on South Adelaide in the opening game of the weekend and the first in a double-header at Thebarton Oval. The Bulldogs are mathematically in contention for fourth spot as they are two wins and percentage behind the fourth placed Redlegs. But unlike Glenelg who sit a spot above them on the same amount of wins, a couple of heavy losses prior to the break hurt the Bulldogs’ percentage and they would need to win by record margins in the final two rounds. Adding to the dilemma is the fact they play the top two teams, starting with reigning back-to-back premiers, South Adelaide.

The Panthers are primed to strike but look destined to occupy second spot on the ladder due to North Adelaide far superior percentage. Unable to catch them unless they have a massive final two weeks and North slip up at least once, then it is near-impossible that South takes the minor premiership. That will not both them though as they won the premiership the last couple of seasons without it. In this clash they have lost a number of crucial players to injury and work commitments with Sam Pratt (calf), Czenya Cavouras (eye) and Jess Kirk (toe) covering each third of the ground, with Kirk being the competition leading goalkicker this year. Lucy Northcott will also miss the match due to work, but Tahlia Meyer returns.

For the Bulldogs, they have made a couple of confirmed changes, with Nicola Biagi out but Chantel Reynolds among four players coming into the side. Last week the Bulldogs looked pretty good in defeat, matching it with West Adelaide in patches, but not quite having enough to do it for four quarters. Katelyn Rosenzweig is firing up and looking dangerous, while Demi Sonneman and Gemma Doughty make a formidable and reliable duo down back. Shelby Smith has been a four quarter performer all season, whilst the likes of Alicia Butler and Latiah Huynh provide the speed, and Sarah Allan the class around the ground.

South Adelaide have no shortage of big names in their side, and whilst the outs will hurt, the Panthers have so much depth across the board they will make do. Teah Charlton and Indy Tahau could be South Australia’s top two prospects this year in the AFL Women’s Draft, while Lisa Whiteley had a sensational game in defence last week. Along with Jaslynne Smith and Lauren Buchanan, the Panthers will find a way to cover the loss of Pratt. In midfield, Meyer will slot straight in for Cavouras, with Hannah Munyard, Nicole Campbell and Nikki Gore among the rotations through there. Kirk will be the biggest loss, but no doubt coach Rick Watts will find a way to get the job done.

South Adelaide will head in as strong favourites because the Panthers just find a way. Even with backs against the wall and down, they know how to win. Central will give them a fight, and with the outs the Panthers are a bit more vulnerable than usual, but they should still win in a close one.

 

NORTH ADELAIDE vs. STURT
Saturday, July 25, 1.40pm
Prospect Oval

All eyes will turn to Prospect Oval as Sturt faces an uphill battle in a must-win clash against the top of the table Roosters. For the Double Blues to play finals, they must win their final two games, and would no doubt be ruing the after-the-siren Redlegs goal last week as otherwise one win would have been enough in the remaining two rounds to at least match on points. The Double Blues’ task is made more difficult by the losses of Alysha Healy and Alex Ballard who miss the clash, with an extended bench added to Sturt’s side as the likes of Shae Daly and young talent Kiera Mueller coming in to add some strength to the defensive back six. North Adelaide have only lost ruck Bek Rasheed to general soreness as Hanni Howe comes in as a like-for-like replacement, and West Coast AFL Women’s defender Talia Radan also returns.

One area Sturt can try and take advantage of is in the ruck given the loss of Rasheed, with terrific middle-age AFL Women’s Draft talent Zoe Prowse among the most in-form players in the competition following back-to-back best-on performances for the Double Blues. The trouble will be trying to contain the Roosters midfield led by Adelaide best and fairest winner, Anne Hatchard, One has to expect someone will go to Hatchard to limit her influence, and it could well be Maya Rigter who went head-to-head with Ebony Marinoff a couple of weeks ago. Hatchard is more athletic though, and still strong which makes her a tough matchup for any opponent. Isobel Kuiper is one in that midfield group that might be given a chance, though it would be exciting to see her match up on fellow young talent, Hannah Ewings. The other third of the trio would be Georgia Bevan and Ash Woodland, with both midfields having a great mix of hardness and excitement.

Up either end, the biggest issue for Sturt by far is scoring. The Double Blues come up against a defence of Kristi Harvey and Amber Ward with Radan back in there too, stifling any high ball that comes their way. They might have to try and create a bit of a hazard ball going in there, with Nicole Baker looking good on debut last week, and young talents in Georgia Swan and Hannah Prenzler providing targets. Up the other end, there is no trouble scoring whatsoever as Kelly Barltrop is surrounded by the likes of Brianna Arthur, Kathryn Reynolds and Cristie Castle all of whom can hit the scoreboard multiple times in a game when required.

Sturt was good last week, certainly their best performance since the break. North Adelaide is a completely different machine though, and without Ballard and Healy, if the Roosters are firing on all cylinders then this spells danger for the Double Blues.

NORWOOD vs. WEST ADELAIDE
Saturday, July 25, 2.00pm
Thebarton Oval

Given the timing of this week’s fixtures, West Adelaide might have added a few more to the fan base in this game hiding their yellow and black gear. So much rests on this game when it comes to finals after Norwood’s slip-up against Sturt last week when the Redlegs dominated play but could not seemingly find the big sticks until the last kick of the day gave them a couple of points to bank. The celebration post-goal showed everything, that they were a much better chance of making finals than if they had lost that. But they still need to win one of their last two games to qualify, and it is a tough draw. First up is West Adelaide, a side that is frankly in better form and should win here. If the Bloods do, then it opens the door for Glenelg who should take care of Woodville-West Torrens in the final game of the day. In a way, it creates intrigue in the final round of the season given the Redlegs and Bays face off in Round 10. In other words, a virtual elimination final before an elimination final.

A lot of the talk will be around Norwood and whether the Redlegs can secure a finals birth with a win, but one cannot forget there is still plenty on the line for West Adelaide. The Bloods sit in third, three points off South Adelaide and if the Bulldogs upset the Panthers this week, then it is game on for second spot. In exactly the same way it is for Norwood and Glenelg. If West Adelaide wins and South Adelaide lose, then the final round clash between the Bloods and Panthers will be for second spot on the table and a double chance. Moving to the teams, Tiarna Harfield comes into the side with the Adelaide Uni player a straight swap for the injured Abbie Ballard who will be a key loss for the Bloods. The Redlegs have kept the opposition guessing by adding an extended bench with only Georgia Avery out of the side.

No doubt the youth of both sides will be the feature here, with midfield battles between Matilda Zander and Zoe Venning, as well as AFL Women’s experienced Najwa Allen and Rachelle Martin. Without her partner-in-crime in Ballard, Martin will look more to Zoe Greer, as well as Stevie-Lee Thompson to play more minutes in there. Thompson has been getting more dangerous by the week for the Bloods, and she is a part of a dominant forward line in Chelsea Biddell and Rachel Killian who also have that AFL Women’s experience. Norwood will need to contain the forwards, with Bella Smith likely to have a key role at centre half-back. Up the other end, Mattea Breed could be a target for the Redlegs along with captain Alison Ferrall, while it still seems a surprise teams do not try and negate the influence of Madison Newman. Easily one of, if not the most damaging players by foot in the competition, Norwood can not allow her to just run off half-back with ease because she can slice up opposition zones.

West Adelaide is in better form and should win here, but this is match of the round for a reason, so expect there to be plenty of highlights as teams jostle for the finals spots.

 

GLENELG vs. WWT EAGLES
Saturday, July 25, 4.45pm
ACH Group Stadium

Could Glenelg sneak into a second straight finals series with a late run in the final few rounds? It is certainly possible and for it to be in their own hands, the Bays must put this match to bed without any hiccups. They hold the percentage advantage over Norwood, but only marginally. Four points behind, there is no opportunity for wriggle room. Glenelg must win both remaining games and the Redlegs must lose both. One round luckily is well within the Tigers’ capabilities given they face off with the Redlegs in the final round. By the stage the first ball is bounced at ACH Group Stadium, the players will be well aware of what is on the line. If West Adelaide won in the prior game, then finals are well and truly alive, but if Norwood got up, then the dream is over for 2020. For the Eagles, they can actually avoid the wooden spoon with a win, holding a better percentage than Central District, a second win could see them take seventh spot on the table.

In terms of changes, Glenelg have a fairly huge loss in the form of Marinoff who is out of the side and the Bays will need to get the job done without here. The Eagles have also lost Kate Poole who has been a solid player over the past, but welcome back Stephanie Walker who will provide some excitement coming in at half-forward. The Eagles have a number of questions including where they play contested marking utility, Kiana Lee. She looked good in defence, but given they still lost by 86 points, now is not the time to try and stem the flow. She is the most damaging forward in the team, so should line-up there and potentially surprise the opposition with a few goals. If the midfield can match it with the experience of the Bays, through the likes of Chloe Forby, Jovanka Zecevic and Natasha Holmes, then it will go a long way to getting the win. The Eagles have always struggled in the ruck, and Caitlin Gould had a field day last time out against this team, something the visitors will be well aware of and looking to contain.

Glenelg has the experience in Gould, Eloise Jones and Deni Varnhagen able to play in multiple positions across the ground. With no Marinoff, young talent Tessa Kohn should get into the midfield again where she is not afraid to win the contested ball. Madisyn Freeman, Sam Franson and Brooke Tonon do not might moving the ball, which they will need to do against an Eagles side that has some runners. Jamie Parish played an underrated game off half-back last week, and along with Tesharna Maher and Renee Forth, their half-back line can repel Tigers attacks if they back themselves. Charlotte Dolan has been shifted up to a wing which is a good move as another who takes the game on, while Zahn Anthony has played some impressive football of late. It will not be easy to win, but if the Eagles are to cause an upset, they need to be unpredictable, take chances and run the ball. The midfield cannot afford to be exposed and they have to limit the influence of Gould around the ground.

Glenelg just have too much top-end talent in this game even without Marinoff, but Eagles should make it closer than last time. The 86-point loss last week to North Adelaide was not as bad as the scoreboard might suggest, but they are still a fair way off the top sides. Not without a chance in this game the Eagles, but Glenelg have much more on the line and one cannot see them dropping this game, particularly if Norwood loses and opens the door for the Tigers.

SANFL Women’s review: Round 7 – Roosters send warning with huge win

LAST year’s runners-up North Adelaide look determined to go one better in the 2020 South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition following a huge win over finals-bound Norwood. Similarly, reigning premiers South Adelaide went to a clear second with victory over West Adelaide, while Glenelg and Central District both picked up wins in their bottom four clashes.

WEST ADELAIDE 0.1 | 0.4 | 1.5 | 1.8 (14)
SOUTH ADELAIDE 1.5 | 1.6 | 2.8 | 3.11 (29)

GOALS: 

West: C. Biddell.
South: T. Charlton 2, S. Peters.

ADC BEST:

West: S. Thompson, K. Kustermann, R. Martin, M. Newman, A. Ballard
South: T. Charlton, L. Whiteley, C. Cavouras, S. Pratt, I. Tahau

South Adelaide did what the reigning back-to-back premiers do best and found a way to not only win, but get home by 15 points despite West Adelaide controlling possession for the majority of the contest. It was young gun Teah Charlton who led the charge for the Panthers, kicking two terrific goals and setting up a third in what was a low-scoring match riddled with inaccuracy, but filled with some big tackles and individual moments of brilliance.

In contrast to what the rest of the match would be like, South Adelaide controlled possession in the opening term, with Nikki Gore getting the first inside 50 out of the middle. Hannah Munyard was providing her usual dash on the outside of the contest, but the work of Keeley Kustermann and Madison Newman in the back 50 was making life hard for the Panthers.

Czenya Cavouras was having an influence through the middle, and was equally matched by Stevie-Lee Thompson would would go on to be one of West’s best. Equally up to the task in their back 50 were Samantha Pratt and Lisa Whiteley who battled hard, and when they went forward, South was beginning to apply scoreboard pressure – albeit behinds.

West registered its first score midway through the term, when Rachelle Martin bumped Nicole Campbell off the line and kicked towards the goals but went to the right. It was not until the last 90 seconds of the quarter that after five straight behinds, the Panthers got a major to break the drought. South’s resilience paid off as they kept surging forward and several players getting boot to ball as they were dragged down by West’s defence, but eventually Charlton had snuck to the goalsquare and got a clean boot to the ball to put through the first of the game and hand her side a 10-point lead at the first break.

Whiteley saved a certain West goal early in the second term and then immediately after, Pratt won a free kick at the stoppage for a terrific tackle. The Panthers were cleaner with their possession, though were happy to provide unpredictability going forward with kicks along the ground to stop the influence of Newman and Kustermann in the air taking easy intercept marks.

Chelsea Biddell was having an influence pushing up the ground alongside Martin and then Indy Tahau had a highlight-worthy moment with a bounce and drawing a second opponent to kick forward. While both Tahau and Thompson showed off the jets on different occasions, neither side could muster up a major. By the time the half-time siren sounded, just four behinds had been added to the total score, three to the Westies and one to the Panthers, for South Adelaide to still lead by eight points.

The third term saw some more action, but again it was heartbreak for the Westies as they dominated the major of forward possession and only managed the one major. Biddell kicked that opportunistic one on the back of hard work from Thompson and Ballard getting it forward to a pack, and the key forward was first to her feet to dribble it home five minutes into the term. Earlier Biddle unfortunately fumbled when she had a lot of space in front of her close to goal and her opponent closed her down. The defence was holding up for West Adelaide, but they needed to make more of their dominance.

Instead, it was Charlton who had had enough with the arm-wrestle up the home side’s end, somehow breaking the highlight-drought with a magical goal from the pocket. It was something out of nothing and exactly what the game needed. She was later crunched in a tackle but managed to recover, but the momentum rolled back to West as the Bloods desperately attacked. Yet again, shots just fell short or missed targets marginally and the siren sounded with the Panthers up by nine.

Not disparaged by not capitalising on their chances, the Bloods continued their forward half dominance, with Thompson getting better and better throughout the game, and Biddell having a presence, even though accuracy was a problem. Melanie Elsegood had a chance with the ball falling into her lap early in the term, but her quick pass to Biddell fell at her feet and forced a stoppage. Martin was desperate in her attempts to get her side back in the contest, but gave away a couple of free kicks in the process. Ballard was equally influential for the Bloods, but nothing was able to really break through.

Instead, once South got a chance, the Panthers took it, with Charlton stepping up, winning the ball close to the line from a kick out, and while many expected her to take a chance on goal, she spotted the loose Sienna Peters 15m out and drilled a perfect pass to her. Peters turned around and effectively iced the game with nine minutes remaining.

The remainder of the term saw Charlton put one out on the full despite being ambitious from a tight angle though not suitable for a right footer, and South’s desperate attempts to add to the score just missed with rushed behinds. West Adelaide continued to roll the dice, and surge forward, but nothing was doing, and the last kick of the day on goal to Biddell from 35m out missed, which was the story of the tape. West Adelaide was so impressive, but just missed in crucial circumstances to take control of the match.

The defence of Whiteley and Pratt, along with Charlton and the run of Gore and Munyard was impressive. Cavouras’ hardness was welcomed for the Panthers as Ballard and Martin provided that, as did Thompson who was arguably the Bloods’ best. Kustermann and Newman did what many expected them to do out of defence, and Biddell was superb outside of her accuracy, but both teams will be there at the pointy end of the season.

WWT EAGLES 1.3 | 2.3 | 2.3 | 4.5 (29)
CENTRAL DISTRICT 2.0 | 3.0 | 6.2 | 7.2 (44)

GOALS:

WWT: K. Lee 2, J. Zecevic, G. Smallacombe.
Central: K. Rosenzweig 3, E. Keys, L. Huynh, A. James, C. Reynolds.

ADC BEST:

WWT: J. Zecevic, K. Lee, T. Maher, J. Sedunary, B. Davey
Central: K. Rosenzweig, C. Reynolds, S. Smith, C. Teague, S. Allan

An all-time record team score from Central District has helped the Bulldogs record an impressive 15-point win over Woodville-West Torrens Eagles and move to sixth on the SANFL Women’s ladder. Katelyn Rosenzweig booted three goals during the match, while the likes of Shelby Smith, Chantel Reynolds, Caitlen Teague and Sarah Allan were all busy. For the Eagles, Jovanka Zecevic and Kiana Lee were busy in defeat.

The opening term saw a number of entertaining moments including a couple of bounces and run off half-back from Eagles’ Tesharna Maher, and a strong intercept mark under fierce contact from Central’s Nicola Biagi. Lee had an early chance at the seven minute mark to put a major on the board after a neat Kate Poole kick, but it went through for a behind. A few minutes later though, it was Central on the attack and the pressure led to Emma Keys running into an open goal and slotting it from almost point-blank range.

The very next clearance out of the middle went down the other end and the strong hands of Lee clunk and mark and sent it straight over the goal umpire’s hat to hand her team back the lead. As if not to be outdone, the Bulldogs worked it forward in the last few minutes, with Smith earning a free kick and got it to the danger zone, where a quick handball out to Rosenzweig saw the talented forward snap and goal for the lead once again. Alicia Butler had been impressive throughout the entire term for the Bulldogs, while Demi Sonneman on the last line was crucial.

The game had opened up a bit more and after repeat stoppages the first half of the term, it was a crucial moment by Rosenzweig who booted her second and gave the game more life. She positioned herself well under a floating ball inside 50, then clunked the contested mark and slotted the goal for a nine-point lead. Zecevic, Jess Sedunary and Maher were all busy early, and Bronwyn Davey was starting to get involved up forward for the Eagles. Davey missed a couple of chances but missed, though soon Zecevic would capitalise on the counter attack after a missed Bulldogs kick saw Poole intercept and find Davey whose kick fell short but Zecevic was quick to think and snap around her body to cut the half-time deficit to three.

Smith continued her good form winning plenty of it and getting involved in the third term, and Butler had a chance 35m out on a slight angle, but missed the chance early in the third. Not long after the floodgates would begin to open for the Bulldogs as Smith intercepted an Eagles kickout, handballed to Reynolds who put it to Rosenzweig’s advantage in the goalsquare to mark and convert the set shot three and a half minutes in. Sensing the tide was turning the Eagles sent Lee into defence where she took a strong mark and provided some rebound, but the play was all with Central.

Laitiah Huynh had a quick snap on goal but missed, then had a second chance moments after, tricking the Eagles defence into thinking the teenager would kick to the square, but instead had the set shot from 35m out and sailed over their heads to hand the Bulldogs an impressive 17-point lead. Zecevic was trying everything for the Eagles, while Charlotte Dolan was attempting to create some run down the ground, with little space available. The Eagles needed a goal to have a realistic chance in the final term, but instead it was the Bulldogs who through Allan and Reynolds got it forward. Rosenzweig battled one-on-two in the goalsquare, but the crowd she attracted left Amber James free to receive a handball and she snapped around her body for a terrific goal in the last 30 seconds and Central headed into the final break up by 23 points.

The final term was more of a celebration for the Bulldogs, though the Eagles were not going to throw in the towel. Sedunary’s early chance missed with the snap, and then Grace Smallacombe found herself in the unusual position of inside 50 and she took a good mark and with the subsequent 25m penalty for some spoken words, booted it home from point-blank range. The margin was back to 17 points and not completely out of it. However it was soon done and dusted when Reynolds achieved the Bulldogs’ highest score in their history with a terrific snap to see them pass their record of 38 and achieve 44 for the game.

Lee kicked a consolation goal shortly after following a contested grab above her head and put through the set shot from 35m out, but it wold not be enough as the Bulldogs would reign supreme on the day. The contested marking and runs from defence, the latter particularly from Maher were eye-catching, whilst Rosenzweig’s game was highly underrated because she not only slotted three majors, but her one percenters around the contest were terrific. Smith and Reynolds also really stood out in what was ultimately an even team performance.

STURT 0.1 | 0.2 | 0.4 | 0.5 (5)
GLENELG 1.3 | 4.4 | 6.6 | 8.8 (56)

GOALS:

Sturt: Nil.
Glenelg: E. Jones, T. Morriss, L. Bungey, E. Marinoff, L. Kenny, T. Kohn, B. Tonen, S. Franson

ADC BEST: 

Sturt: Z. Prowse, G. Bevan, E. Dawes, S. Daly, K. Harris
Glenelg: T. Kohn, S. Franson, E. Jones, L. Bungey, E. Marinoff

Glenelg has kept its finals hopes alive with a commanding 51-point victory over Sturt, holding the Double Blues goalless and leaping up to fifth on the SANFL Women’s ladder. The Tigers took a while to kick into gear, but when they did, they never looked back, having 16 scoring shots to five and defending perfectly.

The first term was a real arm-wrestle with neither side able to heap on any considerable scoreboard pressure. Glenelg had the majority of the play, with young gun Zoe Prowse having an early impact with her work rate around the ground and tackling pressure. For the Tigers, Eloise Jones and Ebony Marinoff were working hard in midfield, while reliable young defender Hannah Prenzler started forward as eluded to in the team selections. Madisyn Freeman was also busy continuing on from last week, providing some dash off half-back, and the first score came off the boot of Tessa Kohn – who would be in for a big day – with a behind after a nice turnover courtesy of an Ellie Kellock bump.

Another behind for Glenelg, this time from Marinoff, was followed by a drought-breaking goal from Tamsyn Morriss who found space forward and slotted the major nine minutes into the term. It would be the only major of the game, and while Georgia Bevan was putting in 100 per cent trying to extract the ball forward, Glenelg was running in numbers and defending well. Elsie Dawes was on Double Blues talent who stood out, while Shae Daly was mopping up a lot in defence. The siren sounded with Marinoff to take a shot from 35m out slight angle but it fell just short and kept in, with the Bays up by eight at the first break.

Prowse’s athleticism against Caitlin Gould was impressive as she was won a free kick immediately to start the second term, but it would be Lauren Bungey who would take the first advantage when forward, after Jones kicked it to the top of the goalsquare and the key forward took a strong mark and goaled from 15m out just two minutes into the contest. Grace Duffy was moving well around the ground for a taller player, while Prenzler was pushing up trying to influence the contest for Sturt. There was a lot of scrappy kicks from both sides in a bid to win territory.

Just as the Tigers looked set to rue a few missed chances, Brooke Tonon and Sam Franson both put their name in the goalkickers books with majors in the second half of the term. Tonon got on the end of a pass following an intercept in the forward 50 and she capitalised, while Franson slotted one running into goal in the dying seconds and handed her side a 26-point lead at the main break.

The Sturt defence was trying everything to keep the ball out of danger, but Glenelg was relentless and this attack continued in the third term. Jones tried her hand at one of the marks of the year, not necessarily for height, but for degree of difficulty with a pack all around her. She kicked the all-important first goal of the third term and from there, Glenelg had the second half momentum to continue it.

Kohn was really impressive inside 50 and giving her teammates a scoring chance, as Freeman and Marinoff had a couple of opportunities. Eventually it was Marinoff who somehow picked the pocket of her opponent close to goal and put it on the boot just 10m out for another Glenelg major.

Bevan had Sturt’s best chance of a major in the last two minutes of the third term, but running into open goal but it unluckily hit the post on the way through for Sturt’s third behind of the game. By the three quarter time siren, Glenelg led by 38 points.

The fourth term was much of the same with Glenelg continually attacking and Sturt’s defence doing its best to try and quell their opponents. Marinoff was involved in a goal again and worked the ball down for Lauren Kenny to win a free kick straight in front and put it through for a 44-point lead in the opening three minutes. Danger signs of the game being a real blowout were there for the Double Blues, but to their credit, the likes of Alysha Healy and Daly were restricting the flow.

Glenelg was just more composed and the frustration was getting to Sturt’s defence when Larissa Schenscher gave away a 25m penalty following a free in a marking contest one-on-one to her opponent Kohn. The youngster moved into the goalsquare when she popped it home from the easiest of set shots, delivering a 51-point win for her side as the siren sounded about a minute later.

NORTH ADELAIDE 1.2 | 4.6 | 6.6 | 9.10 (64)
NORWOOD 1.0 | 1.0 | 2.1 | 3.1 (19)

GOALS:

North Adelaide: H. Ewings 2, B. Perry 2, K. Reynolds 2, K. Barltrop, L. Daniel, A. Woodland.
Norwood: I. Martin, A. Ferrall, A. Barisic.

ADC BEST:

North: H. Ewings, A. Hatchard, B. Perry, K. Pope, K. Barltrop
Norwood: N. Allen, M. Breed, B. Smith, M. Zander, R. Busch

North Adelaide has fired a warning shot to the rest of the competition with a 45-point demolition job of another contender in Norwood. The Roosters, led by Adelaide best and fairest winner, Anne Hatchard and young gun and speedster, Hannah Ewings, the Roosters started to click after a slow start to run away with an impressive victory that could have been even more had it not been for some missed opportunities.

The first term was a battle between two teams clearly in premiership contention. The undefeated Roosters through the work of Hatchard in the middle were creating all sorts of problems for Norwood, but were not capitalising as best as they could. Instead, it was an end-to-end goal for the Bloods against the momentum starting with Sophie Armitstead at half-back, and going through Monique Hollick, Alison Ferrall, Najwa Allen and eventually to Ana Barisic who kicked the goal with her second chance after playing on, missing, but winning a free kick and converting the set shot.

Ewings had a huge start to the game, with both her and Hatchard racking up the ball and using it well, while Ashleigh Woodland was busy on the outside. Cristie Castle had a chance with a snap going inside 50 but it just missed, and then Britt Perry uncharacteristically missed a set shot straight in front 20m out. In fact it took until some nice movement inside 50 from the Roosters from Kathryn Reynolds who hit up Perry. This time the GWS AFL Women’s Academy player did not miss and put it straight through for her team to hit the front.

The goal was enough to marginally separate the sides at half-time, with Mattea Breed starting to get going late in the term, matching up with Hatchard and then winning the clearance at the next centre bounce, while Ferrall’s shot after the siren from 40m just fell short and the Redlegs found themselves three points down at the first break. The biggest disappointment of the opening term was the shoulder injury to Hollick who had to be helped from the ground.

Breed’s finish to the opening term continued into the second, having an early chance kicking towards goal, but it unfortunately bounced back into the field of play. The talented Northern Territory teen ran down her opponent in the goalsquare, covering 40m to do so, but was pinged for infringing with the tackle. From that point on though, the quarter belonged to North Adelaide.

Hatchard was so red-hot in the opening term she switched the long sleeves for the short sleeves, but her impact did not change, getting the ball to Ewings who snapped around her body two and a half minutes mins in to the open goalsquare for it to bounce home for an important major and eight-point lead. A terrific intercept grab at half-back by Kristi Harvey, led to Ewings having another crack and kicked a second goal 90 seconds later in a real purple patch for the Roosters young gun. All of a sudden it was 14 points the difference, four minutes into the term.

Breed’s aerial abilities were just about the only highlight for Norwood in the second term, with the youngster taking a number of big grabs despite constant pressure around her. North Adelaide took full control of the contest, and a mix up between Redlegs defenders and a spill from a marking contest resulted in Kelly Barltrop kicking the easiest of soccer goals to hand her team a third major for the quarter. She had been quite a force throughout, continually providing a presence in the air and one of the top Roosters for the match. Realistically, when the siren ended at 18 points in the Roosters’ favour, it should have been more, as North had quite the dominance in the forward half, missing a number of chances.

Coming out of the break with renewed enthusiasm, the Redlegs hit the ground running with some great attacking. Breed laid a massive tackle in the opening minute to set the tone for the Redlends, and with Smith and Zander doing well clearing the ball from half-back and down the wing, it landed with Allen whose kick inside 50 might have been a little off, but landed in the space of Isabel Martin who ran in and kicked the easiest of goals. Much like the second term though, the momentum was going to swing the other way and fast.

Within the next few minute, North answered after Hatchard found Perry inside 50, then the long kick to a pack saw the ball drop, but Barltrop get her hands to a loose Daniel in the square who slammed it home from a metre out. While Norwood was matching it with the Roosters for the most part, the defensive work to shut down the run of the Redlegs was remarkable. In one instance, they clogged up the forward line forcing Roosters captain Ferrall to kick laterally and it resulted in a turnover, then running down the other end, the ball went into the space of Perry who marked and produced a perfect set shot from 35m out on a tight angle. The margin was five goals and the Roosters were firing.

Jade Halfpenny and Zander were having a big third term trying to get things moving, while Armitstead and Rhiannon Busch were working hard off half-back. The Redlegs had a chance to get within four goals at the final break through Ferrall after a free kick straight in front, but once again her kick drifted to the left and through for a behind. The teams headed into the break with Norwood up by 29 points.

Straight out of the break it was North Adelaide who ramped up the pressure and kept applying it throughout the contest. Reynolds twice showed positioning is everything, finding the space just 15m out from goal, marking and converting her set shots. The first came in the opening stanza when Charlotte Taylor found her with a quick kick out of the back, and then minutes later, it was Hatchard who did it and all of a sudden, the lead was blowing out. A third goal to the Roosters came late in the term off the boot off Woodland who had time to fumble and then kick off the spot from 40m and it just carried over the opponent on the goal line.

Realistically North Adelaide could, and should have won by more with so many chances in the final term, but missed a couple of opportunities through Barltrop, Hatchard and Brianna Arthur who had been really impressive in patches throughout the match. Norwood only had a rare chance in the final minute, and it was Ferrall who after missing a number of chances herself earlier in the match, dealt with the breeze perfectly from a tight angle 25m out to bend it around the post. The siren sounded moments later with North Adelaide heading home 45-point victors.

SANFL Women’s Round 7 preview: Contenders to lock horns in Super Saturday

ROUND 7 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition is almost like a finals series, with 1st against 4th, 2nd against 3rd, and then the bottom four teams facing off in a round that is sure to determine a lot of things in the run home to the finals series. All four games are being played tomorrow in a Super Saturday.

WEST ADELAIDE VS. SOUTH ADELAIDE
Saturday, July 11, 11.00am
Hisense Stadium

The opening game of the round is set to be the best of the lot with a battle of second up against third and two genuine title contenders going at it. The team with the most firepower up forward (West Adelaide) going up against the team that has the most balanced group of the past couple of seasons (South Adelaide) makes for essential viewing. The back-to-back reigning premiers will be hard to beat, but at home the Westies will push the Panthers all the way.

Key questions:

Which midfield will win the battle?

The answer to this question may well determine the match. Both midfields are loaded with talent, as the likes of Rachelle Martin, Abbie Ballard and Zoe Greer go up against Nicole Campbell, Hannah Munyard and a returning Czenya Cavouras.

Will West Adelaide’s high pressing defence work against South?

The Bloods have a highly effective system where the defenders hold a high line, constantly pushing teams back so when a quick kick comes out of the forward 50, there is a defender there ready to mark and send it back in. Madison Newman is particularly strong in this area, and with Newman and Keeley Kustermann both superb kicks off half-back, they are players that are so damaging for the game.

How will South Adelaide handle the toughest forward line?

South is renowned for its sturdy defence that meets every challenge thrown at it. This week it will be the biggest of the lot, with damaging talls in Melanie Elsegood and Chelsea Biddell, and the always dangerous Stevie-Lee Thompson. If the likes of Lauren Buchanan who returns back into the side this week, Jaslynne Smith and Samantha Pratt can contain them, then this will be a tight tussle.

Prediction: Too tight to call. South deserve favouritism and it is hard to tip against them. Every time you do, they find a way to win. But there is something about West Adelaide at the moment that screams they are ready to take the next step, so do not be surprised if the Westies get up in this one.

 

STURT VS. GLENELG
Saturday, July 11, 11.30am
Maughan Thiem Kia Oval

In a battle of the sides that realistically could fight for a finals spot but are just not quite close enough, the youth of Sturt take on the experience of Glenelg. The Bays have been unlucky since loading up on AFL Women’s talent, pushing both North Adelaide and South Adelaide in the past fortnight. It is expected they will be keen to start strongly against a Sturt side that has plenty of bright future stars, and a strong defence, but have struggled to score.

Key questions:

Can Sturt kick a winning score?

No doubt Sturt’s defence is unbelievable. The likes of Hannah Prenzler, Jo-Anna Baltais and Alysha Healy all offer a different defensive aspect. This week Prenzler has been named at half-forward which could be the key to answering the question. Everyone knows Glenelg has the ability to kick a big score, but it will likely need to be a tight, low-scoring contest for Sturt to do the same.

Who will win the midfield battle?

Both these sides have very capable midfields with Sturt’s containing co-captain’s Maya Rigter and Georgia Bevan, as well as Isobel Kuipers, whilst the Tigers are led by Ebony Marinoff and Eloise Jones, and Ellie Kellock has been in some terrific form of late.

How much will AFLW experience count?

The Bays’ AFLW experience will be important up against an inexperienced side. Sturt will never stop throwing everything at its opposition, but Glenelg has enough firepower that it will continue to attack. Glenelg has had patches where the top two teams got on top and kicked multiple goals, so the Tigers will keen to not let that happen here.

Prediction: Glenelg’s experience should see them home here, but Sturt will make life difficult for them so expect a low-scoring battle.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS VS. CENTRAL DISTRICT
Saturday, July 11, 1.15pm
Maughan Thiem Kia Oval

Both Woodville-West Torrens and Central District have shown they are much more competitive in year two compared to their inaugural year last year, which is great for the competition as a while. Central grabbed an early win in Round 1, whilst the Eagles snaffled one back in Round 4 just before the season was suspended. This match could be an interesting one because one team is more than capable of moving the ball well, it is just about finding the right targets going forward, whilst the other is a fierce defensive side that wears down its opposition.

Key questions:

Where can Central take the advantage?

The Bulldogs’ spine is stronger with genuine talls at either end in the form of Sarah Allan and Katelyn Rosenzweig, with the former spending the majority of her time through the ruck last week too. Central is a side that opposition teams have to play well against to beat, because the Bulldogs are not going to just let you win. The Bulldogs have found a way to share the scoring load since the break, so now have multiple threats up there, such as Shannon Murphy who kicked two majors.

Where can Eagles take the advantage?

Woodville-West Torrens’ tackling is the best in the business. They make sure the opposition is feeling it throughout games and earn every touch. If their tackles stick, it will go a long way to winning because they can shut down the Bulldogs running game. Central’s style looks good when it moves, but it is often that last kick inside 50 that can sometimes miss and the Bulldogs will know the Eagles will bring the heat. Jess Sedunary has been a massive inclusion fo the Eagles, and Jovanka Zecevic and Amie Blanden – funnily enough the Eagles’ half-forward line this week – have been amongst their most consistent players.

What are some of the key match ups?

A potential young guns match up that could be huge to see if they ended up going head-to-head would be Latiah Huynh (Central) up against Charlotte Dolan (Eagles). Both are not afraid to move the ball, both are courageous and both are fierce at the contest when needing to be. Along with that, a vital match up at opposite ends would be Demi Sonneman up against Kiana Lee, and Ashlee Reid potentially trying to quell Katelyn Rosenzweig. There are no shortage of big one-on-ones here.

Prediction: Another one too close to call. Really like the way both sides have taken it up to the opposition the last few weeks, but Central in particular with the style were great against South and it might hold up here for the Bulldogs’ second win.

 

NORTH ADELAIDE VS. NORWOOD
Saturday, July 11, 1.40pm
Prospect Oval

A massive clash that will have huge ramifications on the run to the finals is up next with the other top four head-to-head between North Adelaide and Norwood. The Roosters are yet to lose this season, keen to avenge their grand final loss in 2019, while the minor premiers from last season have had to undergo some rebuilding with a lot of players being drafted – including their coach – into the AFL Women’s. A number of them have returned and Norwood have been able to string a couple of wins together since the break, but this is a huge test here. If they win, they draw level with West Adelaide, while North run the risk of South catching them at the top. It also means there would be up to a five-point gap between the top four and bottom four, all but guaranteeing the finals teams.

Key questions:

Does North Adelaide have an Achilles heel?

With six wins on the trot and answering every challenge thrown at them, it is hard to point out a weakness in the side. The defence is sturdy and reliable, the midfield is elite, the forward line has a nice mix of talls and smalls, and the depth is very impressive. However like any side, the key is winning the ball out of the midfield, because if they do not do that, it is hard to pile on the high scores that they do. It is imperative that Norwood win the midfield battle if they are to go on their way to claim victory. North Adelaide have not lost for a reason.

How much will the ruck battle play a role?

Leah Cutting is clearly one of, if not the standout ruck in the competition from a state league perspective, whilst Bek Rasheed has come in this season but shown some promising signs for the Redlegs. Most will expect Cutting to win that battle – and she will need to in order to give her midfielders a chance – but if Rasheed can nullify or get on top, then North is already a step ahead. Given North’s midfield of Anne Hatchard, Leah Tynan and Ashleigh Woodland with Katelyn Pope providing the dash off the wing, it will be a difficult one to stop.

How does Norwood kick a winning score against North?

The Roosters lowest score this year is 4.1 (25) and Glenelg’s identical score last week was the highest score against the Roosters. South pushed them all the way in Round 4, and the Redlegs are the only team yet to face them. Norwood on the other hand have score more than four goals once – in the win against Central in Round 5 – so you have to think they will need to do it again to win here. They have the potential through the likes of Alison Ferrall and Mattea Breed who both booted three goals in that aforementioned victory, whilst the midfield of Najwa Allen, Monique Hollick and Jess Macolino can all get forward and contribute. Norwood often has a rolling forward line with a lot of midfielders rotating through there which can also be a huge help. Unfortunately for the Redlegs, North’s defence is the best in the competition with Kristi Harvey and Amber Ward superb rebounders, and now Talia Radan back there too.

Prediction: It is just too hard to look past North. Norwood will give it a real shake and have the talent to do it, but the Roosters just keep getting it done each and every week and it is hard to see them getting beaten.

SANFL Women’s preview: Round 3 – Top of the table clash headlines triple header

A TOP of the table clash between North Adelaide and West Adelaide headlines the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s Round 3 this weekend as part of a triple header at Flinders University Stadium. Fellow undefeated side South Adelaide will face Norwood in the final game of the day, with Woodville-West Torrens and Sturt both searching for their first win in the middle game. To open the round, Central District will hope to add another loss to Glenelg’s season, with the Bulldogs also looking to take advantage of the top two sides going at it.

CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. GLENELG
Saturday, February 29, 11.30am
X Convenience Oval

Opening up the third round of action is fifth placed Central District taking on seventh placed Glenelg in what is a crucial game for both clubs. The Bulldogs showed in the opening round against Norwood that they have improved on their inaugural season last year, and while they were taken to town by a rampaging North Adelaide side, will have learnt plenty from that disappointing loss. Heading into this clash, the home side should start as favourites against a Glenelg side yet to make its mark in 2020. For teams battling for a finals spot, this is considered a must-win contest, and one that both clubs no doubt would have marked as a crucial game when the fixture came out. Central will likely jump into the top four with a victory despite the 54-point defeat last week, with the Redlegs who sit fourth, taking on third placed South Adelaide. For Glenelg, a third loss and the season is very quickly slipping away. Last year’s grand finalists North Adelaide had a slow start to 2019, so it is not all lost, but the Tigers need to start picking up the pace and it is worth cutting them some slack as they have played the two most in-form teams in the competition thus far.

Statistically, Glenelg is not all that bad despite the two losses, sitting second overall for hitouts differential (+24), which is area they can exploit the Bulldogs in (-25) who are ranked seventh in the category differential for this season. The Tigers are also third overall for tackles differential with +20, just behind Central (+21). The Bulldogs also have a more predominant kicking style to Glenelg’s mixed style, though the Tigers also have the lowest disposal count of any side this season (339), though the Bulldogs have the lowest differential (-111), which is understandable after last week.

The Bulldogs have lost both Danielle Stewart and Jayme-Lee Sonneman for this clash, while bringing in six players to an extended bench, including Alicia Butler who looks to slot straight into half-back having been recalled for her second game of the season, alongside 19-year-old Keely Cannizzaro. The Bulldogs’ strength this season has been their defence, with the likes of Kimberley Fry (9.5 disposals, 3.5 rebounds) and Demi Sonneman (12.5 disposals, 4.5 rebounds) holding up firmly back there. In her first season at the club, Shelby Smith has been a welcome addition with 15 disposals, 3.5 marks, 3.5 tackles, 3.5 clearances and two rebounds per game, working hard through the middle and getting back to support the defenders. Up forward, equal-leading goalkicker Katelyn Rosenzweig (five goals) showed in Round 1 which she is capable of, and while she only managed the one goal last week, is always a headache for opposition defenders. The only concern will be the fact that Rosenzweig has booted five of the club’s six goals this season, so finding more avenues to goal is key.

Looking at the Tigers, they had plenty of scoring options in Round 1, but wasted them with a 2.10 scoreline against the ladder leaders. They then were completely restricted with just 1.2 in Round 2 against the Bloods, so have technically only booted the three goals this season. Glenelg has brought in a couple of players for their debuts in Lauren Kenny and Brooke Tonon with the latter representing South Australia at Under 16s level last season and is highly touted. The only forced change is the loss of Tasja Batzavalis due to concussion, while bringing in three others, including Tess Morcom back into the middle and Jessica Searle straight to full-back. Sam Franson is the X-factor up forward, with the 20-year-old averaging 10 disposals and laying a massive 6.5 tackles per game, while in defence, Madisyn Freeman has averaging 10.5 disposals, 2.5 tackles and 3.0 clearances.

In order to win this clash, Glenelg must make the most of its chances, while Central Districts must win the midfield battle and restrict Glenelg’s chances of scoring, while getting it forward as often as possible. This should be a thrilling contest with everything on the line.

MATCH OF THE ROUND:

NORTH ADELAIDE vs. WEST ADELAIDE
Saturday, February 29, 3.45pm
Flinders University Stadium

The first match of a bumper triple header at Flinders University Stadium tomorrow pits first and second against each other in what should be the match of the round. With third placed South Adelaide onlooking ahead of its own clash, the loser knows it will likely drop to third, though it is not the end of the world given these two have established themselves as genuine contenders, albeit early in the season. North Adelaide was somewhat fortunate in the opening round to get over the line by four goals against a wayward Glenelg, making the most of its chances with 7.4 to 2.10, before ironing out any cobwebs in the second round with a nine-goal smashing of Central District. West Adelaide looked more convincing in its opening game with a 21-point victory over Sturt, before handing out a 40-point beating of the Tigers in Round 2. Realistically it should have been even more with the Bloods booting 6.12, which is something they simply cannot afford to do here. The winner places themselves in a really good position almost a third of the way through the season in what is ultimately a short season. Both these line-ups have star players and this is anticipated to be an absolute beauty.

Statistically speaking, these sides are ranked top two for disposals, and second and third respectively for disposal differential, as the Roosters have a massive +76 in the category. They love playing a possession style of game, and both are more than comfortable using a handball-style or kick-first mentality. The Roosters are also ranked third in inside 50s differentials with +16, while West Adelaide is marginally ahead with +20. Despite winning both its games comfortably, the Roosters back six deserves credit with only a -2 differential, which ranks them fifth overall. The Bloods on the other hand have just 22 rebounds for the season – the lowest of any side, with the second worst differential. In saying that, they do not allow it to get in there, with a dominant clearance game that has them miles ahead of the competition with a +28 differential in clearances, despite a surprising -29 in hitouts. In other words, the Bloods have been sharking their opposition ruck taps, and doing it so effectively. The midfield is where they can take advantage, whereas the Roosters are happy to build up from the back six and with so many scoring options inside 50, they can cause some damage to a West Adelaide defence that is yet to have a serious threat placed on it.

North Adelaide has made three three changes to its side for Round 3, welcoming in Erica Greet, Mollie McKendrick and Katelyn Pope, with Greet playing her first game of the season, basketballer McKendrick her first with the club, and Pope recalled after playing in Round 1 against Glenelg. Having already mentioned how strong the North Adelaide defence is, the Roosters will be prepared for West Adelaide to win its fair share of inside 50s off a high volume of clearances. Kristi Harvey (9.5 disposals, 2.0 marks and 4.5 rebounds) and Amber Ward (12.5 disposals, 3.0 marks, 3.5 tackles and 2.0 rebounds) have been superb as key defensive posts in the back 50, while Lauren Gauci had an outstanding game in the Roosters win over Central, picking up 21 disposals, six marks (two contested), two clearances and three rebounds in just her second career game at the level. Up forward, Kelly Barltrop is yet to really stamp her authority on the competition after her leading goalkicker award last year, but it is a positive that the Roosters have had plenty of contributors, with Ashleigh Woodland (four goals) and Kathryn Reynolds (three) both having strong starts to the year. Woodland in particular is a damaging player, averaging 14 disposals at 79 per cent efficiency, while booting 4.2 from 19 touches and five marks last week in an outstanding performance. Cristie Castle could well be leading the Roosters’ best and fairest at this stage, with the 29-year-old averaging 19 disposals, 5.5 marks, 2.5 clearances, 2.5 inside 50s, 2.0 tackles and 1.0 goals per game. It will be up to the likes of Leah Tynan (12.5 disposals, 3.0 clearances) and Lauren Daniel (18.5 disposals, 4.0 clearances) to try and quell the influence of the West Adelaide midfielders.

West Adelaide has brought in three players to an extended bench, losing Kasia Culhane to injury, which will be a blow after the forward booted three goals in the first two rounds and looked a lively forward inside 50. Into the side comes Lauren Rodato, Nicole Hooper and Rachael Killian, with Rodato recalled after playing Round 1, and Hooper and Killian playing their first matches since 2018 – if selected. Rodato has been named at centre half-back to support the work of Keeley Kustermann (14.5 disposals at 90 per cent efficiency) who has been reliable as ever in the back 50, despite the Bloods having the lowest amount of rebounds. The reason for that is the work of Rachelle Martin, Abbie Ballard and Zoe Venning who have formed a remarkable midfield trio. Martin has averaged 18 disposals, 5.0 clearances, 7.5 tackles and 3.0 inside 50s per game and while her disposal efficiency could improve (53 per cent), most of her work is done at the coalface which allows her teammates to run the ball forward. She was one of a number of players who really could have had a day out last week, booting three behinds to go with 21 touches, five clearances and four inside 50s. Ballard is leading all-comers when it comes to disposals, averaging 21 per game thanks to her 27 touches in Round 1. Like Martin, she is a contested ball winner who can spread to the outside, averaging 3.5 marks, 2.5 tackles, 5.5 clearances and 3.0 inside 50s per game. Venning – who is remarkably only 16-years-old but in her second season at West Adelaide is slightly below the others on volume, but has the highest disposal efficiency from her 15 touches, 3.5 marks, 3.0 tackles, 2.5 clearances and 2.0 inside 50s. Importantly, she also hits the scoreboard, averaging a goal a game thus far this season. Speaking of hitting the scoreboard, Melanie Elsegood is the equal leading goalkicker with five goals from her two marches, making the most of her 7.5-disposal, 2.5-mark averages.

There is a reason this is match of the round. You have the best clearance side up against the dominant scoring team which means both sides are going to be tested in ways they are yet to be tested. If the Bloods can continue to dominate the clearances, then their high volume of inside 50s will undoubtedly lead to a high score, though if North Adelaide can get on top, then they will cause all sorts of problems for the West Adelaide defence, which will have its first big test of the season in this game.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS vs. STURT
Saturday, February 29, 5.30pm
Flinders University Stadium

After a blockbuster top of the table clash, two sides looking to get on the board in season 2020 go at it from 5.30pm. Woodville-West Torrens is yet to win in the SANFL Women’s since joining the competition 12 months ago. The Eagles have come close on a number of occasions, including last week where they led by as much as 19 points against Norwood before suffering a one-point defeat due to a goal in the last minute to help the Redlegs get over the line. In Round 1, they also led South Adelaide for portions of the game, only to fall short by less than a kick, and if form is any indicator to go by, then this should be the time they break the drought. Sturt sits on the bottom of the table having booted just three goals for the season, going down to West Adelaide by 21 points in Round 1, before being handed a 34-point defeat at the hands of the Panthers last week. That could have been a lot worse given South Adelaide booted 5.13 for the game, but in short, Sturt will need to lift for this contest. Similar to the opening game of this round, both these sides would have identified at the start of the season for this game to be a must-win against an opponent it is capable of beating. The winner of this match gets back on track in season 2020, while the loser will be at least two games outside the top four and having to play catch-up which is not ideal in such a short season.

Statistically the Eagles are better off, and are far and away the standout tackling team of the competition. They have laid a whopping 166 tackles this season, with 79 and 87 respectively each round to be the number one side both weeks. Their defensive pressure is not in question, though their handball game can sometimes get them unstuck. They have the lowest kick-to-handball ratio at just 1.42, which compared to the top team in that category (Central) which has 3.3, it shows the Eagles look to move the ball quickly by hand. Depending on the execution this can be a huge advantage, but also hurt going the other way, with the Eagles also only taking the 37 marks – the lowest of any side this season – while Sturt is third overall with 90, and has the second highest differential of +40. It is clear that this game will be a battle between two different styles, with Sturt looking to get to the outside and work their way inside 50 with calculated movement, while the Eagles will use a handball-style game to get it going in quick transition. Sturt’s big deficiency is giving its forwards best chance to score with a competition-low clearance count (31) and inside 50s count (23) with the lowest differential in both stats following a -25 and -33 respectively. This is an area they will no doubt focus on for this game, while the Double Blues defence to their credit has held up with a competition-high differential of +24 in rebounds.

Woodville-West Torrens have made three confirmed changes, with the loss of Adele Gibson due to a knee injury disappointing, and former West Adelaide captain Alison Evans brought in up forward to replace her in the front half having played in the narrow Round 1 loss. They have also brought in the exciting Jaida Tabb, the 15-year-old younger sister of Eagles and AFL Womens’ player Jaimi (13.5 disposals, 7.5 tackles, 3.5 inside 50s and 2.0 rebounds), with the latter named at full-forward to try and mix up the forward half. She will team up with fellow South Australian representative at last year’s AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships, with Kiana Lee leading the way in terms of scoring for the Eagles, booting three first half goals last week after surprisingly going goalless in round 1. When up and about, Lee knows how to fly for her marks, taking a massive six contested grabs from seven marks this season. While the Eagles have the scoring options, their defenders deserve credit as well, with Jovanka Zecevic (10 disposals, 5.0 tackles) and teenagers, Tesharna Maher (11 disposals at 77 per cent efficiency, and five rebounds) and Jamie Parish (six disposals, three marks) all holding up the back six. Former Adelaide AFL Women’s ruck, Rhiannon Metcalfe played her first game last week and will be better for the run, building into the game and could try and quell the influence of Sturt’s top three ruck ranked division.

The Double Blues have tried to keep as much stability as possible and not panic despite back-to-back losses, as Hannah Dreckow is the sole out for the last placed side, bringing in 18-year-old debutant Arabella Brown, as well as Cherie Bamford and Alysha Healy. Sturt has some serious top-end talent, but it is just about bringing through the next tier of players and continuing the development of the young players running around in the Double Blue. Co-captains, Georgia Bevan (19 disposals, 2.5 marks, 8.0 tackles, 2.0 clearances, 2.0 inside 50s and 3.0 rebounds) and Maya Rigter (15 disposals, 4.5 marks, 9.0 tackles, 2.5 clearances and 2.0 rebounds) running at 82 and 87 per cent efficiency respectively have been the top two players for Sturt, while Hannah Prenzler (13.5 disposals, 6.5 marks, 3.0 tackles and 3.0 rebounds) has been one of the top defenders in a side that has tried to hold up against some fierce attacking movement of top three sides. Sturt just has to find a way to score more, with the defensive set up and midfield duo a tick, and some young talent coming through. Zoe Prowse and Isobel Kuiper are a couple of teenagers who are the next young stars for Sturt, with the 16-year-old Prowse already entrenched as a ruck who can rest forward, while 17-year-old Kuiper has been playing through the middle and averaging five tackles per game to go with her 10 touches.

This game should be a close one with Woodville-West Torrens showing greater signs so far this season, but Sturt have some of the top players who could lift the Double Blues over the line. If the Eagles can get it forward and work it well down the ground with their ball movement to unsettle the Sturt defence it will help, while the Double Blues will look to get it long and try and force the attacking defenders of the Eagles to double think their decisions out of the back 50.

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. NORWOOD
Saturday, February 29, 7.15pm
Flinders University Stadium

The final game of the round pits two SANFL Women’s heavyweights against each other with inaugural premiers, Norwood going up against recent back-to-back premiers, South Adelaide. The Panthers had the Redlegs’ measure last season, going on to win the flag from second as Norwood tumbled out in straight sets, but both these sides have changed a fair amount since last season. Based on the opening first two rounds, the Panthers have made do by winning both their games, while Norwood has struggled to adapt with a completely new midfield group. To the Redlegs credit though, they came back from 19 points down to win against Woodville-West Torrens last week, largely thanks to three goals from Jo Hill. They cannot afford to drop that far behind against South Adelaide however, though the Panthers too had to come from behind to beat the Eagles back in Round 1, before a much more comfortable win over Sturt last week.

Looking at the stats, South Adelaide is a possession-style team ranked first in both disposal (+97) and kicking (+47) differentials for season 2020 thus far. They also have the most inside 50s of any side (63) and highest differential in that stat (+28). Ranked second overall for handball differential (+50), by sheer weight of numbers they have the most handballs of any side as well, which shows they can use the ball down the field in multiple ways. The Panthers’ defence has the lowest rebound differential of any side (-19), but that comes as no surprise seeing as how often the ball has spent time up the other end of the field. In Round 1, South Adelaide had just nine rebounds against Woodville-West Torrens, but the Eagles were unable to capitalise in that game. What makes Norwood good is the Redlegs’ outside game, with the highest marking differential of any side (+47), well ahead of South Adelaide’s (+5). They also lead the way in hitouts with 30 per game (+29 differential) thanks to the work of Leah Cutting. Defensively, Norwood has been out-pressured by its opposition, with the second lowest tackle count, but more damning is the lowest tackle differential of -52. South Adelaide is the second worst with -20, but only had four less than Sturt last week, whereas in Round 1, Norwood was -17 against Central District. Both sides were well out-tackled by the number one tackling side in the Eagles.

The Panthers have been forced to make at least two changes, with Annabel Gordon and Callie Wilson (both ankle injuries) out of the game among four confirmed outs. Into the side comes six players to an extended bench, with Chloe Jacobs named to make her debut for South Adelaide. The biggest inclusion is Madison Bennett who slots straight into a front six that is already incredibly potent after the 20-year-old was recalled for Round 3. With Cutting’s dominance in the ruck, it will be a great test for young gun, Montana McKinnon to step up again and continue her wonderful form this season with the 18-year-old averaging 16.5 disposals, 4.5 marks, 3.5 clearances, 6.0 inside 50s and 2.5 tackles per game. Accumulating the ball like a midfielder, McKinnon can also go forward and provide a tall target, with top draft prospect Teah Charlton (19 disposals at 87 per cent efficiency, 5.5 tackles, 4.0 clearances and 4.0 inside 50s) also in the forward half and capable of the incredible. In the midfield, Czenya Cavouras (17.5 disposals, 6.5 tackles and 4.5 clearances) and Tahlia Meyer (15 disposals, 2.5 tackles and 2.5 inside 50s) are natural ball winners, with Indy Tahau (15 disposals, 4.5 clearances, 3.0 tackles, 2.5 inside 50s and 2.0 marks) and Elyse Haylock (18 disposals, five tackles) – who played her first game of the season last week – forming a really dangerous onball combination.

Norwood has made four chances to its winning side last week, still trying to find the right mix to build on its performance. Despite having plenty of improvement left in them, the Redlegs have been able to stabilise their season thus far with a 1-1 record. Thrown up either end, Michele Reid has been named in the forward pocket for the match, while Ella Murison comes into the back pocket. Both players are versatile, with the 38-year-old Reid playing a defensive role in the first round, and has been called up for a different spot in Round 3, while Murison was the opposite with a couple of inside 50s against the Bulldogs in Round 1, but now named deep in defence. Cutting has been a huge influence in the midfield with a competition-high 20.5 hitouts to go with 10 disposals, 3.5 marks and 6.0 tackles per game.  She has been working well with the likes of Bella Smith (10 disposals, 4.5 marks, 2.5 tackles, 4.5 inside 50s) and Matilda Zander (17.5 disposals, 4.0 marks, 3.0 tackles, 2.5 inside 50s, 2.5 rebounds and 2.0 clearances) through midfield, while Mattea Breed (17.5 disposals, 2.0 marks, 4.0 tackles, 5.0 inside 50s and 3.5 clearances) really shone in Round 2, and has been roaming up the ground at half-forward clunking some strong marks and leading the way. Sophie Armitstead (14 disposals, 3.5 clearances and 3.0 tackles) is another player who has enjoyed a solid season thus far, and it is expected once Norwood can adjust to its new line-up in season 2020, it will be a threat to any side.

South Adelaide deserve to be favourites in this clash, but Norwood has steadily improved. While the Panthers are more of a running possession side than a tackling one, they would see that defensive pressure has unsettled the Redlegs at times, though Norwood has been a dominant team in the ruck duels and also capable of kicking goals quickly. Neither side can afford to switch off during this game if they are to be triumphant.

2019/20 NTFL Women’s Premier League Preview: Round 13

ROUND 13 of the Northern Territory Football League Women’s (NTFLW) is set to be another big one, headlined with ladder defining clashes. With shock losses and a mid-table log jam the fight for finals is anyone’s game, with the biggest match of the round between Southern Districts and Darwin Buffettes.

Wanderers v. Big River Hawks
Saturday, January 11, 12:30pm
TIO Stadium

The Wanderers will have a spring in their step after clenching a narrow three-point victory last round and will aim to repeat those winning ways once again in Round 13. It has been a testing season for the newly inducted Big River Hawks who are yet to register a win but coming off an extended break they could be refreshed and looking for their first victory. The Wanderers have been relatively accurate in front of goal and will want to make the Hawks pay to get a percentage boost and set themselves up for the finals. Lucille Motlop is one to watch for the Wanderers given her goal nous and ability to get loose in the forward 50. She is coming off a two-goal performance last week while the likes of Tishara Davern is no stranger to the scoreboard making her another option in front of goals. Shekeine De Satge is an exciting player able to win the ball for the Wanderers while for the Hawks they will be looking to Crystal Browne to lead the way.

Pint v. Nightcliff
Saturday, January 11, 4:00pm
MCG

Expect a close battle between sixth placed Nightcliff and seventh placed Pint with their closeness on the ladder making for an exciting contest. A shot at finals is not out of the question yet with both sides sitting two and three games respectively out of fourth spot, meaning a win here could give them the boost they are after. Nightcliff are coming off a surprise win against first-placed Waratah, making a point to the rest of the competition that their best is good enough against the top echelon of teams. Nightcliff capitalised on their opportunities in front of goal and must do the same this round to continue their fight for finals. Mickayla Ward was a saving grace up forward last round and given her ability to find the goals could quite easily repeat her feats against Pint. Another few key contributors for Nightcliff are Eliza Morrison and Emma-Lou Wolsey who are both renowned for their ability to cause havoc across the field. Pint were well beaten last round and will have to bring their A-game to get over a red hot Nightcliff. Emma Greaves and Erin Hetherington have been nothing but consistent for Pint, time and time again working tirelessly to win the ball and create half chances.

Waratah v. St Mary’s
Saturday, January 11, 4:30pm
TIO Oval

After a shock loss last round the top of the table Waratah will be seeking redemption. The ‘Tahs were kept to a mere 15 points, something they would not be used to considering how prolific they normally are and will want to make amends given finals are around the corner. On the other hand, St Mary’s will see it as an opportunity to strike especially if they can replicate the same pressure and game plan. The last time these two sides met Waratah reigned supreme with a 45-point thumping that was marred by inaccuracy, with the ‘Tahs registering 12 behinds. Although a lot has changed since Round 4, with both sides developing and becoming more cohesive expect Waratah to bounce back from their loss and establish their dominance once again. In her first game for the season Timaya Cunningham proved to be filled with plenty of talent bagging two goals while teammate Isabella Rapson-Staropoli also made her presence felt being named in the best for the third consecutive week. Alysha Healy has also enjoyed a purple patch for Waratah. St Mary’s will look to their usual suspects in Aaliyah Bailey and Chinette Suapero to lead the way.

Tracy Village v. Palmerston Magpies
Sunday, January 12, 4:00pm
Tracy Village

The Palmerston Magpies flexed their muscles last week with a 20-point victory. The win allowed them to hold onto third spot and stay in the hunt for second spot only missing out by percentage. Tracy Village did not take the field in Round 12 thanks to a forfeit. It will be a big effort for the ninth placed side to compete with the Magpies who are humming at the moment. The Magpies have a plethora of options up forward with the likes of Freda Puruntatameri owning inside 50 last round with three goals while Arthurina Moreen also added to the scoreboard with two majors. If both players can replicate their Round 12 form Tracy Village could be in for a tough outing. In recent weeks Natasha Medbury and Billie Byers have plied their trade across the ground winning the ball and hitting the scoreboard making them a dangerous duo. Keep an eye out for Alexandra Biggs and Bonnie McDougall for Tracy Village who have plenty have tricks up their sleeves.

Darwin Buffettes v. Southern Districts
Sunday, January 12, 5:00pm
TIO Stadium

It will be a tantalising battle between second and fourth placed Darwin Buffettes and Southern Districts in the final match of the round with neither side willing to give an inch. Southern District are coming off a 56 point win and will be riding a wave of confidence, ready to dismiss their opponents in style. They shared the goal scoring load around and if given the chance against the Buffettes will do the same. If forward, Ebony Miller can get off to a dominant start it will go a long way in setting up a potential win. Miller booted four goals last week with Grace Mulvahil also getting in on the action for Southern District. Youngster Mattea Breed made her presence felt while April Lewis and Keeley Waterbury also contributed to the scoreboard proving they have plenty of options. The Buffettes will be seeking revenge after going down to the Magpies last round making for an intense match with ladder position ultimately riding on this result. Young-gun Tayla Hart-Aluni has been a sensation, scoring goals and running freely. Teammates Leashay Warbuton-Richards, Meredith Turner and Dominique Carbone have also been solid contributors for the Buffettes. If the trio can have an impact early it will go a long way in setting up a win.

NTFL Women’s Premier League: Round 2 preview – Reigning premiers look to bounce back

ROUND 2 of the Northern Territory Football League Women’s (NTFLW) is set to be a big one, with plenty of entertaining matches coming up over the weekend.

Big River Hawks v. Darwin Buffettes
Round 2 – 12/10/19
12:30
TIO Stadium

Big River Hawks have a real task ahead this week, taking on ladder-topping Darwin Buffettes who only conceded one behind in the opening round credit to a tenacious defensive unit and forward line that had plenty in the tank. While the inaugural Premier Division match for the Hawks did not go to plan, they now know what to improve on heading into this match to ideally prove their place in the competition. Darwin will be coming into this match bursting with confidence so will need to ensure their confidence translates on the field after last week’s massive win saw the Buffettes kick only one less behind than goals meaning their accuracy may need some fine tuning. The Buffettes had six multiple goalkickers last round proving their threatening ability with ball in hand, especially with one of those multiple goalkickers being young gun Tayla Hart-Aluni, proving she can have a big impact on the contest despite her relative inexperience. For Hawks, Jade de La Coeur and Keomi Ross put in the hard yards last round so are sure to stand up once more with plenty to prove in the competition.

Pint v. Tracy Village
Round 2 – 12/10/19
2:30
MCG

This will be an interesting match, with both Pint and Tracy Village coming into Round 2 off the back of devastating Round 1 losses – though at completely different ends of the spectrum with Pint only going down by two points, while the Razorbacks conceded a whopping 118 points to the Buffettes. Tracy Village left plenty to be desired last week so will want to come into this match with a bang to get back on their feet and deny Pint the comeback they are looking for. Pint showed some really good intensity last round against the Palmerston Magpies but were unable to take control, so will be sure to take on the contest from the starting bounce to ensure they get on top of Tracy Village from the get-go. Pint is another side with solid goal-kicking options inside 50 so the likes of Jasmyn Hewett and Jessie Baumer will be key for the side to get on the board, while the Razorbacks had some solid performers last week with Bonnie McDougall and Tara Everett standing up despite the margin.

Palmerston Magpies v. Waratah
Round 2 – 12/10/19
5:00
TIO Oval 2

Last season’s top two will go head-to-head this round, with the Magpies sure to come into this match ready to win back their qualifying final match where they went down by 27 points. For Waratah, this match will be about coming back from their disappointing start to the season last week after going down to Southern Districts by 42 points. The Warriors were behind from the get-go last round while Magpies matched their respective opposition goal for goal all match making this an interesting one given the sides’ recent history. While Palmerston come into this match with the belief behind them, they were still given a tough muck by Pint last round so can’t underestimate the Warriors. Arthurina Moreen and Natasha Medbury will be key for the Magpies while options around the footy inside 50 allows the side to be dangerous from a number of angles. For the Warriors, stalwart Lisa Roberts lead the charge last round to keep chins up despite the slow start to the season so will look to keep spirits up again this week with young talent in Alysha Healy proving her ability with the footy to dominate contests.

St Mary’s v. Nightcliff
Round 2 – 12/10/19
7:00
TIO Oval 2

It is an early season battle of second and third on the ladder, with the only match between two Round 1 victors taking place in the second of the TIO Oval 2 double header to finish off the Saturday fixtures. Both sides put solid wins on the board last week, but sit in an unfamiliar position towards the top of the ladder after last season’s results, so will be keen to keep on top of their opposition and put their best foot forward for the season. Nightcliff only put the two wins on the board all last season so come into this match with plenty of hopeful eyes on them while St Mary’s took on this season’s newbies in Big River Hawks last round, meaning both sides could realistically take out this match despite question marks over both teams’ ability to keep up the winning ways throughout the season. Danielle Ponter impressed last round for St Mary’s as did young gun Aaliyah Bailey with three goals while Nightcliff have a similar number of young options with Shantel Miskin-Ripia booting four goals last week and surely looking for an opportunity to go back to back, while Eliza Morrison and Laura De Hommel were both named among the Tigers’ best last round, so watch out for a plethora of exciting talent taking on the contest in this match.

Southern Districts v. Wanderers
Round 2 – 13/10/19
4:00
Norbuilt Oval

Wanderers will be in for a tough one this week after going down goalless to Nightcliff last week, taking on last season’s grand finalists in Southern Districts in the only Sunday match of the round. The Crocs will be very happy with their Round 1 victory over Waratah so are sure to come into this match with plenty of confidence. This makes it all the more important for the Wanderers to come out hard and fast to ensure they don’t fall to a similar fate to the ‘Tahs and continue on from the low form and trajectory of their 2018/2019 season. Lori Niven lead the way for the Crocs last week credit to her leadership and skill with ball in hand while the side had no issue finding options inside 50 with three multiple goalkickers in Ebony Miller (three goals), Kelsey Patterson and Samantha Hoogeveen-Hill (both two). For the Eagles, last week saw Pierre-Angelique Koulakis and Tulaha Jeffrey having an impact despite the loss so will be raring to go with a better full-field effort this week.

NTFL Women’s Premier League weekly wrap: Round 1 – Buffettes off to flying start

ROUND 1 of Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Women’s League is done and dusted, with Big River Hawks debuting to much fanfare while Darwin Buffettes rocketed right up to the top of the ladder with a massive 117 point victory over Tracy Village.

ST MARY’S 5.2 | 6.2 | 8.8 | 11.11 (77)
BIG RIVER HAWKS 0.0 | 1.3 | 1.3 | 2.7 (19)

GOALS

St Marys: A. Bailey 3, D. Ponter 2, S. Garner, M. Ludwig , B. Mcmurtrie, S. Edwards, C. Suapero, E. Calma
Big River Hawks: J. De La Coeur, K. Ross

BEST

St Mary’s:
Big River Hawks:
J. De La Coeur, K. Ross, H. Ross, D. Peckham, T. Munn, C. Browne

St Mary’s got off to a flying start to open the 2019/2020 NTFL Women’s season, with a dominant display from the Saints who controlled every inch of the ground and didn’t let the big day for the Hawks take away from their desire to dominate the contest and get a big win on the board to start the season on a high. Young gun Danielle Ponter continued her fantastic form with two goals on the board, joined by 18-year-old Aaliyah Bailey with three goals and opening up plenty of space forward to share the load and provide plenty of forward pressure for the Hawks. For the Hawks, though they only put two goals on the board and had some issues across the ground there were plenty of high points with some solid defence seeing the Saints finding a lot of the behind posts. While the Hawks were similarly plagued with inaccuracy, it proves that the side has plenty to offer to the competition with Jayde De La Coeur and Kalieshia Ross putting a goal apiece on the board while Hayley Ross and Deanna Peckham also made an impact.

TRACY VILLAGE 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.1 | 0.1 (1)
DARWIN BUFFETTES 4.2 | 9.8 | 12.12 | 17.16 (118)

GOALS

Tracy Village: N/A
Darwin: N/A

BEST

Tracy Village: B. McDougall, T. Angel, T. Everett, A. Biggs, E. Tuohy, G. Young
Darwin:

This was certainly not the way Tracy Village would have wanted to open their 2019/2020 campaign, with Darwin Buffettes well and truly dominating in every aspect of the match. Last season’s semi-finalists set up an astounding win to open the season, only conceding the one behind to leap right up to the top of the ladder and send a big message to the competition. For Tracy Village it was a disappointing start to the season, however they found some solid patches, with the likes of Bonnie McDougall, Taquila Angel and Tara Everett standing up when required. While the Buffettes may not have been as accurate as they would have liked, they will still be very happy with this result and the massive percentage it gives them in the season opener. The Razorbacks left much to be desired this week so will surely be raring to go next round to prove they have more in them than this performance.

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 4.3 | 4.3 | 8.4 | 9.4 (58)
WARATAH 0.0 | 0.3 | 1.4 | 2.4 (16)

GOALS

Southern Districts: E. Miller 3, K. Patterson 2, S. Hoogeveen-Hill 2, H. Engelhardt, L. Jeffrey.
Waratah: J. Singh, C. Fabris.

BEST

Southern Districts: L. Niven, E. Miller, M. Davis Tahere, C. Deegan, M. Breed, L. Jeffrey
Waratah: L. Roberts, A. Healy, M. Hunter, H. Goodall, J. Smyth

The reigning premiers were dealt a tough blow in Round 1, going down to their fellow grand finalists by a whopping 42 points. Districts certainly enjoyed their first win out of the blocks, dominating entries inside 50 and finding plenty of turnover ball with the ‘Tahs unable to hold onto possession. Despite some strong defensive work from Waratah getting the ball out of defence, far too much easy ball went straight back to their opposition with a strong blockading defence set up through the midfield allowing Districts to intercept mark and propel the footy forward. Despite the efforts of captain, Lisa Roberts, Waratah were unable to repeat their stellar 2018/2019 season form in the opening match, with Alysha Healy, Jenna Singh and Claudia Fabris also putting in the hard yards against their tough opposition. For Districts, Lori Niven dominated while the likes of Madisen Davis-Tahere caused plenty of issues across the ground. Ebony Miller (three goals), Kelsey Patterson and Samantha Hoogeveen-Hill (both two) all opened their accounts for the season proving that Southern Districts will be a force to be reckoned with this season thanks to goalkicking options alone.

PINT 3.1 | 4.1 | 4.3 | 5.4 (34)
PALMERSTON MAGPIES 3.1 | 4.4 | 4.6 | 5.6 (36)

GOALS

Pint: J. Hewett 2, J. Baumer 2, C. Evans.
Palmerston: N/A

BEST

Pint: N/A
Palmerston: N/A

The closest match of the round saw the Magpies only just hold onto victory against Pint, who stayed on Palmerston’s tail for the whole game but were unable to steal the points. It was close from the very beginning, with both sides evenly matched and finding plenty of space to run and carry while at the same time unable to take control. The middle quarters were mostly slow with both sides having difficulty putting goals on the board despite the relatively high-scoring first term. Both sides applied phenomenal pressure, relentlessly denying easy ball after the opening quarter to cause issues up the field and forcing plenty of stoppages to create little scoring opportunity. Palmerston got the four points but Pint proved they will be a hard side to beat with plenty of options around the footy while Jasmyn Hewett and Jessie Baumer kicked two goals apiece.

NIGHTCLIFF 1.2 | 5.5 | 7.6 | 7.6 (48)
WANDERERS 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.2 | 0.4 (4)

GOALS

Nightcliff: S. Miskin-Ripia 4, E. Morrison, C. Bracey, K. Morris
Wanderers: N/A

BEST

Nightcliff: E. Morrison, S. Miskin-Ripia, L. de Hommel, K. Morris, E. Wolsey
Wanderers: N/A

Nightcliff have started their 2019/2020 season with a bang, getting their first win on the board after only winning two games overall last season. While the match was relatively even to start, Nightcliff all but ran away with it in the second quarter piling five goals on the board and keeping the Wanderers scoreless at halftime. While the Wanderers found some better ball inside 50 in the second half, moving better to drive the ball forward, they were unlucky to not put a goal on the board with Nightcliff’s defensive effort just too strong. Star youngster Shantal Miskin-Ripia dominated for Nightcliff, with the key position player booting four goals while Eliza Morrison, Laura De Hommel and Emma-Lou Wolsey all played their role to contribute to the impressive victory. For the Wanderers, this match proves that the side has some potential but only if they can work together to deny ease of access forward and capitalise off stoppages to propel the footy towards their attack.

“Unreal” premiership journey driving Healy to future success

NORTHERN Territory Under-18 representative Alysha Healy might be a year older than many of her AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships peers, but is still learning everything she can about the game. Hungry for knowledge on and off the field, the exercise and sports nutrition student said whatever happens with her on-field career in the future, her goal is to find a place within an AFL Women’s club. Already the 19-year-old has been through quite a journey growing up in the NT and progressing through to the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition.

“I’m originally from the Northern Territory so I started playing for the Waratah Football Club, well it’s been three years now,” Healy said. “I started in the Under 18s and then the year after that I captained the Under 18s team and just last year I played in the women’s team and we actually won the grand final so that was an incredible experience to be with all those senior women we have in there.”

Healy said the experience of winning a premiership was hard to put into words.

“It’s just so unreal, the journey that you travel with those girls, you just can’t describe it,” she said. “It’s just one of a kind, you share so many memories and ups and downs in the season, your hard work, all your trainings, all the strength and conditioning, it just all pays off, it’s a sense of relief and those girls become your family and you just play for each other.”

While her on-field success is important, so is her future career off-field, which is why the switched on Healy is keen to follow her passion in the sports industry.

“I’m now based in South Australia for University so I’ve started playing for Sturt in SANFL and I’m obviously with the club and with me being an overager in this comp, I’m hoping to get drafted.” Healy said. “That’s the dream, to play AFLW and to just be exposed to that experience and that level of footy. “(I’m studying) exercise sports science and nutrition. “I’m loving it and if I don’t end up being drafted, hopefully I can be a support crew for one of the AFLW teams and still be involved there.”

Studying university full-time while also managing a growing football career can be challenging, but Healy said her sport-study balance is getting there, with her social life being the one area that takes a hit.

“It’s been a bit of a struggle, but I think I’ll grow as time goes on and I’ll start to get that balance, uni and footy,” she said. “I’ve got two footy trainings in the afternoons and I’ve got uni during the days so I try and keep my weekends free. “You can’t really have a social life when you’re trying to be a professional footballer I guess and that’s just some of the sacrifices you’ve got to make to be elite.”

Since crossing from Waratah to Sturt, Healy has realised how much professionalism has gone into the South Australian competition to continue to nurture and develop the future of AFL Women’s.

“It’s really good actually, it’s different to playing in the NT,” Healy said. “It’s different standards, the professionalism both on and off the field is there and I love it. “The people at Sturt have welcomed me with open arms, I love the club and I’m just excited to see where I can go from there.”

Healy describes herself as a fast player, credit to her athletics background which is something she has done since she was young. Her power and speed combination enables her to create separation from an opponent at a contest, and create headaches for opposition players. She admits her football IQ and skills are areas she can build on, with her technique and decision making her current focuses. Healy said she draws much inspiration from a world-class athlete.

“I read Sally Pearson‘s autobiography a few times over and just reading her journey and where she’s been, how she’s come through so many injuries and just kept going despite all the obstacles, to just be where she is now, she’s just an incredible athlete,” Helay said.

Her family have always pushed her to do what she loves, and Healy said she is forever grateful for their support.

“I’ve done so many sports over the years and regardless of what it’s been, they’ve always been so supportive of me,” she said. “They were there at my grand final with the biggest smiles on their faces rushing down to me. “I honestly don’t think I would be where I am today without them pushing me through and supporting me.”

Weekend previews: NTFL Women’s – Week 2 finals

THIS week’s semi-finals will undoubtedly see the best of the best duel one last time before the ultimate battle. Palmerston’s loss against Waratah was painful, but now they face the Southern Districts. The Pies have beaten the Crocs twice this season, but the Crocs are coming off a high after smashing the Saints. In the afternoon, Waratah will meet Darwin for another classic bout. The Warriors are heavy favourites for this match, and with the Buffs’ extended injury list, it is easy to see why.

PALMERSTON MAGPIES V SOUTHERN DISTRICTS
Saturday, March 2 12:30pm
TIO Stadium

Southern Districts somehow find themselves in St Marys’ shoes at the moment, having met Palmerston twice this season and lost on both occasions. For the Crocs to win they must use every opportunity and advantage they have to deny the Pies the ball. the Districts’ first advantage lies in their ruck stocks. Ebony Miller and Indy Sleeth will make sure their hit-outs give their midfielders first use of the ball. Meanwhile, Jessica Stassi and Natasha Medbury will help to control the clearances. If things get dire, Miller and Sleeth can simply punch the ball forward to gain ground.

Crocs forwards must put Billie Byers inside 50 or she will rebound the ball like it was never there. If Tayla Thorn can get off to the start she had last week, it may set the perfect foundation for the Districts to rise from. Rhiannon Busch is a proven goal kicker and has had a stellar couple of weeks, while Charles Deegan, though recently getting extra attention from defenders, is always dangerous around goals.

On the other side of the field, Shenaida Bush and Freda Puruntatameri are starting to click. This could prove very damaging to the Crocs as both are very quick and deadly accurate. Lateesha Jeffrey and the Districts backline will have a tough task keeping this pair quiet. If they can, it could prove the difference between victory and defeat.

Palmerston will walk into this match favorites, but Southern Districts may give the Pies a shock in this heavyweight bout of the Semi-Finals.

TEAMS

Palmerston Magpies
B: 32. Jess Leamey 15. Charmaine Marshall 20.Ellie Misob
HB: 2.Jessie Brock 13. Billie Byers 10.Jacintha Misob
C: 3.Hayley Davey 24. Tabitha May 33.Janet Baird
HF: 31 Karlee King 1.Nicole Simons 7.Shenaida Bush
F: 28.Tanisha Garling 25.Wynonna Barlow 8.Freda Puruntatameri
R: 18. Bianca Mayo 5.Natasha Medbury 26.Jessica Stassi
Int: 31.Celina Lloyd 12.Joanne Huddleston 14.Tania Parriman
23.Tiffany Parriman 22.Vanessa Mouncy

Southern Districts
B: 17.Chiarah Corpos 30.Donna Reed 21.Tyler Thornton
HB: 14.Maili Clarke 20.Holly Engelhardt 9.Lateesha Jeffrey
C: 10.Megan Craufurd 35.Kelsey Patterson 19.Danielle Opperman
HF: 26.Rhiannon Busch 2.Tayla Thorn 8. Maria Moussa
F: 15.Bella Clarke 4.Indy Sleeth 6.Charles Deegan
R: 3.Ebony Miller 5. Tahlia Holtze 25.Chelsea Pember
Int: 28.Tess Hanna 14.Tessa W 22.Rachele Mchugh
32.Kiarah Jackson 1.Kimberley Mccouat 12.Karina Brink

WARATAH V DARWIN BUFFETTES
Saturday, March 2 2:30pm
TIO Stadium

Darwin’s tactics last week may have beaten Pint, but it will not do against Waratah. The Warriors have 15 premiership players returning for this match and no amount of waiting this team out will help the Buffs. The Buffettes have to go for broke and, missing key players in the midfield and forward line, they may have to mix it up. If Dominique Carbone starts in the centre of the ground, it will free up Machaelia Roberts to push forward. Darwin’s forward line looks completely different when Roberts has the opportunity to cause defenders headaches. This leaves Carbone, Jemma Iacono, and Kylie Duggan to tackle Lisa Roberts, Madeline Gault and Alysha Healy in the midfield, which could go either way.

The Buffettes cannot allow Waratah to dominate the clearances. Amy Chittick is the league’s leading goal kicker and now has Lauren O’Shea for assistance. If the Warriors’ forwards get a taste of blood, they will swarm the Buffs’ backline and devastate the scoreboard.

Waratah also has a player similar to Roberts in Sherayn Puruntatameri. She pushed out from half-back last week to bag three majors. Puruntatameri is an X-factor player, which makes her a difficult match-up for Darwin. Celina Whan might be the Buffs’ best choice for Puruntatameri if she plays down back.

Waratah could easily turn this into an ugly game, but perhaps the rivalry will spur the Buffs to challenge the champions.

TEAMS

Waratah
B: 8.Sharona Bishop 6.Rebecca Pryer 19.Alicia Stanley
HB: 15.Isabelle Rapson 16.Julieanna Kerinauia 12.Sherayn Puruntatameri
C: 3.Peta Starcevic 13.Lisa Roberts 2.Madeline Gault
HF: 17.Tarryn O’Hehir 4.Sue Nalder 5.Breanna Martin
F: 9.Amy Chittick 22.Lauren O’Shea 18.Molly Cooper
R: 7.Joanna Kolodziej 23.Pippa Cox 10.Alysha Healy
Int: 28.Trish Muller 29.Madeline Campbell 14.Jade De Melo
24.Alexandra Harrison-Wolff

Darwin Buffettes
B: 25.Chevaune Fewings 15.Delsey Ah Wang 19.Louise Johnstone
HB: 8.Keisha Tinley 12.Dominique Carbone 11.Nicole Schmitt
C: 13. Alexander Bryan 3.Machaelia Roberts 21.Zoe Anderson
HF: 22.Tamika Bullen 17.Melinda Taylor 1.Mattea Breed
F: 10.Meridith Turner 6.Celina Whan 14.Bianca Stokes
R: 30.Tania Dhu 4.Kylie Duggan 5.Jemma Iacono
Int: 27.Demi Cubillo 16.Nicolette Dunn 7.Rachel Henderson
24.Jaala Alley 9.Eliza Keaney 18.Danielle Totham

Weekend Previews: NTFL Women’s – Week 1 Finals

IT IS finally here, week one of the NTFL Women’s finals will take place today with three exciting games of footy. Despite earlier reports of a top-five finals series, it will be a top-six competition like the previous year, meaning St Marys will go at least one more round.

The first match will kick off with the heavyweights Palmerston taking on the reigning premiers Waratah. This game will serve as a qualifying match as both teams are looking to grab bragging rights early. Up next the Southern Districts will face off against St Marys in the first elimination final. The Crocs have dished out a hiding to the Saints twice this season, but anything can happen in finals. Lastly, the Darwin Buffettes will meet Pint in the final elimination game. The Buffs have been wounded by the loss of key players this year, so will have to dig deep to beat the Queen Ants who are at full fitness.

WARATAH V PALMERSTON MAGPIES
Qualifying Final
Saturday, February 23 12.00pm
TIO Oval 2

The Magpies had an average start to the season, but now they look dangerous. This side of youth mixed with experience is sure to give the Warriors a run for their money.

The midfield of both teams is nothing short of classy. Lisa Roberts, Alysha Healy, and Madeline Gault meet Natasha Medbury, Jessica Stassi, and Tabitha May, which should prove to be a classic battle. Waratah ruck, Joanna Kolodziej may dictate in terms of the hit-outs as she has done for most of the year. If the Warriors win the clearances, Amy Chittick and Lauren O’Shea could wreak havoc on the scoreboard. Fortunately for the Magpies, forward, Lisa Mecli has been missing in action. Billie Byers and Jessie Brock might be the perfect matchup against Waratah’s dynamic duo.

As for Palmerton’s forwards, there is no shortage of talent. Freda Puruntatemeri has danced around the best defenders all year. Her speed and skill are well complemented by teammate Shenaida Bush. This pair of speed demons will need a unique opposition to stop them. Puruntatemeri v Puruntatemeri could be Waratah’s answer while Sharona Bishop keeps an eye on Bush. The game could go either way, but one thing is certain, this is the game to watch this Saturday.

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS V ST MARYS
Elimination Final
Saturday, February 23 2.30pm
TIO Oval 2

This will be an uphill battle for the Saints, with the Districts having crushed the Saints on two separate occasions this season. Charles Deegan and Taylor Thorn have used their size and speed to run St Marys’ defenders off their legs in the past. Lori Niven and Courtney Webb will need a well-organised backline to contain this problem. The ruck area of the game is where the Districts thrive, with the combination of Ebony Miller and Indy Sleeth better than most teams. Their tap work and ability to cover the ground is a class above the rest. Saints rovers, Natasha Dunn-Richards and Simone Garner may need to shark the tap-outs if their rucks aren’t up to the challenge.

Up forward the Saints have a gun and an issue. The gun is Alana Coombes, who looks to be their most damaging forward, while the problem is Districts’ Lateesha Jeffrey. Her leadership down back has created a solid defense for the Crocs and only the fastest forwards can break it down. Unlike some of Coombes’ partners in attacking 50, they lack the speed she has in spades. The Crocs could not be more favoured to win this match, and on paper they seem to have more talent across the board than St Marys. History looks likely to repeat itself this Saturday unless a miracle happens, so the Saints will be hoping for one.

PINT V DARWIN BUFFETTES
Elimination Final
Saturday, February 23 4.30pm
TIO Oval 2

The Buffs have no Brittany Ward, no Tikesea Docherty-Cole, no Jasmine Anderson and no Nicky Anderson, meaning Pint has a huge advantage considering they are going into this match with a full strength team. Machaelia Roberts and Kylie Duggan have been dominant in the centre of the ground, however players like Jemma Iacono and young gun Domonique Carbone need to lift if they want to get the job done. Pint’s Cassie Henderson, Samantha Barnett, and Katie Streeder play as a cohesive unit.

Darwin’s forward line power has been missing over the last few weeks as Celina Whan seems to be carrying the load in attacking 50. Leading goal scorer, Meredith Turner has kicked no majors in her last three games, so will need to produce goals against a strong Pint defense which is no easy task. Queen Ant defender, Erin Hetherington can make life difficult for the Buffs’ forward if the midfield entries aren’t clean. Meanwhile, the Queen Ants forwards have been performing well. Danielle Suddaby has become the new spearhead with the support of Emma Greaves who is in fine form. Add to that talent with Kristen Smidts and Ellie Ryan, the Queen Ants wear a decent crown inside their 50.

Pint has the fitness but Darwin has the experience. It is hard to pick a winner here, but it should be a tight contest.