Tag: cristie castle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SANFL Women’s Team of the Week: Round 1 – West Adelaide quintuplet lead the way

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

DISPOSALS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

DISPOSALS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

HIGH DISPOSALS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

HIGH DISPOSALS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SANFL Women’s preview: Preliminary Final

AFTER South Adelaide upset Norwood for the second time in a month, the Redlegs were forced to lick their wounds and head into a preliminary final against the red-hot North Adelaide. For the second consecutive year the Redlegs face the Roosters for a spot in the decider, after North Adelaide got home against a determined Glenelg outfit last week. With the game the only one on show in the league this week, expect it to be a huge contest with plenty of fans from both sides.

NORWOOD vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
Friday, May 17, 7pm
Coopers Stadium

Norwood has been the dominant team this year finishing minor premiers, while North Adelaide is in the hottest form of every side, winning the past seven games since being 1-3 following four rounds. At that stage they had played the top three sides – and eventual other top four sides – but much like they did against Glenelg last week, will be keen to seek revenge on Norwood in this do-or-die final. Fans have to go all the way back to Round 1 to see these teams going at it, clashing under lights at City Mazda Stadium in a low-scoring contest that eventually went the way of the Redlegs. They led for most of the game, before North Adelaide conjured up its first goal in the third term to hit the front, before two final-quarter goals handed Norwood the 2.10 (22) to 1.5 (11) victory. Norwood dominated the statistics with 65 more disposals, 12 more inside 50s and six more clearances, while it was North Adelaide that won the ruck duel, 24-14 in the hitouts, as well as the tackle count, 73-55. Hannah Dunn was the top ball winner with 29 disposals, four marks, five inside 50s and two clearances, while Najwa Allen impacted up forward with two goals from 20 disposals. Rhiannon Busch was a key in defence with five rebounds, while Monique Hollick got the ball moving in the forward half with seven inside 50s. For the Roosters, Amber Ward announced herself as a defender to watch this season, racking up nine inside 50s from 17 disposals, while Roosters captain Nadia Von Bertouch was strong with 15 disposals, four marks, six clearances and eight tackles.

Looking ahead to the big preliminary final, Allen and Dunn are the two leading disposal winners in the competition, and the only two to surpass the 200-disposal mark. Von Bertouch needs 30 to reach that feat, but is sixth just behind Hollick as the major ball winners in the competition. Since Jane Altschwager had her measure in the opening game, Leah Cutting has become the most consistent ruck in the competition, averaging more than 20 hitouts per game, while Altschwager still averages 14.1 per game and is ranked fourth overall. North Adelaide’s key defensive weapon is Amber Ward, who has recorded 4.2 rebounds per game, and in a team that scores heavily, is the only player in the top seven whose team remains in premiership contention. With contested marking expert Emma Sampson, goal machine Kelly Barltrop and Altschwager rotating through the forward line, North Adelaide has plenty of tall targets to kick to. It will be up to the likes of returning full-back Alison Ferrall, Jo Hill and Sophie Armitstead to not only slow the attacking movement of the Roosters, but create their own going forward.

The Norwood midfield is its strength, and while they do not have a dominant goal kicker like Barltrop (averaging 2.6 goals per game), the likes of Hill and Hollick have combined for 19 goals this season, two per game combined on average. Around the stoppages, Leah Tynan is the top ranked player for the Roosters, averaging 3.8 per game, while Allen is another dominant stoppage expert. With Armitstead able to push into the midfield – and has extracted the ball 41 times from a stoppage – both sides have their fair share of clearance players. This game is likely to come down to whether or not North Adelaide is allowed free flowing movement because they have a midfield – Brittany Perry, Kat Reynolds, Lauren Daniel and more – who can match it with the all-powerful Norwood group, but if they can use the ball well and rebound off half-back through Ward and give the likes of Barltop, Sampson and Cristie Castle first opportunity, then they have more firepower in attack. Norwood will look to control the ball and get it forward to an unpredictable forward line, where Busch, Matilda Zander and Erika Sporn are likely to create opportunities in front of goal. They must be sensible with their defensive work, but also back themselves in to win the midfield and get the ball inside 50.

This game is the best team of the season against the most in-form side. The best offensive side against the most consistent across the board. Norwood by six points in an absolute classic.

NORWOOD

B: (5) Cassie Tsoumbris, (19) Alison Ferrall, (35) Jessica Macolino
HB: (36) Sophie Armitstead, (25) Jo Hill, (16) Ashlee Gould
C: (18) Hannah Priest, (8) Hannah Dunn, (17) Tahlia Meyer
HF: (24) Kate Fenton, (29) Jane Fitzgerald, (1) Matilda Zander
F: (28) Rhiannon Busch, (26) Erika Sporn, (14) Michele Reid
R: (21) Leah Cutting, (2) Monique Hollick, (15) Sally Riley
INT: (12) Elisha Gallagher, (23) Matilda van Riel, (32) Rosette Zerella, (4) Zoe Greer, (6) Najwa Allen, (33) Lindsay Bigg, (30) Bella Smith

IN: Alison Ferrall, Rosette Zerella, Matilda van Riel

NORTH ADELAIDE

B: (14) Olivia Gallio, (7) Jess Eichner, (31) Nicole Collie
HB: (17) Sarah Ellis, (24) Amber Ward, (30) Kendall Howell
C: (25) Erica Greet, (9) Lauren Daniel, (10) Paige Allan
HF: (8) Nadia Von Bertouch, (29) Emma Sampson, (6) Adrienne Davies
F: (1) Cristie Castle, (15) Kelly Barltrop, (4) Leah Tynan
R: (12) Jane Altschwager, (3) Kat Reynolds, (19) Brittany Perry
INT: (33) Julia Clark, (2) Alex Fitridge, (34) Danielle Nunns, (20) Elysha Willis

IN: Nil.

Weekend preview: SANFL Women’s – Round 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend wash-up: SANFL Women’s – Round 9

SOUTH Adelaide has fired a warning shot to minor premiers, Norwood ahead of the finals series, toppling the previously undefeated Redlegs to give them something to think about heading into the post-season series. In other games, North Adelaide destroyed Central District, West Adelaide breathed a sigh of relief with a narrow win over Woodville-West Torrens, and an Ebony Marinoff-led Glenelg took the points against Sturt.

NORTH ADELAIDE 2.1 | 6.5 | 9.7 | 11.7 (73)
CENTRAL DISTRICT 0.0 | 0.3 | 0.4 | 1.4 (10)

GOALS:

North: Christie Castle 3, Kelly Barltrop 2, Adrienne Davies, Lauren Daniel, Erica Greet, Kathryn Reynolds, Brittany Perry, Sharni Tansell.
Central: Courtney Jensen.

DISPOSALS:

North: Lauren Daniel 21, Kathryn Reynolds 19, Emma Sampson 18, Adrienne Davies, Erica Greet, Brittany Perry, Leah Tynan 16.
Central: Caitlen Teague 17

North Adelaide’s stunning resurrection since Round 5 continued with the Roosters notching up another massive victory – their fifth on the trot. With a round to go the Roosters locked away finals and look the most in-form side of the competition after a 63-point demolition of Central District. Lauren Daniel and Brittany Perry kicked off the game with early majors, and while the Bulldogs managed to pepper the goals in the second term, they could not put one through the big sticks. Instead, the likes of Cristie Castle (two goals), Kelly Barltrop and Kathryn Reynolds all added goals to North Adelaide’s cause, to lead by 38 points at the main break. The one-sided affair continued in the third term as Adrienne Davis and Sharni Tansell both added their names to the goalscorer list, while Castle booted her third later in the term. Courtney Jensen finally broke through for the Bulldogs’ first almost nine minutes into the final term, but it would just be a consolation goal as Erica Greet and Barltrop finished off the game strongly for the Roosters to run out convincing 11.7 (73) to 1.4 (10) winners. Daniel had the most disposals with 21, as well as three marks, four tackles, two clearances, two inside 50s and two rebounds, while Reynolds picked up 19 as well as three marks, seven clearances and six tackles. Emma Sampson missed opportunities to get on the goalkickers list with three behinds, but still managed 18 disposals, nine marks and five inside 50s, while Castle had 15 touches and four marks to go with her three goals. For the Bulldogs, Caitlen Teague racked up 17 touches, two marks, two clearances, two rebounds and three tackles in the loss, while Jayme-Lee Sonneman tried hard through the ruck with 11 hitouts to go with 14 disposals, six clearances, three rebounds and two inside 50s. In the final round of the season, North Adelaide faces Sturt, while Central District takes on ladder leaders, Norwood.

WEST ADELAIDE 1.1 | 2.1 | 3.3 | 5.5 (35)
WWT EAGLES 2.0 | 3.3 | 3.3 | 4.6 (30)

GOALS:

West: Marie Martino 2, Melanie Elsegood, Helen Maidment, Emma Smith.
Eagles: Jaimi Tabb, Natasha Farrier, Georgia Taylor, Stephanie Walker.

DISPOSALS:

West: Rebecca Owen 18, Marie Martino 16, Abbie Ballard, Madison Newman 15
Eagles: Natasha Farrier 24, Jaimi Tabb 16, Stephanie Walker 15

Woodville-West Torrens Eagles have fallen heartbreakingly short of their inaugural victory, going down to fourth-placed West Adelaide by five points. With only pride on the line, the Eagles pushed the Bloods – who needed a win to all but secure finals – all the way, falling less than a kick short of victory. The Eagles started strongly with Stephanie Walker and Georgia Taylor booting goals either side of West Adelaide’s Marie Martino to lead by five points at quarter time. When Natasha Farrier converted for the visitors 39 seconds into the second term, it was looking promising, but a couple of missed chances by the Eagles were punished by West Adelaide’s Emma Smith who cut the deficit to seven. The third term was all the Bloods as a couple of missed chances eventually resulted in Martino booting her second and West Adelaide levelling the score by the final break. The Bloods skipped away in the final term with goals to Helen Maidment and Melanie Elsegood putting it out to a 13-point lead. Jaimi Tabb missed a chance then converted, and a late opportunity was rushed through the Eagles goals before the siren sounded not long after for the home side to hold on for the 5.5 (35) to 4.6 (30) victory. Rebecca Owen was busy across the ground with 18 disposals, six marks and four inside 50s, while Martino had 16 touches, four marks, four tackles and two inside 50s. Abbie Ballard and Madison Newman both had 15 touches, while Ballard finished with four clearances and four tackles. For the Eagles, Farrier was the standout player on the ground, racking up 24 disposals – 22 kicks – as well as two marks, four tackles, five clearances, five inside 50s, three rebounds and a goal. Tabb (16 touches, three marks, five tackles and three clearances) and Walker (15 disposals, four marks, two inside 50s and two rebounds) were also prolific in the loss. In the final round, West Adelaide has to defeat South Adelaide to guarantee finals, while Woodville-West Torrens must defeat Glenelg to both grab its first win of the season, and deny the Tigers a finals spot.

GLENELG 0.1 | 4.2 | 7.4 | 9.5 (59)
STURT 0.3 | 1.4 | 2.4 | 2.5 (17)

GOALS:

Glenelg: Ellen Fauser 4, Lucy Armitage, Caitlin Gould 2, Lucy Bellinger.
Sturt: Tess Maple, Georgia Swan.

DISPOSALS:

Glenelg: Ebony Marinoff 35, Caitlin Gould 18, Lucy Armitage, Lucy Bellenger 17, Chelsea Packer 16
Sturt: Georgia Bevan 15

Adelaide Crows’ star Ebony Marinoff has led Glenelg to a memorable victory over Sturt to set up a potential finals berth for the Tigers. Glenelg needs to win in the final round against the winless Woodville-West Torrens, while West Adelaide has to defeat second placed South Adelaide to retain fourth spot. In the Round 9 win over the Double Blues, a goalless first quarter saw Sturt lead by two points, with Marinoff getting on the board early with a behind. Lucy Bellinger took just 16 seconds to slam through the first major of the game after the restart in the second term, before Tess Maple levelled it up with a goal apiece and Sturt leading by two once again. Four consecutive goals to the Tigers between the seventh minute of the second quarter and fourth minute of the third quarter – two each to Lucy Armitage and Ellen Fauser powered the Tigers away, before Georgia Swan got one back for the visitors. It ultimately meant very little as Caitlin Gould and Fauser would finish off the game with another two goals each – Fauser nailing four straight for the match as the Tigers ran out seven-goal winners and kept their finals dream alive. Marinoff was clearly the standout player on the field to no-one’s surprise, racking up 35 disposals – the most of any player in a single game this season – as well as 10 clearances, seven inside 50s, two rebounds and six tackles. She had plenty of support however, as Gould registered 18 touches and 22 hitouts through the ruck, while also having four clearances. Armitage accompanied her two goals with 17 disposals, five marks, four tackles and three clearances, while Bellinger laid seven tackles and had 17 disposals. Fauser was the dominant forward on the ground with 12 disposals, five marks – two contested – four hitouts and two inside 50s as well as her four majors. For Sturt, Georgia Bevan had a team-high 15 disposals, four clearances, three rebounds and four tackles in the defeat, while Paxton Mattner player her best game of the season with 14 touches, four rebounds and five tackles. Maya Rigter was her usual self around the stoppages laying a massive 12 tackles and having four clearances and four inside 50s from 12 disposals. In the final round of the season, Glenelg faces Woodville-West Torrens, while Sturt takes on the in-form North Adelaide.

SOUTH ADELAIDE 1.2 | 1.2 | 4.6 | 5.6 (36)
NORWOOD 1.0 | 3.2 | 3.2 | 4.5 (29)

GOALS:

South: Madison Bennett, Lauren Buchanan, Elyse Haussen, Hannah Munyard, Tamara Page.
Norwood: Monique Hollick 2, Jo Hill, Sally Riley.

DISPOSALS:

South: Czenya Cavouras 22, Elyse Haussen 20, Teah Charlton 18, Nikki Gore 15
Norwood: Najwah Allen 24, Hannah Dunn, Sally Riley 20

In the predicted match of the round, South Adelaide has upstaged minor premiers Norwood with a seven-point victory in what could be a grand final preview. The Panthers bounced back from a rare loss to Glenelg last week to topple the Redlegs despite conceding three of the first four goals. Lauren Buchanan booted the first for the home side in just 10 seconds, before Sally Riley responded for Norwood a few minutes later. Jo Hill and Monique Hollick boosted Norwood’s chances of victory with goals in the second term as the favourites headed into the main break with a 12-point advantage. The third term belonged to the Panthers as Tamara Page and Elyse Haussen slammed home majors in the opening few minutes and in a scoring frenzy, Teah Charlton was amongst everything. Unfortunately the talented teen forward could not covert, heading into the final break with five behinds to her name. Fellow South Australian Under-18 representative Hannah Munyard could convert however, handing the Panthers a 10-point lead at three quarter time having kept the Redlegs scoreless in the premiership quarter. Madison Bennett soon added another nail to the Norwood coffin two minutes into the final term as they led by 16, and while the Redlegs chipped away in the final term, Hollick was the only one who could put through a major and Norwood fell five points short of remaining undefeated heading into the final round. Czenya Cavouras had a team-high 22 disposals, two marks, eight tackles, two clearances, three inside 50s and two rebounds, while Haussen found plenty of the ball with 20 touches, four clearances, two inside 50s and two tackles. Charlton might have had the five behinds, but her endeavour was always there with an impressive 14 tackles as well as 18 disposals, two marks and three inside 50s. Nikki Gore had 15 disposals, four tackles, three clearances and three inside 50s in a strong effort, while Cheyenne Hammond was impressive in defence with four rebounds as well as 14 disposals and four marks. For Norwood, Najwa Allen was on fire once again with 24 disposals, eight marks, four clearances, three inside 50s and five rebounds, while partners in crime, Hannah Dunn (20 disposals, four marks, three clearances, two inside 50s and seven tackles) and Riley (20 disposals, six marks, three inside 50s and three tackles) were also impressive. Hollick had an influence with 10 touches, four marks and four inside 50s and two goals. In the final round, South Adelaide can try and end West Adelaide’s finals hopes with a victory, while Norwood round out its season again Central District.

Weekend preview: SANFL Women’s – Round 9

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend wash-up: SANFL Women’s – Round 7

AS the final few weeks of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s season approaches, Norwood and South Adelaide look settled in the top two, while North Adelaide is coming with a bullet. The remaining teams are fighting it out for fourth, with West Adelaide in the prime spot ahead of Glenelg.

SOUTH ADELAIDE 2.0 | 5.3 | 5.5 | 6.7 (43)
GLENELG 1.0 | 1.3 | 2.3 | 2.3 (15)

GOALS:

South: Madison Bennett 3, Danielle Goding, Elyse Haussen, Hannah Munyard.
Glenelg: Lucy Bellinger 2.

DISPOSALS:

South: Hannah Munyard 23, Czenya Cavouras, Teah Charlton 20
Glenelg: Cass Hartley 18, Lucy Bellinger 16

South Adelaide’s winning streak stretched to six on the weekend, whilst also sentencing Glenelg to its fourth straight defeat, following the Panthers’ 28-point victory. Madison Bennett and Danielle Goding got the visitors off to the perfect start early, booting two goals before Lucy Bellinger got the Tigers on the board. By half-time the writing was on the wall as Elyse Haussen, Bennett and Hannah Munyard all converted opportunities as Glenelg registered the three behinds. To Glenelg’s credit the Tigers tightened the screws in the second half, booting the only goal of the third term – another major to Bellinger, and holding the Panthers goalless until the 15-minute mark of the final term when Bennett converted her third to put the icing on the cake. Munyard was the top disposal winner for the Panthers, collecting 23 disposals, three marks, three clearances, two tackles and booting a goal, while Czenya Cavouras and Teah Charlton were again busy for the visitors, combining for 40 disposals, 23 tackles and nine inside 50s, constantly bringing pressure to the ball carrier. Bennett was the most influential forward, booting the three goals as well as having 11 disposals, three tackles and three inside 50s. For Glenelg, Bellinger had 16 touches, six marks and five tackles to go with her two majors, while Cassie Hartley finished with 18 disposals and eight marks – the most of any Tiger – as well as six tackles and four rebounds. Caitlin Gould‘s strong season continued with 13 disposals, seven tackles, 16 hitouts, five clearances and three inside 50s. These teams will not have to wait too long to face off again, with a Saturday evening clash scheduled in a fixture anomaly.

STURT 1.1 | 1.7 | 3.10 | 8.14 (62)
WWT EAGLES 4.0 | 4.2 | 4.4 | 4.4 (28)

GOALS:

Sturt: Alexandra Ballard 2, Georgia Swan, Nicole Baker, Lauren Lovell, Taylor Prenzler, Maya Rigter, Caitlyn Swanson.
Eagles: Kiana Lee 2, Natasha Farrier, Chloe Forby.

DISPOSALS:

Sturt: Georgia Bevan 19, Lauren Lovell 17
Eagles: Kiana Lee, Stephanie Walker 13

Sturt has overcome a sluggish start to storm home against Woodville-West Torrens and claim a memorable 34-point win. It took until the final term to finally open the floodgates, but the result was glorious after the Eagles kicked four of the first five goals, including two to Kiana Lee, to lead by 17 points. The Double Blues had all the play in the second term but could not convert on the scoreboard, booting six straight behinds to still trail by 13 points at the main break. Nicole Baker finally broke the drought five minutes into the third term, and then Alexandra Ballard converted on her third opportunity, as Sturt drew level at the final break. With all the momentum firmly with Sturt, the Double Blues stormed home, albeit with some more inaccuracy early, booting three straight behinds before five final-quarter goals in 12 minutes put an exclamation mark on Sturt’s best performance to-date. Georgia Bevan was the top possession winner for the Double Blues with 19, while laying fierce tackles totalling 11, as well as five marks, seven clearances and five inside 50s. Lauren Lovell finished with 17 touches, two marks, three tackles and three inside 50s, while Ballard booted 2.3 from 10 disposals and four marks. Caitlyn Swanson was another who stood up in the win, booting a goal from 13 disposals, four tackles, five clearances and three inside 50s. For the Eagles, Lee was the standout performer, booting two goals from 13 touches, three marks (two contested) and three tackles. Stephanie Walker also had 13 touches as well as three tackles, while Abby Pengelly finished with 12 disposals, three clearances and two rebounds, and Jovanka Zecevic worked hard in defence for four rebounds from 10 touches. Next week, Sturt hosts the top-of-the-table Norwood, while the Eagles head into a home clash against the in-form North Adelaide.

NORTH ADELAIDE 4.0 | 6.1 | 7.2 | 8.5 (53)
WEST ADELAIDE 2.1 | 2.1 | 5.2 | 5.3 (33)

GOALS:

North: Christie Castle, Emma Sampson 3, Kathryn Reynolds, Leah Tynan.
West: Megan Rich, Abbie Ballard, Melanie Elsegood, Alexandra Mason, Mary Smith.

DISPOSALS:

North: Erica Greet 19, Lauren Daniel 17, Leah Tynan 16
West: Abbie Ballard, Madison Newman 17

North Adelaide have leapfrogged West Adelaide into third spot following a convincing 20-point win over the Bloods. The Roosters showed their intent early with the first four goals, including three to Emma Sampson, before Melanie Elsegood and Alexandra Mason converted chances for the visitors to cut the deficit to 11 points at the first break. Leah Tynan and Cristie Castle booted the next three goals of the match to extend the deficit out to five goals, before West Adelaide answered with three of their own in the premiership quarter to cut the deficit to just 12 points. In a tighter final term, Kathryn Reynolds booted the only major of the quarter less than four minutes in as the Roosters controlled most of the play and enjoyed the 8.5 (53) to 5.3 (33) victory. Erica Greet had a game-high 19 touches for the Roosters, as well as five marks and six inside 50s, while Tynan was prolific in midfield with seven clearances and 16 disposals. Lauren Daniel (15 disposals, five inside 50s) and Castle (13 disposals, three goals) were also busy in the front half for the winners. Abbie Ballard and Madison Newman were again the top stars for the Westies, amassing 17 disposals each, as well as a combined eight inside 50s and seven rebounds, while Ballard found the big sticks with one major. In round 8, North Adelaide travel to face the winless Woodville-West Torrens, while West Adelaide hit the road in a clash with Central District.

NORWOOD 1.4 | 3.6 | 5.6 | 7.9 (51)
CENTRAL DISTRICT 1.1 | 1.1 | 1.1 | 2.1 (13)

GOALS:

Norwood: Najwa Allen, Erika Sporn, Matilda Zander 2, Leah Cutting.
Central: Abbey Scheer, Isabella Wilson.

DISPOSALS:

Norwood: Najwah Allen 30, Hannah Dunn, Monique Hollick 22, Thalia Meyer 18, Matilda Zander 16
Central: Laitiah Huynh 15

It was a grind, but premiership favourites Norwood eventually shook off the early challenge from newcomers Central District to post an impressive 38-point win and remain undefeated after seven rounds. The Redlegs have already booked their finals spot and indeed look locked in to the top two. Matilda Zander scored a goal in the first 41 seconds to give Norwood something to celebrate early, before Abbey Scheer put a major through after missing just prior. Leading by three points at the first break, Zander booted the first of the second term, shortly followed by high possession getter, Najwah Allen. When Leah Cutting and Erika Sporn booted the next three goals of the game, the result was beyond doubt and as Allen made it two, the margin was seven goals. Isabella Wilson booted a late consolation goal for the Bulldogs, with the final margin sitting at 38. Unsurprisingly, Allen received leather poisoning again for her 30 disposals, two clearances, three inside 50s, two rebounds, two goals and nine marks. Fellow midfielder, Hannah Dunn also found plenty of it with 22 touches, three clearances and six tackles, while Monique Hollick was busy on the outside with 22 disposals and five inside 50s. Zander had 16 disposals and four inside 50s to accompany her two majors. For the Bulldogs, Jayme-Lee Sonneman had a big day in the ruck with 17 hitouts and eight clearances as well as 13 disposals, while Gemma Doughty had four rebounds with 13 touches, five tackles and two clearances. Latiah Huynh had a team-high 15 disposals, as well as three clearances, four tackles and two inside 50s.

Weekend Wash-up: SANFL Women’s – Round 5

ROUND 5 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition had it all, from a goalless game, to a dominant performance by the premiership favourites, and established teams reasserting their dominance on the new sides. It was a Saturday to remember as the round marked the halfway point in proceedings.

STURT 0.0 | 0.3 | 0.4 | 0.5 (5)
GLENELG 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.1 | 0.3 (3)

GOALS:

Sturt: Nil.
Glenelg: Nil.

DISPOSALS:

Sturt: Sophie Hoyle 20, Maya Rigter 17, Georgia Bevan, Larissa Schenscher 16
Glenelg: Chelsea Packer 20, Lucy Armitage, Lucy Bellinger, Caitlin Gould 18

In a game that will no doubt be remembered for its goalless finish, Sturt will care little after taking home its first win for the year, in the 0.5 (5) to 0.3 (3) victory over Glenelg. They scored three of their five behinds in the first half, and despite a flurry of late behinds by the Tigers, managed to hold on in the unusual two-point win. The loss was devastating for Glenelg who scored three behinds for the second week in a row – marking back-to-back defeats. Glenelg laid more tackles, had more disposals and won the inside 50 count, but it meant little in the end. Sophie Hoyle was the top ball winner for the Double Blues with 20 touches, three marks, five inside 50s and four tackles, while Maya Rigter picked up 17 disposals, one mark and laid eight tackles. Georgia Bevan and Jess Schulz combined for 28 disposals and 11 rebounds, while Kate Harris tried her best to get the ball moving forward with four inside 50s from her 12 touches and seven tackles. For Glenelg, Chelsea Packer was the standout ball winner with 20 disposals, two marks, five tackles and two rebounds, while Lucy Bellinger tried to make things happen in the forward half with 18 touches, five marks (one contested), two tackles and four inside 50s. Caitlin Gould (18 disposals, 21 hitouts and six tackles) was terrific around the ground, while Lucy Armitage was also busy through the midfield, collecting 18 disposals, while laying 10 tackles and having four inside 50s and three rebounds. Glenelg have the toughest task in Round 6 with a trip to face Norwood who are steaming ahead, while Sturt while hope to go back-to-back with a victory over West Adelaide.

NORWOOD 2.1 | 5.5 | 7.6 | 9.10 (64)
WEST ADELAIDE 0.1 | 0.1 | 0.1 | 0.1 (1)

GOALS:

Norwood: Alison Ferrall 3, Sophie Armitstead, Hannah Dunn, Jo Hill, Monique Hollick, Matilda Zander, Rosette Zerella.
West: Nil.

DISPOSALS:

Norwood: Najwah Allen 33, Monique Hollick 24, Hannah Priest 21, Hannah Dunn 20, Sophie Armitstead 17, Sally Riley 15
West: Madison Newman 22, Lauren Rodato 17

In a one-sided affair, the undefeated Norwood flexed its muscles with a commanding 63-point victory over the in-form West Adelaide. The Bloods could only manage a point throughout the contest, held scoreless in the final three terms. The Bloods put together a consistent four quarter effort rather than a dominant single term, booting two goals in three of the quarters, and three goals in the second term on the way to a 19 scoring shot to one performance. Alison Ferrall was the key goal kicker for the Redlegs, booting three majors from nine disposals, four marks and two inside 50s, while Hannah Dunn and Monique Hollick both capitalised with a goal each. Dunn missed a couple of opportunities in front of goal but still was prolific with 20 touches, three tackles and two inside 50s, while Hollick took 10 marks to go with her 24 touches. The standout player however, was Najwa Allen who suffered leather poisoning once again with 33 touches, six marks, four inside 50s and two tackles. Sophie Armitstead had 17 disposals, three tackles, four inside 50s and a goal, while Leah Cutting returned to have an impact in the ruck with 23 hitouts from nine disposals and seven tackles. For West Adelaide, Madison Newman was superb in defence, producing a massive nine rebounds and laid three tackles to go with 22 disposals (20 kicks). Lauren Rodato (17 disposals, three marks, three rebounds) also tried hard, while Chelsea Biddell had nine hitouts and 13 disposals, while getting back for five rebounds. In Round 6, Norwood hosts the out-of-sorts Glenelg, while West Adelaide will hope to bounce back against Sturt.

NORTH ADELAIDE 2.3 | 2.3 | 4.5 | 6.5 (41)
CENTRAL DISTRICT 0.0 | 2.2 | 3.3 | 3.5 (23)

GOALS:

North: Kelly Barltrop 4, Cristie Castle, Nadia Von Bertouch.
Central: Jessica Sedunary, Katelyn Rosenzweig.

DISPOSALS:

North: Nadia Von Bertouch 22, Jane Altschwager 16, Rheanna Lugg 15
Central: Danielle Stewart, Jessica Sedunary 17

North Adelaide ended Central District’s winning streak with a three-goal victory. The Roosters held the Bulldogs scoreless in the first term as captan, Nadia Von Bertouch took just 63 seconds to salute with a major, while leading goalkicker, Kelly Barltrop scored her first midway through the term. Central hit back in the second quarter as Katelyn Rosenzweig converted just a second later than Von Bertouch’s first quarter major, while Jessica Sedunary made it two goals as the Bulldogs cut the deficit to just a point by holding the Roosters scoreless in the second. The teams traded blows in the third term as Cristie Castle got the home side off to the perfect start, before Sedunary and Barltrop added their second majors of the game for North Adelaide to lead by eight points at the final break. Barltrop became the match-winner in the final term with back-to-back goals in the space of three minutes to seal the game in a 6.5 (41) to 3.5 (23) win. Barltrop booted 4.1 from a remarkable five kicks, while also only taking the one mark. Von Bertouch stood tall in the crucial game, collecting 22 touches, three marks, six tackles and seven inside 50s, while Jane Altschwager had 16 disposals, five marks (two contested) and 12 hitouts working hard through the ruck. Rheanne Lugg (15 touches, two marks, two inside 50s) and Emma Sampson (11 disposals, five inside 50s) were also prominent for the winners. For the Bulldogs, Sedunary was also the top ball winner, racking up 17 disposals, four marks (one contested), five inside 50s, five tackles and two rebounds to go with her two goals in an all-round game, while Danielle Stewart also had 17 touches, as well as seven tackles. Demi Sonneman and Gemma Doughty were rocks in defence in the face of the onslaught, combining for 11 rebounds, 11 tackles and 19 disposals. Next week North Adelaide takes on the winless Woodville-West Torrens, while Central District travels to face South Adelaide at Flinders University Stadium.

SOUTH ADELAIDE 2.3 | 5.3 | 5.8 | 9.12 (66)
WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS 2.0 | 2.0 | 2.0 | 2.0 (12)

GOALS:

South: Teah Charlton 3, Madison Bennett 2, Nicole Campbell, Danielle Goding, Indy Tahau, Mykala Walker-Murphy.
Eagles: Kiana Lee, Caitlin Sampson.

DISPOSALS:

South: Teah Charlton 24, Nicole Campbell, Hannah Munyard 20, Czenya Cavouras 18, Emogen Johnson 15
Eagles: Jovanka Zecevic 16, Kiana Lee, Tesharna Maher 15

In the final game of the round, South Adelaide produced a clinical win over Woodville-West Torrens, putting the game to rest after a tight first quarter. Both sides managed two goals apiece as Kiana Lee and Caitlin Sampson booted the opening majors to stun the Panthers early and lead by nine points. As if whipped into action, Teah Charlton and Madison Bennett quickly got on the board late in the term for South to take the lead at the first change. Little did they know, the Panthers would dominate the scoreboard over the next three quarters, particularly up one end of the ground. Charlton headed into the main break with three goals to her name as the Panthers held a 21-point lead at the main break. The Eagles restricted the home side to just five behinds in the third term, but could not score themselves, before South’s dominance became evident in the final stanza, pouring on four goals to zero. Charlton finished the day as the most dominant player on the ground with an unbelievable game, booting three goals from 24 disposals, five marks (four contested), a whopping 16 tackles and three inside 50s. Nicole Campbell (20 disposals, three marks and six inside 50s) and Hannah Munyard (20 disposals, five marks and five inside 50s) were once again standout performers, while Czenya Cavouras laid seven tackles to go with her 18 touches. Bennett’s two majors also came with two marks, six tackles and four inside 50s, while Emily Brockhurst had a game-high eight inside 50s as well as 13 disposals and four marks. For the Eagles, Lee had 15 touches, four marks and three inside 50s as well as a goal, while Jovanka Zecevic finished with a team-high 16 disposals, one mark, four tackles and three reboudnds. In defence, Natasha Farrier was busy with six rebounds from 13 disposals, four marks and six tackles, while Tesharna Maher had two rebounds, three tackles and three marks to go with her 15 disposals on the day. In Round 6, South Adelaide hosts Central District, while Woodville-West Torrens will search for its first win against North Adelaide at home.