Tag: amber ward

Draft Central’s 2020 Under 22 SANFL Women’s side

A POPULAR trend in recent years with the AFL has been the traditional 22Under22 team. With so much young talent coming through the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition, Draft Central decided to have a crack at a similar team for the league. The challenge would be based on the 2020 season and the players would be under 22 during the SANFL Women’s season.

From there, we would formulate a squad of 30, from which we decided to include 24 – as we have with our Team of the Week each round – and then have six emergencies not far behind. As one can imagine, this was not an easy task and from the squad of 30, Sturt and South Adelaide had the most with an 11 combined players, though three of those were eventually unlucky emergencies.

All four of West Adelaide’s nominees made the final squad as well as four from the Sturt. South Adelaide, Norwood, Glenelg and North Adelaide had three representatives in the team, while Central District (two) Woodville-West Torrens (one) also had players in the team. Among those that were considered but ineligible were Lucy Armitage, Melanie Elsegood and Demi Sonneman who would all have made the squad, but we kept it to those 21 years and under.

The other additional requirement was for the players not to be tied to an AFL Women’s club (Adelaide), otherwise that would be filled with the predominant players drafted in the last couple of years. So players like Montana McKinnon, Jaimi Tabb and Madison Newman are not included in this side, but rather looking at those yet to be recruited to the elite level.

BACKS:

Hannah Prenzler (Sturt)

Having already racked up 23 games in the SANFL Women’s, the 17-yea-old makes our side after an impressive start to the season. She averaged 10.8 disposals at 79 per cent efficiency, as well as 4.3 marks, 2.0 tackles and 2.3 rebounds per game. In particular her first two games against West Adelaide and South Adelaide caught the eye – understandably because the defence was under more pressure – and she earned a place in the starting side.

Kimberley Fry (Central District)

One of the few you did not even need to look through to consider because Fry is one of the most reliable defenders there is at 18-years-old. Averaging the 10.5 touches, 1.5 marks, 2.5 tackles and 3.3 rebounds, she was one of the first picked in the side given her reliability. In defence that is often tested, you can guarantee the Central Allies’ Under-18 representative will stand up and do her bit each and every week.

Samantha Pratt (South Adelaide)

A fierce tackling machine who’s best game came in South Adelaide’s five-goal win over Norwood in Round 3. She racked up 17 disposals, two marks, eight tackles, two clearances and six rebounds, getting it done across the board on her way to a 10.5-disposal, 2.0-mark, 5.5-tackle and 2.8-rebound average. As one of those reliable young defenders, the 20-year-old earned her place in the side, and her numbers this season are superior to that of her 2019 debut year.

HALF-BACKS:

Jaslynne Smith (South Adelaide)

The competition’s leading rebounder with 20 to her name at an average of five per game, she forced her way into the side with her offensive work out of the back 50. While a number of others in the back six provide that real defensive focus, Smith provides a spark of offensive run, and her ball use from her 11.5 disposals, 2.3 marks and five rebounds per game makes her a must-have in this side, with the 19-year-old slotting in at half-back.

Amber Ward (North Adelaide)

Along with Fry, Ward was the other key defender that there was not too much thought needed to slot in. The 18-year-old has 28 career SANFL Women’s matches under her belt in three seasons thanks to the success of the North Adelaide side, and is one of the veterans of the side in terms of experience rather than age. In season 2020, Ward averaged 12.3 disposals, 2.3 marks, 2.3 tackles and 1.3 rebounds per game and can use the ball well or lock down on an opponent.

Keeley Kustermann (West Adelaide)

The 15-year-old is the youngest player in the side, but one to watch for the future as a deserving starter in the team. Playing for the Bloods in her first senior season, Kustermann went on to rack up 13.3 disposals, 1.8 marks, 1.8 tackles and 3.5 rebounds across her first four games. She was consistent and among the Bloods’ best in each game, with her effort in a win or loss not dipping. With a high disposal efficiency, Kustermann is our sixth starting defender.

CENTRES:

Matilda Zander (Norwood)

At 21-years-old, Zander slots into the side as one of the more experienced players and what a season she had. In 2020 she racked up 18.8 disposals, 4.5 marks, 3.8 tackles and 3.0 inside 50s, whilst being able to win the ball around the stoppages or drift back into defence. Zander is a natural ball magnet and predominantly able to play off a wing or run the ball into attack, she finished with 20 or more disposals twice, and was a shining light in Norwood’s season this year.

Tessa Kohn (Glenelg)

Won a Breakthrough Player Award in Round 4 of the SANFL Women’s season and it is easy to see why playing her best game in a season of impressive performances. While Glenelg’s losses early were disappointing, it was Kohn who in her debut season stepped up to the plate and was among the best trying throughout the four quarters to get the games back on track. She picked up 18 disposals, seven clearances and five tackles in a big game against the Eagles.

Maya Rigter (Sturt)

A no brainer in the midfield with the 19-year-old already a co-captain, and named as captain of this 22 Under 22 side. Despite still only being a teenager, she has a big influence on the midfield, and averaged 13.3 disposals, 2.8 clearances and a league-leading 7.3 tackles per game. Against South Adelaide, Rigter laid a massive 12 tackles, though her consistency of five or more each match shows she brings and equal intensity every week and is a deserving leader by example.

HALF-FORWARDS:

Teah Charlton (South Adelaide)

The top South Australian prospect for 2020 was always another easy fit to slot into the side, and her ability to play midfield or half-forward gives her the flexibility to play off a flank. Charlton is an excitement machine who can fly high for marks or take the game on with her athleticism, and caught the eye as a bottom-ager in the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships last year, Still 17, Charlton averaged 19 disposals, two marks, five tackles, three clearances and four inside 50s per game.

Mattea Breed (Norwood)

Another teenager playing her first season in the SANFL Women’s, Breed deserved a spot in the starting line-up and while the midfield is hard to crack, she is tall enough to play a key position role which she has done at Under 18s level before. She averaged 16.3 disposals, 2.5 marks, 3.0 tackles, 3.8 clearances and 3.5 inside 50s this season, with an eye-catching 21 touches, three marks, five tackles, three clearances and six inside 50s against Eagles, and three contested marks from 17 disposals and five clearances against West Adelaide in the final game.

Ashleigh Woodland (North Adelaide)

One player it was surprising to see is still able to qualify for this list, the 21-year-old has already tasted AFL Women’s action, but managed 24 career games in the red and white of North Adelaide. While she has an impact each week, Woodland’s two-game purple patch in Rounds 2 and 3 saw her average 20.5 disposals, 6.0 marks, 2.5 inside 50s and boot 7.4 in a couple of big best on ground per performances. A player who could step up to the elite level again sooner rather than later.

FORWARDS:

Kiana Lee (Woodville-West Torrens)

The sole starting Woodville-West Torrens member is a goal kicking machine and it was no surprise to see with the rise of the Eagles this season, she was able to impact the scoreboard more frequently than in the past. Still just 18-years-old and as strong as anybody above her head, Lee was one of the premier contested markers this season, taking two per game from her four marks, 10.3 disposals and booting seven goals. Twice in three games she booted three majors leading the way in front of goal.

Katelyn Rosenzweig (Central District)

Like her Central District teammate up the other end, Rosenzweig was another easy player to slot into the side as the dominant teenage goalkicker. Averaging two goals a round, Rosenzweig has converted eight of her team’s nine goals to shoulder the load and be the main target up forward. She is a reliable shot for goal and in Round 1 was unstoppable against Norwood, slotting four majors to be the difference in the narrow win. A player who already has experience training at the elite level.

Zoe Prowse (Sturt)

Capable of playing in a multitude of positions, the 16-year-old had arguably the performance of the season in Round 4 against Central District. She racked up the equivalent of a football triple-double with 23 disposals, 20 hitouts and 10 clearances, while taking four marks, laying three tackles, having two inside 50s and booting a goal out of the ruck. In this team she will rotate through the ruck but provide a target up forward with her athleticism and excitement no doubt something to watch.

RUCKS:

Indy Tahau (South Adelaide)

Another player more than capable of taking a contested mark, the 17-year-old is the fourth South Adelaide player to make the starting squad after an impressive season through the ruck and midfield. She has the attributes to take the ruck contests – averaging 14.5 hitouts in the last two games – but also stay at ground level and rack up the clearances – had seven clearances in the Round 1 win over Eagles. She was a consistent ball winner and impressed with her second efforts.

Rachelle Martin (West Adelaide)

While Martin technically did play an AFL Women’s game this season as an injury replacement player, she is not formally attached to the Crows so therefore eligible to make this side. At 21-years-old, Martin continues to not let her 152cm size stop her as she buries herself under packs and wins a lot of the ball and lays some fierce tackles. One of the competition’s top ball winners, Martin averages 18 disposals, seven tackles and five clearances per game to be in the top few of each of those stats.

Abbie Ballard (West Adelaide)

A top-age player who burst into the season with a league-high 27 disposals and nine clearances to start the year, Ballard has remained ever-dangerous in the midfield. She teamed up well with Martin in the opening four games of the season and while both are smaller players, Ballard can zip around the stoppages and suffer leather poisoning from her ability to win the ball. Like Martin, Ballard’s 18.3 disposals, 4.0 tackles and 4.0 clearances places her in the top few across the board.

INTERCHANGE

Zoe Venning (West Adelaide)

Another one with plenty of time left in her SANFL Women’s career, the 16-year-old earned her place after an impressive four games in just her second season at the level. Establishing herself in the team last year, she stepped it up a notch this year to be one of the top performers for the Bloods, racking up as much as 25 disposals and six marks (two contested) in the loss against North Adelaide, showing she was able to still perform and deliver when under pressure.

Madisyn Freeman (Glenelg)

An 18-year-old who has experience with the Central Allies at the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships, Freeman averaged 11.5 disposals, 2.5 tackles and 3.0 clearances this season, pushing further up the ground than her usual half-back role. Capable of switching between midfield and defence, Freeman would provide the perfect utility to come off the bench in this side and provide some good relief to her teammates.

Bella Smith (Norwood)

Another versatile utility, the 18-year-old can play through the ruck, but predominantly plays as a key position player at either end. In her second season, the 182cm tall was able to take a contested mark each game, but it was her work at ground level – where she averaged three tackles per match that sets her aside from other talls. She clunked 3.3 marks and had 3.3 inside 50s from eight disposals, using the ball well to put it to the advantage of her teammates inside 50.

Hannah Ewings (North Adelaide)

The Roosters young gun picked up a Breakthrough Player Award on debut against Glenelg, then went to another level against Central District a week later. Averaging 14.5 disposals, 4.5 marks and 5.5 inside 50s in her first two games, Ewings’ upside is evident. Having only turned 16 last month, she still has a couple of years left in the system and is the second youngest in the side. One to watch next season, and is not afraid to tackle as shown by her eight-tackle game against the Bloods in Round 3.

Sam Franson (Glenelg)

At 20-years-old, the tenacious forward earns a spot on this list. Franson becomes the only player in the side to not play every game (three), but her tackling pressure across the three games regardless of how she performed offensively, was what makes her a natural inclusion. She laid at least six tackles in each match, and while she hit the scoreboard more often last season, pushed up the ground and provided relief for her teammates going forward.

Isobel Kuiper (Sturt)

Rounding out our 24-player squad is Kuiper who is more than capable of playing a number of roles. At 171cm, she is able to wrap up opponents, averaging more than seven tackles a game across her last three matches, while finding double-figure disposals in each game. Her best game came in Round 3 against the Eagles where she racked up 18 disposals, five marks, six tackles, four clearances and two inside 50s to keep the ball moving in transition as well as she did stopping opposition players in their tracks.

 

DRAFT CENTRAL’S 2020 SANFLW UNDER 22 SIDE:

B: Hannah Prenzler (ST) – Kimberley Fry (CD) – Samantha Pratt (SA)
HB: Jaslynne Smith (SA) – Amber Ward (NA) – Keeley Kustermann (WA)
C: Matilda Zander (NW) – Tessa Kohn (GL) – Maya Rigter (ST) (c)
HF: Teah Charlton (SA) – Mattea Breed (NW) – Ashleigh Woodland (NA)
F: Kiana Lee (WWT) – Katelyn Rosenzweig (CD) – Zoe Prowse (ST)
R: Indy Tahau (SA) – Rachelle Martin (WA) – Abbie Ballard (WA)
INT: Zoe Venning (WA) – Madisyn Freeman (GL) – Bella Smith (NW) – Hannah Ewings (NA) – Sam Franson (GL) – Isobel Kuiper (ST)

SQUAD:

The remaining six players who made the 30-player squad were Sturt duo, Alex Ballard and Georgia Swan, Woodville-West Torrens duo Teagan Usher and Jovanka Zecevic, South Adelaide’s Madison Bennett and North Adelaide’s Jade Halfpenny.

2020 SANFL Women’s team summary: North Adelaide

WITH no football on given the current COVID-19 global pandemic, the Draft Central team takes a look at where the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s left off, and will examine each of the eight teams from reverse ladder order. Today’s team summary is North Adelaide.

RECORD: 1st (4-0)

RESULTS:

R1: defeated Glenelg by 24 points
R2: defeated Central District by 54 points
R3: defeated West Adelaide by 21 points
R4: defeated South Adelaide by 4 points

North Adelaide was clearly the standout team after four rounds having passed every challenge thrown at the Roosters in the four rounds. They comfortably had three wins to start the season, including against the dangerous West Adelaide, and then survived their biggest challenge in the grand final rematch. While the remainder of the season might be unknown, they more than proved themselves as a genuine title contender.

THE FORMER AFLW STAR:

Ashleigh Woodland (16.0 disposals, 3.8 marks, 4.0 tackles, 2.0. clearances, 1.8 inside 50s, 7 goals)

If we just focused on the potential ceiling of every player not currently tied to an AFL Women’s team in the competition this year, then Woodland’s could well be the highest of the lot. Her two games against Central District and West Adelaide were absolute A Grade quality, booting seven goals from 20.1 disposals, 6.0 marks (one contested), 2.5 tackles, 2.0 clearances and 2.5 inside 50s, averaging more than 100 Dream Team points from those clashes. While her other two games was less effective, she still applied good defensive pressure and showed what she is capable of playing between midfield and forward. She could have led the goal kicking off just about two games had she been accurate with four behinds to go with those seven goals too.

THE PREMIER KEY DEFENDER:

Kristi Harvey (12.3 disposals, 4.3 marks, 2.0 tackles, 5.0 rebounds)

In SuperCoach they have a term ‘set and forget’ and Harvey is one of those players that is the equivalent of that. By that we mean you just know she will play her role each and every week and it is one less to worry about on match day because she is rarely ever beaten. Her marking ability and composure under pressure is superb, and she was the equal top rebounder in the competition despite still having to play a negating role to nullify an opposition forward. She kept getting better throughout the season, and her final game against the Panthers saw her rack up 15 touches, eight marks (two contested), six tackles and eight rebounds in a standout performance under pressure.

THE EXCITING FORWARD:

Cristie Castle (17.0 disposals, 4.8 marks, 1.8 tackles, 1.8 clearances, 2.0 inside 50s, 3 goals)

There are no shortages of best and fairest contenders in this team, but Castle would likely be battling Harvey for pure consistency. She had double-figure disposals each week and made an impact through the midfield and up forward. She was one of the competition’s premier markers – in fact she led the stat – with 4.8 per game, including four contested marks that came in her first two matches. She added three more goals to her 17 career majors over the past two seasons, but also got further up the ground to have an impact.

THE CONSISTENT PERFORMER:

Lauren Daniel (17.8 disposals, 3.8 marks, 3.5 tackles, 3.3 clearances, 1.8 inside 50s, 1.8 rebounds, 1 goal)

One of the veterans of the team at 32-years-old, Daniel keeps plugging away in the midfield with great results. She averaged the 17.8 disposals, 3.8 marks, 3.5 tackles and 3.3 clearances having a real impact onball, and in her last three games did not dip below 17 disposals. Her best performance came against Central District where she had the ball on a string on her way to 23 disposals, four marks, seven tackles, six clearances, five inside 50s and a goal. At her best she leads the side by her actions and makes her teammates better around her.

THE RISING STAR:

Hannah Ewings (10.8 disposals, 2.8 marks, 4.0 tackles, 3.0 inside 50s, 3 goals)

A fresh face to the side this year, the 15-year-old certainly wasted no time in making herself known to the competition with a Breakthrough Player nomination in Round 1 during the win against Glenelg. Ewings managed to find a way to go to another level the next week with her best game of the season in the victory over Central District, raking up 17 touches, five marks – one contested – three tackles, a goal and a match-high nine inside 50s. While a little bit quieter in the final couple of rounds, it is clear Ewings is one to watch for the future as an exciting talent who has great development potential.

THE experienced one:

Leah Tynan (13.8 disposals, 2.3 marks, 3.3 tackles, 2.8 clearances, 2.3 inside 50s, 1.3 rebounds)

Another consistent performer who you can just rely upon to get the job done. She averaged the 13.8 disposals at 82 per cent efficiency, as well as a couple of marks, clearances, inside 50s and tackles across the board showing how impactful she can be in the front half. She only kicked he one goal, but she can play a multitude of roles, and provide extra experience to the younger players coming through. Still only 28-years-old herself, Tynan has managed 34 games in her time during the competition as one of the most durable players running around. Expect her to add many more to that total in the coming years.

SUMMARY:

Squeezing just six players into this piece is incredibly hard because there is a list of those who could have fit in. North Adelaide has a premiership-contending list, especially when the likes of Katelyn Pope, Kelly Barltrop and Amber Ward are among the next talents in line that are just as promising as those above. There is a reason the Roosters finished the short season undefeated and with plenty of developing talent coming through, it will be an exciting few years for the red and whites.

SANFL Women’s Round 4 preview: Top of the table clash beckons

AFTER the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s players enjoyed a long weekend off, they return to action tonight and tomorrow night with a couple of double headers played at X Convenience Oval and Flinders University Stadium. The final game of the round is predicted to be the best of the lot with the top two sides, South Adelaide and North Adelaide doing battle, whilst West Adelaide looks to keep breathing space inside the top three when the Bloods take on fifth placed Norwood. In the games tonight, Woodville-West Torrens hopes to open its account against fourth placed Glenelg who found form last round, whilst one of Central District or Sturt will grab their second win of the season in the other game.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS vs. GLENELG
Friday, March 13, 6.30pm
X Convenience Oval

Woodville-West Torrens is still waiting for its maiden SANFL Women’s competition win after pushing reigning premiers, South Adelaide all the way in Round 1, almost having it against Norwood in Round 2, and then getting narrowly beaten by Sturt in Round 3. For Glenelg, its season did not look great early, going down to North Adelaide in the opening round by 24 points, then getting smashed by West Adelaide to the tune of 40 points in the second week. Last week the Tigers turned it around with a smashing of their own to gain back some vital percentage points thanks to a 50-point win over Central District. The win catapulted last year’s fourth placed team into that position and put the Tigers’ season back on track. Now they take on a side that has been so good for long stints of games, but just failed to close it out when it counts.

The Eagles are renowned as the competition’s premier tackling team. Whilst it does mean that often they are second to the ball – ranked seventh for disposals and fifth for disposal differential, they are miles ahead of any other team when it comes to defensive pressure. The Eagles have laid a whopping 237 tackles in just three games – 51 more than their nearest rival. They have a plus 69 in the statistic, and that is an area that Glenelg will have to be wary of, though the Tigers also rank strongly with a plus 26 (second) and 182 total for third overall.

Glenelg’s strength comes in its ruck craft with a competition high 90 and plus 44 in hitouts and hitouts differential respectively. The Eagles have a struggled a tad in that area, ranked sixth for differential, whilst both teams have similar clearance numbers. Often the Eagles defence has to stand up under immense pressure with a minus 30 in inside 50s, ranked seventh in the comp, though Glenelg is only marginally better ranked fifth with a plus seven. Despite losing two games, Glenelg’s rebounding numbers are the equal worst in the comp at 46, with a seventh rank of differential at minute 10. The Eagles are the top side in both areas, with 84 and plus 26 respectively.

Both sides have been forced to make a number of changes to the Round 3 line-ups, with Caitlin Gould the huge out from the Tigers as she was recalled for Adelaide AFL Women’s duty. Along with Chelsea Packer and Sam Franson who are both injured, the Tigers are understrength for the clash, and are missing a number of quality players from the 22. To try and fill the quality lost in the side are Molly Althouse, Molly Affolter and Tasja Batzavalis, with Althouse not playing since Round 1, and the other two recalled after missing Round 2. A player who has been in some ripping form this year is Tessa Kohn, who will look to control the midfield, averaging 12 disposals, 4.7 tackles, 4.3 clearances and 2.3 inside 50s so far this season on the inside. Alongside her is the tackling machine in Lucy Armitage who has laid a whopping 7.3 tackles to go with her 9.3 disposals (86 per cent efficiency). The Tigers coaching staff have also shuffled the magnets with midfielder-defender, Madisyn Freeman named in the forward pocket to try and potentially fill the void left by Franson.

The home team has also been forced to make a number of changes with Georgia Taylor missing through a knee injury and Mikayla Cavallaro suffering concussion, whilst three other changes have been made. Jaida Tabb – sister of Eagles and Adelaide AFL Women’s Jaimi is set to make her debut after just missing out last week, whilst Charlotte Dolan achieves the same milestone in the game. A crucial recall is Adelaide’s Rhiannon Metcalfe who will proved an important presence in the ruck against a Tigers outfit renowned for its stoppage work. Jaimi Tabb (12.3 disposals, 6.7 tackles, 6.7 tackles and 1.0 goals) has been thrown into the midfield after three goals playing out of full-forward last week, joined in there by fellow teenager, Teagan Usher (7.0 disposals, 4.3 tackles, 2.3 clearances). With Tesharna Maher (11.3 disposals, 4.7 rebounds) in defence and Kiana Lee (9.7 disposals, 3.7 marks and 1.3 goals) up in attack, the Eagles’ youth is what drives the team each week and sooner or later the scales will tip and they will close out a game.

Based on what we will witness, it will be a fierce tackling game with two sides who are not renowned for getting a heap of ball inside 50, but Glenelg will need to make the most of its opportunities if it is to capitalise on its ruck dominance. The Eagles’ defence and defensive pressure are rated the best in the league for a reason, and you cannot fault them in that regard. Woodville-West Torrens players just need to hold their nerves during crucial moments, because they could well have been 2-1 or even 3-0 to start the season, though you feel a win is not too far away.

CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. STURT
Friday, March 13, 8.15pm
X Convenience Oval

The second game of tonight’s double header pits home side, Central District up against Sturt in a battle of seventh against sixth respectively. The Bulldogs started the season with a groundbreaking four-point win over last year’s minor premiers Norwood for the first time. Since then though, they lost to North Adelaide by 54 points, and Glenelg by 50 in what has been a rough couple of weeks in Rounds 2 and 3. They have had a week off to reassess and this game could be a real chance for the Bulldogs to get back on the winners board with Sturt having a similar season, but in reverse. The Double Blues finally grinded out a win by eight points over a plucky Woodville-West Torrens outfit last week, which came after back-to-back losses of 21 (West Adelaide) and 34 points (South Adelaide), but more concerning was the fact the Double Blues had only kicked 3.6 in those games combined. They turned that around last week with 5.6 in the game, and will be hoping to take advantage in this contest. Central District has only scored 2.5 combined in the past two weeks themselves, so the Bulldogs might look to a similar inspiration to bounce back with some more scoring.

Central District’s defence is ranked second in the competition, with 75 total rebounds, and a differential of plus 23, just three behind the leaders in that stat, Woodville-West Torrens. Whilst it might seem obvious the bottom two sides have the highest differential (with sixth placed Sturt third but a bit behind with plus three), they have managed to rebound 76 per cent of the opposition’s inside 50s. The Bulldogs are not a high possession side though, ranked eighth in total disposals and differential, kicking and handballing differentials, clearances, and hitouts and inside 50s total and differential. But it is hard to read into that too early in the season, though they won in Round 1 with these stats in the red. The Bulldogs are a kick-first side with a 3.26 ratio between kicks to handballs (more than three kicks to every handball), whilst their opposition has run at a ratio of 2.1. Their defence is their strength, so that is where they can look to rebound from and counter against Sturt in this game.

The Double Blues have a few more areas where they lead the league, with marks differential (plus 67) and total hitouts (80), which shows that they like to get first hands on it and also play more of a simplified game by hitting targets more so than running and gunning it. Their 2.4 kick-to-handball ratio is higher than the league average, but despite their hitouts dominance, they have not been able to translate that into clearance numbers, ranked eighth in the league with a differential of minus 27. They also only have one more inside 50 than their opponent coming into this game, though with 28 more on differentials. Their matches so far have largely been played between the arcs compared to the Bulldogs, with 131 times going inside 50 at either end of the ground compared to Central District’s 197. They win a bit more of the ball, but again are ranked seventh for disposal differential, so these are two sides that are not huge possession sides, but try and make the most of their opportunities going forward.

With the return of the rebranded National Basketball League (NBL)1 Central, Sturt will be without ruck Stephanie Ratliff, whilst Jaimee Wittervan will play her other sport of touch football this weekend. Lane Trenorden is the other forced out for the Double Blues, missing due to illness, whilst six players have been named in an extended interchange situation. Olivia McEvoy, Kiera Mueller and Louise Firth could make their debuts in the match, while Hannah Dreckow and Cherie Bamford join Elsie Dawes as other ins for the side. The strength of the Double Blues was their hitouts, though it is hard to deny the impact of co-captains, Georgia Bevan and Maya Rigter this season. Bevan has averaged a team-high 19.3 disposals, 2.7 marks, 7.3 tackles, 2.7 clearances, 2.3 inside 50s and 2.3 rebounds, while Rigter has put up numbers of 14.7 disposals, 4.0 marks, 8.0 tackles and 2.3 clearances. Right alongside them in the best and fairest contention would have to be 17-year-old Hannah Prenzler who has been a rock in defence, averaging 12.3 disposals (at 81 per cent efficiency), 5.7 marks, 2.3 tackles and 2.3 rebounds from her three games this season. Fellow youngster, Zoe Prowse might have a bigger role in the ruck now Ratliff is out of the side, averaging 10.7 disposals, 2.7 marks and 10.3 hitouts per game thus far.

Central is lucky enough to not have to make any forced changes, instead adding four players to its side with an extended bench ahead of tonight’s big clash. Keely Cannizzaro returns after a couple of weeks out and slots straight into centre half-back, while Ella Mickan (wing), Tess Gerhardy (back pocket) and Hannah Pavlovich (interchange) are the others to come into the team. The focal point up forward is undoubtedly Katelyn Rosenzweig who after booting four goals a game in the win over Norwood, has only managed the two since. She has booted six of the Bulldogs’ seven goals in season 2020, so the home side must find more options to goal if they are to be a threat of kicking a winning score. With Sturt having some strong defenders, the likes of Shannon Murphy (full-forward) and Georgia Madigan (forward pocket) could be targets to add scoreboard pressure. Demi Sonneman (14.7 disposals, 5.0 rebounds) is enjoying a really strong season in the back 50, teaming up well with Kimberley Fry (10 disposals, 3.7 rebounds) and making it difficult for opposition teams to control the airways. Through the midfield, Shelby Smith (14.7 disposals, 43.7 marks, 3.7 clearances, 3.7 tackles, 2.0 inside 50s and 2.0 rebounds) is the one to watch out for as she has been finding her fair share of the ball for the Bulldogs on the inside.

The Bulldogs have put out a really stable side for the next round match, not panicking with changes and backing in their squad. The Double Blues have lost a number of players through various circumstances and that could assist the Bulldogs in bouncing back with a win. In saying that, last round Sturt looked very impressive in its victory over Woodville-West Torrens and if it can replicate its form, then the Double Blues deserve favouritism. With more avenues to goal, the Bulldogs will be a bigger threat and if they can execute that, then watch out.

WEST ADELAIDE vs. NORWOOD
Saturday, March 14, 5.30pm
Flinders University Stadium

Opening up a massive double header at Flinders University Stadium which features four of the top five teams is a clash between third and fifth on the SANFL Women’s ladder. West Adelaide is coming off its first loss of the season, going down to North Adelaide by 21 points last week after accounting for Glenelg (40 points) the week before, and Sturt (21) in Round 1. They head into this match hoping to bounce back, and remain a win clear of the Redlegs inside the top three. Norwood started its season off with a four-point win over Central District in Round 1, before bouncing back with a thrilling last-minute win over Woodville West Torrens by a point in Round 2, then suffering defeat again, this time by 30 points to South Adelaide.

Statistically speaking, West Adelaide is the number one clearance team in the competition. Racking up 77 clearances – nine more than the Bloods’ nearest rival – and 26 more than their opponents across the first three weeks, it is an area that they can really take advantage of here. Unfortunately the stoppage dominance has not always led to inside 50 numbers, ranked sixth overall in that area, and when it does go back the other way, the Bloods are equal lowest in terms of overall rebounds. In many other areas they are middle of the road and not too bad, though they are very much a handball-happy side with a 1.87 kick-to-handball ratio, and are ranked fourth overall for disposals.

One ahead of them in ball-winning numbers is the Redlegs who are ranked third in the competition for total disposals, though in their loss to South Adelaide had 63 less touches despite clocking up 201 disposals themselves. One of Norwood’s top strengths is its marking ability, having clunked the second most marks in the competition (141) and marking differential (plus 57). They also lead the league in clearance differential (plus 32) and pump the ball inside 50 more often than any other team (93) with a healthy plus 18 in that stat differential. Their areas of improvement are defensive ones, with Norwood’s tackling differential (minus 68) and rebounding differential (minus 26) the two key areas where they rank eighth in the competition for.

Looking to the teams and West Adelaide has made three changes, with Nicole Hooper missing the game due to injury, while Tara McDermott and Marie Martino are also listed as outs. Coming into the team is clever forward, Kasia Culhane to boost the attacking stocks, as well as Taylor Hand and Ashlea James. What makes the West Adelaide midfield so deep is the top-end talent of Abbie Ballard (19.7 disposals, 2.3 marks, 3.3 tackles, 4.7 clearance and 3.0 inside 50s) and Rachelle Martin (17.3 disposals, 6.3 tackles, 5.0 clearances and 2.3 inside 50s), while Zoe Greer (11.0 disposals, 6.3 tackles and 3.7 clearances) adds to that talent with all three making life difficult for opposition onballers. Up forward, Melanie Elsegood is a strong target coming out of full-forward with multiple goals in all three goals, while Zoe Venning is just 16, but has been good rotating up the ground for 18.3 disposals, 4.3 marks, 2.3 tackles, 2.7 clearances and 2.0 inside 50s. Throw in Keeley Kustermann (13.7 disposals, 2.0 marks, 2.0 tackles and 3.7 rebounds) off half-back alongside the reliable Helen Maidment and Lauren Rodato and West Adelaide’s defence can be as stringent as its forward line can be potent.

Norwood has been forced to make three changes to its Round 3 side, with Alison Ferrall missing the game due to a wedding, and Rhiannon Busch and Rosette Zeralla both out of the team as well. Kate Fenton is among three changes coming into the Redlegs’ side as they eye off a potential top four spot with a Glenelg loss. While they might be 1-2 from a win-loss perspective, Norwood has some serious top-end talent that has just taken a hit due to the quality of last year’s team which saw players drafted into the AFL Women’s competition. Leading the way for Norwood is Leah Cutting who has been sensational in the ruck and a key reason why the Redlegs are ranked second in the competition for hitout differential. The combination of Matilda Zander (17.7 disposals, 5.0 marks, 3.0 tackles and 3.0 inside 50s) – who has recently signed with Collingwood VFL Women’s side – and Bella Smith (8.3 disposals, 3.3 marks and 3.3 inside 50s) through the midfield has been a strong one in the absence of players such as Najwa Allen, Hannah Dunn and Ebony O’Dea who all left to chase their dreams at the elite level. Veteran, Jo Hill continues to be a source of scoring for the Redlegs, booting six goals from three games and will look for that to continue in this game, while versatile utility Mattea Breed (16.0 disposals, 2.0 marks, 2.7 tackles, 3.3 clearances, 4.0 inside 50s) has been able to play across all three lines.

The game itself is a hard one to predict, but given West Adelaide’s consistent form – only being overrun by a premiership contender in North Adelaide last week – and Norwood’s inconsistent form, the Bloods start as favourites in the game. Added to the fact the Redlegs have lost a few key players in the game, expect the Bloods to try and dominate the midfield and give their forwards first opportunity at scoring going inside 50.

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
Saturday, March 14, 7.15pm
Flinders University Stadium

The top of the table clash is the most anticipated match of the SANFL Women’s season thus far, with the second placed South Adelaide hosting the top ranked North Adelaide. In what is also a replay of last year’s SANFL Women’s Grand Final, the Panthers and Roosters have overcome some serious outs from the off-season to still lead the pack in the 2020 competition. In Round 1, the Panthers survived a scare against Woodville-West Torrens to win by four points, then got their groove going after that with a 34-point triumph over Sturt and a five-goal victory over Norwood. The Roosters have had a flawless start to the season with a 24-point win over Glenelg in the opening week of the season, then dominated Central District by 54 and clocked up a 21-point win over West Adelaide in another top of the table clash just last week.

Statistically, both these teams are the clear standouts throughout the season, ranked in the top two in most areas. Starting with the Panthers, they are ranked first for disposal, kick and handball differential, and second for disposals, kicks, tackles and clearances. They do not have too many Achilles heels in the side, though despite having the second most tackles, are actually minus four in that differential, ranked sixth overall. It has helped them prepare for fierce defensive pressure from their opposition and being able to withstand it, something that will help the reigning premiers along the way. In terms of inside 50s they rank third, and also rank third for rebounds, with the Panthers more than capable to defend and attack between and inside the arcs. They are ranked fifth in hitout differential, but it has not stopped them being a premier clearance side.

North Adelaide has its fair share of elite qualities, proving that sheer weight of numbers can overwhelm opposition sides. They ranked first in disposals, kicks and marks in a simple, yet effective possession-style game. With a slight deficiency in tackling (134 total, plus five differential ranked eighth and fourth respectively), it is hard not to have one given their ridiculous amount of the ball they collect each week. They will need to improve their hitouts and clearance work, ranked in the bottom three sides for both, with their real strength coming in their inside 50s. The Roosters have pumped the ball inside 89 times (ranked second in the competition) and have a plus 26 in that statistic, eight more than their nearest rival, and nine more than the Panthers. The Roosters are ranked lower in their rebounds, with an equal fifth and sixth ranked respectively for total and differential in the stat. North Adelaide can take advantage with its keepings-off style and dominating play through a kick-mark-inside 50 gameplan, whilst the Panthers will look to handball their way down the field with speed, often straight out of the stoppages.

The home side has been forced to make at least four chances to its winning combination which could play a role in the game. Montana McKinnon got her chance for the Crows last week during the bye and has retained her spot after a strong debut which is great news, but not so much for the Panthers who will miss her presence around the ground. Also out due to work and unavailability are Lucy Northcott and Sophie Flanagan-Sjoberg, while Kelli Nijhuis suffered a knee injury and will miss. A procession of players return to the line-up with seven players named on an extended bench. Those named straight into the side are 17-year-old Brooklyn Kraft who replaces McKinnon in the ruck for Kraft’s first game of 2020 after four last year, and 16-year-old Lauren Clifton who slots into centre half-back after missing the last two games. Much of the talk around South Adelaide has been its impressive youngsters with Teah Charlton averaging a massive 21.3 disposals, 5.3 tackles, 3.7 clearances and 4.3 inside 50s per game, having really picked up in the past two weeks in particular. Indy Tahau is another who has not been overawed averaging 14.7 disposals, 2.7 marks, 2.3 tackles, 4.0 clearances and 2.3 inside 50s – ranked equal fourth in contested marks having taken five already this year. Somehow flying under the radar is South Adelaide’s midfield of Czenya Cavouras (18.3 disposals, 6.7 tackles and 4.3 clearances), Tahlia Meyer (16.7 disposals, 2.0 marks, 2.7 tackles, 2.7 inside 50s) and Samantha Pratt (11 disposals, 2.7 marks, 5.3 tackles and 3.0 rebounds) – the latter of whom has been named onball after playing a key role in defence last week.

North’s team selection by comparison is relatively stable with just one player added to the line-up on an extended bench with none yet to come out of the side. Charlea Taylor could potentially make her debut for the red and whites in what is the Roosters’ biggest game of the season. It is hard to fault too much with North Adelaide’s performance this year and many of these players will have fire in the belly after losing to the Panthers in last year’s decider. A win here might not make up for the grand final loss, but it will give them confidence going forward they can stand up in big games against quality opposition. The North Adelaide forward line is an embarrassment of riches, with last year’s leading goalkicker Kelly Barltrop yet to dominate but expected to let loose sometime soon, while the likes of Cristie Castle (18.3 disposals, 5.3 marks and 2.0 inside 50s), Hannah Ewings (12.7 disposals, 3.7 marks, 4.0 tackles and 4.0 inside 50s) and Katelyn Pope (14.0 disposals, 5.5 inside 50s, 2.5 tackles) all troubling opposition defenders, with the latter two roaming up the ground and pumping the ball inside 50 on multiple occasions. The star of the club, if not competition this year so far is Ashleigh Woodland who has been dominating on all fronts on her way to an average of 16.7 disposals, 4.7 marks, 2.7 tackles. 2.3 inside 50s and since going forward, has booted seven goals from an average of 20.5 disposals. Also through the midfield is Leah Tynan (14.3 disposals at 91 per cent efficiency, 3.7 tackles, 3.0 clearances and 2.3 inside 50s) and Lauren Daniel (18.0 disposals, 3.7 marks, 3.7 tackles, 3.3 clearances and 2.0 inside 50s), whilst Amber Ward, Kristi Harvey and Lauren Gauci all sure up the defence to give the Roosters a consistent effort across the ground and ensure the opposition team struggles to kick high scores.

The big difference between the teams is the styles that they adopt and while they both are miles ahead of the rest of the competition in terms of disposals, the Panthers look for the quick handball at a competition-low kick-to-handball ratio of 1.3, compared to North Adelaide’s 1.7, which is still below the competition average, but is considerably higher than their opponents. Given North’s strength going inside, if the Roosters can break even in the clearances, then it gives them a huge advantage over their Southern rivals. If the Panthers get on top in the middle, and can find space around the ground, then it gives their chances a huge boost of coming out on top. An absolute ripping contest awaits.

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.

SANFL Women’s Team of the Week: Round 2

IT was seventh heaven for North Adelaide in our Draft Central Team of the Week for the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition in Round 2. The Roosters had a huge win on Saturday to maintain top spot on the table and they were rewarded with a record seven players in the 24-player team. A record unlikely to be beaten for some time, they covered all three areas of the ground and were remarkably all on the field as well. The other four winners in South Adelaide (four), West Adelaide (three) and Norwood (three) all had strong representation, as did narrow losers, Woodville-West Torrens (three), Sturt (two), Central District (one) and Glenelg (one) were well beaten on the weekend, but still managed to have representatives in the side.

North Adelaide needs a special mention for its massive haul in our team, with Kristi Harvey again lining up at full-back following 10 disposals, two marks (one contested), one tackle and four rebounds on the last line. Also in defence are Amber Ward and Lauren Gauci who combined for 37 disposals, 11 marks and five rebounds, with Ward also laying five tackles and collecting two inside 50s, while Gauci had a couple of clearances. Moving into the midfield and Lauren Daniel is in the centre position after an impressive 23 disposals, four marks, seven tackles, six clearances, four inside 50s and a goal, while alongside her is this week’s team captain, Ashleigh Woodland who had 19 disposals, five marks (one contested), three tackles, three inside 50s and a massive four goals and two behinds. Daniel joins Harvey as a second-time entrant, while Woodland makes her debut in our Team of the Week. Up forward, Round 1 Breakthrough Player, Hannah Ewings stepped up for a round-high nine inside 50s as well as 17 disposals, five marks (one contested), three tackles and one goal. She is joined in the front six by the seventh Rooster in the side, Cristie Castle who impressed with 22 touches, five marks (one contested), three tackles, two inside 50s and one goal.

The next best haul was South Adelaide with four players making the side and a number of unlucky talents just missing out. Potential top pick, Teah Charlton was named at half-forward after a stunning game of 24 disposals, three marks (one contested), five tackles, four clearances and five inside 50s, while Jess Kirk – who really turned it on up forward – is named in the pocked after an effective three goals from six touches and three marks (two contested), with a couple of behinds which potentially could have been more majors. Onball, Courtney Barry was the best of the lot, named vice-captain of our side following her 20 disposals, one mark, 10 tackles, nine clearances, two inside 50s and two rebounds. Rounding out the quartet is Tahlia Meyer who had the 21 disposals, three marks, three tackles and one goal on the day. Two players from their opponents in the match made our team, with reliable defender Hannah Prenzler (15 disposals, six marks, three tackles and four rebounds) and co-captain Georgia Bevan (19 disposals, three marks, eight tackles, three inside 50s and three rebounds) making the side once again.

Another big winner on the weekend was West Adelaide, with such an even team performance making it hard to just select a few. Rachelle Martin made the side once again after 21 disposals, one mark, four tackles, five clearances, four inside 50s and three behinds – which meant she could have had even more of an impact – while Zoe Greer is right alongside her in the midfield with 18 disposals, 12 tackles, eight clearances and two inside 50s for the player named rover in the side. Emma Smith squeezes onto a stacked interchange after 15 disposals, four marks, 10 tackles and two clearances, right alongside another 10-tackle player in Jaimi Tabb with the Woodville-West Eagles midfielder also notching up 16 disposals, two marks and six inside 50s in her side’s loss to Norwood. Along with Tabb, Tesharna Maher made the side once again in the back pocket thanks to 12 disposals, two marks, two tackles, two inside 50s and four rebounds, while Kiana Lee‘s three first half goals from nine disposals, three contested marks and four tackles earned her a spot in the team.

Norwood’s one-point win over the Eagles could be in part thanks to its spine, with ruck Leah Cutting named the top ruck for the round following 13 disposals, two contested marks, six tackles, 23 hitouts, two clearances and four inside 50s. Up forward, Mattea Breed and Jo Hill fill out the key position spots after Breed racked up 21 touches, three marks (one contested), five tackles, four clearances, six inside 50s and two rebounds, while Hill booted 3.1 from 10 disposals and three marks (two contested). Of the remaining two sides, they each had a representative, with Central District’s Kimberley Fry making the team for her steadfast work in the back 50, picking up eight disposals, two tackles and four rebounds, while Glenelg’s Tessa Kohn had 11 touches, two marks (one contested), seven tackles and four clearances in the Tigers’ loss.

Picking a team was so tough this round that genuinely there were 33 players that were initially in the squad with six having to be omitted just to fit the team. West Adelaide’s Melanie Elsegood and Keeley Kustermann, South Adelaide’s Montana McKinnon, Sturt’s Maya Rigter, Norwood’s Matilda Zander and Sophie Armitstead, Central’s Demi Sonneman and Danielle Stewart, and Glenelg’s Soriah Moon all were on the short list but narrowly missed out. Others who were also considered after impressive performances were West Adelaide’s Abbie Ballard and Zoe Venning, North Adelaide’s Kathryn Reynolds, Glenelg’s Chelsea Packer, South Adelaide’s Elyse Haylock and Woodville-West Torrens’ Stephanie Walker. With so much to consider, the final decision of the 24 came down to more team balance, with a number of talls roaming the forward line, the bench was prioritised by smaller players to ensure the team was not too top-heavy and resembled a realistic side. With the quality coming through, it will only get tougher to pick each week.

DRAFT CENTRAL SANFL WOMEN’S TEAM OF THE WEEK: ROUND 2

B: Tesharna Maher (WWT) – Kristi Harvey (NA) – Kimberley Fry (CD)
HB: Amber Ward (NA) – Hannah Prenzler (ST) – Lauren Gauci (NA)
C: Ashleigh Woodland (NA – c) – Lauren Daniel (NA) – Rachelle Martin (WA)
HF: Teah Charlton (SA) – Mattea Breed (NW) – Hannah Ewings (NA)
F: Cristie Castle (NA) – Jo Hill (NW) – Jess Kirk (SA)
R: Leah Cutting (NW) – Courtney Barry (SA – vc) – Zoe Greer (WA)
INT: Georgia Bevan (ST) – Tessa Kohn (GL) – Kiana Lee (WWT) – Tahlia Meyer (SA) – Emma Smith (WA) – Jaimi Tabb (WWT)

EMG: Montana McKinnon (SA) – Maya Rigter (ST) – Matilda Zander (NW)

SANFL Women’s Round 2 review: Bloods and Roosters size up ahead of blockbuster clash next week

NORTH Adelaide and West Adelaide have sent early messages to the rest of the competition in Round 2 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s, ahead of the side’s huge Round 3 clash next week. South Adelaide became the only other undefeated side in the league taking care of Sturt, while Norwood pinched a come-from-behind win against Woodville-West Torrens in the other game.

WEST ADELAIDE 2.3 | 3.6 | 5.10 | 6.12 (48)
GLENELG 0.0 | 1.2 | 1.2 | 1.2 (8)

GOALS:

West: M. Elsegood 3, T. McDermott, Z. Venning, K. Culhane.
Glenelg: S. Moon.

HIGH DISPOSALS:

West: R. Martin 21, Z. Greer 18, A. Ballard 17, K. Kustermann 15, E. Smith 15
Glenelg: C. Packer 17

West Adelaide has sent a statement to the rest of the SANFL Women’s competition with a 40-point belting of Glenelg. After an impressive win in Round 1 over Sturt, the Bloods took it up a notch to record a massive 18 scoring shots to three, and answering every challenge asked of them. When the Tigers booted their first – and only – goal to get within nine points, West Adelaide kicked away with the last four goals of the match to run out 6.12 (48) to 1.2 (8) winners.

After an inaccurate 2.3 last week, Melanie Elsegood made the most of her chances with three majors, and in what was a super defensive effort from the Bloods, restricted Glenelg from scoring in all bar five minutes of the match. The Tigers’ only goal came at the 10-minute mark of the second term when Soriah Moon broke the drought, but it was all West Adelaide after that, with the Bloods recording the last nine scoring shots of the match. Indeed with a team score of 6.12, the end margin could have been even greater with Rachelle Martin (three behinds) and Zoe Greer (two behinds) among those who could have walked away with some majors.

The stats all pointed to the Bloods, recording 42 more disposals than their opponents, and they dominated both the clearances (30-15) and inside 50s (21-12), despite Glenelg winning the hitouts for the second week in a row (33-17). Greer had a day out in a best on ground performance, picking up 18 disposals, one mark, eight clearances, 12 tackles and two inside 50s, with the two misses potentially adding an extra string to her bow on the night.

Martin was also influential in the middle with 21 disposals, one mark, five clearances, four inside 50s and four tackles, while Emma Smith (15 disposals, 10 tackles) and Olivia Smith (eight disposals, 13 tackles) were incredible with their defensive pressure. While she did not rack up the same numbers as last week, Abbie Ballard still played her role with 17 disposals, two marks, two clearances and three inside 50s, while Keeley Kustermann (15 disposals, four marks, two clearances, two rebounds and two tackles was once again good out of the back half. Zoe Venning also impressed with 13 disposals, five marks, two clearances, two inside 50s and a goal proving to be a dominant force in the forward half.

The Tigers were well beaten on the night, but Chelsea Packer was the standout with a team-high 17 disposals, two marks, six tackles and three rebounds. While the midfield was not able to make use of her dominance, Moon was a star with 24 hitouts and three clearances, as well as four tackles and a goal from just five disposals. Tessa Kohn was the other Tiger with more than two clearances, picking up four to accompany 11 disposals, two marks and seven tackles, while Lucy Armitage led the way for defensive pressure with 12 tackles.

The Tigers will need to bounce back next week when they take on Central District, while the Bloods have a huge clash against North Adelaide.

SOUTH ADELAIDE 1.2 | 3.7 | 3.11 | 5.13 (43)
STURT 1.3 | 1.3 | 1.3 | 1.3 (9)

GOALS:

South: J. Kirk 3, E. Haylock, T. Meyer.
Sturt: K. Harris.

HIGH DISPOSALS:

South: T. Charlton 24, T. Meyer 21, C. Barry 20, E. Haylock 18, T. Buethke 15, C. Cavouras 15, M. McKinnon 15
Sturt: G. Bevan 19, H. Prenzler 15

A dominant South Adelaide outfit put Sturt to the sword after quarter time in a comfortable 5.13 (43) to 1.3 (9) win, booting 4.11 to 0.0 in the final three quarters to run away 32-point winners. Jess Kirk got proceedings underway for the home side, before Kate Harris responded for the Double Blues four minutes later. An array of missed chances for the visitors – including two behinds to Ally Ladas back-to-back would come back to bite them as Sturt led by just one point heading into quarter time. It was all South Adelaide after that, with Kirk adding her second and Elyse Haylock getting on the scoreboard for the Panthers to open up a 16-point advantage at half-time. An inaccurate South Adelaide side booted seven straight behinds to go from 3.4 to 3.11 and just give Sturt a sniff heading into the last quarter. Tahlia Meyer took just 32 seconds to close the door on any potential comeback in the final term, with Kirk booting her third goal later in the quarter to lock up the comfortable win.

The Panthers could have won by more with Callie Wilson (four behinds), Indy Tahau (two behinds) and Kirk (3.2) among those that could have had bigger days out. For Sturt, the side was just outplayed by a better unit, as South won 62 more disposals, and had six more contested marks, as well as won the clearances (26-16) and dominated the inside 50s (32-10). Sturt’s defence again tried to hold strong with 16 more rebounds, but were overwhelmed with the volume of inside 50 entries, though their skilful outside game showed at times, with a higher disposal efficiency (76 per cent) and 14 more marks (44-30).

Teah Charlton showed just why she is considered South Australia’s top prospect for the 2020 AFL Women’s Draft with 24 disposals, three marks (one contested), five tackles, four clearances and five inside 50s in the win. Meyer (21 disposals, three marks, three tackles, three inside 50s and a goal) was also impressive, while Courtney Barry‘s work on the inside (20 disposals, nine clearances, 10 tackles, two inside 50s and two rebounds) was outstanding. Montana McKinnon continued to look a class above with 17 hitouts, three clearances, six inside 50s and 15 touches, while midfielder, Czenya Cavouras helped herself to 15 disposals, three clearances, two inside 50s and two tackles. Haylock was the other big ball winner with 18 disposals, five tackles, two inside 50s and a goal.

The Double Blues’ standout trio from last week again were the three best, with co-captains Georgia Bevan and Maya Rigter impressive in midfield, and Hannah Prenzler standing up in defence. Bevan picked up a team-high 19 disposals, as well as eight tackles, three marks, three inside 50s and three rebounds, while Rigter had a team-high 12 tackles to go with 12 disposals, two marks, three clearances and three rebounds. Prenzler finished with 15 disposals, six marks and four rebounds in a quarter back type role. Other Double Blues who showed some nice signs despite the loss were Isobel Kuiper (10 disposals, three marks, nine tackles and two clearances), Jaimee Wittervan (10 disposals, three tackles and three clearances) and Stephanie Ratliff (seven disposals, 13 hitouts, two clearances and six tackles).

Sturt has to come in next week against a hungry Woodville-West Torrens side which keeps falling short of its inaugural win in the competition, while South Adelaide takes on rival Norwood with both games a part of the Triple Header at Flinders University Stadium.

WWT EAGLES 2.2 | 4.3 | 4.5 | 4.5 (29)
NORWOOD 0.0 | 1.2 | 3.2 | 4.6 (30)

GOALS:

WWT: K. Lee 3, J. Zecevic.
Norwood: J. HIll 3, L. Bigg.

HIGH DISPOSALS:

WWT: J. Tabb 16
Norwood: M. Breed 21, S. Armitstead 17, M. Zander 16

So near, yet so far for a disappointed Woodville-West Torrens outfit that for the second consecutive week, fell short of the four points despite an incredibly spirited effort. The Eagles looked unbelievable in the first half of their clash against Norwood having almost toppled reigning premiers, South Adelaide just a week earlier. But while the winless Eagles outfit led by as much 19 points at half-time, they could not sustain it as the Redlegs booted 3.4 to 0.2 in the second half to run over the top of them with a late Lindsay Bigg goal the dagger in the hearts of Eagles fans.

Having missed out on a massive upset the week prior, Woodville-West Torrens looked determined to turn it around in the second match against Norwood. Last year’s minor premiers looked shaky last week with so much turnover from the off-season, while the Eagles lost but were every bit in the contest in Round 1. Kiana Lee started the Eagles off on the right foot with the teenager converting a goal six minutes into the contest, before Jovanka Zecevic made it two and the home side was 14 points up at quarter time without its opponent making an impact on the scoreboard. Jo Hill finally did that early in the second to get the ball rolling for Norwood, but Lee immediately answered a minute later with her second, and then her third came later in the quarter with the lead out to a 19-point advantage by the main break. Looking down and out, Hill stepped up again, booting back-to-back goals, albeit eight minutes apart, to suddenly drag her side back to within seven points at the final break. Both Lee and Eboni Tiller missed chances to give the Eagles some breathing space at the last chance, and the final term was all Norwood. Despite the Redlegs doing all the attacking, they booted four straight behinds from Bigg (two), Mattea Breed and Hill, to still trail by five points as late as the 16th minute of the final term. Then, it was a case of third time lucky with Bigg kicking a match-winning goal with 50 seconds on the clock, to send the Norwood faithful into jubilation, while for the Eagles fans it was another heartbreaking loss.

The stats were fairly even across the board in terms of ball finding and use, with Norwood able to work its way on the outside with 36 marks to 19, including nine contested to five. The Eagles brutal defensive work again stood up with a whopping 88 tackles to 47, not giving the Redlegs an inch. Despite Norwood winning the hitouts (28-20), Woodville-West Torrens won the clearances (22-20), as both the inside-50 and rebound counts were almost identical. There was not much between the sides, and it showed on the scoreboard, with Norwood able to weather the defensive pressure of the Eagles and kick a goal when required to get the job done.

Breed was the standout for the Redlegs with the Central Allies’ Under-18 representative picking up 21 disposals, three marks (one contested), five tackles, four clearances, six inside 50s and two rebounds in a good all-round performance. Sophie Armitstead built on her Round 1 game with 17 disposals, one mark, five tackles, three clearances, three inside 50s and two rebounds, while Matilda Zander again found plenty of the ball with 16 touches, two marks, four inside 50s, three rebounds, two clearances and two tackles. The top ruck in the competition, Leah Cutting had 23 hitouts and two contested marks to go with four inside 50s, six tackles and 13 touches in the win. Alison Ferrall (10 disposals, three inside 50s) and Bella Smith (10 disposals, four inside 50s, three tackles and four marks) worked hard in the forward half of the ground, while Tessa Hankinson (10 disposals, two marks, two tackles, two clearances and three rebounds) was strong in defence. Hill’s three goals from six touches was ultimately the difference in the end, while Rhiannon Busch had a team-high four rebounds to go with her six touches and three tackles.

Jaimi Tabb put in a huge performance to make the Adelaide AFL Women’s coaching staff take note, recording a team-high 16 touches, as well as two marks, 10 tackles and six inside 50s, setting the tone for her teammates. Speaking of setting the tone, Mikayla Cavallaro laid a huge 14 tackles to go with 11 disposals, while Tesharna Maher was again prolific out of defence with 12 disposals, two marks, two inside 50s, three tackles and four rebounds. Also among the top ball winners for the losing side were Chloe Forby (12 disposals, two marks, three tackles, two clearances and two inside 50s) and Stephanie Walker (12 disposals, five tackles, two clearances and four inside 50s). All bar one player on the Eagles side laid at least one tackle in the match, as Grace Smallcombe and Jaime Parish had equal team-high rebounds of four apiece to aide Maher out of defence.

It would have been disappointing for the Eagles who arguably deserved the win between their efforts of the first two rounds, but it showed that whoever stands up when it counts can take the four points. Norwood was the better team on the scoreboard in the second half, and the Redlegs have a great escape heading into such a huge Round 3 match against reigning premiers South Adelaide, while the Eagles will search for that win against bottom of the table, Sturt.

CENTRAL DISTRICT 0.0 | 1.0 | 1.1 | 1.1 (7)
NORTH ADELAIDE 2.2 | 5.3 | 7.4 | 9.7 (61)

GOALS:

Central: K. Rosenzweig.
North: A. Woodland 4, K. Reynolds 2, C. Castle, L. Daniel, H. Ewings.

HIGH DISPOSALS:

Central: G. Madigan 13
North: L. Daniel 23, C. Castle 22, L. Gauchi 21, A. Woodland 19, H. Ewings 17, A. Ward 16

It was touted as arguably the match of the round prior to the weekend given it was the only one between two Round 1 winners, but it ended up being a premiership contender endorsement for North Adelaide. Looking to go one step further than their runner-up effort last year, the Roosters flexed their muscles on Central District with the Bulldogs side clearly improved from last season, but unable to make too much leeway against an incredibly impressive North Adelaide outfit. The Roosters ran out 54-point winners with the highest score and biggest winning margin of the season, putting an exclamation mark on their already top of the table position.

The signs looked ominous early on, with former Melbourne AFL Women’s player, Ashleigh Woodland up and about up forward, booting 2.1 in the first term as she led her side to a 14-point lead at the break. By the eighth minute of the second term, North Adelaide was 33 points up and the game seemed done and dusted. Woodland had booted her third, with Kathryn Reynolds and last week’s Breakthrough Player of the Round, Hannah Ewings both hitting the scoreboard. Competition leading goalkicker, Katelyn Rosenzweig broke the drought for her side midway through the term to give them a sniff on the edge of half-time. Alas for the home team, it was the Roosters who continued their dominance after the break, as Woodland narrowly missed a fourth goal early, before Cristie Castle and then Reynolds both capitalised, and the lead was out to 39 points at the last change. Refusing to take the foot off, North Adelaide piled on the pressure with Lauren Daniel booting her first of the contest, then Woodland converted her fourth to head home with 4.2 for the day, and the Roosters headed home with a nine-goal win.

Not surprisingly, the Roosters were dominant on the stats sheet, winning 261 disposals and going at a terrific 74 per cent efficiency. Their handball game was on-point as they moved the ball well down the ground. They took 16 more marks and seven more contested marks, and dominated the inside-50 count, 36-22. Working in the Bulldogs’ favour, they matched it with the Roosters in the middle, with both the hitouts and clearances, and were able to rebound the ball out of the back half 26 times to 21. Unfortunately for the home side, the sheer weight of numbers prevailed and the Roosters managed to score 16 times from 36 entries, with the extra class and experience of Woodlands and her teammates getting the visitors home.

There was no shortage of huge individual performances on the Roosters side, with Woodland the clear standout thanks to 19 disposals, five marks – one contested, three inside 50s, three tackles and of course, four goals from six scoring chances. Daniel was the top ball winner with 23 disposals, four marks, six clearances, four inside 50s, seven tackles and one goal, while Castle was not far behind with 22 touches, five marks – one contested – two clearances and three rebounds. Ewings had a match-high nine inside 50s working the ball brilliantly on the outside to go with her 17 touches, five marks – one contested – and three tackles. Amber Ward was reliable in defence with 16 disposals, five tackles, two rebounds and two inside 50s, while Kristi Harvey had an equal team-high four rebounds to go with 10 touches. Aside from Daniel, Leah Tynan had the most clearances with four, as well as 13 disposals and three tackles. In total, the Roosters had a massive 14 players reach double-figure disposals as they shared the ball around, and arguably what made the huge win more impressive was the fact that last year’s leading goalkicker, Kelly Barltrop was a non-factor in the contest with six touches and one behind.

Central had six players that were in double figures for disposals, with Georgia Madigan leading the way with 13, as well as three marks, three tackles and three inside 50s, while Demi Sonneman had 12 disposals – all kicks – coming out of defence as well as two marks, two tackles and three rebounds. Danielle Stewart (12 disposals, five clearances) worked hard in midfield, while Jayme-Lee Sonneman (three clearances), Shelby Smith (two) and Lauren Smith (two) were the other main midfield extractors. Kimberley Fry held up well under pressure in defence with eight touches and four rebounds, while Amber James provided a presence in the forward half with eight disposals, two marks – one contested – and four inside 50s.

There was little doubt that North Adelaide has its sights set on a premiership this year, with a number of its rivals losing players to the AFL Women’s competitions. While the Roosters also suffered some departures, they are primed for a huge attack on 2020 and would have to be premiership favourites at this stage. While no doubt the loss will sting for the Bulldogs, they have just witnessed the benchmark of the competition, and there will be some good and bad weeks throughout the season, but they have a consistent side across the park and have a great chance of bouncing back against Glenelg next week. The Roosters will take on the Bloods in a top of the table clash not to be missed.

SANFL Women’s preview: Round 2 – Bulldogs and Roosters lock claws in standalone Saturday game

AT least one team will suffer its first loss in Round 2, while another will get on the board with its first win in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition, as a blockbuster Friday night is planned across two venues. The undefeated clash between Central District and North Adelaide then takes place on Saturday morning in what could be a blockbuster match.

WEST ADELAIDE vs. GLENELG
Friday, February 21, 6.30pm
Hisense Stadium

Opening up the second round of the SANFL Women’s is a clash between two sides with differing results from the opening round of action. Glenelg went down to North Adelaide by 24 points at X Convenience Oval on the back of conceding six consecutive goals, while West Adelaide ran out 21-point winners over Sturt in the game immediately after that contest. Looking across both games, Glenelg had the much higher efficiency, running at 73 per cent in a match that was higher skilled against the Roosters, while the Westies had a 61 per cent efficiency against Sturt, but got the job done. The Tigers dominated the hitouts (+8) and clearances (+7) but lost the inside 50s (-2) and booted 2.10 for the match in a disappointing effort in front of goal. Had it been 10.2 instead, the Tigers win by 16 points. The Bloods were well beaten in the hitouts (-13) but completely dismantled Sturt in the clearances (+15) and inside 50s (+11), while also laying more tackles (+10). One area the Bloods would want to improve on from Round 1 was the opposition’s uncontested ball movement, with Sturt taking 46 marks to 20. What the Round 1 matches tell us is that Glenelg need to make more of its chances inside 50, and limit the influence of West Adelaide’s superb onball division, which included Abbie Ballard – who led the league in disposals with 27 – and Rachelle Martin who both form a damaging contested-ball duo. Glenelg should get first hands to the ball at stoppages with Soriah Moon playing well on debut, and recording more hitouts than the entire West Adelaide side. But with Ballard and Martin combining for 14 hitouts – and ruck Kate Walsh even recording four, it is a tough midfield to combat. Glenelg will rely on the likes of Madisyn Freeman to push up the grounds at times, winning an equal team-high four clearances last week, and if the likes of Sam Franson (two behinds) and Molly Althouse (four marks, two contested) can start to have an impact up forward, then they will be a damaging forward six to combat. Keely Kustermann looked settled last week and covers a lot of ground, while Lauren Rodato is a consistent player in defence for the Bloods. Up forward, Kasia Culhane and Melanie Elsegood both scored multiple goals, and Elsegood could have had a real day out if she put through a few more of her five chances (2.3). West Adelaide will start favourites in this clash due to the onball and forward talent, but Glenelg’s loss last week was not as bad as it might appear on the surface, and it is about taking chances in Round 2.

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. STURT
Friday, February 21, 7pm
Flinders University Stadium

These two teams also come into this clash with different results from Round 1, but both sides would know they can improve on their output from those respective matches. South Adelaide pulled off the great escape against Woodville-West Torrens, while Sturt suffered a disappointing defeat at the hands of West Adelaide. In that game, the double Blues were well beaten around the contest with the clearances (-15) and the inside 50s (-11) going the way of the Bloods. This all came despite Sturt winning almost double West Adelaide’s hitouts (+13). The area where Sturt impressed was in its outside ball as the Double Blues took 26 more marks (more than double) and had a solid 68 per cent disposal efficiency, playing a kick-first gamestyle. South Adelaide plays a possession-style brand of football, racking up 33 more disposals than the Eagles in Round 1, nullifying the opposition’s ability to get ball to boot with a low kick-to-handball ratio. The Panthers are great at shutting down the outside run, with the Eagles only taking 18 marks to South Adelaide’s 37, while the Panthers also won the hitouts (+4), clearances (+9) and inside 50s (+6). Despite all this going the reigning premiers way, they won by just four points, and it was the defensive pressure of the Eagles that forced them to overuse the ball, and also the visitors’ inaccuracy that helped the Panthers get home. South Adelaide is an incredible side and it will be expected to put out a similar effort against Sturt in shutting down the outside run and making more chances in front of goal. With Montana McKinnon potentially heading back to AFL Women’s after being named in the extend squad, Sturt will have a advantage in the ruck, and the Double Blues’ defensive setup is quite solid, but they cannot afford to be beaten out of the middle again. Stephanie Ratliff and Zoe Prowse were impressive in the ruck last week, with the mobile Prowse also doing her part around the stoppages. Georgia Bevan and Maya Rigter (five combined clearances last week) will have to step up again in this contest, with South Adelaide having the likes of Indy Tahau (eight clearances), Czenya Cavouras (six) and Teah Charlton (four) all standing out as a dominant trio in there. Rachel Dunstan and Hannah Prenzler were able to work hard defensively, with Prenzler picking up two rebounds and seven marks against the Bloods to hold up in the defensive 50. Along with Alysha Healy and Aajiah Jerico, it will be important for the visiting side to hold up back there and drive the ball forward against an unpredictable forward line. South gets a lot of goals out of its midfield, and once it wins the ball, it is hard to stop it being locked in the Panthers’ forward half. Expect South Adelaide to come out firing, with so much depth in its side, but if Sturt can make more of its ruck dominance, then the Double Blues can try and up the tempo and play keepings-off.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS vs. NORWOOD
Friday, February 21, 8.15pm
Hisense Stadium

Yet to have a win in their short history, Woodville-West Torrens Eagles would be seeing this Friday night clash as a real chance to breakthrough and record a ‘W’. The Eagles came agonisingly close to causing a boilover against reigning premiers South Adelaide on the road, and now take on a Norwood side still finding its feet after so much change in the off-season. With a brand new midfield brigade, the Redlegs still looked solid, but will be better for the run during the loss against Central District last week. Norwood had an extra scoring shot than the Bulldogs, and played their traditional possession style game with 33 more disposals and 30 more marks – including seven more contested – but were not able to capitalise on their inside 50 entries (+7). The Central defence was able to pick-off the attacking forays with eight more rebounds and 16 more tackles. Norwood’s ruck, Leah Cutting is the best in the business and dominated the Bulldogs with 21 more hitouts and that helped the Redlegs win three more clearances too – an area that could further improve considering that ruck work dominance. The Eagles will have seen the pressure that Central applied to the Redlegs and bring much of the same, laying 14 more tackles than the Panthers, and three more rebounds. They will need to make more of their opportunities count as well, booting just three goals from nine scoring chances in Round 1, and you cannot afford to do that every week. The Eagles are not a huge disposal-winning team, but instead have that shared brand of football where everyone plays their role and it seemed to be effective for the most part against a highly-credentialed Panthers side last week. Youngster, Tesharna Maher recorded six rebounds in the loss last round, while Allison Evans had three as the pair patrolled the backline. In the middle, Teagan Usher had a team-high four clearances, but the Eagles will need to muster up more of those by sharking the opposition ruck. The tackling pressure is something that the Eagles had no problems bringing, with Evans and Sophie Zuill both laying eight, and Adele Gibson having a team-high four inside 50s. Kiana Lee was quiet on the scoreboard last week but will be better for the run, taking three contested marks and signalling her intent in the air. In the absence of a number of midfielders who made the step up to AFL Women’s this season, Matilda Zander picked up a game-high 20 touches against the Bulldogs last week, well aided by Alison Ferrall (15) and Lindsay Bigg (14). Mattea Breed was also important in that midfield group with three clearances and four inside 50s, while Jo Hill made the most of her chances up forward with two goals. Sophie Armitstead was the leading clearance worker, and while the Redlegs midfield is still developing, they have the talent to make more opportunities from Cutting’s dominance. Norwood have the runs on the board over past years, but the Eagles arguably looked more impressive last week. It will be an absolute blinder of a game.

CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
Saturday, February 22, 11.30am
X Convenience Oval

The only game in Round 2 that features two Round 1 winners is between the sides that finished second and second last, in 2019. A much improved Central District team outlasted last year’s minor premiers Norwood in a nice little upset to start 2020, while North Adelaide booted six consecutive goals to run out four-goal winners over Glenelg and now sit top of the table. In that win, the Roosters actually had five less disposals and seven less tackles, but were so efficient with their scoring accuracy, capitalising on more chances than the Tigers’ 2.10. North lost both the hitouts (-8) and clearances (-7) but rebounded well to win the inside 50 count (+2) and overall were a more efficient side going forward. They will need to continue that throughout the season, because as impressive as the win was, the Roosters can still improve further. The Bulldogs also had less disposals for greater efficiency which makes this an intriguing match. Central had 33 less touches than Norwood in the win last round, and were beaten on the outside with 30 less marks. But the Bulldogs made more of their chances inside 50 and tackled their way to victory (+16). They were smashed in the ruck (-21) and lost the clearances (-3) and inside-50 (-7) counts, but the Bulldogs defence held firm under the attacks with eight more rebounds. The Bulldogs will not be afraid to make it a contested game, with Shelby Smith (20 touches, five clearances and three tackles) leading the way in Round 1, while Jaymee-Lee Sonneman and Lauren Smith both had the three clearances. Demi Sonneman, Kimberley Fry and Abbey Scheer were reliable in defence with a combined 12 clearances, and then Katelyn Rosenzweig was the dominant force up forward with four goals from five scoring chances and seven disposals. North Adelaide has its own goal-scoring machine in Kelly Barltrop, with last year’s leading goalkicker booting two goals in the Round 1 win to start her season off on the right note, while Cristie Castle was sensational across the ground with 17 touches, six marks (three contested), five clearances, four inside 50s and a goal. Hannah Ewings won the Breakthrough Player for Round 1 after the 16-year-old won 12 disposals and four marks, and also booted a goal on debut. Kristi Harvey will likely have the tough job of containing Rosenzweig in the match, while the likes of Lauren Daniel and Amber Ward provide the offensive run out of the back half. North Adelaide have the experience in big games and go in deserving favourites, but the Bulldogs look to have built on last season and will be up for the fight.

SANFL Women’s preview: Round 1 – Triple header on Saturday the highlight

AFTER a long wait, the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition has returned with the eight sides battling it out for a chance at the title. Six of the eight teams have lost players to the AFL Women’s competition, with Norwood and South Adelaide the hardest hit. The Panthers begin their premiership defence against last year’s wooden spooners at home, while a triple header greets the remaining six teams at X Convenience Oval on Saturday.

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS
Friday, February 14, 7pm
Flinders University Stadium

The standalone game on Friday night sees the opposite ends of the ladder from last season face off. South Adelaide will be able to unfurl its 2019 premiership flag – possibly alongside its 2018 one – as it welcomes 2019 wooden spooners Woodville-West Torrens to Flinders University Stadium. Last season this match might have been considered a no-brainer, and considering the occasion, the Panthers will head in as heavy favourites. However the Eagles will be better prepared in 2020 than 12 months ago, so it will be fascinating to see how they fare this season.

To make the match balance more towards the equilibrium is the fact the Panthers have lost a number of quality players to the AFL Women’s competition. Montana McKinnon and Nicole Campbell were both drafted to Adelaide and could still play games at state level, though with their talent and the Crows’ injury crisis, it will not always be the case. Hannah Munyard was picked up by the Western Bulldogs, while Cheyenne Hammond has already donned the red and gold up in the Sunshine State for the SUNS, so neither will feather this year for the reigning premiers. Aside from the four exits, six others have departed the club, meaning the turnover will see a very different line-up in 2020. Three former Panthers have returned to the club with Louella McCarthy (St Kilda VFLW), Lucy Northcott (knee) and Nicole Mark (maternity leave) all coming in, as well Tahlia Meyer crossing from rivals Norwood.

The Eagles have also lost a number of players, predominantly to SANFL Women’s rivals with Hannah Scholar and Taylor Hand heading to the Bloods, Jo Baltias, Rachel Dunstan and Aajiah Jerico to Sturt. The two biggest losses could be Natasha Farrier heading to ice hockey, and AFL Women’s Under-18 All Australian member Jaimi Tabb drafted to the Crows. She has already made her debut at AFL Women’s level, but could feature at some point depending on the Crows’ selection. Three players have joined the Eagles, with Rebecca Catterall coming over from Central District, Ali Evans from West Adelaide and Nicole Collie from North Adelaide which should provide some fresh faces on the field.

Both McKinnon and Campbell have been named in the Crows’ side for Round 2, with the Panthers unveiling as many nine new players named in the extended side. The Eagles also have plenty of fresh faces, with seven players coming in, while Tabb has been named in the center, though is also named in the Crows’ side on the extended bench. The young forward line duo of Kiana Lee and Teagan Usher will be one to watch, while up the other end, Teah Charlton is South Australia’s top Under-18 talent and will be one who can break a game open and with the likes of Czenya Cavouras and Indy Tahau in the midfield, expect the Panthers to be a bit too strong.

NORTH ADELAIDE vs. GLENELG
Saturday, February 15, 10.40am
X Convenience Oval

Opening up the first of a triple header at X Convenience Oval are two finalists from last year going head-to-head in what is predicted to be the match of the round. Both these sides have lost talent to the AFL Women’s so will look to their depth in order to provide the same impact at SANFL Women’s level. The Roosters went all the way to the SANFL Women’s Grand Final last season before falling to the Panthers – knocking out an Ebony Marinoff-inspired Tigers’ outfit on the way through to the deciding match. Glenelg looked down and out with a few weeks remaining in the season, but found the will to not give in, winning the last few matches and qualifying for fourth spot by pipping West Adelaide at the post.

In 2020, the Tigers will be without a couple of talls in Caitlin Gould and Lucy Bellinger, both of whom provided good presence around the ground and an ability to hit the scoreboard. With Brooke Trevena and Ellen Fauser also unavailable due to maternity leave, the Tigers will be short a few of the players that really them reach the post-season series. South Adelaide duo, Emily Woods and Grace Duffy will provide some great insight from the back-to-back premiers and earn more game time in the yellow and black, while Rachel Aistrope and Jessica Bates are two players who have come into the side after impressing at lower levels. They showed last season they have the defensive structures to keep sides to low scores, and if they can continue that blueprint into this season it will hold them in good stead.

For the Roosters, they have also been hit hard by their success with two of their best players heading up to the elite level and will not feature at this level again in 2020. Nadia Von Bertouch – who unfortunately did her knee on debut for St Kilda and will miss the season – was a natural leader, captaining the side to the grand final, while Brittany Perry has already had an influence for the SUNS up there. The Roosters have lost further experience with the retirements of Jane Altschwager and Emma Sampson, while Elysha Willis has turned her attention to her netball. A big including for the side will be the return of Kristi Harvey who impressed in her time at Carlton VFLW, joining the likes of Panther Mollie McKendrick, Blood Taylor Gordon and Redleg Stana Zecevic and Northern Territory’s Elise Fenna making the trip down.

The Roosters have opted for Harvey to hold down full-back in this match, with last year’s leading goalkicker, Kelly Barltrop the other bookend. She is hard to stop when on song, and with Cristie Castle, Ashleigh Woodland and Amber Ward rounding out the spine, the Roosters are predicted to be very strong again. Of all the players to run out in the red and white, it would be hard for anyone to beat 38-year-old Bek Rasheed‘s story. The daughter of club great and games record holder Mick Redden, Rasheed will make her debut at the club as starting ruck with the 42 guernsey that her father wore over his 379 games. Looking over Glenelg’s Round 1 side, youngster Madisyn Freeman will be a key talent coming off half-back, joining forces with Lucy Armitage in defence, while Sam Franson up the other end could apply some scoreboard pressure. Despite the departures, North still seems like a genuine contender so will start as favourite here.

STURT vs. WEST ADELAIDE
Saturday, February 15, 12.25pm
X Convenience Oval

Last year’s fifth and sixth go at it in the second game at X Convenience Oval with the Double Blues taking on the Bloods. West Adelaide came agonisingly close to finals in 2019 but were narrowly shafted in the final round as the Tigers leapt up and claimed fourth. Sturt on the other hand showed signs early in the season – including a low-scoring win over Glenelg – but were ultimately not able to roll anyone else other than the two expansion sides in other matches. Of all sides heading into the new season, Sturt has been relatively untouched in terms of departures, while the Bloods also have a number of additions likely to strengthen its squad to make a run at the finals in 2020.

Sturt only has two confirmed departures from last season, with Lilla Berry and Della Griffith travelling overseas and focusing on other sports respectively. The Double Blues were one of only two sides – with Central District – not to lose a player to the AFL Women’s competition through the draft. They have managed to pick up some of the Eagles’ depth in Baltias, Dunstan and Jerico, while finding a couple of X-factors in cross-coders, Ally Ladas (soccer) and Stephanie Ratliff (basketball). Louise Firth makes the step up to the SANFL Women’s from Scotch Old Collegians, and then there’s an extra year of development into the Double Blues’ youngsters such as Zoe Prowse. Based on the changes to the list, the experience gained and the inclusions, Sturt could move up in the right direction with a number of its rivals losing quality players over the off-season.

For the Westies, Madison Newman and Chelsea Biddell were both drafted into the AFL Women’s in last year’s draft and will only be available when not running around with the Crows. Much like the other draftees, based on Adelaide’s lengthy injury list and the fact that some like Newman had outstanding debuts, you cannot expect them to always be available for state league level. Evans is one of three others to depart the club with Gordon heading north and the experienced Leah Swain off due to maternity leave. Coming into the team is a couple of Eagles in Hand and Scholar, as well as Norwood’s Zoe Greer and returning from NT Thunder, Rachael Killian. Her experience from the VFL Women’s competition will be important and expect her to player a crucial role. Kate Walsh is the other addition to the side, coming up from SMOSH West Lakes to try her hand at the top level in South Australia.

Five players will make their debuts in the Double Blues, while former Eagle Dunstan has been named in the back pocket. The midfield combination of Georgia Bevan and Maya Rigter will make it challenging for the opposition, while Alex Ballard and Lucy Griffith have been named on opposing wings. They take on Greer, youngster Abbie Ballard and Rachelle Martin onball, with the latter of whom has one of the more interesting footballing stories already this year. She got the chance to represent the Crows at the elite level in Round 1 due to the mounting injury toll, and no doubt that experience will hold her in good stead here. West Adelaide will likely be favourite for the depth across the ground such as full-forward Melanie Elsegood who can help kick a winning score, but this is predicted to be the best game of the round.

CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. NORWOOD
Saturday, February 15, 2.10pm
X Convenience Oval

The game fans at X Convenience Oval will be waiting for is the return to the SANFL Women’s competition of Central District. The only side playing at its home ground during the triple header, the Bulldogs will hope to improve on their seventh placed finish in 2019 with a tough challenge up first. The Redlegs have been one of the most successful teams in the SANFL Women’s era, having won a flag then finishing runner-up and claiming the minor premiership last year before a semi-final exit. They always find a way to be there at the pointy end of the season, though 2020 will provide a new challenge given the amount of departures – including a change of coach – as talent breeds talent.

From the Bulldogs’ perspective, just Catterall (Woodville-West Torrens) and Courtney Jensen (work) have departed the club, with a quartet of relatively unknown quantities coming into the club from the next tier down in South Australian football. Abbie Thomas, Shelby Smith, Madison Kalleske and Hannah Bevington have opted to don the red, white and blue for season 2020 and while they might not have SANFL Women’s experience, the Bulldogs are growing a good young list to compete over the next few seasons.

Norwood on the other hand, has had a high turnover of players due to its successful few years, led by last year’s league best and fairest winner, Najwa Allen drafted by the Crows. Hannah Dunn has already made her debut for Gold Coast SUNS, as has Hannah Priest at St Kilda, while Ebony O’Dea joined former coach Steve Symonds at Collingwood through the AFL Women’s Draft. These departures coupled with the fact Monique Hollick has headed overseas for work, Jane Fitzgerald has retired and a trio of others have left in search of an increased role means the Redlegs will be a very different looking outfit in 2020. Chloe Meyer has joined the club from the Simon Black Academy, while Georgia Avery and Shanae Walker are another couple of inclusions to try and replace those out of the side.

The Bulldogs will head into the new season confident they can cause an upset against a new-look Norwood side. With Katelyn Rosenzweig up forward, the Sonneman sisters (Demi and Jayme-Lee) down back with Kimberley Fry, they will likely benefit from last year’s experience. For the Redlegs, they still have talent all across the park, but the midfield is largely different to its dominant one from last season, with Elisha Gallagher, young star Bella Smith and Michele Reid now replacing Allen, Dunn and O’Dea. Sophie Armistead will help hold down defence with Jo Hill to try and contain the dangerous Bulldogs’ forwards. This is an intriguing game because the Redlegs have the depth from last season to still compete, but it will almost be like being a brand new side again, while Central has remained relatively the same which should excite fans going forward.

SANFL Women’s 2020 team preview: North Adelaide

IN our next South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s team preview, we take a look at North Adelaide, grand finalists from last year who will hope to go one step further in 2020 despite a number of off-season departures.

 

2019 BY THE NUMBERS:

Position: 3rd
Wins: 7
Losses: 3
For: 480
Against: 241
Percentage: 199.2%

 

2020 CHANGES

(as per Zak Milbank’s article on the SANFL site)

IN: Kristi Harvey (returned/Carlton VFLW), Mollie McKendrick (South Adelaide), Tayla Gordon (West Adelaide), Stana Zecevic (Norwood), Bek Rasheed (Orroroo), Elise Fenna (NT), Katelyn Pope (Broadview).
OUT: Nadia Von Bertouch (St Kilda AFLW), Brittany Perry (Gold Coast AFLW), Jane Altschwager (retired/coaching), Emma Sampson (retired/coaching), Elysha Willis (netball), Nicole Collie (Woodville-West Torrens).

 

FIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH

KELLY BARLTROP

The SANFL Women’s leading goalkicker was near unstoppable in 2019, booting 29 goals in 13 games at an average of 2.2 goals per game. While she is that stay at home forward averaging five touches per game, she kicked goals in 10 of her 13 matches, including two hauls of five and a bag of four. She will still be disappointed by last year’s Grand Final performance where she had just the one touch in the Roosters’ loss, but if she can show the kind of form that helped her side get to the post-season series, then watch out.

AMBER WARD

One of the brightest young stars last season, the running defender averaged 12.5 disposals at 82 per cent efficiency. While she missed out on being drafted as a top-ager in 2019, Ward could have the extra motivation this year and add to her Team of the Year accolade last season. She had almost five rebounds per game, including a season-high 23 disposals in the Preliminary Final win over Norwood, also picking up eight rebounds. One of the best in the Grand Final loss to South, Ward had 16 touches and eight rebounds, as well as three marks and five tackles. One to really watch in 2020.

LAUREN DANIEL

The experienced midfielder provided a consistent presence through the middle for her side last season, earning a Team of the Year nomination thanks to averaging 15 disposals per game at 74 per cent efficiency. She had three consecutive games of 20 disposals or more, and picked up a solid 15 touches and booted a goal in the Grand Final. With the departures leaving an experience void, expect the 32-year-old to step up and lead some of her younger teammates on-field.

Ashleigh Woodland

Having reached the highest level by playing AFL Women’s, the former Melbourne player returns to the club where she played 11 games back in 2018. She also managed a couple of games last season, but will be back full-time after unfortunately being delisted by the Demons at the end of last season. A somewhat wildcard for the Roosters, she has the potential to step it up a notch in the absence of other departures and lead the side through on-field experience. Versatility is the key with Woodland and will be a player to keep an eye on in 2020.

KRISTI HARVEY

The return of the versatile tall from Carlton’s Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s side will be a welcome one with the Blues’ captain adding a further element of experience to the list and will provide the replacement for the departing Von Bertouch. Expect her to provide some support in defence given the Roosters strength in attack, though she can play equally as well up either end and provide a contested marking target for her teammates to crumb at her feet or run out of defence up the other end.

FIXTURE

1 vs. Glenelg
2 vs. Central District
3 vs. West Adelaide
4 vs. South Adelaide
5 vs. Sturt
6 vs. Glenelg
7 vs. Norwood
8 vs. WWT Eagles
9 vs. Sturt
10 vs. Central District

North Adelaide has a favourable draw with its double-ups in 2020, playing bottom three sides, Woodville-West Torrens and Sturt twice, as well as a Glenelg side that has lost three of its top stars for 2020. They do not face reigning premiers South Adelaide until Round 4, and powerhouses Norwood in Round 7. Finishing the season with the three bottom sides from last year will give them confidence if they can be in contention for a top four spot with that run home. The Roosters will be without 2019 captain, Nadia Von Bertouch as well as Brittany Perry who both landed on AFL Women’s lists, as well as the retirements of Jane Altschwager and Emma Sampson, so North Adelaide will look for others to stand up in their absence.

AFLW U18 Championship previews: Central Allies

IN the second of two previews ahead of the first round of the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, we take a look at South Australia and Northern Territory who clash tomorrow and Sunday in their two games which will help determine the final Central Allies squad. The Central Allies then fly to Queensland to take on the Eastern Allies, Western Australia and Queensland from July 8-12. Below we take a look at some of the key players to watch.

Abbie Ballard (West Adelaide/South Australia)

The talented bottom-ager was identified as one to watch from last year, and despite her smaller size of 159cm, the 17 year-old showed no signs of being outmuscled by bigger opponents in season 2019. In the SANFL Women’s competition, Ballard averaged 16.1 disposals, 4.1 clearances and a massive 5.4 tackles in her 10 games, becoming a defensive barometer for the Bloods. In every game, Ballard laid at least four tackles, and laid six or more on four occasions. She will likely rotate through the midfield laying some bone-crunching tackles and applying serious defensive pressure to the opposition.

Mattea Breed (Darwin/Northern Territory)

A talented player from a young age, Breed stormed to a massive win in the NTFL Under 18 Girls Best and Fairest award in 2016/17, polling 30 votes to run away with the medal. In case anyone thought that might have been a one-off, she backed it up with a second medal win a year later with another dominant season. She could well have won a third consecutive medal had she not been finally called up to the Buffettes Premier League side in the 2018/19 season, leading after eight rounds despite not playing since Round 5. She ended up playing 10 consecutive matches for the senior side and will get her chance to shine here.

Dominique Carbone (Darwin/Northern Territory)

The co-captain of Northern Territory has been a driven individual and one who is capable of juggling multiple sports, coming with a basketball background. She won two premiership at Under 18s level in the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) and stepped up to play seven matches for the Buffettes in season 2018/19.

Teah Charlton (South Adelaide/South Australia)

Still a middle-ager and with a year in the system to go, Charlton really stepped up in the SANFL Women’s competition for South Adelaide. Charlton started the season as a dynamic forward, and eventually pushed up into the midfield, booting 11 goals in 12 games and averaging 15.8 disposals per match. Eight of her goals came in three games, including two bags of three, while she might have had even more against Norwood, booting 0.5 in Round 9. Named as the competition’s Breakthrough Player for 2019, Charlton remarkably made the Team of the Year as a 17-year-old and slotted into the forward pocket.

Bella Clarke (Southern Districts/Northern Territory)

The Northern Territory co-captain is a player with good skill and composure, and one who will bring the experience of playing in the Women’s Premier League 2018/19 Grand Final. She was described by Academy Manager Heidi Thompson as one who is an excellent role model with a high work ethic. While merging states together to form a team will always be tough, expect Clarke to be able to slot into the side for a second straight year after being named in the Central Allies in 2018.

Kimberley Fry (Central District/South Australia)

The centre half-back enjoyed a terrific season for the Bulldogs in a two-win year. Holding down a key post in defence, Fry was not a huge disposal winner (9.3 per game), but her hard work and defensive pressure was a standout. Fry averaged 3.8 tackles per game and became known for her clean spoiling, earning her a place in the SANFL Women’s Team of the Year at centre half-back alongside Jaimi Tabb, Madison Newman and Amber Ward in defence.

Madeline Gault (Waratah/Northern Territory)

The overager is one of the few from Northern Territory with AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships experience, having played last year. While unsuccessful in her quest to find an AFL Women’s home, Gault put the disappointment aside to be one of the best players at Waratah, finishing second in the league best and fairest for the club behind Lisa Roberts – who was runner-up overall. Gault is a tough midfielder who was noted by us last year as playing a vital role in defence.

Montana McKinnon (South Adelaide/South Australia)

The AFL Women’s Academy ruck is the standout ruck prospect in this year’s draft, and stood tall at last year’s championships against a number of eventually drafted ruck choices in Rene Caris (Geelong) and Lauren Bella (Brisbane). McKinnon has progressed into the South Adelaide senior side this year and has been a standout performer across the season, and is known for her ability to work around the ground. She not only impacts in the ruck, but wins clearances, lays tackles and can drift forward and kick goals. Not only will she likely be the one to watch in terms of rucks, but will be key to giving her midfielders first use.

Shantel Miskin-Ripia (Nightcliff/Northern Territory)

Another player who stood out in Coffs Harbour in the matches against New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory, Miskin-Ripia is one to watch against South Australia as an exciting player with good composure and ball use. Like many of the Northern Territory players, she has not been able to test herself against some of the best players in the country yet, but is an identified talent who could stand up here.

Hannah Munyard (South Adelaide/South Australia)

The South Adelaide midfielder has a nice combination of athleticism and hardness at the ball, dominating at the South Australian pre-season testing event – finishing top three in every athletic test – and then bringing that form into the season. In a stacked Panthers midfield, Munyard managed 16.3 disposals at 75 per cent efficiency, as well as 2.5 marks, 2.7 clearances and three inside 50s, often pumping the ball long from midfield to forward and creating chances inside 50. A high endurance base makes her hard to stop, and Munyard was named on the wing in the SANFL Women’s Team of the Year.

Madison Newman (West Adelaide/South Australia)

The most elite kick in the team, Newman averaged 18.7 disposals at 99 per cent efficiency in the SANFL Women’s competition. No that is not a typo – 99 per cent efficiency – coming out of the back half for the Bloods. Of those 18.7 disposals, 17.3 were kicks, while also having 5.9 rebounds and 2.7 inside 50s. Along with Amber Ward, will provide plenty of rebound for South Australia and the Central Allies, and be a player teammates look to get the ball in the hands of regularly. Unsurprisingly, her terrific work out of defence saw Newman earn a spot in the SANFL Women’s Team of the Year in the back pocket.

Jaimi Tabb (Woodville-West Torrens/South Australia)

The other AFL Women’s Academy member along with McKinnon is a player who has been a strong leader in a winless side in the SANFL Women’s competition this year. She plays between midfield and defence, and can be an instrumental onballer who finds plenty of it. Averaged 14.6 disposals at 79 per cent efficiency, while laying a massive 5.4 tackles and recording 3.1 clearances in 2019. Having played last year, Tabb is another South Australian with experience at the championships. Despite managing just seven of a possible 10 games, Tabb was named in the SANFL Women’s Team of the Year on the half-back flank.

Indy Tahau (South Adelaide/South Australia)

The teenager was a revelation for the youthful and exciting premiers, standing up on the biggest stage to win the Best on Ground in the 2019 SANFL Women’s Grand Final. Tahau booted eight goals in her 12 games, but saved her best until last with 20 disposals, five tackles, six inside 50s, three hitouts and two goals in the Panthers’ triumphant grand final win over North Adelaide. At 180cm and still a middle-ager, expect there to be plenty of development left in Tahau.

Amber Ward (North Adelaide/South Australia)

Ward became a key player in North Adelaide’s defence, and a rebounding machine all season, averaging 4.6 rebounds to go with her 12.5 disposals. Named in the SANFL Women’s Team of the Year at full-back, Ward is another defender along with Newman who uses the ball well – 82 per cent efficiency – and is strong when not in possession. Ward is rarely beaten one-on-one and will be another to watch at the championships for her ability to both shut down an opponent and drive the ball forward.

Stephanie Williams (Darwin/Northern Territory)

The lightning runner is still a middle-ager and a year to go in the system, but has already shown some nice highlights in the NTFL. Williams won the 100m Sprint Race just over 12 months ago at half-time in the Women’s Premier League Grand Final. She has been an important player for the Buffettes in their back-to-back premierships at Under 18s level.