Tag: bella smith

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 summaries: Norwood

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 Norwood.

RECORD: 5th (1-2-1)

RESULTS:

R1: lost to Central District by 4 points
R2: defeated WWT Eagles by 1 point
R3: lost to South Adelaide by 30 points
R4: drew with West Adelaide

With three results decided by a combined five points to start the year, it is fair to say Norwood has given its supporters plenty of nervous, but exciting moments. A shock loss in Round 1 to Central District would have had last year’s minor premiers nervous given the amount of change they had over the off-season, but the Redlegs quickly bounced back to level the score with a come-from-behind win over the Eagles. They were completely outplayed by the reigning premiers, but they drew with an impressive West Adelaide outfit and if the season had continued, would have likely been in the mix for finals again.

THE PROMINENT BALL-WINNER:

Matilda Zander (18.8 disposals, 4.5 marks, 3.8 tackles, 1.5 clearances, 3.0 inside 50s, 1.5 rebounds)

The 21-year-old small midfielder continues to improve at a rapid rate and it showed in 2020 in the absence of teammates such as Najwa Allen and Hannah Dunn who stepped up to AFL Women’s level. With an increased role, Zander led the competition in kicks and finished top three in disposals and Dream Team points to be one of the top ball-winners across the league. She averaged 18.8 disposals per game, as well as 4.5 marks, 3.8 tackles, 3.0 inside 50s, 1.5 clearances and 1.5 rebounds, and of course, 788.5 Dream Team points. Zander was announced as a Collingwood VFL Women’s signing for 2020, which would be exciting for the South Australian to test herself in that competition assuming it goes ahead as expected, albeit with the delay.

THE DOMINANT RUCK:

Leah Cutting (11.5 disposals, 3.0 marks, 5.8 tackles, 3.0 clearances, 2.3 inside 50s, 20.5 hitouts)

For consistency, Cutting was just a clear star in the ruck and finished the year as the top ranked player in hitouts and Dream Team points for the league, but was also among the top tacklers in the competition. Averaging 11.5 disposals, 3.0 marks, 5.8 tackles, 3.0 clearances, 2.3 inside 50s and 80.3 Dream Team points, Cutting filled up the stats sheet, but none more impressive than her 20.5 hitouts per match. She consistently won the ruck battle and most importantly followed up her ruck work with fierce defensive pressure hence her minimum five tackles per game.

THE STANDOUT RECRUIT:

Mattea Breed (16.3 disposals, 2.5 marks, 3.0 tackles, 3.8 clearances, 3.5 inside 50s, 1.5 rebounds, 1 goal)

Like Zander, Breed went to another level in her first season at Norwood in 2020 and was one of the best stories of the overage players running around. Having represented Central Allies last year at the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships, Breed was able to step up and have an impact at senior level. Breed joined the club from the NTFL where she had previously played with both Darwin Buffaloes and Southern Districts, as well as representing NT Thunder in the VFL Women’s where she played five games last season. Winning the Breakthough Player of the Round in her second match for the Redlegs, Breed continued that form throughout the season to average 16.3 disposals, 2.5 marks, 3.0 tackles, 3.8 clearances, 3.5 inside 50s and 1.5 rebounds per match.

THE LEADING GOALKICKER:

Jo Hill (6.8 disposals, 2.0 marks, 6 goals)

At 46-years-old, Hill is not only a calming and reliable presence on the side, but a danger inside 50 with her nous and craft still outsmarting defenders in the 2020 season. She booted six goals in four games at 1.5 per match to lead her side in goalkicking and continued on from her form in 2019. While she was quiet in the draw against West Adelaide, Hill had a couple of standout games against Central District and Woodville-West Torrens, hauling her team across the line in the latter with 3.1 from six disposals and three marks (two contested). She only averaged the 6.8 touches and 2.0 marks as the stay-at-home forward, but Hill is always a danger and closely watched by opposition defender.

THE VERSATILE YOUNG GUN:

Bella Smith (8.0 disposals, 3.3 marks, 2.8 tackles, 3.3 inside 50s, 2.3 hitouts, 1 goal)

Another 18-year-old who represented the Central Allies at the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships last year, Smith had a consistent year playing a number of roles from giving a chop out in the ruck to playing through the midfield, and even getting forward to kick a goal against South Adelaide in Round 3. She averaged the eight disposals, 3.3 marks, 3.3 inside 50s and 2.8 tackles per game, using the ball well at a 75 per cent efficiency. At 182cm, Smith has the capacity to play through the ruck, but is able to work hard at ground level to win the ball for her team as well and send it forward.

THE CONSISTENT PERFORMER:

Sophie Armitstead (13.0 disposals, 2.5 tackles, 2.5 clearances, 1.5 inside 50s, 1.0 rebounds)

A ray of consistency in 2020, Armitstead had 12 disposals in three of her matches this year, and then her best performance of 16 touches in the win against Woodville-West Torrens. She finished the season averaging 13.0 disposals, 2.5 tackles, 2.5 clearances, 1.5 inside 50s and 1.0 rebounds, showing an ability to play anywhere and have an impact. She was the cream on the cake last year with Norwood’s strong midfield group, and has continued her reliability to help guide the young guns through season 2020. As she showed in the early rounds, Armitstead is capable of winning the ball at stoppages and pumping it forward.

SUMMARY:

Norwood did well in its transition after losing a number of key players to the AFL Women’s, as well as head coach Steve Symonds to Collingwood. The Redlegs needed time to gel and one could see them get better as the season went on, albeit with still some consistency question marks. If they were able to finish the season the Redlegs were every chance to battle for a finals spot again, with the young guns and reliable veterans guiding the new-look outfit each week.

QAFLW weekly wrap: Season delayed as Roos and Bluebirds head in undefeated

AS the impact of the coronavirus set in, one matchday – Wilstron Grange vs. Bond University – was postponed, while Coolangatta Tweed and Maroochydore remained undefeated, and Coorparoo won through for its first victory. For University of Queensland and Apsley Hornets, they head into an uncertain postponed season without a win from three rounds.

QAFLW Round 3 results:

Maroochydore 2.5 (17) defeated University of Queensland 2.1 (13)
Coorparoo 11.11 (77) defeated Aspley Hornets 3.3 (21)
Coolangatta Tweed 7.9 (51) defeated Yeronga South Brisbane 5.2 (32)
Wilston Grange vs. Bond University – postponed

In a low scoring battle, Maroochydore remained undefeated with a four-point triumph over winless University of Queensland. The Roos did not score in the second half after holding a seven-point lead at half-time, but were able to restrict the Red Lionesses to just one goal in the last three quarters themselves, and managed to escape with the 2.5 (17) to 2.1 (13) victory. Rachel Crack was named best on ground for her work in the green and gold, also being one of only two goalkickers alongside Queensland Under-18 representative, Chloe Gregory. Bella Smith and Ruby McDowell were also named among the best for the Roos, as they head into the forced break in a good position. For the visitors, they also had the two individual goalkickers with Megan Hunt and Grace Brennan converting majors, while Halle Pearce and Jane Childes were named their best players in the narrow defeat.

A seven goals to one second half saw Coorparoo breakaway from Aspley Hornets in the battle of two winless sides and record a healthy 56-point win at the Kings’ home ground. Having a fast start, Coorparoo booted 3.4 to 1.1 in the opening term to open up a 15-point lead, as both teams booted a goal in the second quarter and maintained a 14-point difference at the main break. A late goal in the third term would be the last remaining major for the Hornets as the Kings booted a total of seven goals to easily cruise to victory. Queensland Under-18 representative, Tahlia Hickie was named best on ground and added her name to the scoreboard, while Emma McKenzie (three goals), Charlize Anderson, Kelsey Crosbie and Whitney Howson (all two) were the multiple goalkickers in a winning side. Courtney Daniec and Kate Fraser were impressive for the Hornets and named their side’s best players in the loss.

Neck-and-neck at the final break, Coolangatta Tweed booted two last quarter goals within 66 seconds to secure a safe 19-point win over fellow undefeated side, Yeronga South Brisbane. Uma Brennan and Ahlani Eddy‘s second goals which came midway through the final term just a minute apart helped the Bluebirds secure a 7.9 (51) to 5.2 (32) win. The home team had trailed by 13 points at quarter time, but hit the front with a three goals to zero second term, and then held off a Devils resistance in the third to maintain a two-point lead at the final break. Seeming pretty even for the most part in the final term, the Bluebirds kicked away in that purple patch to ensure they were the side that remained undefeated ahead of the postponement. Gold Coast SUNS’ Georgia Breward, and Ebony Peterson were named among the best for the winners, while the Devils had a number of young talents themselves with Queensland Under-18 representatives, Zimmorlei Farquharson and Emmii-Lee Zanker-Close both in the side, as was AFL Women’s experienced Jordan Zanchetta.

QAFLW Development League Round 3 results:

Maroochydore 11.7 (73) defeated University of Queensland 0.1 (1)
Coorparoo 10.12 (72) defeated Aspley Hornets 1.1 (7)
Coolangatta Tweed 7.6 (48) defeated Yeronga South Brisbane 1.3 (9)
Wilston Grange vs. Bond University – postponed

Maroochydore’s ripping start to the season continued at Development League level with a thrashing 11.7 (73) to 0.1 (1) win over University of Queensland. The Roos already have a percentage of 480 and had a ton of scoring options on the day, with Jacqueline Dupuy (four goals), Zoe Smith (two) and Lily McGrath (two) the multiple goalkickers, as Taylah Whitehead was named the best for the side. Bec Barnes was deemed the Red Lionesses’ best in the 12-goal loss, while Alice Bonnett was also impressive.

In a similar scoreline, Coorparoo grabbed its first win in convincing style, running away with a 10.12 (72) to 1.1 (7) victory over fellow previously winless side, Aspley Hornets. Aside from a late goal to Aspley’s Sophie Eyres, the Kings had control of the match with best on ground Megan Evans booting a couple of goals in the win. The star of the show was Kings’ forward Sherie Sayle who snagged six majors and was among the team’s best, while Samantha Hurst was also solid in the win. Sarah Madden and Kathleen Page were deemed the Hornets’ top players.

Coolangatta Tweed leapfrogged Yeronga South Brisbane into third on the QAFLW Development League ladder with a strong 39-point win. The Bluebirds booted the first seven goals of the match from 13 scoring shots, before Alexis Hamilton got a late major for the losing side. Emily-Kate Beardsley and Clancey Sutton fought hard in a losing side, but the share of goalkickers across the board for the home side – six individuals – made it difficult to combat. Jannifer Gomes booted two goals for the Bluebirds as the only multiple goalkicker, while Neesa Doyle and Krystell Harrison were the top players on the day.

QAFLW weekly wrap: First round of action provides surprises

THE 2020 Queensland Football League Women’s (QAFLW) competition and  Development League began last week with a number of tight contests at senior level, and one-sided results at the development level to kick off the new season.

QAFLW results:

Bond University 5.3 (33) defeated by Coolangatta Tweed 5.8 (38)
Wilston Grange 4.3 (27) defeated University of Queensland 2.4 (16)
Yeronga South Brisbane 11.3 (69) defeated Coorparoo 7.12 (54)
Aspley Hornets 0.1 (1) defeated by Maroochydore 8.8 (56)

Coolangatta Tweed caused an early upset in the season, downing last year’s minor premiers and grand finalists, Bond University by five points on the road. It as a tight contest early with neither side able to get a goal on the board, but that soon changed in the second term with the Bluebirds booting two goals to one and heading into the main break with a seven-point advantage. They extended their lead to 16 by the final break, but the Bull Sharks refused to give in, booting three of the final four goals of the match to fight back only to fall short by five points in the end. Lydia Pingel booted two majors in a losing side, while eight other goalkickers got their names in the books. Lauren James was adjudged best afield for the Bluebirds whilst booting a goal, while Grace Moodie and Alexandra Hamlyn were also impressive in the win, as was Sally Riley who returned to the level after playing AFL Women’s and booted a goal. Wallis Randell was named the best for the Bull Sharks, with Arianna Clarke and AFL Women’s National Academy member, Maddison Levi (one goal) also amongst the best on the losing side.

Wilston Grange started the season on a high note, grinding out an 11-point win over University of Queensland. The Gorillas booted the only goal of the first term, and held the Red Lionesses goalless in the third quarter to edge ahead at each break a little bit more. In the end, Wilston Grange won 4.3 (27) to 2.4 (16), with all single goalkickers in the match. Ruby Ker was best on ground in the win, while Mackenzie Findlay and Kaitlyn Day were also among the best for the Gorillas. Isobel Hartog was the best for the losers, while Madi Crowley-Long and Xanthe Cerutti were top players for the visitors.

In a replay of last year’s preliminary final, Yeronga South Brisbane exacted sweet revenge over Coorparoo with an 11.3 (69) to 7.12 (54) victory. The Devils had some serious AFL Women’s talent at their disposal with Jordan Zanchetta putting on a clinic with a goal and starring role for the winning side. Lucy Bellinger booted two goals on debut for the Devils, as the home side’s accuracy proved the difference. With five less scoring shots and held goalless in the first term, Yeronga South Brisbane fired up, particularly in the final term when they piled on four goals to run out 15-point winners. Lexia Edwards and Sarah Duncan also booted a couple of goals each, while Vanessa Hart was impressive for the winners. Kelsey Crosbie could not have done much more up forward for the Kings, booting four goals, well aided by Emma McKenzie. Brisbane’s Jade Ellenger – one of the best on ground – and Hannah Hillman also impressed, while Charlize Anderson – sister of Lions AFL Women’s player Ally – also showed promising signs.

It could be another long year for 2019 wooden spooners, Aspley Hornets after suffering a 55-point loss at the hands of a raging Maroochydore outfit. The Roos showed they meant business from the get-go piling on four first quarter goals to hold the Hornets scoreless. Both sides could only manage a behind in the second term, before the visitors picked up again, booting 4.6 to 0.0 in the second half to run out easy 8.8 (56) to 0.1 (1) winners. Queensland 2019 Under-18 representative Chloe Gregory, as well as Ashleigh Hales and Mikayla Pauga both booted a couple of goals in the win, while AFL Women’s National Academy member, Bella Smith and Kathryn Hehir impressed in the victory. For the Hornets, Courtney Daniec and Shaye Easton were adjudged the top players.

Looking ahead to Round 2 this weekend, Coolangatta Tweed will look to build on its performance with a clash against last placed Aspley Hornets, while Yeronga South Brisbane and Wilston Grange go head-to-head in arguably the two most impressive outfits from Round 1. Also in Round 2 is reigning premiers Coorparoo desperate to bounce back against a red-hot Maroochydore side, while Bond University and University of Queensland do battle to get on the board in season 2020.

QAFLW Development League results:

Wilston Grange 9.8 (62) defeated University of Queensland 2.0 (12)
Bond University 3.8 (26) defeated Coolangatta Tweed 0.0 (0)
Yeronga South Brisbane 7.10 (52) defeated Coorparoo 1.0 (6)
Aspley Hornets 3.1 (19) defeated by Maroochydore 4.14 (38)

Wilston Grange opened the season hoping to last an extra week than 2019, with a triumphant 9.8 (62) to 2.0 (12) win over University of Queensland under lights at Kedron – E.K Andersen Oval. Kitty Adams put in a best-on-ground performance in the win, booting four goals as her side had 11 scoring shots to zero by half-time. The Red Lionesses fought back by booting the only two goals of the third term to cut the deficit to 25 – courtesy of Jane Childes and Meagan Cook – but it would prove futile as the Gorillas piled on 4.1 to 0.0 in the last term to run away with a 50-point victory. Along with Adams, Katie McGlade booted two goals, while Luka Yoshida-Martin (one) was also named in the best. Amy Cahill was the top player on the losing side.

Reigning premiers, Bond University kicked off its season with a terrific low-scoring win over Coolangatta Tweed. The Bull Sharks held the Bluebirds scoreless for the entirety of the game, booting 3.8 (26) to 0.0 (0) as Jess Maher was the hero up forward booting the only goals in the match. Despite inaccuracy at times, the home team proved too good and will be a force to be reckoned with again, hosting names such as AFL Women’s National Academy member, Teagan Levi and 2019 Queensland Under-18 representative, Lily Tarlinton who were both named in the team’s best. For the Bluebirds, while they did not manage to hit the scoreboard, they did keep one of the benchmarks to just three goals. Eilish Grundon and Tayla Jay Daly were both named in the best for the losing side.

Last year’s wooden spooners have already won more matches than they did in 2019, smashing last year’s grand finalists by 46 points in an eye-opening encounter at home. Yeronga South Brisbane was simply sensational across four quarters against Coorparoo, steadily building the lead with a three goals to one third term the highlight of the game. Inaccuracy might have cost them from an even bigger win in the eventual 7.10 (52) to 1.0 (6) victory, but it is fair to say the Devils would have enjoyed the win over such quality opposition. Laura David booted two majors and was one of the Devils’ best, while Kai Bliesner and Madison Satyasiv also managed a couple of goals for the home team. Sherie Sayle booted the only goal for the Kings, while Lydia Blunt and Rose Collins were among the losing sides’ best.

In the final game of the round, Maroochydore doubled Aspley Hornets’ score during an inaccurate 4.14 (38) to 3.1 (19) victory. It was close in the opening term with the Roos leading by just enough points, but the visiting team held the Hornets scoreless over the next two quarters whilst booting 2.8 and peppering the goals. They could only manage a further four behinds in the final quarter as Aspley added 2.1 to its total, but it would be too little, too late going down by 19 points. Marybeth Banks was the only multiple goalkicker in the game with two majors, while Te Aorangi Jordan and Brooke Matheson were also impressive for the winning side. Looking at the Hornets, Jordan McConnell stood tall with a goal and named the losing side’s best player, as Ella Martin and Teegan Stevenson were also among the best.

In Round 2, Coolangatta Tweed and Aspley Hornets go at it to try and get their first wins on the board, while Coorparoo travels to Marochydore to bounce back from its disappointing Round 1 defeat. Yeronga South Brisbane surprised everyone in the opening round and will be keen to keep it rolling against Wilston Grange, while Bond University takes on University of Queensland in a match where the home team will be considered heavy favourites.

SANFL Women’s Round 3 review: Roosters crow as Tigers claw back on winners list

LAST year’s South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s grand finalists head into the first season break undefeated, as South Adelaide and North Adelaide prepare to renew hostilities in Round 4. In other results, Glenelg and Sturt both got on the board for their first wins of the season, defeating last year’s newcomers in Central District and Woodville-West Torrens respectively.

CENTRAL DISTRICT 0.1 | 0.1 | 1.3 | 1.4 (10)
GLENELG 2.5 | 5.8 | 6.11 | 8.12 (60)

GOALS:

Central: K. Rosenzweig.
Glenelg: C. Gould 4, M. Speechley, B. Tonon, S. Moon, L. Armitage.

HIGH DISPOSALS:

Central: D. Sonneman 19
Glenelg: C. Gould 17, Z. Smith 17, M. Freeman 15

An avalanche of scoring opportunities for the previously-winless Glenelg has seen the Tigers defeat Central District by 50 points at X Convenience Oval. In what was the Bulldogs’ second consecutive loss by 50 points or more after an impressive Round 1 win, it was the scoring depth of the Tigers that got them home in the end. They booted five goals from 13 scoring shots in the first half to just one behind, before the Bulldogs scored their first – and only – goal in the third term. Central restricted its opposition to just the three goals in the second half, but the Tigers were just two good in the end, led by Adelaide AFL Women’s player Caitlin Gould who slotted 4.4 in what could have been an even bigger day for the forward, had it not been for inaccuracy.

The inaccuracy did start early for the Tigers, with Melinda Speechley and Gould able to kick majors in between five behinds for the yellow and black, while Katelyn Rosenzweig got the Bulldogs on the board with a behind in the opening three minutes, but scoring chances would be scarce after that. Three more consecutive goals for the visitors through Lucy Armitage, Brooke Tonon and Soriah Moon brought the lead out to 37 points as Glenelg had 13 scoring shots to one heading into the main break. Coming out of half-time with plenty of work to do, the Bulldogs hit the scoreboard with the first three scores, but two were behinds courtesy of a rushed one, and Laitiah Huynh, before Rosenzweig broke the drought with a major at the five-minute mark to cut the deficit to under five goals. Just as the hope was starting to rise for the Bulldogs, Gould came to play – albeit with three consecutive behinds before putting one through in the dying minutes of the term. By that stage, the lead was out to 38 and for all of Central’s good work early in the term, the Tigers had extended the margin in the quarter. Gould got to capitalise on her third term inaccuracy with two more majors late in the game after another Huynh behind, to push the margin out to a half century in an impressive victory in the end.

Statistically, Glenelg dominated possession, winning 62 more disposals and recorded 13 more marks. The Tigers were far too strong out of the middle with hitouts (+20), clearances (+9) and inside 50s (+18) to give their forwards plenty of opportunities in front of goal. While Glenelg did not make the most of all of its inside 50 chances, they had enough to do serious damage. Central’s defence did its best under the circumstances with 28 rebounds to 17, but it was a comprehensive win to the Tigers in a victory that the club will hope can kick-start its year.

Gould was the standout with 17 disposals, six marks (two contested), 18 hitouts, four clearances, two inside 50s and 4.4 in a match-winning performance. Also among the best were Madisyn Freeman (15 disposals, three clearances and two inside 50s), Tessa Kohn (13 disposals, five clearances, five tackles, three inside 50s) and Armitage (13 disposals, seven tackles, four inside 50s and two clearances). Moon worked well with Gould, teaming up for 12 disposals, four marks, 15 hitouts, three clearances, three inside 50s and a goal of her own, while Speechley drove the ball inside 50 a team-high five times to go with her 12 touches, six marks and 1.2

For the Bulldogs, Demi Sonneman tried hard throughout four quarters to be the best on the losing side, recording a team-high six rebounds, as well as 19 disposals and two marks. Ever-present back there with her was Kimberley Fry (11 disposals, two marks and four rebounds), while Alicia Butler (five disposals, five tackles and four rebounds) also cleared the ball on a number of occasions. The other players to win double-figure disposals were Shelby Smith (14 disposals, four marks, four tackles, four clearances, four inside 50s and two rebounds) and Huynh (13 disposals, two marks, three tackles and three inside 50s). Rosenzweig was again the main target up forward, taking a couple of contested marks and laying four tackles form seven disposals and 1.1.

Next week Glenelg takes on the winless Woodville-West Torrens, while Central District hopes to bounce back against Sturt with the Double Blues recording their first victory of the season on the weekend.

NORTH ADELAIDE 2.3 | 3.4 | 5.5 | 6.6 (42)
WEST ADELAIDE 0.0 | 1.3 | 1.3 | 3.3 (21)

GOALS:

North: A. Woodland 3, M. McKendrick, K. Pope, K. Reynolds.
West: M. Elsegood, A. Hardwick.

HIGH DISPOSALS:

North: A. Woodland 22, L. Tynan 18, C. Castle 17, L, Daniel 17, L. Gauci 17, K. Case 15, K. Harvey 15, K. Pope 15, E. Sundstrom 15
West: Z. Venning 26, E. Smith 18, A. Ballard 17, R. Martin 16

A dominant possession-fest from North Adelaide has seen the Roosters win the top of the table clash against their western rivals, winning 6.6 (42) to 3.3 (21) over the Bloods. Both sides headed into the clash with some impressive victories so far this season, but it was a four-quarter performance from the Roosters – particularly over the first three quarters – that locked in the points for them. With nine players picking up 15 or more disposals on the team’s way to a season-high 270 disposals in the game, it was a record-breaking day for the winning team.

North Adelaide had all the play in the opening term as Mollie McKendrick and Ashleigh Woodland converted majors in the first seven minutes. Three consecutive behinds followed for the Roosters to lead by 15 points at the break, and then Kathryn Reynolds‘ early major in the second extended the lead out to 21 before the Bloods registered a score. West Adelaide controlled the majority of the scoring in the second term, but could not make the most of its chances, booting 1.3 to 0.1 after Reynolds’ goal, cutting the deficit to a more manageable 13 points. Melanie Elsegood was the goal kicker for the Bloods, but it would be her opposition’s leading goalkicker that would strike first in the second half, with Woodland slotting her second goal, followed up by a late major in the dying seconds of the third term when Katelyn Pope made one count. By the last change, the lead was out to 26 points and the Bloods knew they would need something special. Abby Hardwick and Elsegood gave the visitors some hope in the match with back-to-back goals in the seven minutes after the break; the margin back to 14 points. Unfortunately that was as close as they got as Woodland again popped up to boot 1.1 herself and just give her side the breathing space it needed to win by 21 points.

Despite the Bloods picking up their fair share of the ball, they were no match for the Roosters who recorded a massive 69 more disposals despite their opposition recording more than 200 touches in the game. They also used the ball more effectively with 70 per cent disposal efficiency to the Bloods’ 60 per cent. A high volume of marks with 54 to 30 also favoured the Roosters, but more remarkably was the tackle count with North Adelaide registering 21 more tackles despite having so much more of the ball. Their hunger on both the inside and outside was evident as they won the hitouts (+4) and clearances (+2), with a comprehensive win in the inside 50s (+10).

When it comes to individual numbers, it was almost beyond belief for the Roosters with every player picking up at least five touches, and just eight recording single-digit disposals – the same amount of players with 15 or more. Of the prominent ball winners, Woodland was again the star, showing off her AFL Women’s experience on her way to 22 touches, seven marks, three clearances, two tackles, two inside 50s and 3.2. Leah Tynan (18 disposals, two marks, six tackles, three clearances and four inside 50s), Cristie Castle (17 disposals, five marks), Lauren Daniel (17 disposals, two marks, two tackles and two clearances) and Lauren Gauci (17 disposals, five marks – two contested – five tackles and two inside 50s) were the prominent ones. Out of defence, Kate Case (15 disposals, five marks and three rebounds) and Kristi Harvey (15 disposals, five marks and three rebounds) were strong, while Pope had a team-high eight rebounds to go with 15 disposals and four tackles.

West Adelaide’s Zoe Venning picked up the most touches in the match with 26, as well as six marks (two contested), three clearances, two inside 50s and three rebounds. Emma Smith (18 disposals, three tackles, three inside 50s and two rebounds) was prominent, working hard with the Bloods’ two main ball winners in Abbie Ballard (17 disposals, five tackles, three clearances and three inside 50s) and Rachelle Martin (16 disposals, four tackles and five clearances). Out of defence, Keeley Kustermann was again reliable with 12 disposals and six rebounds, teaming up well with Madison Russell (12 and three) and Naimh Davis (10 and four).

Next weekend is a bye before Round 4 commences across March 13-14, North Adelaide takes on South Adelaide in a grand final rematch, while West Adelaide faces Norwood earlier in the evening on Saturday, March 14.

WWT EAGLES 1.0 | 2.1 | 4.3 | 4.4 (28)
STURT 2.0 | 3.2 | 5.3 | 5.6 (36)

GOALS:

WWT: J. Tabb 3, K. Lee.
Sturt: A. Ballard 2, A. Brown, A. Ladas, Z. Prowse.

HIGH DISPOSALS:

WWT: S. Walker 18
Sturt: G. Bevan 20, I. Kuiper 18, J. Wittervan 16

Sturt has broken its winless drought to start season 2020, whilst handing Woodville-West Torrens a third straight single-digit defeat on the weekend. Both sides headed into the SANFL Women’s Round 3 clash with back-to-back defeats, with the Eagles particularly unlucky after being in front in both their clashes before losing in tight circumstances. The result meant the Double Blues get on the board and could use the win as a way to kick-start their season, while the Eagles will need to play catch-up in the coming weeks across such a short season.

Sturt only took four minutes to get on the board in the first term when Arabella Brown converted a goal, which was soon counted by Adelaide Crows’ AFL Women’s player Jaimi Tabb who responded a mere 90-odd seconds later. In the dying minutes, Alex Ballard put her side in front, helping Sturt to a six-point lead at quarter time. Another early goal in the second term – this time to Zoe Prowse – again extended the lead for the Double Blues – before Tabb stepped up to the plate for a second term to keep her side in touch and head into the break seven points down. Back-to-back goals to Sturt in the third term – to Ballard and Ally Ladas – blew the margin to 18 points, before Kiana Lee booted her first of the contest, and Tabb made it really interesting with a late goal dragging the margin back to a straight kick. The fourth term was a battle of attrition as Mikayla Cavallaro booted a behind in the opening minute to cut the deficit to five, but neither side could put one through the big sticks, with Sturt booting three behinds over the next 10 minutes to eventually hold off the Eagles in an eight-point win.

Both sides had an identical amount of disposals – 197 – with the Eagles opting for a much more handball-based game with a 1.31 kick-to-handball ratio compared to the Double Blues’ 2.52 ratio. For the third consecutive week, the Eagles won the tackle count (69-51), but Sturt was the clear winner in marks, taking 27 more across the ground. Sturt also dominated the hitouts (31-13) and inside 50s (39-16), but the Eagles defence remarkably held up well despite that count, winning the rebounds 33-12. They also marginally won the clearances (+4) in a sign that the midfield could match it with some quality onballers.

Co-captain Georgia Bevan topped the disposal count in the match with 20, as well as three marks, six tackles, four clearances and three inside 50s in a crucial role for the Double Blues. Isobel Kuiper was also important in there with 18 disposals, five arks, six tackles, four clearances and two inside 50s, while Prowse did well as the number one ruck with 16 hitouts, 14 disposals, three marks, four clearances and three inside 50s. Jaimee Wittervan had an equal team-high five inside 50s to accompany 16 disposals, three tackles and three clearances, while Maya Rigter was strong in the midfield with seven tackles, 14 disposals, three marks, two clearances and three inside 50s.

For the Eagles, Stephanie Walker led the way with disposals, picking up 18 and eight tackles, as well as three clearances, two inside 50s and two rebounds, while ruck, Amie Blanden worked hard around the ground for 13 disposals, 10 hitouts, two marks, two clearances and two rebounds. Moving the ball well in transition from half-forward was Lee who had 11 disposals, four marks, two tackles, four inside 50s and 1.2, while Tabb was the clear dominant target at full-forward, booting 3.1 from 10 touches and laying five tackles. In defence, Ashlee Reid had a match-high five rebounds to go with 11 touches and nine tackles, while Tesharna Maher (12 disposals, two marks and four rebounds) and Grace Smallacombe (10 disposals, four rebounds) were also prolific in an under-siege defence.

Following the week off, Woodville-West Torrens takes on Glenelg, with Sturt facing Central District in a double-header day at X Convenience Oval on Friday, March 13.

SOUTH ADELAIDE 1.1 | 4.1 | 8.1 | 9.2 (56)
NORWOOD 0.1 | 2.2 | 3.2 | 4.2 (26)

GOALS:

South: J. Kirk 4, T. Buethke, K. Nijhuis, M. Bennett, T. Meyer,
Norwood: A. Ferrall, J. Halfpenny, J. Hill, B. Smith. I. Tahau.

HIGH DISPOSALS:

South: T. Charlton 26, T. Meyer 22, C. Cavouras 20, S. Pratt 18, E. Brockhurst 15
Norwood: J. Halfpenny 19, M. Zander 18

Reigning premier, South Adelaide produced its best performance of 2020 to-date, downing last year’s minor premier, Norwood by 30 points in the final game of the round. The Panthers remain undefeated with the win to sit second overall on the table, booting seven out of eight consecutive goals from the ninth minute of the second term through to the sixth minute of the fourth term to run away with the 9.2 (56) to 4.2 (26) victory. They head into the first weekend off with a perfect start to the season, while the Redlegs head in with a 1-2 record and hoping to find some form in the next part of the SANFL Women’s season.

The first quarter was rather quiet for two sides that can be known for their heavy scoring, as a Jess Kirk goal was the only major for the Panthers midway through the term, either side of a behind for both teams. Trailing by six points at quarter time, Alison Ferrall started a flurry of activity for both teams early in the second term, booting a goal two minutes into the quarter, one of four over the next seven minutes with the teams jostling for momentum. Tahlita Buethke responded a minute later for South to regain the lead, but no sooner had she done that, Jade Halfpenny converted for Norwood and the scores were all-square once again. A few minutes later, Kelly Nijhuis slotted an important goal, and in the dying seconds of the half, Indy Tahau put one through the big sticks for the Panthers to carry the momentum into the second half with an 11-point lead. Carry that momentum they did, with Madison Bennett and Kirk blowing the lead out to 23 points just four minutes into the third term, before an important stabilising goal to Bella Smith nudged it back under three goals. That was about it for Norwood though, as Tahlia Meyer and Kirk’s third goal all but put an end to the resistance with a game-high 29-point advantage by the final break. Kirk kicked her fourth early in the last term and many feared it could be a blowout, but Jo Hill managed to get one back and the Redlegs kept the scoring to a minimum to save some percentage and ensure the margin remained at 30 by the final siren.

South out-possessed the possession-heavy Redlegs with 261 to 199 disposals for the game, running at almost a 50 per cent balance between kicks and handballs, while Norwood had double the kicks compared to handballs in the game. The Panthers’ disposal was slick, recording an elite 74 per cent which was one of the highest of the season, compared to Norwood’s 60 per cent, and they laid 17 more tackles. The Redlegs had nine more marks than their opponents, won the hitouts (+3), clearances (+4) and inside 50s (+13), with the latter particularly disappointing that they did not make more of their chances. The Panthers defence deserve plaudits with 33 rebounds to 14, in what was ultimately a game about making opportunities count. With 11 scoring shots from 24 entries, South Adelaide scored at almost 50 per cent of the time they went inside 50, while Norwood sat at just 16 per cent (six from 37).

South Adelaide had a wealth of performers on the day, with Teah Charlton again a standout player, racking up a match-high 26 disposals, one mark, six tackles, two clearances, five inside 50s and two rebounds, joined in the bests by fellow ball-winners, Meyer (22 disposals, two marks, three tackles, four inside 50s and two rebounds) and Czenya Cavouras (20 disposals, one mark, seven tackles, four clearances and three inside 50s). Samantha Pratt was also busy with 18 disposals, eight tackles and six rebounds out of defence, working well with Emily Brockhurst (15 disposals, four marks and four rebounds) and Montana McKinnon (14 disposals, seven marks – four contested – three hitouts, two inside 50s and four rebounds) who slipped back into defence. Kirk’s four majors came from just seven disposals and three marks – all contested – while Tahau took over the majority of the ruck duties with the teenager picking up 12 hitouts to go with her 14 touches, four marks – two contested – three clearances, two inside 50s and a goal.

Norwood still had a number of impressive players with Halfpenny leading the disposal-count thanks to 19 touches, three marks – one contested – two tackles, one clearance and two inside 50s. Matilda Zander was prominent on the outside and strong overhead with 18 disposals, eight marks – four contested – four inside 50s and three tackles, while Isabel Martin laid a team-high eight tackles to go with her 14 disposals, five marks, two clearances and three inside 50s. Ruck, Leah Cutting won the most clearances on the day with seven, as well as 19 hitouts, 11 disposals and six tackles in the loss, aided by Mattea Breed around stoppages who finished with a second-high of three clearances, as well as 13 disposals, two marks and two inside 50s. Lindsay Bigg and Alana Lishmund combined for 19 disposals and nine inside 50s, pumping the ball into the Redlegs’ front six in a big to try and create some more scoring opportunities.

The entire competition has a bye next weekend, but the following one sees South Adelaide doing battle in a grand final rematch and top-of-the-table clash against North Adelaide, while Norwood takes on West Adelaide in the earlier game at Flinders University Stadium on Saturday, March 14.

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 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 Team of the Week: Round 1 – West Adelaide quintuplet lead the way

IN a new addition to our South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s coverage for 2020, we have crunched the numbers and gazed across the four games to come up with a hypothetical Team of the Week. Our Draft Central SANFL Women’s Team of the Week features a 24-player team with 18 on the field and six on the bench, allowing for exceptional performances. For Round 1, West Adelaide has a remarkable five players in our Team of the Week, with an even spread across the league with five other teams recording three players, and Glenelg and Woodville-West Torrens having two apiece.

The Bloods cover five of the starting places no less, split across the three thirds of the ground, with one defender, two midfielders and two forwards after a consistent team performance. Abbie Ballard racked up a round-high 27 disposals and nine clearances, as well as five marks (one contested), four tackles and three inside 50s to be our vice-captain for the week. Joining her in the midfield is Rachelle Martin who returned from AFL Women’s to have 15 disposals, 11 tackles and five clearances, while Keeley Kustermann slots in at half-back after a solid showing in defence. Up forward, Zoe Venning had 17 disposals and worked hard up the ground for three clearances, two inside 50s and five tackles, while Melanie Elsegood played deep and booted two goals from five scoring shots.

The captain in our Team of the Week is South Adelaide’s Montana McKinnon who was unlucky to miss out on a spot in Adelaide’s AFL Women’s side, but with the performance she put out, it will not be long before she forces her way in. The 18-year-old racked up a remarkable 18 disposals, 7 marks (five contested), two tackles, 20 hitouts, four clearances, six inside 50s and two rebounds in the Panthers’ narrow win over the Eagles. She will be amongst familiar faces with midfielder, Czenya Cavouras on the wing after racking up an equal round second-highest 20 disposals, as well as 11 tackles, six clearances, two inside 50s and two rebounds, while teenager Indy Tahau earned an onball spot thanks to 17 disposals, four tackles, three hitouts, eight clearances, three inside 50s and two rebounds.

The last starting midfielder in the side is Sturt’s co-captain Georgia Bevan, who is joined in the side by co-captain Maya Rigter, and centre half-back, Hannah Prenzler. Bevan had 19 disposals, two marks, six tackles, three clearances and three rebounds in the Double Blues’ loss to West Adelaide, while Rigter was her partner-in-crime through the midfield with 18 disposals, seven marks, six tackles and two clearances. Prenzler stood tall under fierce pressure with 12 disposals, seven marks, three tackles and two rebounds. Filling out the other key defensive position is Kristi Harvey who returned to North Adelaide from Carlton’s VFL side this season. She was steadfast in her strength and approach, having five rebounds to go with nine disposals and two marks. Other Roosters who made the side were Cristie Castle – who booted two goals from 17 disposals, six marks (three contested), five clearances and four inside 50s – and Lauren Daniel who made her way onto the bench after 14 disposals, five marks, two tackles, two clearances and two rebounds.

In a game of multiple impressive individual performances, both Central District and Norwood registered three players apiece. The Bulldogs had defender, Demi Sonneman record 13 disposals and six rebounds up one end, while Katelyn Rosenzweig booted four goals from seven disposals and three marks (one contested) up the other to be the leading goalkicker for the round. Shelby Smith racked up 20 touches and had three marks (one contested), two inside 50s and three rebounds to be the third Bulldog to make the side. For the Redlegs, forward Jo Hill made the starting squad after 11 disposals, two marks, five hitouts, three clearances and two goals, while Bella Smith and Matilda Zander both squeeze onto the bench. Smith had 10 disposals, five marks (two contested), two tackles, six hitouts and five inside 50s, while Zander had 20 touches, six marks, four tackles, two clearances and two rebounds and was unlucky to miss a starting spot but the midfield was stacked.

The two sides with just the two representatives are Woodville-West Torrens and Glenelg. The Eagles’ Tesharna Maher made the squad in the back pocket after 10 disposals, three tackles and an impressive six rebounds, while Alison Evans was her sides’ highest ball winner and will come off the bench following 15 touches, three marks, eight tackles, two inside 50s and three rebounds. For the Tigers, Madisyn Freeman‘s run-and-carry from her 14 disposals, two marks, two tackles, four clearances and two rebounds saw her make the side off half-back, while up forward, Sam Franson had 16 disposals, two marks (one contested), six tackles and two inside 50s.

In terms of unlucky players, the first emergency would be Norwood’s Leah Cutting with the ruck the most unluckiest not to be picked. She had a second highest total of hitouts with 19, as well as five marks and six tackles, but with the squad balance there were a number of part-time rucks who would assist McKinnon in that area. Along with Cutting, West Adelaide’s Kasia Culhane booted two goals from 12 touches, four tackles, two clearances and two inside 50s, while South Adelaide’s Teah Charlton was also solid with 14 disposals, five tackles, four clearances and three inside 50s. Others considered for the team this week were Norwood’s Mattea Breed, Shai Hiscock and Lindsay Bigg, North Adelaide’s Leah Tynan and Kelly Barltrop, Central District’s Kimberley Fry, Abbey Scheer and Latiah Huynh, West Adelaide’s Emma Smith, Woodville-West Torrens’ Jaimi Tabb and Glenelg’s Soriah Moon.

DC SANFL WOMEN’S TEAM OF THE WEEK: ROUND 1

B: Tesharna Maher (WWT) – Kristi Harvey (NA) – Demi Sonneman (CD)
HB: Madisyn Freeman (GL) – Hannah Prenzler (ST) – Keeley Kustermann (WA)
C: Czenya Cavouras (SA) – Abbie Ballard (WA – vc) – Georgia Bevan (ST)
HF: Jo Hill (NW) – Cristie Castle (NA) – Zoe Venning (WA)
F: Melanie Elsegood (WA) – Katelyn Rosenzweig (CD) – Sam Franson (GL)
R: Montana McKinnon (SA – c) – Rachelle Martin (WA) – Indy Tahau (SA)
INT: Lauren Daniel (NA) – Alison Evans (WWT) – Maya Rigter (ST) – Bella Smith (NW) – Shelby Smith (CD) – Matilda Zander (NW)

EMG: Leah Cutting (NW), Kasia Culhane (WA), Teah Charlton (SA)

SANFL Women’s review: Round 1 – Panthers survive scare as Bulldogs topple Redlegs

IN a huge first round of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition, the reigning premiers just escaped a fierce battle against last year’s wooden spooners, while fellow bottom two side from 2019, Central District claimed a confidence-boosting win over last year’s minor premiers, Norwood.

SOUTH ADELAIDE 2.2 | 2.2 | 4.3 | 4.4 (28)
WWT EAGLES 1.0 | 3.2 | 3.2 | 3.6 (24)

GOALS:

South: L. Buchanan, J. Kirk, K. Nijhuis, C. Wilson.
Eagles: M. Cavallaro, N. Collie, J. Zecevic.

DISPOSALS:

South: C. Cavouras 20, M. McKinnon 18, I. Tahau 17, J. Smith 15
Eagles: A. Evans 15

Reigning premiers, South Adelaide survived an almighty scare from Woodville-West Torrens to post a win in its opening game of the season. Heading into the match, the Panthers were strong favourites despite so much off-season turnover with a number of players earning places on AFL Women’s lists. Montana McKinnon was available for South in this game however, while Jaimi Tabb ran out for the Eagles after missing out on Crows selection as well.

The match started relatively as expected with Lauren Buchanan and Kelli Nijhuis both booting goals, the latter of whom was on debut prompting much celebration. The celebrations did not last long though, with Nicole Collie breaking through with a major for the Eagles, before Madison Bennett missed a couple of chances on goal. In a surprise to the home fans, the Eagles showed they were well and truly up for the fight, booting two goals to zero in the second term, courtesy of Jovanka Zecevic and 21-year-old debutant, Mikayla Cavallaro. The quarter put the underdogs up by a goal at the main break, but four minutes in and the scores were level again thanks to a Jess Kirk major for the Panthers. Callie Wilson regained some breathing space for South Adelaide with a major midway through the term, and then an arm-wrestle ensured for the remainder of the contest. Neither side could find the big sticks, with five behinds in the last quarter – four to the Eagles with the breeze, and it meant they fell agonisingly short of an inaugural win and massive upset.

South Adelaide had a kick-first mentality that seemed to work, with 35 more disposals, with 65 per cent of those 204 disposals being kicks, while the Eagles had a much lower 56.7 per cent from 171 disposals. It was the outside marking ability of the Panthers that really stood out, taking 37 marks to 18, eight of which were contested. They also won the hitouts (24-20), clearances (26-17) and inside 50s (31-25), but you could not take the defensive pressure out of the contest with the Eagles winning the tackle (73-59) and rebound 50 (25-22) counts.

McKinnon was absolutely sensational and would have given the Crows’ coaching staff plenty to think about, amassing 18 disposals, 20 hitouts, seven marks (five contested), six inside 50s, two tackles and two rebounds in a clear best on ground performance. Working hard through the midfield roving the teenagers’ taps were fellow teens, Indy Tahau and Teah Charlton. The pair combined for 31 disposals, eight clearances, six inside 50s and nine marks in a combination that will no doubt be on show at the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships later in the year. Czenya Cavouras‘ ball-winning ways continued with 20 touches, 11 tackles and six clearances to be the next best after McKinnon, while Jaslynne Smith (15 disposals, seven rebounds) was superb in defence.

For the Eagles, Allison Evans had a team-high 15 touches, three marks, eight tackles, two inside 50s and three rebounds, while Sophie Zuill finished with 13 disposals, eight tackles and two clearances. Providing a hard edge along with that duo was Tabb, who finished the game with 12 disposals, two marks, seven tackles and three rebounds, but was unlucky not to boot a goal in the game, finishing with two behinds. Tesharna Maher was really prominent defending in the back half, having a team-high six rebounds to go with 10 touches and three tackles, while Adele Gibson was fluent in midfield, with four inside 50s, five tackles and 10 disposals.

In the end it was just the overall class of the Panthers and star-stuffed top dozen players that helped them get over the line against a plucky Eagles outfit. Woodville-West Torrens will be better for the run, and come up against a vulnerable Norwood next week at Hisense Stadium, while South Adelaide faces Sturt back at Flinders University Stadium again in a match they should be strong favourites for too.

NORTH ADELAIDE 1.0 | 5.4 | 6.4 | 7.4 (46)
GLENELG 1.4 | 1.4 | 2.9 | 2.10 (22)

GOALS:

North: K. Barltrop 2, C. Castle, H. Ewings, T. Gordon, K. Reynolds, L. Tynan.
Glenelg: J. Bates, J. Bradley.

DISPOSALS:

North: C. Castle 17
Glenelg: S. Franson 16

A hungry North Adelaide side desperate for redemption following last year’s SANFL Women’s Grand Final loss sent a message to the rest of the competition with a four-goal victory over an inaccurate Glenelg side. Six unanswered goals from the 12th minute of the first term through to the 12th minute of the third term handed the Roosters the win, and showed exactly why they could well be the team to beat in season 2020.

It was a mid-morning game on Saturday and Jordana Bradley was the first player to seize the moment, pouncing on a goal for the Tigers to put her side in front. For the majority of the first term, Glenelg dominated, booting 1.4 and looking like they would really build a strong lead. Unfortunately inaccuracy plagued them – as it would throughout the contest, and instead thanks to a Leah Tynan goal midway through the term, the Tigers only led by four points at the first break. Any doubts about the Roosters’ premiership credentials were soon put to bed with a massive four-goal second term, booting 4.4 to 0.0 to run away with a 24-point lead at half-time. Last year’s competition leading goalscorer, Kelly Barltrop got on the board for the first time in season 2020 with a couple of goals, while Hannah Ewings and Cristie Castle both booted majors. All three players could have had more, with Ewings missing a couple of chances and Barltrop and Castle also missing the opportunity for an additional major. With the breeze again in the third term, it was up to Glenelg to make the most of it, but four consecutive behinds in the first 10 minutes of the quarter stung deep. When Tayla Gordon converted the Roosters’ sixth consecutive goal, it was like a dagger to the heart. Jessica Bates managed to boot a drought-breaking major a minute later, but the result was decided. Kathryn Reynolds booted a fourth quarter goal – the only one from either side – to help North Adelaide record a 24-point win.

Despite the lop-sided result, it was largely the second term that decided the match, with Glenelg largely matching it with the Roosters across the statistics. The Tigers had three more disposals – and looked to utilise their kicking ability more – with a 73 per cent disposal efficiency, while laying seven more tackles (41-34). They won the hitouts (23-15) and clearances (22-15), but their decision making once inside 50 needed improvement with just two goals from 12 chances – an additional scoring shot to their opponents. The Roosters showed that despite not playing at their best and being beaten in the midfield, they were able to put away a side by four goals, and still show the damaging firepower they have at their disposal which was a feature of their game in 2019.

Castle was a real inspiration in the forward half and through midfield, winning a game-high 17 disposals and five clearances, as well as taking six marks – three contested and four inside 50s. Lauren Daniel was predictably busy around the ground with 14 disposals, five marks, two clearances and two rebounds, while Adrienne Davis had 13 touches, four marks, three tackles and a clearance. All eyes were on Bek Rasheed in the ruck, with the debutant continuing on the famous family ties – father Mick Redden is the club’s games record holder – with the red and white, having 14 hitouts in the bulk of the ruckload, while also helping herself to seven disposals, three clearances, two tackles and two inside 50s. Barltrop booted two goals, but also had three marks and two tackles, while up the other end, Kristi Harvey marked her return from Carlton’s VFL Womens’ side with nine disposals, two marks and five rebounds playing at full-back. Tynan also had a notable game, amassing 12 touches, four marks, three inside 50s, two rebounds, two clearances, two tackles and a goal.

For Glenelg, youngster Madisyn Freeman looked impressive through the midfield, buzzing around with 14 touches, two marks, four clearances, two tackles, two rebounds and one inside 50, only bettered by Sam Franson who looked fierce through the middle, racking up 16 touches, two marks, six tackles and two inside 50s in her first performance back for 2020. Lucy Earl had 13 kicks which were her total amount of disposals, spreading nicely and trying to create run with five marks and three rebounds out of the back half. Tessa Kohn was one of Glenelg’s most prominent midfielders with the debutant looking good thanks to 12 disposals, four clearances, three inside 50s and two tackles. Also making her debut and holding her own against fellow debutant Rasheed, ruck Soriah Moon had 15 hitouts to accompany 10 disposals, four tackles, two clearances and two inside 50s.

Overall it was a promising, yet not quite perfect performance for the Roosters who once they click across four quarters will be hard to stop. North Adelaide travels to X Convience Oval once again in Round 2, this time being the genuine visiting side against a Central District outfit that looked impressive in Round 1. Glenelg on the other hand takes on West Adelaide at Hisense Stadium in the first game of a double header at the ground on Friday night.

STURT 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.1 | 2.3 (15)
WEST ADELAIDE 1.1 | 2.5 | 4.6 | 5.6 (36)

GOALS:

Sturt: A. Ballard, A. Ladas.
West: K. Culhane 2, M. Elsegood 2, Z. Venning.

HIGH DISPOSALS:

Sturt: G. Bevan 19, M. Rigter 18
West: A. Ballard 27, Z. Venning 17, R. Martin 15

An absolutely inspired performance from pocket rocket, Abbie Ballard has propelled West Adelaide to an opening round win over Sturt. The Westies always looked in control, but stepped it up in the second half to boot three goals to two, restricting the Double Blues to just five scoring shots for the entire match. It was an imposing performance from the West Adelaide line-up that looked desperate to undo the wrongs of last season where the Bloods narrowly missed out on finals. Fast forward to the start of 2020, and they look ready and raring to go for a big season ahead.

The first half was largely anticlimactic for the neutral as West Adelaide completely dominated its opponent. Kasia Culhane kicked the first goal of the match six minutes into the game, before a goal early in the second term to Melanie Elsegood was the only other major in a low-scoring half of action. Elsegood had chances to add to her total with a couple of behinds either side of her goal in the first half, while West Adelaide’s fierce pressure provided plenty of forward entries, four consecutive behinds meant the Westies were not getting value for money going forward. Ally Ladas finally broke the drought for the Double Blues in the opening two minutes of the third term, albeit with a behind, before business returned to normal as Culhane and Elsegood both booted their second goals to race out to a 29-point advantage at the final break. Something clicked in Sturt to start the last term, as co-captains Maya Rigter and Georgia Bevan both had chances in the opening few minutes but missed, while Ladas broke through with her first goal, joined by Alex Ballard four minutes later. The margin was back to 15 points and there was an air of uncertainty about the result for the first time since before the game, though Zoe Venning soon put that to rest with a goal midway through the term to solidify a 5.6 (36) to 2.3 (15) victory.

West Adelaide dominated the clearances and inside 50s which was where the game was won, as the Westies doubled Sturt’s clearances (30-15) and almost doubled the inside-50 count (24-13). This came off the back of Sturt actually dominating the ruck contest (28 hitouts to 15), and taking more marks around the ground (46-20). They used the ball more efficiently with a 68 per cent record on the day, but the Double Blues could not win enough of the ball around stoppages and give their forwards enough chances in front of goal. Their effort and intensity was certainly there, but the Bloods were too strong around the clinches.

In what was not only a best on ground performance, but a Player of the Round performance, Ballard had an absolute field day out on X Convenience Oval, racking up 27 disposals, five marks – one contested – nine clearances, four tackles and three inside 50s. To put that in perspective, Sturt only had 15 clearances, six more than Ballard alone. Her partner-in-crime, Rachelle Martin looked very impressive coming back from her debut with Adelaide as the top-up injury player, amassing 15 disposals, five clearances, a game-high 11 tackles and two inside 50s to support Ballard on the inside. Venning’s late goal capped off a strong performance of 17 disposals, two marks, five tackles, three clearances and two inside 50s, while Keeley Kustermann worked hard around the ground on debut with 14 disposals, two marks, three tackles, three inside 50s and three rebounds. To go with her two goals, Culhane also had 12 touches, two marks, four tackles, two clearances and two inside 50s, while Elsegood could have had a real day out with straighter kicking, booting 2.3 from 10 disposals and two marks – one contested.

It was no surprise to see co-captains, Bevan and Rigter lead from the front. Bevan had a team-high 19 disposals, as well as two marks, six tackles, three clearances and three rebounds, while Rigter helped herself to 18 disposals, seven marks, six tackles and two clearances.  In a career-high, Rachel Dunstan‘s homecoming to Sturt – the side she had played with in 2018 before her local club Woodville-West Torrens gained a team and she moved – proved fruitful with the young talent having 11 touches, two marks and two rebounds – five more disposals than any other game last season. Teenager Zoe Prowse showed she will only continue to get better with time, having 11 touches, eight hitouts, three clearances and two inside 50s, working in tandem with ruck Stephanie Ratliff (16 hitouts).

In Round 2, both sides face off in Friday night encounters as West Adelaide returns home to Hisense Stadium where the bloods host Glenelg to try and continue their winning run, while Sturt heads to Flinders University Stadium to take on reigning back-to-back premiers, South Adelaide.

CENTRAL DISTRICT 0.1 | 1.2 | 3.3 | 5.3 (33)
NORWOOD 1.1 | 2.3 | 3.4 | 4.5 (29)

GOALS:

Central: K. Rosenzweig 4, M. Lane.
Norwood: J. Hill 2, L. Bigg, J. Halfpenny.

HIGH DISPOSALS:

Central: S. Smith 20, L. Huynh 15
Norwood: M. Zander 20, A. Ferrall 15

It is often said that the gap is closing between the best and worst sides in the competition, and that could not be more true in the SANFL Women’s considering the results in Round 1. While the winless Eagles from 2019 almost toppled the reigning premiers, last year’s second bottom side and fellow inaugural outfit, Central District defeated one of the premier sides of the past three years in Norwood. With a new coach, an almost entirely new midfield group and a high turnover of players due to the success of the Redlegs, Norwood went down to a determined Central District outfit, led by Katelyn Rosenzweig in a come-from-behind win.

Norwood was the first team on the board during the match with Jo Hill getting an early goal two minutes in which followed from an Isabel Martin behind. The visitors were already looking dangerous but the Bulldogs settled down the tempo as Rosenzweig had a chance but missed early, and a dour first term came to an end at 1.1 to 0.1. It was not long before the crowd got up and about in the second term with Madison Lane converting a major two minutes into the quarter. Lindsay Bigg soon responded for the Redlegs and both sides had multiple chances to add to their totals, but in the end it was Norwood up by seven points. What happened next was a mixture of shock and elation for the X Convenience crowd as their Bulldogs – or more accurately Rosenzweig – piled on four of the next five goals to race out to an eight-point lead five minutes into the final term. Hill had added her second goal to briefly grab back the lead midway through the second quarter, but it was not until Jade Halfpenny finally broke the drought in the ninth minute of the final term that Norwood could get back on track. But in a twist, it would not be enough for the favourites, as the Bulldogs held on despite fierce pressure to record a narrow four-point win and start their season off on the right foot.

Unsurprisingly despite a new-look group the Redlegs still played a possession brand of football with 23 more disposals (211-178) and tried to use quick handballs and run to move the ball going forward. They had a whopping 30 more marks (55-25) and were too strong in the air (7-2 contested), as well as dominating the hitouts (32-11) and inside 50s (28-21). The Bulldogs defensive unit – which was underrated last season given the high amount of inside 50s its opposition was getting – played incredibly well with 22 rebounds to 14, whilst the Bulldogs laid 54 tackles to 38. The home side also used the ball better (68-65 per cent) and were more efficiency with five goals from eight chances compared to four from nine.

While the statistics might have looked like Norwood should have been on top, Rosenzweig’s finishing ability – 4.1 from seven touches and three marks – one contested – was the difference and she will prove to be hard to stop not only each game, but for the leading goalkicker trophy overall. Shelby Smith was terrific for the Bulldogs on debut with the 28-year-old having an equal game-high 20 touches, as well as five clearances, three marks and three tackles, getting back to help the defence with three rebounds and getting forward for two inside 50s. Latiah Huynh had her share of the ball with 15 disposals, two marks, two tackles and two inside 50s, while Demi Sonneman played at a high level in defence, racking up six rebounds and 13 touches on the day. Youngster Kimberley Fry had 11 disposals, two marks, three tackles and three rebounds, while Abbey Scheer was also strong defensively with 11 touches, six tackles and three rebounds.

One of the few remaining midfielders from last season, Matilda Zander stepped up in the absence of Najwa Allen, Hannah Dunn and Ebony O’Dea, picking up an equal game-high 20 disposals, as well as six marks, four tackles, two clearances and two rebounds. Alison Ferrall had 15 disposals and six inside 50s running hard on the outside, while Lindsay Bigg and tall utility, Mattea Breed both had 14 touches and three clearances, as well as combining for seven inside 50s and five tackles. Sophie Armitstead was another consistent performer with 12 disposals, three tackles and four clearances, while Hill (11 disposals, two marks, five hitouts and three clearances) and Bella Smith (10 disposals, five marks – two contested – two tackles, six hitouts and five inside 50s) aided ruck, Leah Cutting (eight disposals, five marks, six tackles and 19 hitouts well.

Looking ahead to Round 2, Central District faces North Adelaide in a battle of the two most impressive sides from the opening round – at X Convenience Oval – while Norwood has to back up and look to knock off the Eagles at Hisense Stadium on Friday night.

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.