Tag: charlotte dolan

Fierce Dolan chooses footballing “family”

A FIERCE competitor who tackles hard, brings her pressure game to each line, and doesn’t mind a scrap. On face value, you’d think Charlotte Dolan hails from a much different sporting background than her soccer and surf lifesaving past. The helmet-donning Woodville-West Torrens prospect is unmistakable on-field, though.

Dolan completed just her second SANFL Women’s campaign in 2021 after a promising debut season last year, with her choice to pursue Australian football paying off in the form of repeat state representative honours. It has proven quite a journey for the 18-year-old.

“I started playing football five to six years ago and it’s been non-stop since then,” Dolan said. “From SMOSH West Lakes, [to] Henley Football Club, to the Eagles, and now I’m here.

“I stopped playing soccer about four years ago… the honest truth is I had a soccer coach who said I had to choose. “I was doing surf lifesaving, soccer and football and it was all too much so my soccer coach told me to choose, and I chose football.

“I felt more of a family was around the football community and I was enjoying it a lot more, enjoyment comes before anything else.”

Dolan ponders her next move during this year’s AFLW U19 championships

In a season which Dolan modestly rated as “not too bad”, she averaged over seven disposals and four tackles across her nine SANFLW outings. The top-ager boosted those numbers come National Championships time, making it eight disposals to go with 2.3 marks and 2.7 inside 50s.

Having been utilised on both sides of midfield, up forward and down back, it is fair to say that Dolan’s punishing pressure game easily translates to all of the above. She says that kind of “versatility” is one of her strengths.

“I’d say I’m quite a fierce and aggressive player,” she said. “I like to lay the game-changing tackles and I believe I’m an alright kick, a long kick as well so I think they’re mostly my strengths.

“My marking has always let me down a fair bit but I have improved a lot from where I was – from playing soccer and being scared of having a ball in the face to where I am now, I think I’m doing alright.”

Outside of football, Dolan says there isn’t “a whole lot” going on. Shortly after her South Australian representative stint, she looked forward to the Australian surf lifesaving titles, but also fills her time working at AFL Max which is “a bit of fun”.

2021 SANFLW team review: WWT Eagles

IN summarising the 2021 South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s season, Draft Central will run through a team-by-team review of how each of the sides fared, and who some of the standout performers throughout the clubs were. We begin the review series with the wooden spooners, Woodville-West Torrens Eagles.

Position: 8th
Wins: 3
Losses: 8
Points For: 205 (8th)
Points Against: 455 (8th)

Season in a Sentence: “The Eagles strung together three consecutive wins early in the season to even put themselves in a position for finals, but once the AFLW talent rolled back into the top-end teams, the eventual wooden spooners fell back to the pack.”

TOP PERFORMERS:

Annastasia Falkenberg

One of the more experienced Eagles in the team, the versatile midfielder was a ray of consistency in her 11 games, averaging 16.3 disposals, 2.6 marks, 1.6 inside 50s, 1.5 clearances, 5.5 tackles and 2.2 rebound 50s. Holding a disposal efficiency of 69 per cent, Falkenberg did a bit of everything every week, and did not drop below 12 disposals in any of her games. Her best effort came with 23 disposals and six tackles against North Adelaide, also kicking her sole goal for the year in that game. It was no surprise to see Falkenberg come away with the Eagles’ best and fairest award.

Shineah Goody

The versatile midfielder played forward, then back, and got runs onball to show off just how talented she is. At 15-years-old, Goody is already projecting as a highly talented player of the future, and she proved it by coming second in the club best and fairest in her debut season. A member of Port Adelaide’s Next Generation Academy, Goody averaged 12.5 disposals, 2.5 marks, 2.1 inside 50s, 1.6 clearances, 1.9 rebound 50s and laid 5.4 tackles. She used the ball well with a 70 per cent disposal efficiency, but it was her class and athleticism that really came to the fore.

Sophie Zuill

Still a youngster herself, Zuill enjoyed a strong season, winning her fair share of the ball through the midfield. Playing all 11 games, Zuill finished with 12.5 disposals, 2.1 marks, 2.7 tackles and 2.0 clearances, using the ball at 60 per cent efficiency. She finished third in the Eagles’ best and fairest and had a really strong finish to the season, including 36 disposals, 10 tackles and 11 clearances between the losses to North Adelaide and Sturt.

Kiana Lee

Capable of playing at both ends of the ground, Lee played 10 games and provided a contested marking specialist be it on the last line, or leading out from full-forward. She finished with 11.2 disposals, 3.9 marks, 2.5 tackles and 1.6 rebound 50s per game, clunking 18 contested marks, the second most of anyone in the competition. Often finding more of the ball in defence, Lee showed she could be thrown forward and find the big sticks as well.

OTHERS:

The Eagles had a number of consistent contributors from Jovanka Zecevic and Amie Blanden, to State Academy members Charlotte Dolan and Jamie Parish. Coming back from an injury early in the season, Jaida Tabb remains one to keep an eye on alongside the likes of Goody, Astrid Gooley, Marlie Fiegert and Chloe Whittington-Charity who are the core for the Eagles’ future.

Picture credit: via SANFL

2021 Academy Watch: SANFL Women’s Round 11

IN the ultimate round of regular season action, there were a number of standout performances from the current South Australian State Women’s Academy members. In our latest Academy Watch edition, we look at those talented state representatives who ran out for their respective South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s sides in Round 11. All notes are the opinion of the individual writer.

NORWOOD vs. WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS 

By: Liam Badkin

Norwood:

#15 Alana Lishmund

A quiet day statistically but did some good things defensively. Pressured opponents constantly and the effort never dropped. While she had only the four disposals, her mark on the game couldn’t be measured on the stat sheet.

#22 Jade Halfpenny

Rotated through the midfield and the forward line as expected, and was damaging for the majority of the game. Had the first set shot of the game early in the first quarter, but pushed it across the face of goal, and missed another to open scoring in the second quarter. Her tackling pressure and attack on the ball were as prevalent as ever as she pushed her way to 11 disposals and four tackles in a solid outing for the Academy player.

#30 Sarah Branford

Did some nice things with her eight disposals, including launching the ball inside 50 three times as she hit targets on multiple occasions during crucial passages of play. Kicked a nice running goal to end the second quarter to find her highlight of the day. The goal displayed her speed and evasiveness as she gave her side a commanding lead.

WWT Eagles:

#8 Charlotte Dolan

Did most of her work defensively, as she laid an impressive five tackles throughout the match. With the opposition constantly having the ball in their hands, Dolan was ruthless with her attack on the ball and the player, with her crunching tackles even earning her a couple of free kicks. Eight disposals in what was an ugly day at the office for her side.

#25 Jamie Parish

The defender was constantly under the pump as the ball was constantly driven inside the opposition’s defensive 50. Only had the seven touches, but a promising sign came as she took a strong contested mark on the wing in the first quarter when the game was still up for grabs. Will only get better for the experience.

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. WEST ADELAIDE

By: Michael Alvaro

South Adelaide:

#1 Tahlita Buethke

The athletic midfielder showed good explosive traits out of congestion, as she constantly looked to get on the move at stoppages and spark some forward momentum for South. While she fumbled a touch when over ground balls, Buethke proved an active participant at the contest and naturally faced forward once she prized the ball, which meant she could also wheel around and kick down the line. Kicking to targets and getting more purchase on each disposal are areas of development, but Buethke’s intent and effort cannot be faulted. She had a couple of key disposals late in the piece, with one a kick within the forward 50 which went towards the hot spot, but was intercepted.

#36 Gypsy Schirmer

Schirmer was a player who proved relatively consistent throughout the contest, but seemed to lift when the game was on the line. Roaming the wing, she was able to set up on the defensive side and was not sucked into South’s forward 50, but worked back well to win a good amount of ball. She was clean and effective with most of her touches and used her size to impact defensively when required. One such instance resulted in a free kick against, where Schirmer laid a heavy tackle as she hunted a loose ball on the wing at the start of term three. She hit the scoreboard with a quick shot on goal in the next quarter, sailing the ball home to bring South within striking distance of a remarkable comeback win. Another good moment late in the piece came as she got to a loose ball out of defensive 50 and showed great poise to help her side start a new chain of possession under pressure.

West Adelaide:

#3 Abbie Ballard

Part of the Westies midfield rotation, Ballard was competitive and made her mark going both ways. She consistently dug in at ground level and was quite clean in her distribution having prized the ball out of congestion. While a lot of her good work was done early, Ballard tried to put her side on the front foot to begin term four, reacting first at the centre bounce to soccer the ball forward in a makeshift clearance.

#7 Scarlett Griffiths

It was quite a quiet day in terms of pure numbers for Griffiths, but she still managed to have a couple of nice moments. The forward showed good initiative to actively man the mark, within the rules, during term two and was quick off the mark to pressure the ball carrier once play on was called. Later in the same quarter, she impacted in the air up at half-back to spoil her opponent and force a spill.

#8 Keeley Kustermann

It was a relatively steady return game for Kustermann, whose last outing was also against South Adelaide in April. While she was not as prolific in a ball winning sense from defence, Kustermann tried her best to impact at contests with tackles and some competitive acts when the heat was on. She tracked back well on a few occasions to help mop up ground balls, and was also seen taking a nice mark from the kick-in during term four, but unfortunately turned the ball over with her kick inboard.

#9 Zoe Venning

A prominent part of West Adelaide’s midfield rotation, Venning showed once again that she just knows how to find the ball. Working hard to impact at either end of the ground, she hit the ball at speed and looked to drive her side forward with trademark long kicks on the end of her runs. Venning’s accumulative factor was high in this outing, credit to a bunch of ground ball gets and plays where she would gather some momentum going Westies’ way. She also used that run to get involved in possession chains, continuing them with repeat efforts and good intent on the attack. Kicking to targets and lowering her eyes on the move could pose as ways to get full value from each disposal.

#30 Lauren Young

The superlatives will soon run out for Young, who was again outstanding for West Adelaide as her side clinched a finals berth. While she built into the contest, Young impacted immediately with repeat tackle efforts which saw her earn a holding-the-ball free kick at half-back. Once moved into the centre bounces, she was able to get first hands on the ball and would have learned plenty while running alongside Adelaide young gun, Teah Charlton. While she already boasts a solid built and is able to win the ball with strength, Young’s aerial marking was arguably the highlight of her day. She rose to take four marks overall and competed for plenty more, showing plenty of courage to go back with the flight or stand tall in packs. Her second contested mark came at a crucial time during the last quarter, proving clutch as Westies scrambled to hold onto their lead. She was dominant during a third term purple patch and managed to find the ball in all parts of the ground, also finding the goals with a well-struck set shot.

STURT vs. NORTH ADELAIDE

By: Liam Badkin

Sturt:

#3 Georgia Swan

While she didn’t get the scoreboard impact that she deserved, her hard work up the ground caught the eye as she pushed hard to win the ball for her side. 12 impressive disposals were the highlight as she worked up the field of play and launched the ball inside 50 on numerous occasions. Missed a shot on goal that would have capped off an impressive performance, but can still hold her head high.

#19 Alex Ballard

Once again displayed her knack for delivering strong leads that prove hard to ignore for teammates, clunking the ball four times as she has so many times before. Didn’t get rewarded with the win, or an amazing amount of disposals, but played to her strength on the lead and showed some promising signs going forward.

#20 Hannah Prenzler

Had a tough day being assigned to the backline, and competed a number of times in the air to thwart some North Adelaide attacks. Provided an option on the switch when Sturt were able to get their hands on the ball, and wasn’t afraid to push up the ground to provide a contest. Seven disposals for the day.

#30 Zoe Prowse

One of her side’s finest performers, essentially doing it all in the tough loss against a quality opposition. Kicked 1.2 up forward, but pushed up into the contest on countless occasions, where she won seven hitouts, five clearances and laid five solid tackles around the ball. Can play essentially anywhere on the ground and demonstrated this during the match. Opposition sides will certainly be mindful of her in the future.

North Adelaide:

#38 Kate Case

Worked her way around the ground, ending up in defence, as she has displayed the ability to play anywhere in the past. Had five touches in the defensive half of the ground and continued her reputation of harassing opposition players into causing turnovers. Her three tackles echoed this perfectly.

#43 Ameile Borg

Once again locked down Sturt forwards as she built on last week’s performance. She has shown in the past that she can play on opponents of all sizes and did this once again during the match. Five disposals for the match and even won a pair of hitouts as she didn’t shy away from taking stoppages in the defensive 50. Her talent for locking down an opponent catches the eye on a weekly basis and this round was no exception. A promising performance to end the season.

GLENELG vs. CENTRAL DISTRICT

By: Michael Alvaro

Glenelg:

#7 Brooke Tonon

Arguably the pick of this bunch on the day, Tonon was her usual productive self off half-back. The Bays youngster got involved early with a holding-the-ball tackle and was persistent with her pressure game, before coming to life with ball in hand. Tonon positioned well on the last line of defence in a couple of instances to cut off long kicks towards goal, then looked to take the game on immediately with some dash and long kicking. She constantly looked to spark Glenelg’s forward momentum via handball receives, or even by forcing the ball on through paddles or kicks off the ground. One of her final acts for the day was a nice read and sliding intercept touch on the wing, showing good courage.

#12 Tamsyn Morriss

Morriss may not have finished with a flattering statline, but contributed some important plays in defence amid the hard-fought contest. She built into the game, trailing a touch to her direct opponent but making a couple of crucial contest splits in term three. The first was a one-on-one spoil deep inside defensive 50, and the second was a ground ball win in a one-on-two situation, which ended up yielding a stoppage. Morriss went on to lay a solid lock-down tackle on fellow academy member Lauren Breguet, one of her two tackles on the day.

Central District:

#28 Lauren Breguet

Starting forward, Breguet made a splash early with some explosive work around the contest. She looked to bustle away and create space out of tight situations, proving quite lively and difficult to stop at full pelt. Her aggression at ground level matched the overall tone of the game and helped Centrals gain a spark inside attacking 50, as she constantly tried to get her legs pumping and make things happen. Breguet slotted into the midfield group in the second quarter and while she fumbled a touch at ground level, attempted to bring similar intent. She showcased her speed with a nice run-down effort on Brooke Tonon in term three, and capped her game with a solid overhead mark from front position in the corridor, during the fourth quarter.

#41 Laitiah Huynh

Playing almost exclusively in the forwardline, Huynh worked well up the ground and looked to get involved in play all the way up to half-back. She competed at ground level but in the heat of a largely contested game, did much of her work under a great amount of pressure. The zippy mover could not quite generate her usual speed on the outer, instead having to dispose of the ball quickly from more contested situations. She copped contact to hold onto a solid mark on the defensive side of the corridor during term three, and generally made good decisions by foot when given the time, if not for airing her kicks a touch.

2021 SANFL Women’s Round 11 preview: Final chance for Bloods, Roosters and Bulldogs to grab finals spot

THREE teams will fight it out for the last finals spot in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition as West Adelaide holds fourth position at this stage, but both North Adelaide and Central District could take it with either side winning and the other results going their way in Round 11.

NORWOOD vs. WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS
Saturday, May 15 @ 11:00am
ACH Group Stadium

Norwood and Woodville-West Torrens are at opposite ends of the table and will open the round without a great deal of ladder permutations. North Adelaide are expected to take care of Sturt, which allows the Eagles a chance at avoiding the wooden spoon for the second consecutive year. They will need to step up from last week’s heavy loss to Glenelg, whilst the Redlegs have proven to be the benchmark team this season. They do not have anything other than form and momentum to play for heading into the last round, having already secured top spot and the minor premiership. Youngsters Lana Schwerdt and Sarah Branford have replaced Sachi Syme and Ella Murison in Norwood’s 22, whilst the Eagles have been forced to make at least three chances with Adelaide AFLW talent Renee Forth, and Lakeesha Pickett both unavailable, and Panagiota Pipinis missing due to a shin injury, Alicia McNeill could be in line for a debut in the final round, named in the side amongst five inclusions, which features Georgia Taylor and Audrey Holt. The Eagles will need to try and quell Norwood’s dominant midfield, with the likes of Sophie Armitstead, Jade Halfpenny, Jess Macolino and Elisha Gallagher among the names that roll through there. With Leah Cutting likely to have a field day given her form and size advantage over Amie Blanden, the Eagles will hope to use Blanden like another midfielder at ground level, with Jaida Tabb and Shineah Goody named onball showing the future of the side, whilst Jamie Parish and Charlotte Dolan have also been in impressive form for the visitors.

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. WEST ADELAIDE
Saturday, May 15 @ 12:30pm
Flinders University Stadium

In the match of the weekend, third placed South Adelaide hosts West Adelaide in a battle where the result will either mean they likely face off again in the first week of finals, or the Panthers have a grand final rematch with North Adelaide. South Adelaide has secured its 2021 SANFL Women’s finals spot thanks to a win last week, with the Panthers’ percentage too great for the Roosters to chase down. South Adelaide would slip to fourth if the Bloods get up in this contest, but a win would see them hosting an elimination final. If they win, and North Adelaide lose then it opens the door for Central District to upset Glenelg and book its first finals spot, but the Dogs loom as outsiders at this point. In terms of the team chances, AFL Women’s talent Hannah Munyard misses out this week, with St Kilda’s Tahlia Meyer returning to the side along with State Academy member Sarah Wright, and Caitlin Ross. West Adelaide has some crucial inclusions as well, with State Academy member Keeley Kustermann returning from injury sustained at the championships, coming into the side with the likes of Louella McCarthy and Georgie Gray for an extended team. Charlie Scutchings was injured early last week and is out of the side, with Georgie Pater also the other confirmed out. South has earned the right to be favourite in this game, with the form of AFL Women’s returnees Teah Charlton and Jordann Hickey, along with Montana McKinnon and Lisa Whiteley. Add in the continued development of teenagers Gypsy Schirmer, Tahlita Buethke and Jorja Hooper, and consistency of Nicole Campbell, and the Panthers have the complete squad. West has plenty of talent itself, with the AFL Women’s contingent of Ailish Considine, Sarah Dargan and Chelsea Biddell leading the way. Lauren Young continues to have an outstanding debut season for the Bloods, with Zoe Venning and Kustermann other youngsters who can have a huge impact on the match, and Sharni Whiting being the brick wall in defence.

STURT vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
Saturday, May 15 @ 12:45pm
Unley Oval

Whilst Sturt cannot secure a finals spot this year, the Double Blues can certainly play party pooper to a North Adelaide team which needs a win to retake fourth position on the table. The Double Blues have proved they are more than capable of kicking a big score this season, though will be tested against the most experienced defence in the league. The Roosters missed an opportunity to lock up fourth place last week, and now will be at the mercy of South Adelaide if they are to book a finals spot. They need the Panthers to beat West Adelaide, and then knock off Sturt on the road in order to leap up to fourth on the table. A loss automatically knocks them out of the running, and an upset win to Central District would see the reigning premiers slip to sixth on the table as well. Sturt have recalled three players for the clash, with dangerous forward Nicole Baker named as an in alongside Millie McCarthy and Lucy Griffith, while Abby Pengelly is the sole out at this stage. Unfortunately for the Roosters, they have had to make a couple of forced changes due to injury. Julia Clark suffered concussion in the second term of the Roosters’ loss last weekend and will miss this game, as will Jaime Norup who injured her shoulder in the same match. Coming into the side are a couple of bookends in Kelly Barltrop and Talia Radan who are important talls, whilst another State Academy member in Kate Case comes into the side after missing last week. North Adelaide should get up in this game given the Roosters have a defence that not only features Radan, but Amber Ward and Kristi Harvey are intercept machines, and the talent and run of Poppy Waterford, with the tough Jaimi Tabb and Amelie Borg. Lauren Gauci has also been a crucial inclusion to the side, whilst Ashleigh Woodland remains a difficult player to quell up forward. For the Double Blues, the midfield could try and match it with the Roosters, with Alisha Gepp, Jaimee Wittervan and Isobel Kuiper roving to Jess Good who are all in good form. Zoe Prowse has managed to get up for this game, and will rejoin fellow State Academy members Alex Ballard and Georgia Swan inside 50, while Kiera Mueller was superb off half-back last week.

GLENELG vs. CENTRAL DISTRICT
Saturday, May 15 @ 12:45pm
ACH Group Stadium

The final game of the round pits second placed Glenelg up against a Central District side needing a lot of luck to secure a finals berth. The Bulldogs could grab fourth, but not only need to win, but need South Adelaide to beat West Adelaide – certainly possible – but also Sturt to upset North Adelaide – a lot less likely – in order to be playing next week. Madison Lane was stretchered off last week and will miss this game, with the likes of Chantel Reynolds, Paige Allan, Nicola Biagi and Taryn Wills named in an extended Central team. Shae Partington and Airlie Schirmer are out of the Bays’ side, and into it come Molly Affolter, Lucy Armitage and Sarah Goodwin among five chances to the side. The Bulldogs can beat anyone on their day, and with Isabelle Starmer having a good season in the ruck, and the likes of captain Shelby Smith, Caitlen Teague and Chloe Scheer impressing through the midfield, they have the core for an upset. Laitiah Huynh and Lauren Breguet are exciting young forwards, whilst Katelyn Rosenzweig with Reynolds form a great duo inside 50. The Bays have proven to hold the strongest clearance side in the business, with Ebony Marinoff returning last week with a best on ground performance, and she teamed up well with the likes of Tessa Kohn, Ellie Kellock and Jessica Bates. Brooke Tonon was superb off half-back, with Caitlin Gould and Sam Franson dangerous forwards. Overall the Glenelg side has quite strong depth, though the direct and exciting play of the Bulldogs always gives them a shot at the win.

Picture credit: SANFL / Cory Sutton

2021 Academy Watch: SANFL Women’s Round 10

IN the penultimate round of action, there were injuries, standout performances and even tags dealt with for the South Australian State Women’s Academy members, as we look at those talented state representatives who ran out for their respective South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s sides in Round 10. All notes are the opinion of the individual writer.

NORWOOD vs. CENTRAL DISTRICT

Norwood:

#15 Alana Lishmund

Got better as the night went on after a slower start, applying good tackling pressure across half-back and pushing up the ground. She was not needed a great deal in the opening term with the ball up the other end and whilst she could have been cleaner at ground level, did draw some free kicks because of her attack at the contest. She had an impressive final term with some nice foot skills, and laid a great tackle on Katelyn Rosenzweig midway through the final term to force a shot on goal to be off target.

#22 Jade Halfpenny

Had a really strong defensive game, laying plenty of tackles and charging at the football. On a number of occasions she took some strong grabs, including a courageous clunk back with the flight mark midway through the third term. Her disposal was hit and miss at times with some rushed passes but then absolute pinpoint darts, and a hardball spin out of trouble to give it to Najwa Allen to set up a goal in the first term was fantastic. She also kicked one of her own from straight in front after good positioning in a marking contest to have a solid night out.

Central:

#28 Lauren Breguet

The pick of the State Academy players in this game, Breguet was really lively in the front half, leading out hard and pushing up the ground. Her decision making was good, able to hit those short, sharp kicks to open up angels going inside 50, and nailed a set shot goal three minutes into the third term. She drew a number of free kicks for going in hard, and had another shot with the banana in the third term, but that went out on the full. Breguet showed good footy smarts throughout the contest to keep the ball in play and her eye on the prize to be one of the better Central players on the night.

#40 Madison Lane

Had a really fast start with the Central defence under siege picking up most of her touches early. She used her booming kick to clear the area and rebound from danger then lay some fierce tackles and putting on defensive pressure through the middle quarters. In the end she did not win as much of it as he has tended to, but never gave in, though she was injured in a contest six minutes into the final term and had to be stretchered off.

#41 Laitiah Huynh

Might not have hit the scoreboard, but used her lightning hands and ability to create separation from her opponents well. Once she had ball-in-hand, her ability to flick it off to teammates at speed was really impressive. Naturally her pressure was still high, and she contested well in the air and at ground level. Once she adapted to the conditions, she was able to play like it was a dry ball. Huynh was unlucky not to win a free kick for in the back late in the final term, with the talented small forward certainly up and about in the pressure moments.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS vs. GLENELG

WWT Eagles:

#8 Charlotte Dolan

Might not have won a heap of the ball, but her intent was consistent throughout the four quarters. Dolan copped plenty of knocks and kept bouncing up, taking a strong mark late in the second term to kick deep in attack and then provide an option a minute later for another inside 50. She pushed hard throughout the game to provide pressure at half-back and even spent some time on-ball late in the game.

#25 Jamie Parish

Had a tough job with the defence seeing plenty of action in this one, but Parish provided some good repeat efforts and defensive pressure. She could not always cleanly grab the ball, but when she won it in close she was quick to dispose of it, and tried to create some attacking movement despite the mounting scoreboard discrepancy.

Glenelg:

#7 Brooke Tonon

The clear standout of the State Academy members, Tonon played at the level she has built this season, coming off half-back and pushing up to the wing. She laid some fierce tackles and worked hard around the ground, quick to get boot to ball. She just kept plugging away and was one of a number of defenders who kept the Eagles from kicking a goal in the contest, providing good run and spread from defence out in transition.

#12 Tamsyn Morriss

Had a solid performance with some nice moments as you have come to expect. Morriss did not win a ton of the ball, but it was seldom in her region, attacking it hard when she needed to and winning a good one-on-one early in the match, then laid a tackle at the next stoppage to force a turnover. She was run-down trying to move the ball through the middle in the third term, but kept providing an option for her teammates, working hard both ways.

STURT vs. SOUTH ADELAIDE

Sturt:

#3 Georgia Swan

Worked really hard throughout the game and used the ball well when having the opportunity. Her statistics of six touches and no tackles do not reflect the intensity at which she played, with her one-percenters and ability to be an option in transition quite noticeable. She showed good footy smarts to get to the right positions and provided a second tackling option at the contest, often winning the hard ball and being wrapped up as well.

#19 Alex Ballard

A huge first term and arguably the pick of the State Academy players in this game, Ballard worked really hard on the lead up and down the ground to take some strong grabs. Her body positioning in one-on-one contests was also eye-catching, and she slotted a goal from 30m out on a slight angle from the set shot. Ballard seemed to be everywhere early on, and whilst she was a little quieter after that as South Adelaide ran rampant, she still lead out to take a mark and use the ball with a lovely inboard kick in the third term, then tried a snap off the outside of the boot from 15m out under pressure, which bounced through for a behind.

#20 Hannah Prenzler

Worked hard in the back half to counter a number of South Adelaide attacks and pushed up to the wing when required to keep the defensive line high. Her kicking was a little rushed compared to her usual precision, but her intercept work and mopping up was still reliable. She stood up when being tackled and spread well to provide an option and switch when required, finding plenty of the ball.

#30 Zoe Prowse

Unfortunately the exciting utility’s day ended early after a ruck stoppage in the first term, copping a knock and not being sighted again, after showing good intent early in the match with a big tackle at half-forward, though gave away a free kick for her troubles.

South:

#1 Tahlita Buethke

After a quieter start to the game, Buethke came alive after quarter time and started buzzing around the stoppages. At times she could not quite take it cleanly or would be knocked off it trying to run at speed, but her ability to create separation and then give-and-go was noticeable. She was quick with her hands or feet, and even took some good marks in space, looking to be an option in transition or intercepting a kick behind play. She used her speed to advantage and had several passages where she won a chain of possessions, and while it was not her best game, it was certainly a solid effort.

#36 Gypsy Schirmer

Had a mixed day where the talented AFL Women’s Academy member produced some nice moments, but ultimately it was more her defensive work, rather than her offensive stuff, that stood out. She was still clean with the ball off the deck, but did make some errors by hand or foot and was penalised on a couple of occasions. When it came to her intent and defensive pressure it was hard to fault Schirmer, who racked up a ton of tackles and really applied fierce pressure to the opposition. Her best play from an offensive standpoint came in the first term where she hit a lovely kick out in front of Jordann Hickey leading out.

NORTH ADELAIDE vs. WEST ADELAIDE

North:

#33 Julia Clark

It was not a good weekend for State Academy members and injuries, with Clark another one to go down in Round 10. She started promisingly with her attack on the ball earning her two free kicks in the opening term, but then a tackle from Abbie Ballard three minutes into the second quarter unfortunately resulted in her hitting the turf pretty hard and having to be helped off. The positive was the stretcher was not required and she was able to walk off with the trainers.

#43 Amelie Borg

Played a more defensive role on her opponents trying to limit their impact, and she certainly did that. Only having the six touches, Borg was more prominent for her work in adapting to multiple opponents, from key forwards to smaller types rolling through the back 50. She played quite deep and was able to just lockdown on an opponent to allow the likes of Kristi Harvey and Amber Ward to play more attacking roles out of the back 50.

West:

#3 Abbie Ballard

Building nicely in her return from a long-term injury, Ballard is hitting her straps at the right time of year. Given the strength of the West Adelaide midfield, Ballard is able to play as that pure forward with rotations through the middle, and use her left foot to advantage when searching for targets inside 50. She is clean in-close, and great off the deck, able to use the ball well in transition. She almost kicked a goal in the second term but it bounced the wrong way and through for a behind. She provided her regular amount of tackling pressure throughout the contest.

#7 Scarlett Griffiths

For the second week in a row, Griffiths had the one disposal you want to have if that is all you are going to get – kicking a goal. After her set shot last week, Griffiths kicked a clever goal on the run, dribbling it home from 30m to seal the deal for the Bloods 11 minutes into the term. She only had the one touch, but had a few almost-moments with a dropped mark one-on-one against Kristi Harvey, and then a handball that was deemed a throw.

#9 Zoe Venning

An underrated game from the fierce midfielder/forward, who exclusively was able to play at half-forward and use her high work rate to roam up and down the ground. Venning won the ball in each of the thirds and spread really well to contribute to the team’s cause. She took some good marks leading out at half-forward in the first half, then pushing back into defence in the second, she showed clean hands out of the stoppage and was able to find her fair share of the ball on the day. She had some impactful disposals and made some mistakes by foot, but overall had a pretty impressive game.

#30 Lauren Young

You know you are travelling pretty well when the opposition sends a tagger to you at half-time to try and quell your influence, and the 15-year-old had no issues whatsoever dealing with it. Not only showing talent, but maturity to just get on with it, Young still was lively in the second half despite having at least one player sticking to her, and often multiple players around her in marking contests. She won free kicks for being held, and finished with two goals – could have been three if the free kick she won was not taken advantage – but she kicked a set sot goal from 20m out straight in front in the second term for the first goal of the match, then the last goal thanks to a sidestep, spin and shot on the run which sailed home in the final few minutes of the match. Had another outstanding performance, and the fact she had to deal with tagging and still stepped up was impressive.

2021 SANFL Women’s preview: Round 10 – Ladder-defining round of action

IT might not be finals time just yet, but if the top four sides can topple the bottom four sides this weekend in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s action, then it will seal up the finals spots ahead of the last round.

NORWOOD vs. CENTRAL DISTRICT
Friday, May 7 @ 7:00pm
Coopers Stadium

Coming off their first loss in eight weeks, Norwood will be hungry to get back to business against Central District who did pretty well last week against a strong West Adelaide side, but it was not enough to come away with the points. Unlike the other three sides in the bottom four, the Bulldogs do have a superior percentage to those teams just inside the four – and both above have one draw – meaning an upset win, and a loss to either South Adelaide or North Adelaide this week will hand Central District a top four spot heading into the last week. Norwood is looking pretty good to secure top spot on the table, sitting one-and-a-half games clear of Glenelg, with just one win needed to secure the minor premiership. The likes of Alicia Butler and Ella Mickan will return to the Bulldogs outfit on an extended bench, while the Redlegs have brought back vital ruck, Leah Cutting, and in-form Ella Murison. Youngsters Sarah Branford and Lana Schwerdt are amongst the outs for this game, but the Redlegs are looking very strong. Isabelle Starmer has put together some great form through the ruck and will enjoy a battle with Cutting and possibly youngster Jade Halfpenny who has been named there. Bulldogs captain Shelby Smith and Adelaide AFLW midfielder Najwa Allen could go head-to-head in the midfield, whilst the Norwood defence will need to find a way of slowing down key forward duo Katelyn Rosenzweig and Chantel Reynolds. Sophie Armitstead could be the player to try and quell the red-hot Chloe Scheer, whilst State Academy members Alana Lishmund and Madison Lane could go head-to-head in this clash. Norwood should be too strong, but the Bulldogs have the capacity and talent to beat anyone on their day if they take their chances.

WWT EAGLES vs. GLENELG
Saturday, May 8 @ 10:10am
Maughan Thiem Kia Oval

Whilst finals seems a stretch for the Woodville-West Torrens Eagles – the results needed to occur are near impossible – they can still play the role of party pooper to finals-bound sides, whilst trying to jump off the bottom of the table. The Eagles strung three consecutive wins together this season, but with the return of AFL Women’s talents, they have been more inexperienced, but providing games to great future talents. For Round 9, the Eagles have lost Jessica Evans to concussion, but regain Renee Forth to bolster that minimal AFL Women’s talent. Their opponents Glenelg are not mucking around though, with Ebony Marinoff pulling on the black and gold for the first time this season, returning to the Bays’ outfit with Molly Affolter, Lucy Armitage and Caitlyn Swanson among others for an extended bench after multiple players have dropped out due to illness. Marinoff joins an already strong midfield of Ellie Kellock, Jessica Bates, Tessa Kohn and Brooke Tonon who are all in great form, and Caitlin Gould is a crucial player up forward or through the ruck. The Eagles have so much developing talent that will benefit from the experience against AFLW-listed players with Shineah Goody, Jamie Parish and Charlotte Dolan just a few of them. The reliable combination of Anastasia Falkenberg and Jovanka Zecevic will always stand up in big moments, and they will need to be key players in this game if the Eagles are to cause a massive boilover. The Bays also need to win this to keep touch with Norwood at the top of the table, and fend off last year’s grand finalists in North Adelaide and South Adelaide. It is hard to see the Bays losing this given their side on paper, but this has been one heck of a season for upsets.

STURT vs. SOUTH ADELAIDE
Saturday, May 8 @ 11:00am
Prospect Oval

South Adelaide can go a long way to securing a finals spot with a win over a Sturt team that just refuses to go away in the SANFL Women’s competition. Just when you think the Double Blues are out of the running, they produce a massive performance like they did against the Eagles last week to just remain in contention. A loss here would cut the chord on any finals hopes if North Adelaide get up as well, but a win, and the Double Blues could be in the top four given their percentage is higher than the two sides in there, and they take on the fourth placed Panthers. Captain Maya Rigter will miss with a foot injury, Alysha Healy is out with a shoulder injury and Lane Trenorden suffered a knee injury. They welcome back Tiah Hough, Nicole Baker and Ally Ladas to an extended bench as they try and plot South Adelaide’s downfall. The Panthers are coming off a great win over Norwood, and with their team at full strength, it showed just how good this side could be. Madison Bennett is the sole exclusion from the team, with young key forward Jorja Hooper, and defender Lucy Northcott among the inclusions. Jaslynne Smith will run out for her 50th game this weekend, and will be a key part of that Panthers backline with Lisa Whiteley and Brianna Wedding who have put together strong performances. The Sturt forward line of young talent seems to be ticking over nicely, with Alex Ballard slotting three goals last week, and with Zoe Prowse providing the height, and Chloe Forby and Georgia Swan among the developing talents in there, the Double Blues have enough firepower down there. The Sturt midfield of Alisha Gepp, Jaimee Wittervan and Isobel Kuiper will get its greatest test this weekend with Teah Charlton, Nicole Campbell and Tahlita Buethke all in ripping form and could be the deciding factor. The Panthers should get up based on their lineup, but the Double Blues will not make it easy for them.

NORTH ADELAIDE vs. WEST ADELAIDE
Saturday, May 8 @ 12:45pm
Prospect Oval

The final game of the round, and the second of a double-header at Prospect Oval sees the Roosters host West Adelaide in a massive clash. The Roosters tentatively sit in third spot, and thanks to their higher percentage compared to South Adelaide, have some sort of a buffer, but they could lose that with West and one of Central District or Sturt getting up. The Westies need to win to keep touch with the top four and frankly their side is too good not to play finals, but the Roosters also have such a consistent lineup it is hard to imagine them not competing at the pointy end. North has just brought in a potential debutant in Monika Ney to an extended bench, with not too much needing changed for the reigning premiers. Despite Marinoff coming back for Glenelg, the Roosters have not unleashed Anne Hatchard yet, with the team having a strong enough team on its own with Leah Tynan, Brianna Arthur and Erica Greet rolling through the midfield. Youngsters Kate Case and Julia Clark are versatile enough to slot in anywhere, whilst the defence of Kristi Harvey, Amber Ward and Talia Radan is just ridiculously strong. Amelie Borg can be utilised as a more athletic tall, whilst Jaimi Tabb has the freedom to play inside or out, add in Lauren Gauci who returned in style to the competition, and Ash Woodland up front, and the Roosters have so much past and present AFLW talent. West Adelaide has plenty of talent itself, as one of the most exciting young sides. Sarah Dargan, Ailish Considine and talented junior Lauren Young form a massive midfield trio, while Chelsea Biddell and Melanie Elsegood are reliable targets to hit up forward. The talls are surrounded by young talent in Zoe Venning, Abbie Ballard and Charlie Scutchings, while Imogen Loftes was one of four players to return, and slots straight onto a wing. Sharni Whiting has been strong overhead in defence for the Westies this season, while Madi Russell and Taylah Jayne have also served as strong interceptors and rebounders. This is a 50/50 game with North Adelaide having an incredibly experienced defence, but there is something about West Adelaide that could see the Bloods grab the win and make the final week interesting.

Picture credit: SANFL

2021 Academy Watch: SANFL Women’s Round 9

THE finals of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition are not far away, and there was plenty to like about the up-and-coming talent in the state over Round 9 of the competition. We cast our eye over the players across the four games, with each note the individual opinion of the writer.

NORWOOD vs. SOUTH ADELAIDE

By: Peter Williams

Norwood:

#15 Alana Lishmund

Had arguably her best game of the year against South Adelaide, finding her fair share of the ball and providing some fierce defensive pressure around the ground. The majority of her touches were found in the back half of the ground as she worked hard behind the ball to spread, and try and create some movement going forward. While sometimes her decision making was inconsistent, she would back up with some repeat efforts at stoppages and remain focused with her intent. She took a good contested mark inside forward 50 in the second half between two defenders and set up a goal assists with a quick, clean, well-timed handball, having finished off the game in the front half of the ground.

#22 Jade Halfpenny

Another really solid four-quarter performance playing primarily up forward and pushing up the ground. She had an early chance in the first term with a nice sidestep but it just missed, though she laid a great tackle shortly after to force a turnover inside 50 and lead to a score. She took a number of good marks in the second term both in front of the ball on the lead, and intercepting on the wing, as well as providing plenty of defensive pressure to force the opposition to rush handballs in close. In the final term, Halfpenny showed great closing speed to force a spill and get the handball to a teammate, but they could not get boot to ball, tried to do it herself but was tackled. Aside from a couple of passes, the majority of Halfpenny’s deliveries by hand or foot were generally on target.

#30 Sarah Branford

Despite only having a handful of touches, Branford still showed plenty of defensive pressure on the ball carrier, winning a free kick in the first term for going in hard then kicked inside 50, whilst quickly kicking it from a stoppage at the top of 50 to go deep. Late in the first term, Branford produced a strong smother to keep the ball at half-forward, and whilst she did not win a heap of it after that, still remained active in the game. Unfortunately overran an attempt to spoil which led to her opponent taking off and nailing a pass inside 50 which led to a goal, but her intent was right, reading the play well.

South:

#1 Tahlita Buethke

The speedster played through the midfield, rotating between onball and the wing, starting right at the first stoppages. She might not have won much of it to start with, but then started to collect the touches later in the first term, with a number of handballs and a kick going inside 50. She positioned herself well at the stoppages to get herself in ball-winning positions. Her third quarter featured a number of touches around the ground, including coming off a wing to scoop a ball up, then intercepting a quick kick out of the opposition’s defensive 50 to send the ball back inside 20m from goal. Laying a number of good tackles throughout the game, she won a free kick for her efforts, and had an eye-catching charge out of the middle going forward.

#5 Sarah Wright

Not a huge game, but still had a few nice moments. She was clean off the deck and applied some great defensive pressure and put her body on the line when required. Her best piece of play came in the second term when she intercepted out of defence and put it deep on the wing to a running teammate, which a few minutes later was followed by a good mark at half-back and delivery to the defensive side of the wing.

#36 Gypsy Schirmer

The AFL Women’s Academy member played out of defence again to try and create some run from the back half, and she certainly did that from time to time. Her first half was more productive than her second, first getting involved with a mark at half-back, taking the player on and giving it off by hand to move it quickly. Her hands at ground level were really good, and she pushed up the ground when required, also laying a couple of strong tackles on fellow State Academy members. Not as prolific as she has been in the front half of the ground, Schirmer certainly showcased her versatility behind the ball.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS vs. STURT

By: Liam Badkin

Eagles:

#8 Charlotte Dolan

Spent time forward of the ball as opposed to onball, and used her talents to affect the game in other ways. Had only five kicks, but rarely wasted them and her pressure in the forward half proved crucial in the Eagles attacking plays, highlighted by her three tackles. A quiet day statistically but still had her moments.

#25 Jamie Parish

Spending more time in defence than previous weeks with Amie Blanden shouldering the ruck duties, Parish was the key rebounding weapon in the Eagles’ arsenal. Finished with a game-high five rebound 50’s as she generated run out of a backline that was constantly under the pump. Not all of the kicks hit the target, but she did not have much to kick to up the field. Finishing with 10 disposals with all of them being kicks, Parish did not waste time over-handballing, and got the ball on her boot straight away, a move that got the backline out of a tight spot on multiple occasions. Already known as a player who can play in all three lines, her defensive stocks just went through the roof after solid play in this match.

Sturt:

#3 Georgia Swan

A typically solid game from Swan, who finished with seven disposals but influenced the play greatly whenever she was near it. Missed a shot on goal in the third quarter that would have added to her day, but continued to find herself around the play and was damaging when she got her hands on the ball.

#19 Alex Ballard

Had a day out as she slotted three nice goals to prove key in her side’s strong victory. Her hands were as strong as ever as she brought down six marks, on a day where defenders simply had no answer for her. Kicked two goals in the second quarter when Sturt really started to take over the game, and proved reliable at finishing the hard work of her teammates with straight kicking. Easily her best game of the year and will be looking to take her form into next week.

#20 Hannah Prenzler

Continued last week’s form of moving further up the ground to impact the play, and reaped the rewards as she kicked her first goal of the year in the final quarter where she floated forward and found space. The Academy prospect has been adaptable this season, and will be pleased with her game as she continues to adjust to the new role.

#30 Zoe Prowse

Another fantastic performance from the talented utility who continues to adapt to wherever the team needs her. Sharing ruck duties with Jess Good, Prowse was excellent whenever she was required to take hit outs, finishing with 14 for the day as a back-up. She also displayed her excellent ability to find the ball and use it with class. She ended the day with 14 disposals and a whopping seven inside 50’s. Her five tackles demonstrated her willingness to do the dirty work in the contest and finished the day as one of her side’s best.

NORTH ADELAIDE vs. GLENELG

By: Liam Badkin

North:

#38 Kate Case

A quiet day statistically, finishing with just the one touch, but had more of an influence on the play than that. Constantly harassing Glenelg players whenever she was around the ball, her effort is more accurately represented by those who watch her do the little things.

#33 Julia Clark

Despite having less of the ball than last week, her effort remained the same as she used her eye catching aerobic capabilities to push hard up and down the wing to provide an option for her teammates. Her six disposals were hard earned and she often deserves more of the ball than she gets, but continues to fulfil her role for her side.

#43 Amelie Borg

Once again popping up in the backline, Borg worked tirelessly all day to make sure her opponent found no easy path to the ball, as she nullified the impact of whoever she was opposed to. She consistently pressured the ball carrier and harassed opponents all day. Finding the ball six times herself was just the cherry on top. A nice game.

Glenelg:

#7 Brooke Tonon

Found plenty of the ball along the wing, finishing with 11 disposals in yet another game where her hard running nature was fully on display. She worked tirelessly along the wing as she left opponents in her dust on multiple occasions. North Adelaide’s players struggled to keep up with Tonon’s remarkable work rate, which has consistently delivered for her and her teammates so far this season.

#12 Tamsyn Morriss

The defender once again did the majority of her work deep in the backline as she thwarted plenty of North Adelaide attacks with her ability to read the play and put herself in clever positions. Her work when the ball was on the deck in Glenelg’s defensive 50 was great, as she worked her way to five disposals and a pair of crucial rebound 50’s to clear the backline.

WEST ADELAIDE vs. CENTRAL DISTRICT

By: Peter Williams

West:

#3 Abbie Ballard

Her second game back from a long-term injury, Ballard played at half-forward and did what you would expect of her – apply fierce defensive pressure and use her potent left foot to advantage – throughout the game. She won a free kick early and kept attacking it hard at the contest, producing a perfectly waited kick in the second term after leading out and marking at the top of 50. She won the ball as far back as half-back midway through the term and whilst she had a quieter second half, had shown enough to be productive in the match.

#7 Scarlett Griffiths

If you are going to have a one-kick game, then Griffiths certainly made the most of it, with her sole kick in the second term coming via a free kick in the forward pocket after running onto the ground. She converted the set shot from 25m out and handed her side a vital six points.

#9 Zoe Venning

Won her fair share of the ball and cracked in hard as you would come to expect, predominantly playing off a half-forward flank. Whilst she did not hit the scoreboard, she worked hard up the ground, took a good mark early in the game, and won a couple of free kicks for her intent. She did get pinged for holding the ball early in the third term, but her ability to stand up in tackles and apply defensive pressure was terrific.

#30 Lauren Young

Once again got to the right positions and found plenty of it whether it was in defence, midfield or attack, predominantly rolling through the midfield. She showcased her thumping kick to clear the danger zone on a number of occasions, and took some strong intercept marks, as well as ones on long leads. She showed great courage in the third term by taking a huge grab going back with the flight and copping contact from behind, and then was able to get forward and have a couple of chances inside 50. Her set shots in the second and third term respectively just drifted or were rushed across the line, but she set up a great chance to Melanie Elsegood on the lead with a nice deep kick.

Central:

#28 Lauren Breguet

Spending time in the middle as well as up forward, Breguet provided some great running out of midfield early in the match to kick inside 50, then got on the end of one late in the first term with a set shot from 20m out and a perfectly weighted kick for a goal from a tight angle. She had a quiet second term before stepping it up in the third, with plenty of involvements around the footy, including some fierce tackling in midfield, and a good handball under pressure at ground level earning er a free kick. She used the ball well by foot from the free kick, and earned another free kick for a high tackle at half-forward.

#40 Madison Lane

Had a particularly lively middle two quarters, but still remained involved throughout, Lane took some good intercept marks and drove the ball out of defence. Often trying to settle the team down, her kicks were generally high-impact with the exception of one turnover at the top of defensive 50 in the second term. She had a clean pickup off the deck midway through the third term, and whilst her kick was smothered, she won it back at half-back and kicked safely to the wing.

#41 Laitiah Huynh

Had some lively moments in the game with a some quiet patches, but some eye-catching efforts. She had a massive effort in the second term bursting out of the middle to run forward and kick to Katelyn Rosenzweig’s advantage for a goal 15 seconds into the second term. Midway through the quarter she intercepted a would-be handball with a clever tap mid-air to keep the ball tracking forward. In the fourth term, she took a good mark on the wing, played on and kicked to half-forward well to showcase her aggressive ball movement, then tried to have a shot on goal by sidestepping an opponent six minutes into the quarter but was unluckily dragged down.

Picture credit: Peter Swan / SANFL

2021 SANFL Women’s Round 9 preview: Panthers load up for clash with red-hot Redlegs

TWO late morning games and two evening games mark a huge Round 9 of action in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS vs. STURT
Saturday, May 1 @ 11:30am
Maughan Thiem Kia Oval

Opening the round is unfairly a bottom two clash, with both Woodville-West Torrens and Sturt both playing pretty well this season. The Eagles’ percentage is quite low as the lowest scoring team, though they are just a win outside the eight. A victory here and results going the right way, and the Eagles would be fifth, but the same could be said for the Double Blues, who a fortnight ago showed they could score, and have been their reliable selves defensively to boast the best percentage in the bottom four, but are a point behind the two teams above them. From a State Academy perspective, Charlotte Dolan has proven to be able to play in multiple positions, having started at half-back, spent time on the wing, even gone inside and then played forward at the AFLW Under 19 Championships. Having been named on a forward flank again, the Eagles will be looking for her fierce intent to be a factor, particularly against Double Blues’ captain Maya Rigter. The other State Academy member to watch is Jamie Parish, with the versatile tall named on a wing for the second week in a row, but is more than capable of slotting in up forward or in defence. For future years, Shineah Goody is shaping as a classy prospect with plenty of versatility and an ability to create something out of nothing. For the Double Blues, the forward line is swarming with State Academy members, as Zoe Prowse has been named at full-forward with defenders-cum-forwards Hannah Prenzler and Alex Ballard either side of her, and Georgia Swan on a flank. It means a very exciting front 50 for the Double Blues, and the game could genuinely go either way.

NORWOOD vs. SOUTH ADELAIDE
Saturday, May 1 @ 11:30am
Coopers Stadium

Norwood has been dealt a blow ahead of its massive clash with South Adelaide, losing 50-gamer Leah Cutting to injury, whilst in-form Ella Murison is also out of the side. The Panthers have lost Lauren Clifton and Lucy Northcott among five changes, but have stacked their side with Jordann Hickey and Indy Tahau returning from Queensland, Teah Charlton and Hannah Munyard from AFL Women’s seasons completing, and Jess Kirk back in the side. Norwood has proven to accept any challenge thrown at the Redlegs, but without Cutting, Montana McKinnon and Soriah Moon will have the run of the mill around the ground. Jade Halfpenny is enjoying a terrific season for the Redlegs, playing through the midfield and rotating forward, while Sarah Branford had one of her best games of the season last week. Lana Schwerdt has been impressing as another young talent coming through, whilst Jess Macolino, Sophie Armitstead and Morgan Johnston have been consistently amongst the best. Even outside the changes, the Panthers have a lineup that is ready to shoot up the ladder, as AFL Women’s Academy talent Gypsy Schirmer has been named at half-back, and Tahlita Buethke in the middle coming off her best game last round. Nicole Campbell and Cheyenne Hammond are completing a star-studded midfield, whilst future key forward talent Jorja Hooper is in great form as well. The Panthers have bulked up and would be favourites to break the Redlegs seven-game winning streak, but if Norwood can beat this Panthers outfit without Cutting, then they are the clear premiership favourites.

NORTH ADELAIDE vs. GLENELG
Saturday, May 1 @ 4:10pm
Prospect Oval

North Adelaide and Glenelg are both starting to filter their AFL Womens’ talent back, with Amber Ward and Ash Woodland (North) and Caitlin Gould (Glenelg) all returning. The teams have opted not to unleash midfield guns Anne Hatchard (North) and Ebony Marinoff (Glenelg) just yet, though up-and-comer Piper Window has returned for the Bays with Lucy Armitage a key out for the visitors at Prospect Park. North Adelaide got back on the winners list last week to sit third, tantalisingly just behind the second placed Bays. With Ward back to provide support for Kristi Harvey, the Roosters defence is starting to look impenetrable again. Last year’s leading goalkicker Woodland will only be better for the AFLW experience, as Katelyn Pope has already been back in the side. Young guns Kate Case, Julia Clark and bottom-ager Amelie Borg have all been named in the side, with interest around where Borg will play based on the return of Ward to the key defensive post. Kelly Barltrop, Kathryn Reynolds and Tayla Thorn are a damaging trio up front, with Brianna Arthur also in form rolling through the midfield. For the Bays, Brooke Tonon has put together a fantastic season in multiple positions, but came off half-back last week, with Tessa Kohn, Ellie Kellock and Jessica Bates all having racked up the ball and taken control of the midfield. It will be a tough ask against a strong Roosters outfit, though with Gould named at full-forward, the Bays midfield will have a tall target to kick to. Tamsyn Morriss is the other State Academy member who has been named on the bench, but expect her to rotate through the defence in what should be a cracking contest.

WEST ADELAIDE vs. CENTRAL DISTRICT
Saturday, May 1 @ 5:10pm
Hisense Stadium

The final game of the round pits two exciting young teams up against each other, with the fourth placed Central District taking on the sixth placed West Adelaide at Hisense Stadium, Both teams have State Academy members returning, with Scarlett Griffiths at West Adelaide, and Laitiah Huynh at Centrals coming back into their respective lineups. Louella McCarthy (West) and Alicia Butler (Central) are another couple of key inclusions for the respective sides, with AFLW talent and youngsters across the park. From a young gun perspective, West Adelaide’s Lauren Young will continue her outstanding debut season, teaming up with AFL Women’s talents Sarah Dargan and Ailish Considine in the midfield. Chelsea Biddell and Melanie Elsegood are named as the key forwards, with State Academy members, Zoe Venning and Abbie Ballard inside 50. Venning will have the freedom to roll through the midfield but also be a leading target up forward, whilst Ballard is in her second game back from long-term injury. For the Bulldogs, Huynh slots straight back into half-forward, joining forces with fellow State Academy member Lauren Breguet inside 50, while up the other end, Madison Lane has been named off a half-back flank. Nicole Mark has had an impact since crossing from South Adelaide, and the key forward pairing of Katelyn Rosenzweig and Chantel Reynolds has proven to be effective, while Caitlen Teague, Shelby Smith and Lauren Smith have worked well with in-form ruck Isabelle Starmer. Chloe Scheer returning to the side last week proved a masterstroke, with the AFL Women’s talent starring in a best on ground performance. This has all the hallmarks of being a cracking contest.

Picture credit: On The Ball Media

2021 Academy Watch: SANFL Women’s Round 8

RETURNING to the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition, there were plenty of young guns back in action with South Australia’s AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships campaign done and dusted. We cast our eye over the players across the four games, with each note the individual opinion of the writer.

NORTH ADELAIDE vs. WWT EAGLES

By: Liam Badkin

North Adelaide

#33 Julia Clark

Spent plenty of time around the wing where she used her blistering pace to work into ball winning positions. Finishing with 13 disposals, Clark was constantly around the play, whether it was pushing hard to be the next option for her team or putting pressure on the opposition as they tried to extract the ball from defence. Was solid in her side’s win and will look to add to this performance moving forward.

#38 Kate Case

Was stationed around half back for a lot of the day and was really attacking with her play. On multiple occasions she played on from a mark and created some run out of defence for her side, immediately putting Eagles defenders up the ground on the back foot. Did not get a heap of the ball with only five disposals but made each of them count with her damaging play.

#43 Amelie Borg

Played deep in defence for plenty of the day, where she blanketed any opponent she was standing next to. This did not stop her from finding a bit of the ball herself, ending the match with 13 disposals in easily her best performance of the year, as she continues to add strengths to her game.

Eagles:

#8 Charlotte Dolan

Found herself in the midfield for the majority of the contest, where her positioning stood out exceptionally well. Played a defensive type role as she acted as her team’s sweeper around the stoppages. She thwarted plenty North Adelaide clearances by stationing herself in crucial positions. Only had the seven touches, but her role was more than statistics, as she played an integral role in the Eagles’ engine room all day.

#25 Jamie Parish

The talented utility spent time in various positions of the match, but mostly settling in the ruck and defence as the match progressed. Had an opportunity to snag a goal from a free kick in the first quarter, but the kick was wayward. Competed all day to make her way to 13 touches and two clearances, and once again demonstrated her ability to play in all three lines.

WEST ADELAIDE vs. NORWOOD

By: Declan Reeve

West Adelaide:

#3 Abbie Ballard (West Adelaide)

Returning from a long-term injury, Ballard was given the opportunity to ease back into with an extended stint sitting as a deep forward for West Adelaide, but once she blew the cobwebs out she worked into the game really well, getting more involved in the midfield and looking really dangerous as she hunted the ball, this hunt was vital in her goal in the 4th term, where she ran in, timing it perfectly so that she didn’t have to break speed, to win the ground ball in front of an opponent and kick it straight through. What is apparent with Ballard is how hard she works, and how much she hates being beaten, following the ball up with aggression if she got dispossessed or dropped a mark. With that continual hunt for the footy, there’s no doubt that Ballard will continue to improve over the coming weeks

#9 Zoe Venning (West Adelaide)

Spending most of the game in the thick of things through the middle, Venning’s consistent attack on the ball and ball carrier was a big part of West staying in the contest, constantly applying pressure in the contest, where when she won the ball she’d break out and kick long forward. She perhaps looked more impressive as a forward however, with her ability to get separation on her opponent with her leading being a highlight, as well as her positioning in aerial contests and follow up work when she didn’t win it cleanly.

#30 Lauren Young (West Adelaide)

Fresh off of winning the SA U19 Championships MVP, Young returned to club football with a strong performance in the West Adelaide engine room. Whilst the 15-year-old has had more prolific games in her short SANFLW career stats wise, the more unheralded aspects of her game, such as her one percenters, her positioning and at times her courage were on full display throughout the contest. Things like the few times she’d run into a pack of players and win the ball, drawing in a free or getting it out, or when she’d position herself well in a marking contest to run onto a loose ball out the back. That positioning translated well to stoppages as well, especially around the ground where she’d come in later to avoid having an opponent go with her, and she could get to the ball first without much pressure.  Offered plenty around the ground, with those one percenters being a clear sign of workrate to assist winning the ball and helping teammates around the ground, but also working hard to be an option inboard or further down the line.

Norwood:

#22 Jade Halfpenny (Norwood)

Splitting her time between being a key target in the forward line and a midfielder, Halfpenny enjoyed a good return from the recent U19 championships. Her follow up work around the forward half in particular was impressive, where even if she did not hold a mark she would generally win the contest at ground level to get the ball forward, delivering some nice kicks inside 50. She also consistently looked to get her teammates involved rather than blazing away or taking an unrealistic crossbody snap at goal, showing a team oriented style that was a big part of the Norwood win. She acted as a dangerous inside midfielder when given the run through the guts, winning a few clearances, standing up in attempted tackles to get the ball free. 

#30 Sarah Branford (Norwood)

Splitting her time between half forward and wing, Branford, despite being a shorter player, showed plenty of courage and fight to compete with opponents in the contest and in the air. She looked at her best when she was given space around the ground, no matter how little space she was given, she took advantage of it with her agility and speed allowing her to break away with the ball and kick it long. There was one particular play in transition during the third quarter, where she ran onto a loose ball, out running her opponent, and then delivering inside 50 from the centre circle, highlighting her strengths nicely.

GLENELG vs. SOUTH ADELAIDE

By: Liam Badkin

Glenelg

#7 Brooke Tonon

Spent the match across half-back instead of her usual wing station, and the move paid dividends. Her ability to find space and create some run was evident in previous matches on the wing, and she applied her craft perfectly here. She applied constant pressure to the South Adelaide forwards, smothering kicks and wrapping up her opponents for all four quarters. She ended the game with 20 disposals, six tackles and four rebound 50’s to be one of her side’s best in the three-point win.

#12 Tamsyn Morriss

The defender had another strong outing against South Adelaide, in a performance that would have impressed her coaches. Playing deep in the backline, the 169cm defender was exceptional at reading the play and pushing off her opponent when needed. She helped out at defensive stoppages, and drove the ball forward on numerous occasions. Was crucial when South Adelaide drove forward at key stages of the match, and while she may not have had as many touches as previous games (eight), she let her defensive work do the talking.

South Adelaide

#1 Tahlita Buethke

Pretty much what we expected from the talented midfielder, notching up a team high 23 disposals. Working in the engine room, she extracted six clearances and ran hard to work towards one on one contests to provide an outnumber for her team. Putting in her best game of the year, she was instrumental all over the ground in starting strong passages with her midfield work. Continues to improve as the year rolls on.

#36 Gypsy Schirmer

A typically tough performance from the half forward, as she made life extremely difficult for Glenelg defenders. Laid a game-high 10 tackles to apply her usual frantic pressure as she worked up and down the ground. Playing more on the wing at times, Schirmer pushed up the ground to help her defenders push the ball forward, and will be pleased with how she performed on the day.

#41 Lauren Clifton

Started the game on the bench before moving around the backline. Worked her way into the game and rebounded the ball outside defensive 50 on multiple occasion. Showed composure with the ball and ended the match with a respectable nine disposal performance.

CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. STURT

By: Peter Williams

Central:

#28 Lauren Breguet

Did not win a huge amount of the ball playing forward but had some nice moments. She worked hard midway through the first term with a quick kick inside 50 helping set up the opening goal for the Bulldogs. After a quieter second term, Breguet was early on the lead to take a strong mark in the opening minutes of the third term, and then hit up a teammate. Though her teammate dropped the mark, Breguet rushed over to help to apply a bump. She also showed clean hands off a marking contest on the wing, and a nice sidestep to handball to Madison Lane, then late in the game locked the ball up in the dying minutes at half-forward.

#40 Madison Lane

Similar to Breguet, did not have a massive day, but tried to create some run out of defence. Her first couple of kicks did not quite go as planned with one turned over and another smothered, but she worked into the game and showed good composure in defence to hit up teammates on the switch. She had another quick kick from the defensive side of the centre to go forward in the final term, pushing up the ground to try and create some run. Her defensive pressure laying some strong tackles was impressive as well.

Sturt:

#19 Alex Ballard

Playing forward and pushing up the ground, Ballard had a few chances to hit the scoreboard, with a chip to a teammate six minutes into the third term disguised as a set shot. Unfortunately for the Double Blues, the Central District defence was awake to it and chopped it off. Ballard had another chance to try and soccer the ball off the ground 12 minutes into the quarter but gave away a free kick in the process. She kept her defensive intensity high lunging across to try and smother on the wing, but then later on could not quite hold a mark going back with the flight. A late play from Chloe Scheer saw the AFLW-listed Crows talent sell some candy to Ballard and kick long to set up the winning goal.

#20 Hannah Prenzler

Playing forward, Prenzler applied some good pressure and won some free kicks, setting up a goal 16 minutes into the first term off her free kick. She showed clean hands off the deck, and continued to harass opponents, whilst trying to find space for herself. She had a couple of kicks early in the third term, including a lace-out pass to Alex Ballard, then had a snap towards goal as she was being tackle which just bounced into the post, her second behind of the day. Overall she provided some good pressure inside 50 even if she did not manage to put one through the big sticks.

#30 Zoe Prowse

Relieving Jess Good in the ruck rather than standing as the number one ruck, Prowse still managed to find a way to have an influence on the contest. She showed quick hands at ground level, won a number of free kicks and provided great pressure around the stoppages. She roamed around with more freedom than when she purely plays ruck, and whilst she still attended a number of ruck stoppages – and nearly always won them – she was able to be a target around the ground and work deep when required. In the third term she took the ball out of the ruck from a forward stoppage but her kick was smothered. She had a number of long kicks down the line to help clear the danger when behind the ball.

Picture credit: On The Ball Media

2021 SANFL Women’s Round 8 preview: State Academy, AFLW talents return in massive round of action

SOME huge ins at the selection table across all eight teams means the intensity and quality of matches will lift from Round 8 onwards, as the State Academy members and some AFL Women’s players return to their state league clubs.

NORTH ADELAIDE vs. WWT EAGLES
Saturday, April 24 @ 11:30am
Prospect Oval

North Adelaide will celebrate Leah Tynan‘s 50th game in the competition against Woodville-West Torrens, welcoming back State Academy members Amelie Borg, Kate Case and Julia Clark, as well as Lauren Gauci among six inclusions, whilst Talia Radan is the crucial loss, out with a back injury. The Eagles have a number of forced changes, with Audrey Holt, Lili Gambranis, Marlie Fiegert and Samantha Hoogeveen-Hill all unavailable. Coming back into the side are the likes of State Academy duo, Jamie Parish and Charlotte Dolan, as well as AFL Women’s talent Renee Forth. Both sides inclusions are huge, and plenty on the line with the Roosters sitting a point inside the eight thanks to their draw, but also a win off the bottom of the table. Lose to the Eagles, and the reigning premiers will slip outside the finals spots. Brianna Arthur had an outstanding game in the midfield last week, and with Leah Tynan and Jamie Tabb taking on the likes of Forth, Shineah Goody and Anastasia Falkenberg, the clearance battle will be an important one to win for both sides.

GLENELG vs. SOUTH ADELAIDE
Saturday, April 24 @ 4:40pm
ACH Group Stadium

Coming off a hard-fought win over Central District last week to secure their place in second spot, the Bays now host a South Adelaide team that will load up on talent – but also lose a number of top players at the same time – in what is a top three clash. The home team will bring back State Academy members Brooke Tonon and Tamsyn Morriss, as well as ruck, Molly Affolter, with only Tess Morcom out with injury. Whilst Glenelg has minimal changes, the Panthers have made eight selection moves, with the likes of Czenya Cavouras and Tahlia Meyer out of the side for this round, but plenty of star power coming back in. AFL Women’s-listed players Lisa Whiteley and Montana McKinnon, and State Academy members Gypsy Schirmer, Tahlita Buethke and Lauren Clifton all come back into the side in what is a crucial game for the Panthers. A win will see them grab second as they head for home with their talents filtering back in, and the likes of Jaslynne Smith and Nicole Campbell in terrific form. Jorja Hooper is developing nicely up forward, while Brianna Wedding has been a rock in defence. For the Bays, Ellie Kellock, Jess Bates and Tessa Kohn remain consistent each week, while Sam Franson and Madisyn Freeman are others who can turn a game.

WEST ADELAIDE vs. NORWOOD
Saturday, April 24 @ 3:40pm
Hisense Stadium

An absolute blockbuster game between the top of the table Norwood and arguably the strongest West Adelaide side of the season presents the Hisense Stadium clash as the game of the round. The Redlegs have exchanged State Academy members with Jade Halfpenny returning to the side for Jess Williams in what will be Leah Cutting‘s 50th game. The ruck has been in sensational form this year, and she has been named forward to share the role with Elizabeth Drake. West Adelaide on the other hand have brought in some of the elite talents in State MVP from the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships, Lauren Young, as well as fellow Academy members Zoe Venning and Scarlett Griffiths, and Abbie Ballard who returns for her first game of the season off a long-term injury layoff. Add in AFL Women’s talents in Ailish Considine and Chelsea Biddell, and tall target Melanie Elsegood, and the Bloods have stocked up this week. Louella McCarthy and Gretel Ramsey are among the outs for the match, but with Sarah Dargan joining Young and Considine in the middle, the Bloods have a stacked side. The Redlegs still have talent across the board that has led them to the top of the table, The midfield featuring Sophie Armitstead, Jess Macolino and Elisha Gallagher, as well as Morgan Johnston and Lana Schwerdt, will be a tough one to beat, with Sarah Branford another talented teenager ready to impact in this huge match.

CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. STURT
Saturday, April 24 @ 7:30pm
Tanunda Oval

The final match of the round in a prime time Saturday night fixture is Central District up against Sturt, with the sides in the bottom four, but one win – and favourable results – will see the winner leap into the top four such is the evenness of the competition. The Bulldogs in particular have a massive chance given their percentage is the second highest in the league. Sturt has a lower percentage, but a win would certainly see them jump past at least one – if not two or three sides. Central District has kept the cards close to the chest, including four players on an extended bench with the trio of State Academy members – Laitiah Huynh, Lauren Breguet and Madison Lane all returning, as well as AFL Women’s representative Chloe Scheer. The Double Blues lose Lucy Griffith to concussion and Amy Brooks-Birve to a knee injury, but have added four players to the side, including a trio of State Academy members themselves in Zoe Prowse, Hannah Prenzler and Alex Ballard. This matchup is all about offence taking on defence, with the Double Blues defensive set up, often featuring Prenzler and Ballard – though both have been named up forward on this occasion – as well as captain Maya Rigter, whilst the Central attack is the most exciting in the competition, with Huynh, Breguet and Scheer roaming to leading goalkicking talents Chantel Reynolds and Katelyn Rosenzweig. Lane and Demi Sonneman up the other end provide the run, with Shelby Smith, Lauren Smith and Caitlen Teague roving to Isabelle Starmer forming a strong midfield core. The battle of the midfields will be fascinating, with Jess Good in ripping form in the ruck, alongside Alisha Gepp, Isobel Kuiper and Jaimee Wittervan onball, while Nicole Baker and Chloe Forby flank Prowse on the forward line.

Picture credit: SANFL / Cory Sutton