Tag: central district

Bulldogs build brand and now ready to bite

CENTRAL District coach Shaun Ribbons will head into the 2021 South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s season confident his side can begin to put into place the learnings of the first two seasons to take the next step in the competition.

Playing in a trial match against North Adelaide on the weekend, it was clear to Ribbons that despite the interrupted year in 2020, and the challenges that have come with being a new club entering the league after the majority of others, the Bulldogs are now progressing to beyond just being competitive.

“I think a lot of our girls have now had two or three preseasons and what we find is all the strength and conditioning, fundamentals of the game, footy IQ, it’s just starting to accumulate and they’re just starting to understand what playing at this level is all about,” Ribbons said. “So we’re really seeing a faster progression than I thought we would this season, and we were able to in our trial match on the weekend, give that a bit of a test, and the girls played really well against North Adelaide and their training this year has been at a really high standard.

“We’ve been able to in the first couple of years implement some pretty strong training standards and expectations, and that takes a little while for girls to adjust to when we’ve really taken them from amateur footy and some of them haven’t played much at all, to semi-elite stuff. “It just takes a bit of time, and the group’s been awesome this year, really positive and we’re starting to see a bit of progression.”

Last season the Bulldogs might have taken home the wooden spoon with just the two wins, but it was clear to everyone that despite dropping back a spot on the ladder, Central District had made massive strides going forward. Ribbons said there were times where his side looked to have had momentum in games, it was about making the most of those opportunities, which was something he is expecting in season three.

“We knew that some of the teams we were coming up against were obviously really talented and they’d been in the comp for longer and just played more footy so we based everything in the first two years in building a brand that was competitive, things that we could control,” he said. “We wanted to be a really good tackling team, we didn’t want to shirk any issues and be a team that’s known to compete really well, and then just add layers upon that.

“In terms of how we use the ball, how we defend, we knew our fundamentals, our strength and conditioning and our footy IQ would come at some point. “We’re starting to see that now, but as long as we competed really well, so I think that’s what we achieved in the first two years. “It didn’t matter who we played, we held our own in the contest in terms of competing, but we just have to be a bit patient with some of the other stuff.”

An example Ribbons used was a match against reigning premiers and 2020 grand finalists South Adelaide, where the Bulldogs had 17 more inside 50s, but still went down comfortably.

“There were some good indicators, but obviously some key areas that we just needed to get better at,” Ribbons said. “Some of that is experience, and some of it is just development and a little bit of personnel.”

Last year the Bulldogs had limited AFL Women’s players coming back to the side, with Sarah Allan being a standout performer, but in 2021, the teams will once again be without their top-level experience for the most part, which is something Ribbons said the playing group used for motivation last year, and as a positive coming into this year.

“For our girls that was a really great learning experience, there’s no doubt about that, and that will hold us in good stead for at least the first part of the year, and I think at times we were able to match it with some of those girls, so that’s the situation we’re in where we don’t have a heap of AFL girls, and we’ve just got to focus on the girls that we do have and building a strong brand within our community and that’s a long-term thing,” Ribbons said.

“We’re pretty hellbent on having good connections within the Barossa and the Northern suburbs in terms of footy growth, and that will be our competitive advantage going forward. “We might not quite have the stimulus of girls coming back from interstate to play for us, but I think we can build something strong if we get it right.”

One aspect the Bulldogs have been able to add over the offseason is experience, with Sturt’s Jess Schulz and Brianna Burt, North Adelaide’s Paige Allan, and South Adelaide’s Nicole Mark providing “an immediate injection of 60 or 60 games”. Ribbons also said the Bulldogs’ good crop of young talents led by Lauren Breguet, Maddy Lane and Laitiah Huynh was promising, in what he described as a “much more balanced group”.

Leading that group is new captain Shelby Smith, who had a remarkable first season in the SANFL Women’s and won the team’s best and fairest, and earned the respect of her teammates enough to be chosen as captain for the 2021 season. Ribbons praised Smith’s ability to represent the brand and herself, whilst still learning the game.

“I remember watching her play at Eastern Park and she’s one of those girls who you know what you’re going to get,” Ribbons said. “She’s just a real competitor, so I was confident in that. “She obviously had a fantastic season, I mean the great thing about her is her attitude, she really fits that brand that we’re trying to drive, and she’s a great learner as well. “She’s still always trying to find ways to improve and I think in terms of what we value at our footy club, she’s just a great role model.

“She has been somebody that anybody within the group can look towards and she’s got so many great attributes, so she’ll be a fantastic captain and leader, and she’s still developing her game because she’s really only played at this level for one year, and we’ve already seen signs that she’s going to be a really strong competitor for us and do well.”

The first match is now just over a week away, with the Bulldogs hosting Woodville-West Torrens Eagles at X Convenience Oval in the second match of a double-header. Ribbons said one focus for the team was improvement in fundamental decision making, which was a focus for the group over the off-season.

“We feel really strong about our brand, but what we’ve been able to do is really try and take the next step in terms of our methods with ball-in-hand,” he said. “We’re probably a team of going forward at all costs, but not necessarily with great method, so we’ve done a lot of work on how we want to exit from contests, and we want to be better users of the ball. “We’ve spent a lot more time on structure and role playing within the preseason.

“Our big improvement will come from how we’re able to use the ball to put teams under pressure, because we had so many times last year where we had opportunities but there’d be a fundamental error, just a dropped mark or a kick where we couldn’t just execute when we had our opportunities, so I think that is our big growth area.”

Picture credit: On the Ball Media

Sprinting ace Grubb takes a tough year in his stride

KEEN South Australian draft watchers may remember him as the winner of last year’s SANFL Grand Final sprint, but Central Districts speedster Lachlan Grubb has more in his locker than pure straight-line speed. Sprinting and football run through the 17-year-old’s veins, with his father a former Reserves player at Norwood, while his uncle took out the 1970 Bay Sheffield meet. It makes his pedigree hard to shake, but the youngster is taking it all in his stride, with his genes helping form many of his most damaging traits.

The draft prospect’s pace, agility, and goal sense makes for an exciting package forward of centre, and Grubb has impressed across the senior grades in his top-age campaign.

“Speaking with ‘Bangers’ (Tony Bamford) and my coaches from Centrals at the start of the year, I think the plan for me was to play predominantly in the position where I was likely to get drafted, if I do at the end of the year,” Grubb said. “So playing that small forward role really suits me well with my goal awareness, speed, and being able to evade people with my agility.

“Last year I played six Reserves games when I was 16 so I guess I had the confidence from last year as well. “Especially with the speed of the game and the sort of player I am, I like to move the ball quicker, get out and use my legs, and I think that’s allowed me to show my weapons.

“It was awesome to play two League games (in 2020). “I was pretty disappointed to go back down into the twos but we’ve got a really good team and culture at the club at the moment so our twos are flying, top of the ladder. “Hopefully we can keep that form up heading into finals.”

After a wildly successful reign between 2000-2011, the Bulldogs have not returned to the final game of the League season since. But Grubb, and the Reserves side he has played most of his footy in this year looks primed for a premiership tilt in 2020, having won more games that the League and Under 18s teams combined to remain one game away from a minor premiership. Grubb is relishing the opportunity to play senior football, and at a “pretty good” standard, no less.

“There’s a really good spirit around the club at the moment and obviously heading into finals, we’ve only lost one game this year,” he said. “I’m very fortunate to be able to play finals footy, obviously not many people in Australia are getting to play footy, and it’s all eyes on SA so it’s a really good opportunity we’ve got and hopefully we can go forward and win a flag.”

But the journey hasn’t been completely smooth sailing thus far, with the obvious early setback of a delayed season compounded by injury, the feeling that people are overlooking the Reserves grade this year and most recently, missing out on a National Combine invite.

“We had just done the whole preseason and found out that the season had stopped, and we didn’t know when it was going to come back,” Grubb said. “It was obviously a bit of a stab in the foot, but I guess everyone across Australia was suffering with it.

“Then starting off the season, I missed the first four games with a syndesmosis injury in my ankle. I did all my recovery pretty quickly, thought I was pretty professional with the way I went about that and just tried to get back as soon as possible.

“I played two League footy games, then went back down to the twos and I’ve been in some pretty good form, but I guess it’s just a bit frustrating because not many people are looking at the Reserves this year.

A breakout game of three goals, and bag of five in Round 12 would have caught plenty of eyes, though, with Grubb garnering some attention from AFL scouts. Having spoken to a couple of clubs recently, the youngster is also moulding his game on a couple of speedy Richmond favourites. Although, he doesn’t support an AFL club at the moment.

“I actually don’t (support) an AFL team,” he said. “Everyone did when we were growing up with the Crows and stuff, but it’s a bit weird, I don’t actually support an AFL team at the moment. “Dad goes for the Pies, they have a bit of a special spot in my heart.

Shai Bolton from Richmond, I mould my game on him. “Just his speed and his pressure – pressure has been a massive improvement for me this year, obviously that’s been the main feature to use my speed to get to players quicker. “At the start of the year I was more of an offensive player rather than a defensive player, so really just trying to hone in on that pressure role as a small forward. “Shai Bolton is definitely one I mould my game on and players like Jason Castagna as well, who can also roll through the forward and wing position.

“The main feedback (from AFL clubs) for me has been just that defensive pressure. “At the start of the year, it wasn’t as good, but it’s been really improving over the past few months of games.”

With help from manager Michael Doughty, a 231-game player at the Crows, Grubb has also taken on extra craft sessions throughout the week. Along with school, sessions at his local JT Performance Centre gym, training with his athletics coach, and regular commitments with Centrals, it makes for a pretty packed week. But as a “laid back” character by his own assessment, Grubb has been able to use each opportunity to his advantage.

“Life’s pretty good in SA,” he said. “School’s been pretty easygoing this year, I’m a laid back sort of a guy so I don’t get stressed over too many things. “The coronavirus hasn’t really effected me too much, I think I really bounced back from it pretty well… (it has been) pretty hectic but I don’t mind it.”

Nearing the end of his top-age campaign, there remains one big goal for Grubb to tick off, but a series of smaller ones come first.

“Obviously the main goal at the end of the year is to get picked up by an AFL club, that’s my dream since I was a young kid,” he said. “But (I am) just setting little goals and trying to play some consistent footy. “I guess I haven’t really been seen much over the last couple of years, last year was my breakout year. “Obviously all the other guys have played a lot of state footy, so I guess I’ve been coming from behind of everyone.

“I’ve just been trying to put some consistent games of footy together to really showcase what I can do to all AFL clubs. “Tackle numbers every game, trying to get that down pat, and then obviously finishing off my goals, because there was a couple of games where I kicked a few points this year.

“If footy doesn’t work out, there’s a lot of things that I can look to. “I do pretty well at school, I’ve got good grades this year and have really honed down on my Year 12. “I’m pretty good at psychology, so maybe just some sort of sports psychology at Uni. I like teaching the younger generation so maybe PE teaching at uni or something like that, too. But I’m really open to anything at the moment.”

Grubb sought to thank his family for their ongoing support, as well as his Centrals coaches for their help throughout the season, and his manager for the effort and time put into him this year.

Featured Image: Lachlan Grubb gets a kick away | Source: (Retrieved from) Central District Football Club

Fast and fierce Huynh embodies Centrals’ spirit

SHE may be small, but packs a punch. Central District forward Laitiah Huynh is a prospect who personifies everything great about her side’s style; pace, an attacking mindset, and ferocity in the tackle.

The 17-year-old has cut her teeth throughout the South Australian pathway, rising the ranks via her state’s Under 16s, and Under 18s squads over the past three years. She has proven a perfect fit for Bulldogs’ senior side since debuting in 2019, harnessing her competitive edge with help from her Centrals family.

“I used to be really hesitant for the ball but with Centrals, they just go for everything so I’m in everything now – or I try to be,” Huynh said. “It made me a more fierce player. “(My coaches and teammates) always help me. Most of them are like my family now, I love them all… at the start it was really nerve-racking because I was the youngest one in the whole team, but they supported me and helped me through it.”

In such a tumultuous year for budding AFL Women’s draftees, the theme of family has helped Huynh come out the other side a better for it. With her release, football, taken away from her amid a global pandemic, the youngster sought to connect the best support network possible.

“I just surrounded myself with my family and friends, mainly my family because I couldn’t really see anyone else,” she said. “But it was hard because I didn’t really have anything to do and footy is usually what I did to get my mind off other things.

“I thought it was going to impact my performance when we came back. I wasn’t sure how well I’d perform because we didn’t really get to train as a team. “My dad’s crazy about my football so he’s just the biggest support ever. (Mum and Dad) come to all my games, they took me everywhere before I had my licence so it’s been really good.”

The lingering unknown was compounded by Huynh’s juggling act of high-level football, Year 12 schooling, casual work, and interests outside all those realms, forcing somewhat of a squeeze on her priorities. But not for long, as she hit the ground running and prospered upon a return to normality.

“I did miss a few trainings because of school, because I was just trying to keep on top of everything,” she said. “But it’s gone better now, I’ve almost finished. “The season came back (during) the important part of school, so I was just a bit stressed out but I just cut my casual work a bit and just did school and footy. “I bought heaps of things off Gumtree and just trained at home. “We had a group chat so we all sent in different activities (and) exercises to do at home, rather than a gym.”

The improvisation paid off, as Huynh impressed throughout her second South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s campaign, while also recently running out in her state’s Under 18 All-Star showcase. Having already proven her worth as a forward, the speedy small was utilised further afield late in the season, and during her representative hitout.

“I’m a bit smaller so I’ve mostly stuck to the forwardline this season,” she said. “I was also chucked on the wing for a couple of games and everyone thinks I’d be better on the wing because I’m fast. “With practice I think I’ll get better at it, I do want to learn the wing more.

“I think I did alright (in the All-Stars game). “I got put on the wing and I went forward for a little bit but the ball wasn’t really coming down when I was there. “But it was heaps fun because all the girls were obviously the best talent in SA, so we were all skilful and it was a good experience.”

The opportunity to play at such a high level against her peers somewhat made up for a lack of a national carnival in 2020, which Huynh says she wishes she could have experienced again in her top-age year. Having transitioned into football at around age 12, she has also observed the expansion of such pathways.

“It was my last year so obviously I would have wished to have a National Championships,” she said. “All in all, you can’t really help what happened but it was a good experience. “Most of my SA friends were in the All-Stars game anyway, I’d played with them for the last couple of years, so it was a good experience to be alongside them again.

“When I started I don’t think there was an AFLW team (in South Australia) but I think when everyone heard that there would be, they just jumped straight into footy and ever since then, with all the different pathways and activities that are put on for everyone to join in, they’ve really gained the skill and experience from all of that.”

As a supporter of the Adelaide’s successful women’s side, Huynh admits playing for the Crows “would be the dream” come draft time, but is happy to move anywhere given she has family all around Australia. Looking forward, Huynh is working on her contested game, especially marking, while also seeking to build her fitness and strength to suit AFLW level.

Should the ultimate dream not come to fruition this year, the fast-developing prospect is happy to hone her craft with help from the Central District family.

Featured Image: Huynh representing South Australia at the 2019 Under 18 National Championships | Source: Dean Martin/The Advertiser

SANFL Women’s season review: Central District

CENTRAL District is the first team up in our South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s season review series as we look at the eight sides in reverse ladder order and who their 2020 seasons went down.

Position: 8th
Wins: 2
Losses: 8

2020 IN A NUTSHELL

Coming off a seventh placed finish in their inaugural season last year, Central District was predicted to show some great signs of improvement. Whilst ultimately they did finish a spot lower and take out the wooden spoon, it is fair to say their overall season was much improved on 2019. They had the two wins from 10 games, which were a Round 1 win over Norwood and a Round 7 triumph over Woodville-West Torrens Eagles. The Bulldogs had a tough second half of the season fixture, and had they potentially played more of the bottom four sides, they could well have notched up another win or two. All in all, their gameplay – which was often fast and exciting – was superior to other teams, it was just about the execution inside 50. If that area can be ironed out, then watch out in 2021.

AFL WOMEN’S ALL-STARS GAME REPRESENTATIVES:

Laitiah Huynh

A 17-year-old speedy mid-forward who could break the lines and cause all sorts of havoc for the opposition. She showed clean hands at ground level, and coupled with her athleticism, was able to be a crucial link in the chain between midfield and the forward 50. Huynh was also not afraid to lay some big tackles on more experienced opponents.

Madison Lane

A versatile player who really settled into defence in the latter half of the season. She was able to improve her one-on-one ability and provide some drive up the defensive end, and showed she has the capability of playing forward, after kicking a goal against Norwood in Round 1. Another 17-year-old prospect who improved well after earning the honour of captaining South Australia at Under 16s level.

Katelyn Rosenzweig

Already having been drafted to the Crows and then unfortunately delisted due to the strength there, Rosenzweig is easily a type who can play at the next level. She is strong overhead, has a sixth sense for goals and is rarely beaten in a wrestle. More often than not she is a reliable shot for goal, and led the club’s goalkicking in season 2020.

Shelby Smith

One of the surprise packets of the competition this year. Expect her to potentially take out the Bulldogs best and fairest after a sensational year on debut. At 28-years-old, Smith was hard at the ball, loved a scrap and never took a backwards step. She was a clearance gem and beat a few experienced AFL Women’s talents at times around the contest.

OTHERS WHO STOOD OUT:

  • Sarah Allan
  • Demi Sonneman
  • Alicia Butler
  • Lauren Smith
  • Lauren Breguet
  • Caitlen Teague

It is hard to look past the consistency of AFL Women’s ruck/key defender Sarah Allan, and 2019 best and fairest winner, Demi Sonneman. Allan came into the team after the break and was exactly what they needed – a tall marking target with a booming kick – while Sonneman hardly played a bad game. She had the toughest job on the last line of defence, and even if she made mistakes, would back up and go again. Others who stepped in season 2020 included Caitlen Teague, Alicia Butler and Lauren Smith through the midfield, and 16-year-old Lauren Breguet who came into the side in Round 3 and continually improved until the end of the season, which will make her better for 2021.

Summary

Central District was one of the more exciting teams to watch, particularly in the second half of the season. Yes, the Bulldogs made mistakes going inside 50 and the counter attack on turnover could often be costly, but the way they tried to move the ball with speed and cause hazardous inside 50 entries worked at times. Even against South Adelaide late in the season, if they had been cleaner and made more of their opportunities, they could have caused a boil-over. All in all, Central should be really excited about the future because their 2020 season was a step up from their 2019 one, regardless of ladder position.

All-Star Team of the AFL Draft Era: Which club is the best of the best?

EVERY year, a new crop of AFL Draft talents rise up and make waves at AFL level. Some clubs such as Calder Cannons and Geelong Falcons are referred to as ‘footy factories’. Others are less well known, but nonetheless vital in providing players with their start to the AFL.

Over the past couple of months, Draft Central has gone through all of the NAB League, SANFL and WAFL clubs and tried to determine the best 24-player squad for their respective clubs. The captains and vice-captains were determined by the public through Instagram voting. Now, it is up to the public to decide which All-Star Team is the greatest of the lot. That’s right, the 30 teams from Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia are going head to head in a knockout draw.

Which teams are competing?

NAB League [12]: Bendigo Pioneers, Calder Cannons, Dandenong Stingrays, Eastern Ranges, Geelong Falcons, Gippsland Power, GWV Rebels, Murray Bushrangers, Northern Knights, Oakleigh Chargers, Sandringham Dragons, Western Jets
SANFL [9]: Central District, Glenelg, North Adelaide, Norwood, Port Adelaide, South Adelaide, Sturt, West Adelaide, Woodville-West Torrens
WAFL [9]: Claremont, East Fremantle, East Perth, South Fremantle, Peel Thunder, Perth, Subiaco, Swan Districts, West Perth

How will it work?

Each day at 10am, we will publish the two All-Star Teams of the AFL Draft era, and the public will be able to vote through the article, Facebook and Twitter, with the overall winner moving through to the next round.

Given there are 30 teams, two sides who we have picked out as the top two seeds – East Fremantle and Geelong Falcons – will have the bye in the opening round, with the other 28 teams seeded appropriately similar to the All-Star Player voting (3rd against 28th, 4th against 27th etc.).

Who is up first?

The first All-Star Team battle is between a couple of metropolitan sides who we have seeded 16th and 17th in the draw. They both have some absolute elite stars, but Calder Cannons and Western Jets will begin the voting on Monday. They will be followed by the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels and Eastern Ranges on Tuesday, before a cross-state clash sees third seed Port Adelaide Magpies tackle Peel Thunder.

Two from two – NT gun Brodie Lake helps Centrals break through

SIX rounds into the 2020 SANFL Under 18s season, Central Districts sat seventh at 1-5. To that point, the Bulldogs had only bettered winless cellar dweller West Adelaide in Round 2. Over the past fortnight, they’ve improved to 3-5 and remain just one game off the top four.

Across that very same two-week period, Northern Territory (NT) native Brodie Lake has settled into the side having moved south to pursue a greater wealth of opportunities in his top-age AFL draft year. It may be a coincidence that Centrals are two from two with Lake in the lineup, but it’s clear the Top End talent is making his mark.

Having arrived in South Australia on the first Monday of August, Lake was able to get straight into training and make his debut for the Bulldogs just five days later.

“This is my second week here. Our season is not on (back home) and NT Thunder got cancelled with the NAB League so I made the decision to come down, get my name out there and play some games,” Lake told Draft Central this week.

“I didn’t have to quarantine coming from Darwin but I had to get a test just to make sure. It was good to get straight into training and playing. I had training on Wednesday and Thursday, and then played on the weekend and got the win.”

Central Districts’ Brodie Lake celebrates a goal with teammates | Picture credit: Hannah Howard/SANFL

The daunting factor of living away from home at just 18 years of age is somewhat aided by the fact he has experienced it all before. Lake lived with a host family in Western Australia while representing Peel Thunder during last year’s WAFL Colts competition, making eight appearances. While he has the distraction of football and is currently rooming with older brother, Keenan in South Australia, the youngster still leans on his prior travels to push through.

“(Moving to WA last year) definitely made it a lot easier, knowing I can live away from Mum and Dad… I’m living here with my brother so that’s good.

“For the first couple of months I don’t find it hard because I’m doing stuff and training, but towards the end when the season is about to finish I start missing home a little bit more.

“Mum, Dad and my brother are big helps. They just push me and encourage me to do stuff and they say ‘It’s up to you, it’s your dream, but we’ll help you and support you through it.'”

That dream of playing AFL football has been at the forefront of Lake’s mind since first representing the Thunder at Under 16s level in 2018. He did so once again in 2019, earning his side’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award for his efforts across the three-game Division 2 carnival.

“I started getting serious about it at Under 16s, my first year (with NT). I was like ‘Yeah, this is something I want to do.’

“I enjoyed playing with the boys back home, getting into the state side with them and getting to know them a bit more. It was good, especially to get All Australian, I was pretty happy with that.”

Congratulations to Brodie Lake who topped off his family affair during the NAB AFL Under 16 Championships by being named…

Posted by AFL Northern Territory on Friday, July 12, 2019

 

Having grown up in the Darwin zone, Lake is tied to the Gold Coast SUNS, though opted to continue his southern venture rather than represent the Queensland-based program in the current Academy Series.

“I went down (to Queensland) and trained with them for two weeks in the off-season with Joel Jeffrey, Brandon Rusca, and Tyrell Lui. I enjoyed it, they’re a great bunch of boys.

“I haven’t heard much lately because of the virus obviously, but a couple of the boys are down there training with the academy now. I didn’t end up going because I talked to ‘Roey’ (NT Thunder Academy coach, Jason Roe) and Dad, we had a chat and they reckon it’s better for me to stay down here and get some game time.”

The medium-sized utility has had plenty of mentors to aid him as he traverses a path less travelled by, as well as teammates who have made each transition as smooth as possible. Lake played senior football alongside former AFL midfielders Ed and Michael Barlow at Southern Districts in the 2019/20 NTFL season, with senior coach Matt Cannard also playing a hand in his development as a midfielder.

Through the Palmerston Under 12s and the NT system, he played both with and against Jeffrey, and also got to know a bunch of other AFL draft hopefuls when selected in last year’s Under 17 Futures All Star showcase. One of them was current Centrals League gun Corey Durdin, while fellow Bulldogs Austin McDonald and Kobe Wilson have partnered him well through midfield at Under 18s level. Another Palmerston product, Jonty Patrick, who was set to join the Calder Cannons this season, has also made the trip down with him.

While there are a bunch of great minds and players alike to feed off, Lake also takes inspiration from GWS GIANTS midfielder Lachie Whitfield, who he models his game on. The similarities are there; the ability to accumulate on the spread, play on either side of midfield or off half-back, and run all day. Lake enjoys watching Whitfield so much, he even jumped ship from supporting Carlton to embrace the ‘Big Big Sound’ in Western Sydney.

As he blazes his own trail, the 18-year-old sees himself slotting in at half-back among an AFL side, with a good bunch of traits to help stamp his case as a genuine draft chance.

“(I’d fit in) at half-back I reckon… with my running off the backline, I use the ball well and read the play,” he said.

“I enjoy playing inside mid or outside, I love midfield.”

Of his strengths, Lake listed speed, agility, marking, and tackle pressure, while he is looking to improve on his timing and getting to as many contests as possible.

There have been many adjustments to be made too, from the cooler weather, to playing a different brand of football than he’s used to.

“It’s freezing. I just warm up in a jumper, and warm up extra obviously because my muscles are a bit colder… on-field here there’s more structure and (it’s played) in-close with bigger bodies. They move the ball faster too by hand and foot.”

As he further acclimatises across the second half of the SANFL season, Lake is looking to move up the grades and simply put his best foot forward in hopes of realising his ultimate dream. Should it fail to come to fruition in 2020, Lake says he is committed to putting in a full campaign down south next year in between duties with Southern Districts. With his current online Year 12 studies in tow, there is always a Plan B, too.

For now, it’s full steam ahead with exposure and time on the park paramount to his chances of reaching the elite level.

Lake sought to thank his parents, brother, Nan and Pop, aunties, uncles, and cousins, for all their support during his journey.

Draft Central SANFL Women’s Team of the Year nominations

AS the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition came to a close last week, it is time for the Draft Central SANFL Women’s Team of the Year. We name the final team on Sunday night, but the 40-player nomination list – similar to the All-Australian squad – is effectively the extended squad of those in contention.

This list has been compiled of players who had at least three SANFL Women’s Team of the Week nominations, and three additional players who had two, to round up the full list to 40. Two players had seven nominations from a possible 10 rounds, and those players will be nominated as captain and vice-captain.

From the 40-player squad, North Adelaide and South Adelaide lead the league with seven nominations each, ahead of West Adelaide (six) and Norwood (five). Glenelg, Central District and Sturt had four players apiece, while Woodville-West Torrens had three.

CENTRAL DISTRICT: [4]

Sarah Allan
Katelyn Rosenzweig
Shelby Smith
Demi Sonneman

GLENELG: [4]

Sam Franson
Caitlin Gould
Eloise Jones
Tessa Kohn

NORTH ADELAIDE: [7]

Lauren Daniel
Hannah Ewings
Kristi Harvey
Anne Hatchard
Britt Perry
Katelyn Pope
Ash Woodland

NORWOOD: [5]

Najwa Allen
Mattea Breed
Leah Cutting
Bella Smith
Matilda Zander

SOUTH ADELAIDE: [7]

Nicole Campbell
Czenya Cavouras
Teah Charlton
Jess Kirk
Tahlia Meyer
Indy Tahau
Lisa Whiteley

STURT: [4]

Georgia Bevan
Hannah Prenzler
Zoe Prowse
Maya Rigter

WEST ADELAIDE: [6]

Abbie Ballard
Keeley Kustermann
Rachelle Martin
Madison Newman
Stevie-Lee Thompson
Zoe Venning

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS: [3]

Renee Forth
Kiana Lee
Tesharna Maher

SANFL Women’s Round 10 review: Eagles avoid spoon as Norwood heads into finals with big win

WOODVILLE-West Torrens Eagles have avoided the 2020 South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s wooden spoon after a last-round win against Sturt helped them leap into seventh on the table. Three of the top four sides all had wins heading into the post-season series, with South Adelaide accounting for its western rivals, while both North Adelaide and Norwood accumulated big victories.

WEST ADELAIDE 1.1 | 1.4 | 1.4 | 1.6 (12)
SOUTH ADELAIDE 2.3 | 2.4 | 4.4 | 4.5 (29)

GOALS:

West: R. Killian.
South: T. Charlton, C. Hammond, I. Tahau, G. Schirmer.

ADC BEST:

West: H. Maidment, A. Ballard, Z. Venning, S. Thompson, C. Biddell
South: J. Smith, N. Campbell, T. Meyer, L. Buchanan, S. Pratt

In what has become a typical South Adelaide performance, the reigning premiers played a consistent four-quarter effort to defeat third placed West Adelaide in what could be a finals clash at some point over the next few weeks. The Panthers capitalised with the breeze, slotting two goals in both the first and third quarters, and denying the Bloods a major when West Adelaide had the breeze. In what was a really strong defensive performance, South Adelaide kept its opponent to just six behinds after conceding what would be the only Bloods goal, in the opening minute of the match.

West Adelaide was quick out of the blocks to try and turn its poor form from last week around as Rachael Killian kicked the first major of the game after just 40 seconds. It came about after a couple of good touches from Stevie-Lee Thompson out of the middle and Abbie Ballard at half-forward. Unfortunately for the Bloods, that was where the first term dominance stopped.

South relentlessly attacked for the most part of the remainder of the term, adding a couple of goals in the opening term. After a couple of chances, including an Indy Tahau set shot, and a Hannah Munyard snap, it was Tahlia Meyer who set up an attacking play through an intercept mark on the wing that got things happening. The quick ball movement for the Panthers ended up in the hands of young gun Teah Charlton who easily converted from 30m out straight in front to put her team in front.

Four minutes later, Munyard was involved by marking uncontested inside 50, then waited for the running Cheyenne Hammond to cross her path to give her off the handball and she slotted the goal on the move. Down by nine points and the momentum with South, West began to attack more down the ground, with Zoe Venning and Keeley Kustermann pushing up and causing headaches for the opposition. Charlie Scutchings had a quick snap but it missed to the right.

The second term the Westies had a bit more of a breeze advantage and took complete control of the term, but neither side could really capitalise in front of goal. Kasia Culhane had the best opportunity 20m out straight in front off a free kick but she shanked it and the ball was knocked through for a behind in the square. By half-time the Panthers held onto a straight-kick lead, 2.4 to 1.4. Jaslynne Smith and Lauren Buchanan had been superb in defence, Nicole Campbell was busy through the midfield and Charlton always threatening. For the Westies, Abby Hardwick also had a chance to capitalise but was dragged down, while Helen Maidment and Chelsea Biddell were keeping a high line.

South won the game in the third term, taking its chances with the breeze, booting a couple of important goals to create separation and a three-goal lead at the last chance. As much as West tried, they could not have a meaningful deep chance, with the Panthers’ defence up to the task through Buchanan, Lucy Northcott and Samantha Pratt – who laid a terrific tackle on Thompson inside 50.

Instead it was youngster Tahau who launched a ripping bomb from 50m after a lookaway handball over the top from a teammate and her shot bounced home with some help from Charlton in the goalsquare. Five minutes later, Gypsy Schirmer created something out of nothing with a snap on the outside of the boot to break up what had a been a bit of an arm-wrestle. The term was highlighted by Montana McKinnon‘s return and starting to get into it with a couple of crucial intercept marks, whilst Thompson was desperately trying to create something for the losing side with her speed but could not quite finish it off.

The last term mirrored the second with neither team able to score despite the Bloods having the bulk of the forward half possession. Thompson won a free kick from 50m out and kicked towards a one-on-one in the square, but cleared the packed and went out. Brianna Wedding and Pratt racked up some important touches, while the likes of Smith and Buchanan continued to work hard.

Schirmer had a chance of her own for the Panthers but just fell short and while Maidment led a really strong defensive unit, it would be South’s work with the breeze that proved the difference, as West booted six straight behind since the goal in the opening minute, and South booted all four remaining majors for the match. Munyard, Campbell and Charlton were all superb in the front half, while the collective of the back six was equally impressive.

 

NORWOOD 4.0 | 6.4 | 9.8 | 9.9 (63)
GLENELG 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.1 | 1.1 (7)

GOALS:

Norwood: K. Fenton 3, M. Zander, N. Allen, J. Davies, L. Bigg, S. Armistead, M. Breed.
Glenelg: C. Gould.

ADC BEST:

Norwood: S. Armitstead, N. Allen, M. Zander, M. Breed, J. Macolino
Glenelg: D. Varnhagen, L. Armitage, M. Freeman, C. Gould, T. Kohn

Norwood has grabbed third spot on the SANFL Women’s ladder with a dominant 56-point win over Glenelg at Coopers Stadium. The Redlegs knew coming into the match they would face West Adelaide in a do-or-die semi-final, but finished off the way they wanted to with a commanding performance in front of home fans.

Norwood produced a dominant first half at Coopers Stadium where the Redlegs hardly gave Glenelg a chance. Piling on six goals to zero in the opening half and not allowing the Tigers to even register a score, the home team was in fine form. Kate Fenton booted two of those majors, with the zippy Matilda Zander also adding a goal in the opening term with a snap three minutes into the contest. Both Zander and Sophie Armitstead had big opening quarters in the match, while Mattea Breed and Leah Cutting were also controlling play around the ground.

For Glenelg, Lucy Armitage was trying hard, and Madisyn Freeman looking to create some run, but the Redlegs midfield took control against an onball division missing both Ebony Marinoff and Eloise Jones. Fenton kicked her couple of goals with one coming off a step and then another after some great team play, before Fenton got one in the dying moments for the last kick of the quarter to put her side four goals up at the first change.

The second term belonged to Norwood, controlling the play from the first whistle, and whilst Glenelg had some inside 50s, and even spent some time locked in there early in the term, the Bays could not get on the board. Tessa Kohn and Deni Varnhagen had some nice moments kicking forward, but the work of Zander, Armitstead and Najwa Allen – who by her standards had a quiet first term – had now popped up and was winning a truckload of the ball. It was Allen who broke the goal drought in the first half of the term with an important major, and then Cutting had a great tap down to Jade Davies a couple of minutes later for Norwood to capitalise again.

Sensing the game was slipping away, the Bays tried to steal back some of the momentum, but the defensive efforts of Armitstead and Shai Hiscock – who laid a great tackle in the back 50 – made it hard for the Tigers. Brooke Tonon, Sam Franson and Lauren Kenny had their moments in the term as well, with Tonon having a shot after the siren. Unfortunately for the teenager she was practically in the third row of the grandstand and with the siren blown, she had to keep her line and the banana kick cannoned into the behind post. At half-time, the scores read 6.4 (40) to 0.0 (0).

If the game was not done and dusted by the main break, then Norwood definitely put an exclamation mark on the performance in the third term, with three more goals, two of them coming in the last five minutes of the term. Glenelg started well with an early couple of chances but could only muster up one behind, whilst Norwood absorbed the pressure of the opening five minutes then dominated after that, and Glenelg was on the back foot.

There were a lot of rushed kicks out of the back 50 from the Tigers as they desperately held on, and eventually a quick kick off the line by the Bays was marked by Lindsay Bigg midway through the term and she delivered with her set shot just getting past Soriah Moon on the line. Bigg had a second chance minutes later with a set shot from 25m on a bit of an angle but it started left and never went back. By that point, the Redlegs had booted 1.4, but later goals to Armitstead – off a terrific low dart from Allen – and Breed – who ran into an open goal in the last few minutes – handed the home team a 61-point lead at the break. Cutting had the chance to extend that just before the siren, but her 45m distance fell short and was spoiled away on the siren.

The last term was a real dour affair, with Glenelg actually having the bulk of the play. But much like the opening three terms, the Bays could not capitalise on their chances, with the only major coming in the last two minutes when Caitlin Gould took a strong mark and converted the set shot for Glenelg’s last major of the season. The Bays went down by 56 points, and while they miss out on finals this year, at least finished by outscoring the Redlegs in the final term. Norwood had a number of chances going forward, but only kicked the one behind, not that it mattered in the 9.9 (63) to 1.1 (7) victory.

NORTH ADELAIDE 2.4 | 3.8 | 4.14 | 7.17 (59)
CENTRAL DISTRICT 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 1.0 (6)

GOALS:

North: A. Woodland 4, B. Perry 2, C. Taylor.
Central: R. Richardson.

ADC BEST:

North: A. Woodland, K. Harvey, B. Perry, H. Ewings, C. Taylor
Central: M. Lane, D. Sonneman, N. Biagi, L. Huynh, S. Murphy

In rounding out the 2020 season, North Adelaide finished the year with a 10-0 win-loss record thanks to a 53-point win over Central District. Despite the score, the Roosters were not afforded their usual freedom at times with the Bulldogs’ pressure right up there. North Adelaide also missed a lot of chances the Roosters would normally nail, and made it a closer game, but to restrict the top team to four goals in three quarters was regardless a great effort by Central.

With North Adelaide having already secured the minor premiership, the Roosters just had an unbeaten season on the line, whilst Central District was hoping to finish its year on a high after a promising second half to 2020. Whilst North always looked like winning, there were large patches where the Bulldogs matched it with the Roosters, giving Central positives heading into the 2021 season.

A couple of early behinds to North might have been ominous, but the Bulldogs defence, led by Nicola Biagi and Demi Sonneman held up well. Biagi had a couple of really good moments from intercept marks to shepherding her teammates, whilst Sonneman provided the drive off half-back. Kelly Barltrop was looking dangerous one-on-one inside 50, taking a couple of marks but instead giving off to a leading Charlotte Taylor in the 11th minute of the term for the Roosters to break what had been a real struggle in the opening 10 minutes.

They almost had another when Cristie Castle‘s bouncing ball headed towards goal to bounce over the head of the Central defender for Mollie McKendrick to snap at the top of the goalsquare. Unfortunately her snap skewed off the side of the boot for a behind, and then when in an almost identical situation moments later, put it through. Unfortunately for the red and white, the goal would not count as Central was awarded a free kick and ran it out of defence. North would put a second goal on the board however, as Ash Woodland marked 30m out straight in front after finding space and slotted the goal for a 16-point lead.

If one could not see the scoreboard, nor know anything about the competition prior to the match, you would assume these two sides were evenly matched. The Bulldogs were really taking it up to the Roosters, and had it not being for a clumsy late bump on Woodland, Central was poised to avoid conceding a goal to the minor premiers. Unfortunately the free was paid and with loose players forward of the ball, Britt Perry marked straight in front and with the last kick of the goal put through a breakthough major.

The goal was the first after four straight behinds for the Roosters, as Central’s Shelby Smith, Latiah Huynh and Sonneman had been ultra-impressive through the term. If they had not conceded the goal, it would have been the first time since March 14 that North had not kicked a goal in a quarter. But nonetheless, Central had held the usually high-powered scoring machine to just 3.8 in the first half, and whilst they had failed to score themselves, the Bulldogs had their own chances inside 50, but just could not finish off. Heading into half-time, Central would have been confident given their first half play.

The third term was one that could have blown the margin well out of proportion for the Roosters, but a remarkable six straight behinds from the minor premiers only marginally increased the difference between the sides. Yet again the Bulldogs could not score, but had done so well defensively to force misses from their usually-accurate opposition. It was not until an inside 50 and a favourable bounce for the Roosters saw Castle the beneficiary and Madison Lane the unlucky Central defender, as Castle handballed to Woodland to kick her second major of the contest with just two minutes remaining in the term.

The Roosters had a chance for back-to-back goals when Lauren Daniel took on Sonneman at half-forward and kicked to a one-on-one by Lane was up to the task and forced a stoppage. When the siren sounded moments later, North led 4.14 (38) to 0.0 (0) and realistically if the shots had been on target it could have been an ugly scoreline, but it was also credit to the Bulldogs’ defensive pressure to force mistakes.

The flood gates opened a bit more in the final term as the Roosters booted three final quarter goals as they finished the game with a remarkable 24 scoring shots to one. Perry slotted a her second goal four minutes into the quarter which was the quickest start for North in a term thus far. In a relieving effort, Renae Richardson was on the end of a nice end-to-end play from Central as Katelyn Rosenzweig hit up her teammate in the goalsquare and Richardson booted her third goal in two weeks to ensure the Bulldogs went out with a goal on the board.

Woodville-West Torrens came in and kicked a couple of goals to end the term, both on the run with one just strolling into goal, whilst another was a clever snap in the last few minutes. Whilst Woodland’s four-goal haul was superb, and Perry was terrific with her two majors and setting up numerous scoring opportunities, Kristi Harvey was one of the best on with her intercept ability, while Ewings and Daniel were others who stood out. for the Bulldogs, Lane was strong one-on-one, while Sonneman and Biagi were great in the back six, and Huynh and Allan consistent throughout. Zoe Perry was another Bulldogs player who laid a couple of big tackles and showed great signs in the final game of the year. In the end, North Adelaide saluted 7.17 (59) to 1.0 (6)

 

STURT 1.2 | 1.2 | 2.4 | 2.4 (16)
WWT EAGLES 0.3 | 1.8 | 1.8 | 3.13 (31)

GOALS: 

Sturt: H. Prenzler, J. Wittervan.
WWT: C. Forby 2, K. Lee.

ADC BEST:

Sturt: Z. Prowse, H. Prenzler, T. Hough, I. Kuiper, T. Prenzler
WWT: C. Forby, K. Lee, A. Falkenberg, C. Dolan, R. Forth

Woodville-West Torrens has avoided the 2020 SANFL Women’s wooden spoon after a last round victory against Sturt at Peter Motley Oval. It was the Eagles’ second win for both the season and in the club’s history after beating Glenelg back in Round 4 just prior to the break. By winning, the Eagles sentenced Central District to last place by percentage, and showed they are on the improve after a winless 2019 inaugural season.

The match was a scrappy affair and not alway accurate, as the Eagles booted 3.13 (31) to 2.4 (16), taking until the final term to really stamp the authority on the game with a couple of crucial majors in the last 10 minutes guaranteeing them the win. Sturt had led at both quarter time and three quarter time in a seesawing contest, and while the Double Blues managed to have greater accuracy, had far less time in their forward half – albeit from a third term dominance – and therefore were unable to come away with the win.

Sturt started the match in fine form with Hannah Prenzler booting the opening goal just 64 seconds into the match. It would be the only major for the first term as the teams combined for five straight behinds to head into quarter time, 1.2 (8) to 0.3 (3) in favour of the home side. Charlotte Dolan was providing good run early for the eagles, while Jovanka Zecevic, Amie Blanden and Anastasia Falkenberg were all getting their hands on the ball in the opening quarter. Sturt had more than its fair share of opportunities, with one shot hitting the post from a metre out, and then another shot – when Isobel Kuiper and Alex Ballard combined – falling short in the last couple of minutes. Co-captain Georgia Bevan had the last shot of the match but it was off-line for a behind to make it a five-point ball game.

Just two minutes into the second term and Chloe Forby – who had been solid to that point – took a flying shot from outside 50 and somehow there was no one in the goalsquare and it bounced home for a long-range beauty. It handed the Eagles the lead early in the quarter, and they dominated possession, scoring five consecutive behinds to end the first half. Realistically, the Eagles should have been in front by even more than that six behinds, as Forby, Bronwyn Davey and Kiana Lee all had chances to add more majors to the board.

The pressure from Sturt’s defence had to be commended though, with the likes of Taylor Prenzler and JoAnna Baltais settling things down deep in the back 50. Dolan and Forby were among the best Eagles, while Tesharna Maher provided great run off half-back and Zoe Prowse was dominating from the ruck to around the ground.

Unlike the opening half, Sturt took full control of the third term, keeping it in the forward half for the majority of the contest, and holding the Eagles scoreless in the term. It was enough for Jaimee Wittervan‘s goal – a mark and set shot 20m out – to be the turning point and put the Double Blues in front at the final change. Lee was trying hard on the last line, while Jamie Parish was impressing for the Eagles. Prenzler and Prowse continued their good form in the third term for the home team as Sturt as in the box seat, albeit with a narrow two-point lead.

Unfortunately for the home fans, the final term was a reverse of the third one as the Eagles took control from the opening bounce and after a couple of behinds – a rushed one and a set shot from Zecevic – the scores were all tied up. Renee Forth had been a consistent performer throughout the game and continued to apply pressure, as did Falkenberg who forced a miskick in the fifth minute and eventually a turnover. Hannah Prenzler and Tiah Hough were busy through the middle third, but the game finally had another goal when on the counter attack, a kick inside 50 had the Sturt defence outnumbered three to two. The ball hit the deck as two bodies fell, Forby picked up the ball and with the help of a Lee shepherd, booted through another.

Sealing the match four minutes later, Forby was again involved with an intercept handball and kicked deep to the goalsquare where this time the number 18 returned the favour for Lee with a good kick and last year’s club leading goalkicker did not let her down from 15m out. The two-goal term and holding the Double Blues scoreless in the quarter saw the Eagles get up, 3.13 (31) to 2.4 (16).

SANFL Women’s weekly wrap: Round 9 – Finals locked up as Norwood wins crucial match

THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s Finals Series has been determined a couple of weeks out from it commencing following the completion of Round 9. Norwood locked up the final spot in the top four by defeating West Adelaide, ensuring those teams face off in the elimination final in a couple of weeks, while North Adelaide and South Adelaide are bound for the qualifying final.

CENTRAL DISTRICT 0.1 | 2.2 | 2.4 | 2.8 (20)
SOUTH ADELAIDE 3.2 | 4.3 | 6.5 | 9.5 (59)

GOALS:

Central: R. Richardson 2.
South: H. Munyard 2, S. Peters, M. Bennett, C. Ross, T. Meyer, I. Tahau, G. Schirmer, N. Campbell.

ADC BEST: 

Central: S. Smith, S. Allan, D. Sonneman, L. Breguet, A. Butler
South: H. Munyard, G. Schirmer, L. Whiteley, T. Charlton, M. Bennett

The reigning premiers were more polished and efficient, but ignoring the final margin, this match was an entertaining battle from start to finish. South Adelaide got the chocolates by 39 points, but if Central District had just finished off the terrific work up the ground by capitalising on more chances in front of goal, this would have been a much tighter contest.

In what would be a sign of things to come for the match, Central District controlled the midfield in the opening half, yet it was the Panthers who would burst out of the blocks kicking the opening four goals of the match. Sienna Peters was the first one on the board after Gypsy Schirmer showed great burst to win the ball at speed and pump it forward for Peters to read it well off the bounce, turn and goal in the opening few minutes. The defence led by Lisa Whiteley and Lauren Buchanan was on song, and despite the inside 50s coming frequent in the opening half, they stood up, limiting the Bulldogs to just one behind in the opening term.

Hannah Munyard provided an early highlight in what would be a game to remember from the teenager, spinning out of an opponents’ grasp to take a few bounces and handball over the top to Madison Bennett in the square to pop through a second major. Both Munyard and Bennett would have chances not long after but missed, though Caitlin Ross would make the most of an errant handball out of a pack to snap around her body for a goal.

When the switched on Munyard pounced on a loose ball close to the boundary line everyone else thought was going out, the Western Bulldogs AFL Women’s player sped off, caught the defence napping and snapped it around the goal post to hand her side a four-goal lead. As frustrating as it would have been for the Central box to see the midfield controlling play but not getting scoreboard reward, they were soon able to celebrate following a neat passage of play out of the middle got to Katelyn Rosenzweig who bombed it long for birthday girl Renai Richardson to run onto and put through from point blank range.

Five minutes later Richardson made it a double after Smith handballed out of a pack at half-forward to set up a scoring chain to Richardson who marked one-on-one and converted her second major. A lot of Central’s young players were starting to have an impact, and the likes of Zoe Perry and Madison Lane were having some good moments. Now back within a manageable margin, Central was getting reward for effort. South tried to hit back late in the term, with Tahlia Meyer winning some important touches at half-forward, with a late chance to Schirmer missing leaving the half-time margin at 13 points.

The third term was where South weathered the Central storm and just pulled away for some breathing space at the final break, as the shared load in front of goal for the Panthers continued. Indy Tahau almost snapped a perfect goal out of nothing thanks to fellow AFL Women’s Academy player Teah Charlton‘s smart thinking to not take possession and punch it to Tahau 30m out from goal, but the ball was deemed touched off the boot. Instead the pair would team up again soon, this time with Charlton giving it off to Meyer who got it in the Tahau direction to snap to the square and bounce home with no interruptions. The goal came moments after Meyer had done a similar thing in play with a quick boot to ball scenario.

Allan and Smith were working hard teaming up in midfield, and it seemed a set play for a Bulldogs player to handball to the running Allan to kick deep, while Rosenzweig was marking most things that came her way. Unfortunately her usually reliable accuracy did not match her hands as she kicked multiple behinds in the match and South went 25 points up at the final break.

The floodgates opened early in the final term as South piled on three goals in eight minutes, with Schirmer, Campbell and then Munyard’s second all helping the Panthers build some good percentage coming out of the game. Indeed Munyard was superb for the Panthers in a standout best on ground performance, while the likes of Schirmer, Tahau, Whiteley and Buchanan were all strong. Central’s Smith and Allan stood out, and Rosenzweig could have had a handful had she kicked straight, though the defence of Sonneman, and cameos from Lane and Latiah Huynh around the ground were good. The Bulldogs had a number of chances in the final term but could not put it through, as South enjoyed a 39-point win.

NORWOOD 2.1 | 2.4 | 2.7 | 4.9 (33)
WEST ADELAIDE 1.1 | 2.2 | 2.3 | 3.4 (22)

GOALS:

Norwood: T. Hankinson 2, A. Lischmund, M. Zander.
West: S. Lee-Thompson, R. Killian, C. Biddell.

ADC BEST:

Norwood: J. Macolino, N. Allen, M. Zander, M. Breed, T. Hankinson
West: S. Thompson, L. Rodato, N. Davis, R. Martin, M. Newman

Norwood became the last piece in the SANFL Women’s finals series puzzle after toppling West Adelaide in a four-quarter armwrestle. The third placed Bloods were not out of the race for second heading into the game, though had secured a finals spot last week, but now will certainly play Norwood in the elimination final after the Redlegs won 4.9 (33) to 3.4 (22). It also ended any chance Glenelg had of playing finals, with the Bays playing later in the day and facing Norwood in the final round in what could have been a virtual elimination final. Instead, Norwood gained a vital advantage ahead of the two teams facing off again in a fortnight.

It is fair to say the game was not one for the highlight reel, though it was not without tension and drama as neither side would give an inch. With a total of four goals kicked in three quarters, it became more about capitalising one chances when presented with them. The first term masked what would be a low-scoring match when Redlegs captain Alison Ferrall got it to Najwa Allen in the pocket who centred it to Tessa Hankinson. She marked in the goalsquare and truly delivered from point-blank range to give her side the lead early in the game. Rachelle Martin had started strong for the Westies, while Mattea Breed was getting busy in the midfield for the Redlegs.

After not much in the way of goals for the first half of the term, it took some terrific work from half-back and a team effort for West Adelaide to rush it down and Chelsea Biddell mark at half-forward. She spotted Stevie-Lee Thompson one-on-one alone inside 50 and put it to her advantage running back with the 2019 AFL Women’s leading goalkicker making good on her chance to put it home with five and a half minutes to spare in the term. With the game neck-and-neck, a costly high tackle on Alana Lischmund 30m out from goal in the last minute proved the difference between the sides with the Redlegs forward converting and handing her team a six-point lead at the first break.

The second term was a bizarre one, and a quarter that looked to be goalless right up until the last 10 seconds of the game when Madison Newman – who had been a little errant with her usual elite kicks – found Thompson at half-forward who got it deep to Rachael Killian to run onto and put it through moments before the half-time siren to draw within two points. Whilst the scoring had been rare, there were some huge individual efforts in the quarter, with Norwood’s Jess Macolino and Breed among the top performers, while Matilda Zander and Jade Halfpenny had some nice moments with their hands in close. Lauren Rodato and Niamh Davis were rocks in the back half for the Westies however, and Thompson and Chelsea Biddell were providing the presence through the middle third of the ground.

Opening the third term, West Adelaide started a player short with Abby Hardwick running on after the Bloods realised, and caused a moment of confusion with the umpires. Once the game got going, the defences came to the fore, as neither team could capitalise. Both teams had chances, but in the end it was Norwood that extended its lead with three behinds to one. Keeley Kustermann was solid off half-back with Newman getting better and better, while ruck Kate Walsh had a big term for the Westies. Breed continued her good form in the game as Macolino went from strength to strength, and Allen and Zander continued to press hard through the middle. A contested mark by Biddell on the wing, and a couple of quick kicks on goal by Zander missed, but Norwood was looking the more damaging of the sides.

With finals on the line for Norwood, and potentially a top two spot in the works for West Adelaide, the last quarter meant a lot to both sides. Straight away Norwood took control with Allen winning the ball on the wing, taking three bounces and slicing up the defence to centre the ball into Zander 25m out on a slight angle. She tugged it to the left, which was fortuitously marked by Halfpenny close to the behind post. The youngster decided to give Zander a second shot on goal instead of trying to snap with the number one Redleg marking in space yet again. Her behind to the left marked Norwood’s seventh straight miss which could have proved costly.

West Adelaide’s defence was holding up well, but the Redlegs kept forcing it forward. Zander continued to get busier and put it to Lischmund’s advantage but her soccer off the ground hit the behind post. Moments later though, Zander managed to snap from congestion and it bounced through to give her side a crucial 11-point lead just over five minutes played. The celebrations did not last long though, because the deficit sparked the Westies into action. The next centre clearance worked its way to Thompson at half-forward who hit-up Biddell. Her subsequent free kick saw her nail a set shot goal and put the deficit back to five points. Not long after, Ferrall had a chance up the other end to extend the lead but missed.

Through the middle of the ground both Zander and Martin were applying fierce pressure, as Martin laid a couple of massive tackles to stop opponents in their tracks. In what was the most bizarre moment of the game that proved fatal to the Bloods’ chances, Hankinson won a free kick for Norwood near the behind post with four minutes left on the clock. Her set shot should have been tucked up against the line, but instead her opponent ran to stand on the line with teammates and a surprise Hankinson played on with no pressure and easily put it through from 10m out to all but seal the game. Biddell had another late chance with two minutes left on the clock but was rushed through on the line and the siren sounded not long after for the Redlegs to finally celebrate and enjoy another finals appearance with a week to spare in the regular season.

 

NORTH ADELAIDE 6.1 | 8.4 | 10.9 | 14.4 (88)
STURT 0.0 | 0.2 | 0.5 | 0.6 (6)

GOALS:

North: C. Taylor 2, K. Pope 2, E. Greet 2, A. Hatchard 2, A. Woodland 2, C. Castle, B. Perry, H. Ewings, B. Perry.
Sturt: Nil.

ADC BEST:

North: K. Pope, B. Perry, A. Woodland, A. Hatchard, H. Ewings
Sturt: Z. Prowse, G. Bevan, K. Harris, A. Jericho, T. Hough

North Adelaide has made it eight consecutive quarters without conceding a goal after a flexing 82-point thumping over Sturt to secure what was already all but secured – the minor premiership. A six-goal first term set up the huge 14.4 (88) to 0.6 (6) victory at Prospect Oval, with the game perhaps best summarised by the final goal of the match by Erica Greet. Facing a one against two battle at the top of the goalsquare in the final minute of the game, many would have forgiven the Roosters player for not going 100 per cent. But she attacked the ball carrier and not only nullified the contest, but wrestled the ball back and then dribbled it home for a major between her two opponents.

That goal was the last of 14 majors piled on by the Roosters in what was a one-sided contest from midway through the first term. Sturt had its moments, particularly in the second term when it managed to stabilise the damage, but ultimately efficiency inside defensive 50, and the slick skills of the Roosters on the counter attack was too much for the Double Blues. North Adelaide had four multiple goalkickers on the day with Greet’s second major seeing her join speedster Katelyn Pope, Adelaide best and fairest winner Anne Hatchard, and strong forward Charlotte Taylor on a couple of goals.

Britt Perry was first on the board for the Roosters two minutes in off the back of a terrific Pope play using her speed for a one-two handball chain and then getting it forward for Brianna Arthur to try and shoot. While it was smothered, Perry mopped up and kicked a nice goal. Cristie Castle and Perry were involved in a lot of scoring early, as Taylor and then Pope got their names in the goalkickers books. Despite the work of Hannah Prenzler pushing into defence, the ruck dominance of Zoe Prowse and the work horse effort of co-captain Georgia Bevan, the Double Blues could not stop the run of the Roosters. Three late goals in the term really hurt the Double Blues as Greet, Hatchard and then with one second left on the clock, Castle all kicking goals for a 37-point quarter time lead.

The game was effectively done by then, but Sturt would not give up. Though red time goals would prove a factor in the second term, with the Double Blues managing to score a couple of behinds, albeit through rushed behinds, but at least they were keeping the ball inside 50. After not conceding a goal for the first 14 minutes, Sturt watched two late majors sail home as Ewings nailed a nice set shot from 30m, then Woodland did well to beat her opponent near the boundary and get goal side to slam it home with a minute to play and open up a 50-point half-time margin.

Too many mis-kicks early in the third term by the Double Blues were preventing them from getting too far up the ground, but North Adelaide was missing most of the gifts for the last touch out of bounds rule. Five minutes into the quarter, Pope benefited off a loose ball to run onto it, burn off an opponent and finally put one through. A minute later, Taylor took a strong one-on-one mark close to goal off a deep Ewings kick and added a ninth goal to the team’s tally. Sturt had some chances with Ally Ladas‘ shot just missing, and then another attempt from the boundary also going the wrong side of the big sticks. The Double Blues had their moments, but the Roosters were too strong with Woodland and Castle getting involved, and heading into three quarter time with a 64-point advantage.

Whilst the final term could have been playing out time, Pope ensured that would not be the case with another huge run from half-back, taking a bounce, handballing off and receiving it back, then delivering it beautifully to Woodland on the lead to convert an early goal in the third minute. Prowse, Bevan and Kate Harris continued to work hard for Sturt, but the red jumpers around the contest outnumbered them and were dominating possession. Aajiah Jericho had a good last term with a crunching tackle to win a free kick and a few good marks, while Georgia Swan got into the game. Tiah Hough was another who had shown signs throughout the game, but the Roosters had winners all over the park.

The penultimate goal came from Hatchard who receiving a pass in from another last touch free, wheeled around and put through her second, in what had been another professional performance from here. The eventual 82-point margin showed just what North is capable of and look very good to go one better than last year. Crucially, the Roosters were able to throw around the magnets after quarter time with Kristi Harvey thrown forward and Hatchard even playing in a pocket for stints. There were plenty of players in the bests for the Roosters who head into the final round against Central District as they bid to go undefeated in season 2020.

 

GLENELG 2.1 | 3.2 | 7.4 | 8.5 (53)
WWT EAGLES 1.0 | 1.1 | 1.1 | 1.2 (8)

GOALS: 

Glenelg: C. Gould 3, E. Jones 2, S. Franson 2, M. Affolter.
WWT: G. Smallacombe.

ADC BEST: 

Glenelg: S. Franson, C. Gould, E. Jones, T. Kohn, L. Armitage
WWT: T. Maher, R. Forth, C. Dolan, C. Forby, N. Holmes

Despite being ruled out of a 2020 SANFL Women’s finals appearance only hours earlier, it did not stop Glenelg coming through with an impressive 45-point victory over Woodville-West Torrens Eagles in an evening game. With the second half played under lights, it was a four-goal third term by the Bays that really separated the home team from the last placed side on the day. In the end, despite some confusion with the score, Glenelg got up 8.5 (53) to Eagles’ 1.2 (8).

Caitlin Gould finished with three majors, while Eloise Jones and Sam Franson both booted two as the trio were clearly among the best on the ground for the winners. The Eagles tried to create some run through youngsters, Tesharna Maher and Charlotte Dolan, but after a promising start – where Grace Smallacombe booted the first goal five minutes into the game – it was all Glenelg, piling on eight unanswered goals for the remainder of the match, whilst restricting the Eagles to just two behinds.

The Eagles enjoyed the lead only briefly in the first term, with Franson creating something out of nothing courtesy of a strong contest by Gould putting the Bays back in front. Five minutes later they made it too when pressure through midfield from Ellie Kellock allowed quick ball movements inside 50 and a towering Molly Affolter mark close to goal. She capitalised, and the Bays were up by seven at the first break with the likes of Tessa Kohn and Lucy Armitage also busy.

Jovanka Zecevic tried to set the tone for the Eagles from the opening bounce with a big tackle and first inside 50, as Woodville-West Torrens continued to attack early in the second term. Despite the likes of Chloe Forby and Natasha Holmes doing well, and Maher continually breaking the lines, it was the composure of Madisyn Freeman and the likes of Brooke Tonon getting involved in midfield to aid the AFL Women’s talents for the home side. Midway through the term, a great kick from Franson found Jones on the lead just 15m out with a strong contested grab which she converted, while up the other end, Bronwyn Davey had a chance after a terrific tackle, but her shot missed to the right for the Eagles to trail by 13 points at half-time.

The third term belonged to the Bays as they booted four goals throughout the term, including a couple later in the quarter to Gould who stretched the margin out to an unassailable 39-point advantage by the final break. Franson again created something out of nothing with a kick off the ground two minutes into the quarter, before a touch of magic from Jones under pressure on a tight angle swung home. Gould proved a real handful for the defence, taking a couple of strong marks and converting her opportunities, while the likes of Kellock and Deni Varnhagen were being effective around the ground.

There was not too much to celebrate in the third term for the Eagles, but Dolan was proving productive through the back half of the ground, as Kiana Lee was again consistent on the last line, but struggled to get it past the half-back wall of the Tigers. Woodville-West Torrens would have a couple of early chances in the opening few minutes, but could only put through a behind, as the likes of Chloe Forby and Anastasia Falkenberg were trying to keep the ball moving. Forth tried hard all day for the visitors, but the Tigers were just too strong, as they showed in an end-to-end play for Gould to slot home her third major midway through the quarter. Holmes had a chance in the last couple of minutes to put through another for the Eagles, but it agonisingly fell short and stayed in play, as Glenelg enjoyed a comfortable win.

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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