Tag: ashleigh woodland

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.

Weekend preview: SANFL Women’s – Round 10

AFTER an entertaining nine rounds, everything comes down to the final week with five teams attempting to squeeze into four in what is set to be an entertaining Round 10 of football in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition. The only guarantee is Norwood has locked up the minor premiership, with a double-chance on offer for North Adelaide with a win, and a loss to South Adelaide, who will have stiff opposition in West Adelaide with Bloods having to win to book a finals place. Their poor percentage means a loss will certainly see them drop out of the four assuming Glenelg can topple the winless Woodville-West Torrens. For the Eagles, Sturt and Central District, they cannot make finals, but they can certainly shape the top four if they throw spanners in the works with upsets.

STURT vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
Saturday May 4, 10.45am
Peter Motley Oval

In the first game on Saturday, the only guarantee is that North Adelaide will play finals, and Sturt will not. With a massive percentage of 184, the Roosters have been the dominant scoring team since being 1-3 after four rounds. They have strung together five straight wins, albeit against lower sides, and this is no different with a match against the bottom three side Sturt. With all bottom three sides facing finals hopefuls, it will be a tough ask for them to get up and cause an upset, meaning Sturt will likely finish six ahead of the two newcomers. A win would be a just reward for the Double Blues’ efforts this season, but there is much more on the line for North Adelaide. If the Roosters win, and West Adelaide cause an upset against the Panthers, and North Adelaide slides into second spot, and the double chance. The Roosters percentage is better than South Adelaide, but are a game behind and therefore must win to take the spot. If Glenelg does make it into the finals series, it will mean the Roosters are surrounded by the only three teams they have lost to, but they were incredibly close contests. The last time North Adelaide and Sturt faced off was in Round 2, with the Roosters getting the win in a seven-point contest. It was North Adelaide’s only victory in the first four rounds, while Sturt had to wait until Round 5 for its first triumph. In the Round 2 clash, Roosters’ captain Nadia Von Bertouch lead from the front with 20 disposals, four marks, four clearances and six inside 50s, while Kelly Barltrop announced herself as a genuine leading goalkicker this season with five straight snags from six kicks. For Sturt, Georgia Bevan was her characteristic dominant self, picking up 24 touches as well as eight clearances, three inside 50s and two rebounds. Looking ahead to this weekend, both sides have been forced to make a couple of changes with Ashleigh Woodland injured and Julia Clark unavailable for North, while for Sturt, Jess Schulz and Casey Fraser will miss the Double Blues’ final game of the season. Into the underdogs side comes forwards, Zoe Prowse and Holly Temby, while Paige Allan is a massive inclusion for the Roosters for an already brimming midfield. The midfield battle will be the highlight of the game, with Bevan, Maya Rigter and Caitlyn Swanson going head-to-head with the likes of Allan, Brittany Perry and Kat Reynolds. The Roosters’ forward line is dynamic and hard to stop, with Barltrop leading the way, although Cristie Castle and Leah Tynan have both been able to find avenues to go, and the likes of Paxton Davis-Mattner and Hannah Prenzler will be keen to restrict those players. Up the other end of the ground, Georgia Swan, Nicole Baker and Alex Ballard can cause their own headaches for the Roosters’ defence. but Amber Ward has been as consistent as they come this season, so look to her for plenty of rebound, whereas the Double Blues will be keen to shut her down in this match. North Adelaide have to be overwhelming favourites in this game. The Roosters could take second with a win, but could also drop to fourth with a loss, so everything is on the line, and as far and away the highest scoring team, they should have too much firepower for the Double Blues.

CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. NORWOOD
Saturday May 4, 12.20pm
Alberton Oval

The second game of the round pits minor premiers Norwood up against Central District at Alberton Oval at a touch just after midday. It is the only game of the round that does not have a bearing on the finals race, with Norwood having locked up top spot a couple of weeks ago, and could even afford to lose to second placed South Adelaide in Round 9. If there is anything we have come to know about champion teams that have a rare loss, it is that they are fully determined to atone for that loss the next week, which could spell trouble for the Bulldogs. Central District could jump ahead of Sturt with a victory, but cannot fall lower than seventh on the table, safe in the knowledge that fellow newcomer to the competition, Woodville-West Torrens has taken out the wooden spoon for season 2019. These two teams do not have to look far to find the last time they faced off, with the Round 7 match going comfortably the way of the Redlegs. After keeping touch with them in the ladder leaders in the first half, Central District eventually relented as Norwood piled on six consecutive goals before the Bulldogs booted their second major, resulting in a 38-point win to the favourites. Najwa Allen suffered a bout of leather poisoning on the day, racking up 30 touches as well as nine marks, two clearances, three inside 50s, two rebounds and 2.2 in a best afield performance. Hannah Dunn and Monique Hollick both had 22 touches and combined for 13 marks and eight inside 50s, while Central’s Jayme-Lee Sonneman did all she could in the ruck with 17 hitouts and eight clearances to go with 13 disposals. Gemma Doughty (13 disposals, four rebounds) and Shannen Solly (12 disposals, three rebounds) also stood up in defence for the losing side. Heading into this match, Central has made at least four changes, with Laitiah Huynh – the Bulldogs’ highest disposal winner in these sides’ last match – back into the team, while Norwood has lost Alison Ferrall to injury, with Jane Fitzgerald coming into a forward pocket. The game may lack the finals-defining quality of the other games over the weekend, but the Redlegs will still have plenty to focus on, finishing the season on a high and heading into a clash with either South Adelaide – who the Redlegs lost to in Round 9 – or the red-hot scoring machine that is North Adelaide. Either way Norwood will have a tough task and will be keen to take care of business in this game. It is spoken about each week in this preview, but the ridiculous depth in the Redlegs midfield is sensational with Allen, Hollick and Dunn, as well as former Adelaide midfielder, Sally Riley, as well as Hannah Priest, Tahlia Meyer and Sophie Armitstead rolling through there. Matilda Zander and Rhiannon Busch have had some terrific games, while Jo Hill and Bella Smith make up a strong key defensive combination, and Leah Cutting is a dominant ruck. Along with the other top three sides, Norwood has all the hallmarks of a premiership side. Central have the beginnings of a great side, but are not quite there. Katelyn Rosenzweig is a developing key forward, the Sonneman sisters (Jayme-Lee and Demi) are always key players in the side, while Kimberley Fry, Chantel Reynolds and Danielle Stewart have all had their moments throughout 2019. It is almost impossible to look past Norwood in this clash. Everyone is hoping the Bulldogs can finish off their season with a strong performance, although with Norwood casting an eye ahead to the next few weeks in what will be a big finals series, the Redlegs must play with finals intensity so expect them to come away with a comfortable win.

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. WEST ADELAIDE
Saturday May 4, 4.15pm
Flinders University Stadium

The most finals-defining game of the round is that between South Adelaide and West Adelaide, for the simple reason that both teams have so much to gain, and to lose by the result. If South Adelaide triumphs, the Panthers secure second spot and a double chance to try and topple Norwood for the second time in three weeks when they face off in the semi-final next weekend. That result would likely see West Adelaide tumble out of the four with Glenelg taking on the winless Woodville-West Torrens. Despite being a win ahead of the Tigers, the Westies have the worst percentage of any finals hopeful, and it is now coming back to bite them. If however, the Bloods can get up in the game, they will secure a finals birth, and, if North Adelaide somehow drops its game wot Sturt, can even take third on the table. In that scenario, South Adelaide would still retain second, but in the much more likely scenario, the Roosters would have their way with the Double Blues, snatching second spot at the expense of the Panthers in the process. So all in all, this game has everything on the line which makes for a fascinating contest. The last time these teams met was back on March 1 in Round 3 when the Panthers got the job done in a 16-point win. Czenya Cavouras was easily best on ground in the win, amassing 29 disposals, and having a whopping nine clearances, five inside 50s and laying 10 tackles. Teah Charlton showed promise as she has all season, racking up 19 disposals and booting a goal alongside Adelaide midfielder, Nikki Gore. Montana McKinnon was superb in the ruck with 23 hitouts, four clearances and five of her seven marks contested. For West Adelaide, Abbie Ballard had a team-high 18 touches, as well as four clearances, three inside 50s and six tackles, while sharp shooter, Chelsea Biddell snagged two majors from 13 disposals and five marks (two contested). Looking ahead to this weekend, on paper, South Adelaide has the stronger side, the depth across the ground is terrific and the midfield up there with Norwood in terms of both ability and depth. They don’t have a dominant forward like some teams, relying on contributions from not only forwards, but midfielders as well. West Adelaide have Biddell who has shown herself to be capable of kicking a bag on her day when she is on fire, but she will not be there to help them in this clash. The Bloods have made at least three changes to their side, with full-back Kelly Whittaker and forward Ashlea Brown among the inclusions to the side with Leah Swain among those out of the team. For the Panthers, they will miss the impact of Lauren Buchanan who did her knee, but will welcome back Emogen Johnson and Brooklyn Kraft to the forward line, and Samantha Pratt into defence. While Ballard and ball magnet Rachelle Martin can be huge influences for their team, the likes of Cavouras, Hannah Munyard, Elyse Haussen and Nicole Campbell form a dominant midfield brigade, and one of the few that can go toe-for-toe with Norwood’s star-studded line-up. For the likes of Charlton, Munyard and McKinnon, they will have the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships coming up over the next couple of months and will be keen to continue their great form, while from a team perspective, will be excited to tackle the imminent finals series. The Bloods know a loss will more than likely mean the end of their season after sitting in the top four for the entire season, which would leave a bitter taste in their mouths. Melanie Elsegood and Emma Smith will be the ones needing to pile scores on the board for the Bloods, while Maddie Newman and Lauren Rodato will hope to provide good rebound out of defence. Helen Maidment and Rebecca Owen can add to the movement in transition on the outside, but face a stiff opposition this weekend. South Adelaide are the team to beat at the moment having slayed the top side last round, but West Adelaide must be respected as they have done enough thus far to put themselves in a position to contend for finals.

GLENELG vs. WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS
Saturday May 4, 5.15pm
ACH Group Stadium

The final game of the round is another match with huge consequences for one side, as Glenelg battles to snatch fourth spot. The Tigers need to win against the winless Eagles, who are unable to move off the bottom of the table, but could end their season on a high with their inaugural victory. The biggest problem the Eagles will have in achieving this feat comes in Adelaide Crows star, Ebony Marinoff who simply dominated last week, picking up the most disposals of any player this season, in her debut. She is a class above and will be one that has to be watched and restricted if the Eagles are to be any chance in this match. These two teams first met in Round 1 with Glenelg coming off a wooden spoon but victory in Round 1, and Woodville-West Torrens playing its first match in the competition. Despite hitting the front late in the first quarter courtesy of a Kiana Lee goal, the Eagles were no match for the Tigers as Glenelg piled on six of the last seven goals of the match to record a comfortable 35-point victory. The versatile Lucy Bellinger had 23 disposals, 10 marks (two contested), four inside 50s, five tackles and two goals, while Ellen Fauser and Samantha Franson both booted a goal from 15 disposals. For the Eagles, Jaimi Tabb had a strong performance through the midfield with 17 disposals, five clearances and five inside 50s, while Georgia Taylor played her best game of the season, rebounding the ball nine times while clocking up 17 disposals in the loss. Looking to the final game of the season on Saturday, Hannah Crump and Tamsyn Morriss have been brought in as some extra firepower for the Tigers, with no confirmed outs as of yet. For the Eagles, Rachel Dunstan returns to the side on an extended bench, with Courtney Plowman and Eboni Tiller also named there, while Jo Baltais has slotted into the ruck to allow Taylor McKay to play forward and provide some much needed height inside 50. When looking at the sides on paper, it is hard to look past the influence Marinoff will have, and the importance for the Eagles to send a player to watch her all game. It will not be easy, but if the likes of Natalie Subelli and Natasha Farrier can continue their good form, then it opens up possibilities for the underdogs. Lee is a future star and will find the ball wherever it foes inside 50, while Taylor has been playing forward of late and could be an X-factor in there, as could Tabb who will provide fresh legs off the bench and run all day while finding the pill. Tesharna Maher and Stephanie Walker are the defenders Woodville-West Torrens needs to provide the movement out of the back half, while still minding the likes of Bellinger and Lucy Armitage who can be dangerous forwards. Tess Morcom and Franson are consistent key defenders, while Gould can rotate through the ruck or defence, and Madisyn Freeman has the run to help the Tigers out of trouble. Glenelg would be the overwhelming favourites in this game given their position, the Eagles’ position and the finals predicament that the home side faces, not to mention the star quality they have with Marinoff in the team. The Eagles need to play at their best to secure their first win, but with so much on the line for Glenelg, it is hard to see them slipping up in this contest.

Weekend preview: SANFL Women’s – Round 9

THE PENULTIMATE round of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s season is here, with finals spots up for grabs as five teams fight for four spots, and wins for West Adelaide and Glenelg in particular become of the upmost importance.

NORTH ADELAIDE vs. CENTRAL DISTRICT
Friday, April 19, 4.15pm
Prospect Oval

The Roosters have been in ripping form of late and after a slow start to the year which saw North Adelaide start 1-3, last year’s minor premiers have strung four games on the trot to not only all but guarantee a finals spot, but keep the heat on second placed South Adelaide who are just one win ahead. For Central District, their finals dream was doused last week, but there is still plenty of pride in performance on the line as the Bulldogs look to leapforg Sturt into sixth place if they can muster an unlikely away win. North have brought back Melbourne AFL Women’s player Ashleigh Woodland who has returned to the half-back flank alongside Amber Ward and the duo will no doubt make it hard for the Bulldogs to score. The Roosters have lost Paige Allen to a hamstring, while winger Erica Greet also comes into the side among three changes. The Bulldogs have named an extended bench which includes Taryn Wills and Shannen Solly who return to the side, while the Bulldogs were forced to make a change with their half-back general, Gemma Doughty out of the team with a knee injury. The Bulldogs will look to Katelyn Rosenzweig up forward, while Chantelle Reynolds and Abbey Scheer are among the consistent performers thus far, while sisters, Jayme-Lee Sonneman and Demi Sonneman have been crucial cogs since coming into the club this season. For North, they have the dominant Kelly Barltrop who leads all-comers in the goalkicking and beside her is Brittany Perry and Cristie Castle who are potent in attack, while Nadia Von Bertouch has enjoyed her time at half-forward leading the troops, with Jane Altschwager dominant in the ruck and Leah Tynan consistent in midfield. With a strong line-up across the park, North should get the job done here, while Central will miss Doughty who has been an important player in their side.

WEST ADELAIDE vs. WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS
Friday, April 19, 5.15pm
City Mazda Stadium

West Adelaide hold the coveted fourth spot in the SANFL Women’s competition with Glenelg biting at the Bloods’ heels to sneak into the final four. The Bloods face the winless Woodville-West Torrens Eagles in this clash and will be keen to take the points and set up a huge final round. Youngster Jaimi Tabb has returned for the Eagles to join Kiana Lee in the forward line with the midfielder Tabb looking to add extra firepower up front. Jess Wilson also comes into the forward line amongst at least four changes for the underdog, with Annastasia Falkenberg forced out of the team due to a finger injury. The Eagles have some good developing talent in the team, but have not been able to sustain their intensity for four quarters, with blow-outs often not reflective of the effort, more lapses in play. Natalie Subelli and Natasha Farrier will hope to win the midfield battle, while Stephanie Walker and Tesharna Maher will hope to provide some good movement out of defence. Chelsea Biddell and Melanie Elsegood are a dominant key forward duo, and the likes of Ashlee Reid and Colbie Frankland could have their work cut out for them. For West Adelaide, Kasia Culhane will miss after a great 18-disposal, five-clearance game last week; she has succumbed to a shoulder injury. The big return – both literally and metaphorically – for the the home side is Leah Swain who will be an important presence in the ruck. She, along with Alexandra Mason in the forward pocket, join five potential inclusions on an extended interchange bench. Maddie Newman is the one to watch in defence, sure to rebound time and time again, while through the midfield, Rachelle Martin and Abbie Ballard lead an underrated group who can match it with most sides. West Adelaide have much more to play for and should grab the points in this one, although the Eagle could enjoy spoiling the finals party for their opponents.

GLENELG vs. STURT
Friday, April 19, 7.15pm
ACH Group Stadium

The inclusion of the round, and arguably the season by far is that of Ebony Marinoff, the Adelaide Crows’ star onballer who slots into the Glenelg midfield for her first local game in a few years. Marinoff supported the Tigers growing up and now will run out for Glenelg at home as they try and keep in touch with West Adelaide in the penultimate round. She is joined by ruck, Rhiley Ritchie and Hannah Crump in the side, while Sturt have opted for an unchanged line-up for this game. Sturt’s season unofficially came to an end last week when its hopes for finals were dashed. A win here and the Double Blues can dash those of Glenelg fans too. It will be more than a tough ask for the visitors, with Georgia Bevan, Maya Rigter and Caitlyn Swanson a strong trio onball, but coming up against Marinoff will make the Tigers hard to combat. Throw in the likes of Ellen Fauser and Charlotte Dawe and the Tigers are still solid through midfield. Glenelg is one of the teams which does not have a particular strength, rather relying on efforts across the ground with Tess Morcom and Samantha Franson making a consistent key defensive duo, Lucy Bellinger providing the firepower up forward, and Madisyn Freeman and crucial key position player, Caitlin Gould also have great seasons. All eyes will be on Marinoff given the midfielder had the most touches at AFL Women’s level in a game this season, so seeing what she could do at state level will be reminiscent of the time Nathan Buckley suited up for Williamstown and packed out the stadium – hopefully we see the same at ACH Group Stadium. The Double Blues have a strong midfield, while Alex Ballard has been a talent in defence, and Georgia Swan and Nicole Baker good in the forward half. If they can win the midfield battle while controlling Marinoff, the Double Blues are a solid chance, but like West Adelaide in the previous game, Glenelg have a lot more at stake and should grab the points.

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. NORWOOD
Saturday, April 20, 1pm
Flinders University Stadium

The final game of the round and standalone match is that of the top two sides going head-to-head in what could be a Grand Final preview. Last year’s premiers host last year’s grand finalists in what is shaping up to be a sensational clash. Both teams have taken different approaches to their team selection, with South Adelaide making at least seven changes compared to Norwood’s one confirmed change. Both have crucial players returning, with ball-winner and Adelaide Crows midfielder, Nikki Gore coming into the Panthers line-up alongside Mykala Walker-Murphy who booted a bag of four goals earlier in the season. Also returning to the Panthers are defenders Emily Brockhurst and Tiffany Copley, while Rhiannon Busch comes into the fold for Norwood, as does recently departed Crow, Sally Riley. The Panthers will be smiting at their second defeat of the season last weekend when they went down to Glenelg having defeated them a week earlier, while the Redlegs are yet to taste defeat and will look to secure top spot with a victory here. Norwood won the clash between the powerhouses in Round 1, and have had such a settled team throughout the season. Their midfield is the best in the competition, and the inclusion of Riley allows Ellen Maple Medallist Najwa Allen to play forward which is a fantastic luxury to have. Add in Matilda Zander and Hannah Priest in attack, and the defensive rebound duo of Sophie Armitstead and Monique Hollick in defence, and the Redlegs are covered at both ends. Leah Cutting provides first use to her midfielders including Busch and Hannah Dunn, but she will have to contend with the athletic, Montana McKinnon who is a terrific emerging talent. Their young and talented midfield at South Adelaide include Hannah Munyard and Teah Charlton who get forward and apply scoreboard pressure, while Czenya Cavouras, Elyse Haussen and Nicole Campbell make the Panthers have the best depth of anyone in the competition. Basically, the best top-end midfield going against the deepest midfield makes for a fascinating contest. Norwood deservedly go in as favourites for this game, while South Adelaide would have geared itself up for this match as both sides look to go deep in finals. With North Adelaide breathing down the Panthers’ necks, South will hope to get the job done and secure second spot.

Weekend preview: SANFL Women’s – Round 6

WE are passing the midway point of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s season as Round 6 gets completed over the weekend. Norwood hope to continue its unbeaten streak against Glenelg, while Woodville-West Torrens is the only side without a win, and face a tough task against South Adelaide on Sunday.

 

NORWOOD vs. GLENELG
Saturday, March 30, 10.40am
Peter Motley Oval

The premiership favourites meet a side that has struggled to score in the past couple of weeks, in the first game of the round at Peter Motley Oval. For the Redlegs, they have answered every challenge thrown at them, and seem to be getting stronger as the season goes on, defeating West Adelaide by 63 points last week. Midfielder Rhiannon Busch returns to her side with Elisha Gallagher, while Sally Riley heads out of the team to prepare for Adelaide’s AFL Women’s Grand Final. The Tigers have brought in two players to the side that has not scored a goal since Round 3, with Ellen Fauser heading to centre half-back, while Milli Gentile has been named on an extended interchange bench. Since Glenelg’s third consecutive win – an impressive 15-point victory over North Adelaide – the Tigers have managed back-to-back games of just three behinds. With the Redlegs averaging 53 points per game in the past fortnight, both teams head into the game with very different form lines. Najwa Allen continued her fantastic season form last week, racking up 33 disposals to take her season average to 23.8, the league leader. Hannah Dunn has been equally as impressive finding the ball (19.6 disposals per game) with Monique Hollick not far behind (17). Norwood also has a versatile forward line without a sole dominant goalkicker given Allen (five goals) leads the team goalkicking. Glenelg’s Hannah Crump has booted four for the season but the scoring has dried up in the past two weeks. The battle within the battle will be between Norwood’s Leah Cutting and Glenelg’s Caitlin Gould who are one and two respectively in the hitout stakes, so getting first hands to the ball will be crucial. Gould also averages almost four clearances per game, the four most in the competition, just behind Redlegs’ Sophie Armitstead (4.2). Norwood will take strong favouritism into the game and look set to win its sixth straight match, while Glenelg will need to find an avenue to goal if the Tigers are to cause an upset.

STURT vs. WEST ADELAIDE
Saturday, March 30, 12.25pm
Peter Motley Oval

In the second game of the double header at Peter Motley Oval, Sturt is coming off its first win of the season, while West Adelaide sank to a disappointing defeat a the hands of the seemingly unstoppable Norwood. The Double Blues have had a rocky start to the season and their first win was an unconvinving two-point goalless win, but it was enough to get the points and now prepare for the rest of the season. Sturt has lost key player Georgia Bevan who will miss due to a wedding, while Zoe Prowse was injured last week. It will mean midfielders, Sophie Hoyle and Maya Rigter will have to shoulder more of the load in this game, while the return of Alex Ballard and Casey Fraser will sure up the defence, and Nicole Baker and Della Griffith‘s return will add some extra potency in attack. For the Bloods, they have made three changes with Kelly Whittaker returning to the side along with full-forward Megan Rich and Phoebe Edwards. West Adelaide will hope to look to Chelsea Biddell in order to get some early majors on the board, while Abbie Ballard and Maddie Newman will be crucial players in the team. Melanie Elsegood has been a rock in defence with Lauren Rodato, and the Westies defence will be keen to repel and set up forward attacks. For Sturt, they must win the midfield battle and get the ball inside 50 to create opportunities and try and get on the board if they are to go back-to-back in the wins column. West Adelaide is favourite for this clash, but Sturt will build on its confidence from last week to try and upset the Bloods here.

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. CENTRAL DISTRICT
Saturday, March 30, 4.15pm
Flinders University Stadium

Heading to the evening game, the red hot South Adelaide take on a Central District team that will be keen to get back on the winners list after losing last week following consecutive victories in Round 3 and Round 4. The Panthers have only lost to Norwood and are in fine form heading into the Round 6 clash to start incredibly warm favourites. They made light work of Central District last week with a nine-goal win after the Bulldogs got the jump of them kicking their only two goals of the game to start the game. The Panthers’ young brigade has been superb this seaon with Teah Charlton having a brilliant game last week courtesy of 24 disposals, five marks, a massive 16 tackles and three goals, while Hannah Munyard (20 disposals, five marks last week) and Montana McKinnon (equal second in hitouts so far this season) are consistently putting in strong performances. Tonia Filke is out of the Panthers side after doing her knee early last week, while four players have been added to an extended bench. The Panthers midfield is incredibly strong with Munyard, Nicole Campbell, Czenya Cavouras and Elyse Haussen able to control the midfield. Central District will be keen to get another win on the board this round, with Danielle Stewart (16 disposals per game) a key member of the side. With last year’s league leading goalkicker Katelyn Rosenzweig sitting in equal second, she will be the key to stopping the Bulldogs’ goals, while Charlton is just one behind Rosenzweig with seven majors thus far this season. Madison Bennett is one of many South Adelaide players who have got on the board this seaon, scoring three goals to be next behind Charlton. The Panthers are looking incredible at the moment and they will be a hard team to stop, and the Bulldogs will need to put on their best performance to cause an upset.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
Sunday, March 31, 4.15pm
Maughan Thiem Kia Oval

The final game of the round is the streamed game with Woodville-West Torrens taking on North Adelaide in a huge clash at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval. With Sturt’s victory last week it leaves the Eagles as the only winless side remaining this season, while North Adelaide have had an up and down season and will look to consolidate against the cellar dwelling Eagles. Kiana Lee has been a shining light up forward for Woodville-West Torrens booting five goals, while Sarah Perkins has booted six in just three games with the Eagles. Woodville-West Torrens have swung the axe with five changes, including one forced change as the injured Taylor McKay is forced out of the side. Into the team comes crucial onballer Jaimi Tabb who was sorely missed last week, while Chloe Forby slots into the forward line and Ashlee Reid at centre half-back. The Eagles have had some top individual performers this season and are showing plenty of competitiveness, although their loss to South Adelaide was disappointing after a bright first 10 minutes. They will need to start strong against the Roosters and maintain that intensity if they are to record their first win. North Adelaide has lost Rheanne Lugg given the Crows’ have an AFL Women’s Grand Final to play on the same day, while midfielders Brittany Perry and Paige Allen return to the side, as does Ashleigh Woodland who has been named at half-back. Nadia Von Bertouch has been a ray of consistency this seasonwith the captain, full-forward and competition leading goalkicker Kelly Barltrop and centre half-back Amber Ward among the top players this season. North Adelaide should come away with the points in this clash after recording a nice win over Central District last week, but the Eagles have some crucial returns and can cause headaches up forward.

SANFL Women’s: 2019 season preview

IN 2019, the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Statewide Super Women’s League will feel fully complete for the South Australian fans with the introduction of the final two non AFL-aligned clubs in Central District and Woodville-West Torrens. The Bulldogs and Eagles kick-off their 2019 campaigns with the other six clubs on Friday night with double-headers at Flinders University Stadium and City Mazda Stadium. We take a look at how each of the eight teams went last year and who might influence their campaigns in 2019.

CENTRAL DISTRICT

Last year: DNP
Coach: Shaun Ribbons

The first of the new clubs entering the SANFL Women’s League in 2019 has had no trouble bringing in some young AFL Women’s talent, with Crows’ pair, Katelyn Rosenzweig and Chloe Scheer both joining the club from North Adelaide. While Scheer was recovering from injury last year, she is no stranger to league best and fairest awards and when the AFL Women’s season is over, expect her to have a big impact. Rosenzweig won the league goal kicking last season, and is yet to be named in Adelaide’s best 21, although there is little doubt she will squeeze her way in there soon. They also picked up Jayme-Lee Sonnerman from West Adelaide who will join the pair in the forward line after three goals in two matches last year, while fellow former Bloods player, Shannen Solly managed six matches, named in the best twice. Sonnerman will play alongside sister, Demi who also lands at the Bulldogs. Three cross-coders in netballers, Nicola Biagi – who has been named inaugural captain – Taryn Wills, and cricketer, Sarah-Jane Jameson join the side in what will be a largely unknown team outside the top couple of Crows’ stars.

GLENELG

Last year: 6th – Wooden spooners
Coach: Jason Fairall

The bottom-placed side last season will be keen to build on their performance, but will need to find a way to cover for the injured Angela Moritz. The assistant coach has undergone a knee reconstruction and will miss the season, which will hurt the Tigers considering her impressive performances last season. Moritz joins Sam Allan in recovering from a knee injury, while Brianna Walling has headed to the sunshine state. The trio combined for a total of 19 times in the club’s bests last season, and with leading goal kicker, Lexi Edwards retiring the Tigers will have to fill the holes left by the departing experience. They do have renewed enthusiasm with Jason Fairall taking the reigns at the club for the 2019 season. Given the loss in experience, the Tigers will hope the likes of Morphettville Park duo, Chelsea Packer and Ellen Fauser will help spur the side back up the ladder.

NORTH ADELAIDE

Last year: 3rd – Lost in Preliminary Final
Coach: Matt Slade

While last year’s season ultimately ended in heartbreak with an eight-point loss to Norwood in the preliminary final after finishing second on the home and away season ladder, the Roosters would be thrilled with the amount of talent that reached AFL Women’s level. Former leader, Jess Edwards went to Carlton, Ashleigh Woodland landed at Melbourne, Brittany Perry became a GIANT, and talented forward duo, Katelyn Rosenzweig and Chloe Scheer were recruited by the Crows. With the latter two rezoned to Central District, all of those players will be unable to pull on a North Adelaide jumper in 2019, much like state under 18s captain, Esther Boles who is taking a chance with Richmond’s VFL Women’s side in a bid to be picked up by the Tigers ahead of the 2020 AFL Women’s season. The ins do not match the outs in terms of SANFL Women’s experience, with the exception of Emma Sampson, the assistant coach who has opted to pull on the boots again. Among the inclusions are Andie Zbierski and Amy Reid, while netballer, Elysha Willis is taking a chance on football.

NORWOOD

Last year: 2nd – Lost in Grand Final
Coach: Steve Symonds

In 2019, the Redlegs made a huge run to push South Adelaide all the way in the decider, falling five points short of a premiership. Ebony O’Dea heads the departures after she was recruited to the GIANTS’ AFL Women’s side, and four players – Tess Baxter, Adele Gibson (playing eight games in 2019), Aajiah Jerico and Georgia Taylor – all headed to new club, Woodville-West Torrens. Key players Nicole Campbell and Alana Browne have crossed to reigning premiers, South Adelaide while Nicola Burns has headed to Victoria to try her luck with Carlton’s VFL Women’s side. It means the likes of Monique Hollick and Rhiannon Busch will be among plenty of fresh faces when they kick-off this Friday. Adelaide’s Sophie Armitstead has joined the club and will be available when not selected, while former GIANTS, Hannah Dunn and Najwah Allen will fill the voids left by some of the departing players. Morphettville Park trio, Erika Sporn, Thalia Meyer and Hannah Priest will also be keen to impress in the step up in competition.

SOUTH ADELAIDE

Last year: 1st – Premiers
Coach: Rick Watts

New Panthers’ coach Rick Watts will lead a vastly different team to the one that Krissie Steen lead to a premiership last season, with a number of players recruited into the AFL Women’s and testing themselves in the VFL Women’s. Young gun, Nikki Gore was recruited by the Crows after another sensational season last year, while Lisa Whiteley joined the GIANTS. Versatile tall, Kristi Harvey opted to stay in Victoria with Carlton’s VFL Women’s side, joined by Jorja Rowe and Louella McCarthy. The Panthers should not be taken lightly however, with Norwood duo, Nicole Campbell and Alana Browne joining the club, as did promising bottom-age junior, Teah Charlton. Cross-coders, Jess Kirk (soccer) and Emma Gryczewski (netball) add an element of the unknown, while the expected inclusion of Courtney Gum late in the season could be huge in the Panthers’ hopes for back-to-back flags. Anne Hatchard, Cheyenne Hammond and Elyse Haussen remain at the club and will be as hungry as ever to repeat the success of 2018.

STURT

Last year: 5th
Coach: Danijel Herbert

The big inclusion for last year’s fifth placed side is Georgia Bevan, with the Adelaide AFL Women’s player signing on for the Double Blues and named co-captain with Caitlyn Swanson. Bevan replaces fellow young talent, Rachel Dunstan who has headed to her home club, Woodville-West Torrens now the Eagles have a side in the competition. Jess Foley has been a crucial player for Adelaide already in the ruck this AFL Women’s season and will be sorely missed by Sturt supporters, while Becchara Palmer has headed to New South Wales. Sturt is relatively untouched in terms of departures, with a number of inclusions from across the state, including Zoe Prowse, Isobel Kuiper and Hannah Dreckow. Bottom-ager Alex Ballard – sister of Gold Coast’s Charlie – will be one to watch over the next couple of years.

WEST ADELAIDE

Last year: 4th
Coach: Shane Moon

West Adelaide is a side that has been relatively quiet over the off-season, picking up a few players, while a number departed to various clubs. Hannah Martin‘s recruitment to AFL Women’s is a big loss for the Bloods, while sister, Rachelle Martin will be keen to drive the team forward to improve on its 5-5 win-loss record from 2018. Fellow youngster, Jaimi Tabb has headed to new club, Woodville-West Torrens, while Taylah Gordon has joined St Kilda’s VFL Women’s side in the hope she can move through the ranks to AFL Women’s when the Saints join the league in 2020. Sophie Armitstead (Norwood) and Shannen Solly (Central District) are others who have departed the club, while South Adelaide’s Helen Maidment and basketballers, Leah Swain and Alice Gee also head to the Westies. Teenager, Abbie Ballard is expected to have a big impact in season 2019 as she develops, while Chelsea Biddell and Allison Evans will be keen to recreate the form they showed in 2018.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS

Last year: DNP
Coach: Tess Baxter

The other new side in the 2019 SANFL Women’s League is Woodville-West Torrens, a side which targeted youth for its upcoming campaign. South Australian Under 18s vice-captain, Rachel Dunstan joined the Eagles, as did fellow Central Allies’ representative, Jaimi Tabb, and up-and-coming talent, Kiana Lee. Adele Gibson leads a list of four players who have crossed to the Eagles from grand finalists, Norwood, while former GWS GIANT, Stephanie Walker headlines the club’s recruits. The Eagles recruitment staff have gone outside the box in forming the side, also looking to ice hockey player, Tash Farrier and Mount Lofty’s Maddie Dufek. Both Gibson and Farrier have been named to lead the club in season 2019, with inaugural coach Tess Baxter knowing what it takes to reach the final game of the season having done so as an assistant at Norwood.

AFLW season previews: Melbourne

THE Demons have been one of the stronger sides in the AFLW during the past two seasons. But with a big loss of players in the off-season, we will see a new-look Melbourne outfit on the park in 2019. Perhaps the biggest loss of the season was losing star midfielder, Daisy Pearce, which will undoubtedly challenge Mick Stinear to change his game plan heading into 2019.

Last season: 3rd – four wins, three losses.

Changes:

In: Maddison Gay, Talia Radan, Tyla Hanks, Madeline Brancatisano, Jordann Hickey, Shelley Heath, Chantel Emonson, Shae Sloane, Casey Sherriff, Ashleigh Woodland

Out: Richelle Cranston, Melissa Hickey, Erin Hoare, Anna Teague, Jasmine Grierson, Emma Humphries, Laura Duryea, Maddie Shevlin, Alyssa Mifsud

Melbourne’s list changes have seem to go under the radar compared to the likes of the Collingwood and Brisbane lists. Geelong caused the most havoc to the Melbourne line-up, taking Richelle Cranston, Melissa Hickey, Erin Hoare and Anna Teague to Kardinia Park. The other expansion team, North Melbourne took two Tasmanian natives in Jasmine Grierson and Emma Humphries, leaving a gap in Melbourne’s defence. However, the Dees have covered this quite well with the recruitment of Talia Radan and Shelley Heath, who are handy defenders who can run or play on a key player. They have also boosted their midfield stocks with the loss of Pearce and Cranston, recruiting Under-18 representatives, Tyla Hanks and Madeline Brancatisano, who are two midfielders with great agility.

Area of strength: Midfield

Melbourne’s midfield has always been one of the strongest in the competition, but they will be without Daisy Pearce and Richelle Cranston this season. A recruit who has not been talked about much is Maddison Gay from the Blues. Gay was voted the Best First Year player when she was Carlton, and is a smart midfielder who is clever with the ball in hand. She should help to assist Elise O’Dea and Karen Paxman, who have always been consistent in the middle of the ground for the Dees. Add in Brancatisano and Hanks, and Melbourne has a good core group of midfielders. Katherine Smith and Kate Hore are also set for a good season after finding some consistency for the Casey Demons in the VFLW season.

Area of weakness: Forward line

The Demons are lacking some numbers in the forward line. While they boast the likes of Tegan Cunningham and Aliesha Newman, the list does not go much further than that. Jordann Hickey is a crucial pick-up for the Dees to rectify this issue. She will be a key target up forward thanks to her solid hands and accurate kick. Eden Zanker should be set for a good year as well, finding some form in the Casey Demons VFLW side, but she was starved of opportunity last year, so she will also be pretty new to the AFLW environment.

Players to watch:

Tyla Hanks

Tyla Hanks has made the All-Australian Under 18s side two years in a row and is a force to be reckoned with in the midfield. On the inside, she is sharp with her hands and can clear congestion with her forceful kicking. She co-captained the Gippsland Power in the TAC Cup Girls competition, so is no stranger to being an on-field leader. Hanks can also float up forward and make an impact to steady the ship for her team, highlighting her ability to be versatile in a Melbourne line-up that lacks forward depth.

Jordann Hickey

Originally from Alice Springs, Hickey made her mark on the 2018 VFLW season with 14 goals for the NT Thunder. From her 14 games, she also averaged 8.25 disposals per game, with her season-high coming against Richmond, where she racked up 16 disposals and also kicked two goals. Hickey managed to kick goals in seven of her games for the Thunder, showing great consistency across the season. She fought hard inside 50 and provides a tall target, which will be pivotal for the Demons.

Eden Zanker

Zanker got to play some consistent football again for the Casey Demons in the VFLW, after only playing three games for the Demons in the AFLW last year. She kicked nine goals from her 14 games with Casey and was named in the best four times. Zanker has a calm run-up and a precise kick, and is also great at winning the ball inside 50. She was the Demons’ first selection in the 2017 draft so Melbourne will have high hopes for her to show why she was selected so high in the draft.

2019 prediction: 4th in Conference A

Despite a strong midfield, the Demons could struggle in their 50s, making for a difficult run in a difficult conference. However, they could get off to a good start with Fremantle and Collingwood looming as their first opponents of the season. It then gets a whole lot harder with Brisbane, North Melbourne and Greater Western Sydney (GWS) to come. When the Demons’ defence comes up against a powerful forward line like North Melbourne’s, and their forwards go head-to-head against Brisbane’s A-grade defenders, it could spell trouble for them.

2019 Melbourne AFLW Fixture

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Casey FieldsRound 1
Victoria ParkRound 2
Hickey ParkRound 3
Casey FieldsRound 4
Blacktown International SportsparkRound 5
Marvel StadiumRound 6
Casey FieldsRound 7

SAWFL weekly wrap: Round 13

A DRAW, a thriller and a belting made sure the South Australian Women’s Football League (SAWFL) had plenty of varied results on the weekend in just three games.

SAWFL Round 13 Results:

ADELAIDE UNIVERSITY 1.0 | 2.1 | 3.1 | 4.1 (25)
CHRISTIES BEACH 2.0 | 3.0 | 3.1 | 3.1 (19)

GOALS:
Adelaide University: S. Walker 2, M. Zander, R. King.
Christies Beach: T. Eastwood, T. Power , C. Cavouras.

BEST:
Adelaide University: C. Tsoumbris, N. Collie, E. Boles, R. King, G. Dadds, E. Davison
Christies Beach: C. Cavouras, A. Browne, S. Pratt, R. Searle, H. Crump

Adelaide University have drawn level with Christies Beach after a sensational nail-biting six-point win over the second placed side. Christies Beach booted two goals to one in the first term, and lead by five points at the main break. After half-time however, Adelaide University booted the only two goals of the half, taking control and restricting their opponents to just one behind. Stephanie Walker booted two goals, while Matilda Zander and Rachel King both kicked a goal for the winners. For Christies Beach, Czenya Cavouras was named the team’s best and booted a goal, along with Tallara Power and Taylah Eastwood. Teenager and South Australian Under 18s captain, Esther Boles was named among Adelaide University’s best, with Cassandra Tsoumbris and Nicole Collie.

 

MORPHETTVILLE PARK 1.0 | 3.2 | 3.2 | 6.3 (39)
SALISBURY 2.5 | 2.5 | 5.7 | 5.9 (39)

GOALS:
Morphettville: L. Buchanan 3, T. Meyer, L. Whiteley, A. Moritz.
Salisbury: K. Rosenzweig 3, A. Woodland 2.

BEST:
Morphettville: L. Buchanan, E. Kellock, L. Whiteley, A. Moritz, A. Magi, T. Meyer
Salisbury: S. Gundlach, A. Woodland, K. Rosenzweig, A. Zbierski, M. Freeman, S. Murphy

Morphettville Park have come from behind with a fantastic three goals to zero final term to steal two points from Salisbury in a thrilling finish to their Round 13 match. While Morphettville Park have locked up top spot, it cost Salisbury third position, after Adelaide University recorded a win in its match. Lauren Buchanan booted three goals for the winners and was the difference on the day for Morphettville Park, while Angela MoritzTahlia Meyer and Lisa Whiteley also found their way onto the scoreboard and were named in the best, as was Ellie Kellock. For Salisbury, Katelyn Rosenzweig continued her strong form upon returning from the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, booting three goals, while Ashleigh Woodland nailed two majors. Both players, along with Shae Gundlach were named in the best.

 

PORT ADELAIDE 0.1 | 1.2 | 1.3 | 1.3 (9)
FITZROY 5.3 | 7.7 | 13.9 | 18.13 (121)

GOALS:
Port Adelaide: A. Gould.
Fitzroy: C. Biddell 4, M. Rich 3, R. Martin 3, H. Martin 3, M. Elsegood 2, I. Parkin 2, M. Newman.

BEST:
Port Adelaide: J. Greet, L. Beck, J. Macolino, A. Gould, K. Howell
Fitzroy: C. Biddell, M. Rich, I. Parkin, A. Lowery, R. Martin

Fitzroy had a percentage-boosting win over Port Adelaide, piling on 11 goals in the second half to run away with a 112-point victory. The Lions restricted the Magpies to just the one goal for the game, while having 31 scoring shots in an impressive display. Fitzroy had five multiple goal kickers in the win, with Chelsea Biddell‘s four-goal best on ground performance the clear standout. Megan Rich (three goals), Isabelle Parkin (two) and teenager Rachelle Martin (three) were also busy on the scoreboard, while fellow Central Allies representative Madison Newman booted a goal in the win. For Port Adelaide, Ashlee Gould was the sole goal kicker, while Jessica GreetLauren Beck and Jessica Macolino were the Magpies’ best in the loss.

Fantastic Five: Memorable moments from the weekend

LAST weekend’s action threw up highlights we are rarely treated to; with bags of goals, junior talent rising to the top, a pesky pigeon, and a classic after-the-siren win all headlining what was a memorable round of footy.

Noah Gown’s high-five

Noah Gown claimed the goalkicking honours in Round 12b of the TAC Cup, with his bag of five helping second-place Gippsland to back to back wins against top four opposition. His five straight majors came from an impressive 18 disposals and seven marks, with four goal assists coming to-boot. Having played all 12 games for the Power this season, Gown has built nicely into the year with 15 goals, and a rich vein of form lately seeing him named in the best for his fourth consecutive outing. Others to contribute on the day were Austin Hodge (25 disposals, six tackles, two goals) and bottom-ager Harold Hood, who continues to impress as he had 21 touches, eight tackles and five marks.

Melbourne Uni’s Prespakis teaches a lesson

Fresh off her Most Valuable Player (MVP) performance at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, long-touted possible number one pick Maddy Prespakis turned on the heat at VFLW level. Against more mature bodies and experienced players, Prespakis put on another phenomenal display and stood as the only player across the competition in Round 11 to notch over 30 possessions. The next best for the battling Melbourne Uni side was Danielle Hardiman who had 15 disposals, while Alison Drennan managed 28 for the opposition. Prespakis’ 33 touches included 25 kicks and a goal, highlighting the Calder star’s damaging style from midfield. The performance came in only Melbourne University Womens’ third win for the season, with their three-point triumph bringing them within four points of seventh-placed opponents Southern Saints.

Morphettville Park steals draw with final quarter blitz

Morphettville Park have come from behind with a fantastic three goals to zero final term to steal two points from Salisbury in a thrilling finish to their Round 13 match. While Morphettville Park have locked up top spot, it cost Salisbury third position, after Adelaide University recorded a win in its match. Lauren Buchanan booted three goals for the winners and was the difference on the day for Morphettville Park, while Angela MoritzTahlia Meyer and Lisa Whiteley also found their way onto the scoreboard and were named in the best, as was Ellie Kellock. For Salisbury, Katelyn Rosenzweig continued her strong form upon returning from the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, booting three goals, while Ashleigh Woodland nailed two majors. Both players, along with Shae Gundlach were named in the best.

Irishman Tuohy lives the Aussie dream

Zach Tuohy lived out the dream of every budding footballer with his goal after the siren pinching an improbable two-point for the Cats over Melbourne at their Kardinia Park fortress. With the home side trailing at every break, and finding themselves 29 points down during the final term, it was always going to take something special for the tide to turn. Up stepped the likes of birthday boy Tom Hawkins, who booted four final quarter goals, Gary Ablett, who looked hungry as ever in the closing stages, and eventual hero Tuohy, who capped off a 24 disposal, eight mark and two-goal display with the winner. The Irishman’s moment came off the back of coaches Matthew Scarlett and Chris Scott agreeing to swing him forward, and what a decision that proved to be. Despite the result, Geelong still find themselves outside of the top eight on percentage, with the Dees sitting pretty in seventh

Pendles’ pesky pigeon run-in

Scott Pendlebury has shown over time that there’s not much he can’t do on a football field, but he added another feat to his list of exploits on Saturday. The Collingwood skipper paced into space with ball in hand, opting to take a bounce – but an MCG visitor had other ideas. With the ball thrown down in what seemed like slow motion, it collected a rather unlucky pigeon, yet managed to bounce obediently back up to ‘Pendles’ as if nothing had ever happened. Thankfully, the pigeon flew away without harm, probably starstruck by the Collingwood champion. The moment of madness came in the Pies’ comprehensive 66-point win over North Melbourne, which helped them to nestle inside the top four as the race for spots heats up.

SA Women’s Football League: The run home

KEEPING in line with travelling around the country, we take a look at the top grade in the South Australia Women’s Football League (SAWFL) and how each team is performing after 12 rounds.

 

1 Morphettville Park (10 wins, 2 losses | 202.02% | 20 points)

At the end of 12 rounds, Morphettville Park leads the top division with 10 wins from 12 games, Their two losses came against Christies Beach in Round 5 and Salisbury in Round 8. Since then four consecutive wins have followed, but a narrow one-point win over Adelaide University in the last match would have been a heart-stopper. Lucy Bellinger has been the star for the ladder leaders, booting 15 goals in 11 matches and was named in the best six times. Lisa Whiteley has been ultra impressive in her eight games, booting 12 goals and named among the best four games. Leah Cutting, Lauren Buchanan, Charlotte Dawe and Angela Moritz are others who have been the top performers and also hit the scoreboard throughout the year. Chelsea Packer has been named among the best in half of her 12 games, while Hannah Priest has also been impressive.

 

2 Christies Beach (8 wins, 4 losses | 157.49% | 16 points)

Christies Beach is just four points – two wins – behind Morphettville Park, having defeated the ladder leaders in Round 5 before going down to them in Round 10. They also knocked off Salisbury after losing to them earlier in the season, and have split the results with Adelaide University as well. A loss to Fitzroy in Round 7 would have been disappointing, but the side bounced back with a win last weekend in a close five-point victory. Alana Browne has been the top star, named among the best seven times in 11 games with five goals to her name. Czenya Cavouras has been a top player in just nine games, named among the best on six occasions, while Elyse Haussen and Samantha Pratt are others who have multiple nominations in the best with five. Jessica Waterhouse has booted 14 goals from 10 games to be the team’s leading goal kicker ahead of Tamsyn Morriss with 10 from 12. The Statewide Super Women’s League Rising Star winner Nikki Gore has played just the one game thus far, but made it count, named best on ground in the team’s win over Salisbury.

 

3 Salisbury (7 wins, 5 losses | 145.43% | 14 points)

The third placed Salisbury has won four of the first five, and six of the first eight games for the season, before losing three consecutive games to Christies Beach, Fitzroy and Adelaide University. They bounced back with a win over Port Adelaide in a 91-point victory. The last three rounds will test them with the top two sides and Fitzroy. Teenage sensation Katelyn Rosenzweig has been a star for the side, averaging the most goals of any player with double figure majors, booting 17 in eight games and named among the best four times. Kasia Culhane has booted 14 goals in nine games and has also been named among the best, while Nicole Baker is the club house leader, named among the best eight times in the 12 games, having booted 10 goals. Paige Allan, Brittany Perry and Ashleigh Woodland are others who have impressed for Salisbury.

 

4 Adelaide University (7 wins, 5 losses | 129.92% | 14 points)

Adelaide University is keeping in touch with the top three sides, having a positive win-loss ratio to head into the final three rounds. They started the season with two losses before having four straight wins. A second loss to Morphettville Park was followed by four straight wins, before pushing the ladder leaders all the way in the weekend just gone, going down to a point. Kelly Barltrop is the competition’s leading goal kicker, booting 23 majors in five games, the clear standout for the club, with the next highest goal kicker being Rhianna Peate with six. Peate has also been named among the best five times, the same as Barltrop, Matilda Zanker and Tess Baxter, while Ebony O’Dea has been the star with seven top games in nine appearances.

 

5 Fitzroy (4 wins, 8 losses | 69.93% | 8 points)

A Round 3 win against Port Adelaide got the season started, but Fitzroy found themselves sitting 1-5 after six rounds. They bounced back with a huge upset against Christies Beach in Round 7, making it back-to-back wins with victory against Port Adelaide. Another win against Salisbury two weeks later proved Fitzroy could match it with the best and loom as a danger side, but head into the round after two losses, albeit one a tight five-point defeat to Christies Beach. Fitzroy’s key has not been a standout player, with Hannah Martin, Chelsea Biddell, Melanie Elsegood, Gretel Ramsey, Phoebe Edwards and Lauren De Bono all named among the best three times. Samantha Williams will have been a key to Fitzroy’s recent good form, named among the best three times in the four games she has played. Martin (eight goals), Biddell (seven) and Alana Lowry (six) are the three leading goal kickers at the club. Talented youngster and Central Allies’ player Jaimi Tabb has booted five goals from eight games.

 

6 Port Adelaide (0 wins, 12 losses | 25.95% | 0 points)

It has not been the easiest season for Port Adelaide, yet to register a win, but having a number of promising performances throughout the year. They only went down to ladder leaders Morphettville Park by 12 points in Round 9, and Christies Beach by 28 points in Round 1. They have also restricted their opponents to under 100 points on all but two occasions. Port Adelaide have just lacked a central focus up forward with Ashlee Gould and Rebekah Wanganeen leading the goal kicking with four majors, while Emma Sampson and Kaylah Usher have three majors each. Faye Karafoulidis and Rhiannon Busch have been shining lights in the season, named among the best five times, while Gould, Natasha Farrier and Erica Greet have all been named in the best four times.