Tag: Ebony Marinoff

SANFL Women’s Round 6 Sunday wraps: West and North continue form with impressive wins

THERE is now a three-point gap (one and a half wins) between fourth and fifth in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) competition. As North Adelaide, South Adelaide, West Adelaide and Norwood all claimed victories, it gave the four sides some breathing space inside the top four from Sturt, Woodville-West Torrens, Glenelg and Central District in the bottom four. This is part two of the two-article wrap with the two Sunday games.

WEST ADELAIDE 2.1 | 3.5 | 4.6 | 6.7 (43)
STURT 0.1 | 0.1 | 0.2 | 1.3 (9)

GOALS:

West: M. Elsegood 2, A. Ballard, A. Hardwick, C. Biddell, S. Thompson.
Sturt: A. Ballard.

ADC BEST:

West: R. Martin, M. Newman, K. Kustermann, C. Biddell, A. Ballard
Sturt: Z. Prowse, A. Brown, G. Bevan, L. Griffith, E. Dawes

West Adelaide reminded SANFL Women’s fans that they are a genuine title contender following a 34-point triumph over Sturt. The Bloods booted the first six goals of the game and 13 of the first 15 scoring shots, whilst holding the Double Blues goalless until the last few minutes of the game. In a surprise to no one, Rachelle Martin and Madison Newman were among the best once again, with another young gun in Keeley Kustermann also impressive, as was key forward Chelsea Biddell. For the Double Blues, it was a spirited effort but could not enough meaningful chances on goal despite the best work of Zoe Prowse who starred for four quarters through the ruck.

The first term saw some of the players who would go on to impress really make their mark. The ruck duel between Prowse and the stronger and taller, Kate Walsh was one that had its ebbs and flows within the contest. The match itself not so much with the Bloods always in control, but never entirely safe as the Double Blues continued to hang around for two and a half quarters. The intensity was very good early with Sturt earning the first inside 50 of the day through co-captain Georgia Bevan, but as would become the case, West Adelaide had the numbers to clear. Eventually captain Lauren Rodato would rush the ball through for the first score of the day to the Double Blues, their only score of the first half.

Up the other end, Kustermann provided a great highlight by hitting the ground ball at full speed amongst congestion at half-forward and kicking inside 50. A couple of failed attempts at quick kicks later, and Melanie Elsegood snapped around her body for the game’s first major. It had come after Biddell had marked a searing pass from Newman a few minutes early in the pocket but missed to the right.

Bevan and Rigter were burrowing in at the stoppages to try and get the all free, but were equally matched by Martin, Abbie Ballard and Stevie-Lee Thompson. When Sturt did get it forward, it was a sea of West Adelaide defenders camped back there with a high line that stopped the easy and deep inside 50. Led by Newman and Kustermann with their sublime kicking, the Westies continually repelled the ball out of danger. Sturt’s defensive pressure inside its back 50 was also strong with Prowse having a huge game already through the ruck.

The Double Blues perhaps had their best chance when Arabella Brown found fellow youngster Hannah Prenzler who got it to a third teenager in Alex Ballard. She tried the checkside shot from the boundary but it bounced out of bounds to the Double Blues dismay. Elsie Dawes was impressing as well for Sturt, but Martin combining with Walsh out of the ruck was causing all sorts of havoc. However it was Newman’s penetrating boot that was the difference as she ran through midfield and hit up Abby Hardwick inside 50. Hardwick gave the handball off to give herself time to balance, received it back, ran in to about 25m out and put the ball straight through the middle to hand her team a 12-point lead the first break.

West Adelaide continued attacking in the second term and the high line held by defenders at half-forward – risking all the space over the back if Sturt got there – was proving successful. As soon as Sturt defenders would throw it on the boot to clear it, the likes of Newman and co. were waiting to pump it straight back in. Both Ballards were having solid games for their respective sides, with Alex Ballard taking a big grab on the wing as one of the early highlights in the term.

A 25m penalty awarded in favour of West Adelaide for Sturt not returning the ball after a free kick could have been costly, but resulted in just one behind, though most of West Adelaide’s prime movers were up and about. Thompson was working hard in the midfield, Elsegood and Biddell were providing leads, and Martin was winning a truckload of contested ball and clearances. Elsegood actually had a chance to snap for goal after a brilliant end-to-end play, but her snap just missed and bounced the wrong side of the post.

As the time ticked past 10 minutes, neither side could score a major, and it took until the 14-minute mark for a series of soccer attempts to make it happen. After winning a free kick, Isobel Kuipers looked to put the ball outside defensive 50, but again West Adelaide were up to the task and kicked deep. The ball was spoiled and Biddell quickly got boot to ball in the goalsquare to roll towards the line, only for Abbie Ballard to come in to provide an extra push with her boot and claim the only goal of the third term. Gretel Ramsay almost kicked a second after the siren following a huge run-down tackle, but her shot fell short and the Westies headed into the main break 22 points up.

Rigter stepped up in the second half and for a bit went head-to-head with Thompson as the two fierce tacklers would not give an inch. Amy Brooks-Birve had the first set shot for goal 40m out for Sturt, but it drifted far right and out on the full. In the next passage of play down the field, Thompson had the almost-highlight of the game, taking a couple of bounces, evading a couple of opponents and drilling a sharp pass inside 50. Sturt defender, Jo-Anna Baltais read the pass though and threw herself in the ball’s trajectory like a slips catch to intercept and save a certain goal.

Another behind to Biddell followed after standing up in a tackle, as she was not quite able to find her range. But when she did, it was something special. Kustermann had a free kick on the wing and put a perfectly weighted pass into Biddell in a pack with the ball fortuitously falling into her lap. Having to take a shot from 50m out, she looked like passing, but then launched a massive kick that not only sailed through the big sticks, but cleared it fairly comfortably. It would hand her side a 29-point lead.

Lane Trenorden had a chance for Sturt not long after with the ball mostly being played between the arcs. Once the Double Blues got it inside 50, Trenorden sidestepped a would-be tackler on the run to take a shot but it drifted to the right for Sturt’s second score since the first of the game. Elsegood had a chance to increase the margin on a tight angle 20m out 11 minutes into the term, but she shanked it off to the right and out on the full. The teams both had chances inside 50s, but big tackles from Prenzler and Thompson up the West Adelaide attacking end were terrific, and the quarter ended with the Bloods up by 28.

West Adelaide put an exclamation mark on their performance in the first half of the final term, with Walsh and Martin combining at the stoppages time and time again as Prowse was not afforded the leap she had been given earlier in the game, and Walsh was using her larger frame to plant herself where she could contend with her young opponent and still win the tap. A quick kick forward went to Elsegood two and a half minutes into the term, with the key forward making no mistake from the set shot for her second of the contest.

Emma Smith and Alex Ballard were looking good kicking inside 50 up opposite ends, but both balls were intercepted. Brown continued to provide a target and run hard i the forward half of the ground and be a link in the chain for the Double Blues. Baltais was ginger after a contest and had to be helped up, and in the mean time the ball went forward to Elsegood. Sensing she was at too sharp of an angle – right next to the behind post – she kicked inboard to Biddell who was further out but a slightly better angle. Unfortunately she missed again, this time to the right.

Lucy Griffith had a nice passage of play in the middle to find Alysha Healy – who had been strong defensively with timely spoils and intercept possessions in the match – but again the kick to the forward 50 was picked off by the West Adelaide defence. This time it was Newman who fired long and the Bloods were over the back and away. Zoe Greer got involved at half-forward and kicked the ball towards goal. It was all the experienced goalsneak Thompson needed as she read the play well, got goalside and booted it home for the easiest of goals an a game-high 41-point lead with seven minutes remaining.

It would be the last score of the day for West Adelaide, and the last few minutes of the match belonged to Sturt. They finally got some meaningly chances deep, though not easily. Georgia Swan was involved twice in a passage of play for the Double Blues, getting it deep, only for a clearing kick to come back. Ironically the quick kick was greeted by the Sturt high defence, and Prenzler marked to pass to Bevan inside 50 who tried honouring a lead closer. Nothing came of that chance, but the ball was now locked in Sturt’s forward 50, and eventually after a couple of chances, Sturt earned a free kick with Alex Ballard the recipient. The top-age talent kicked the visiting side’s only goal of the game in the last few minutes from 15m out with no problems whatsoever.

Tiah Hough got involved on debut with a couple of nice touches late in the match and earning a free kick. She sent the ball forward and the Double Blues finished the match with a couple of attempts through Bevan, Brown, Rigter and Prowse, but the latter was the only one that carried near the distance with less pressure and the West Adelaide defence rushed it across the line to end the game and win by 34 points.

GLENELG 0.0 | 1.0 | 3.1 | 4.1 (25)
NORTH ADELAIDE 1.3 | 3.4 | 5.5 | 6.7 (43)

GOALS:

Glenelg: E. Jones 2, L. Kenny, M. Affolter.
North: A. Hatchard 2, K. Barltrop, T. Gordon, C. Taylor, C. Castle.

ADC BEST:

Glenelg: E. Jones, L. Fisher, S. Franson, E. Kellock, M. Freeman
North: A. Hatchard, K. Harvey, A. Ward, K. Pope, H. Ewings

North Adelaide’s ability to score against momentum eventually weathered down a gallant Glenelg side during an 18-point win to remain undefeated in the SANFL Women’s competition. The Roosters had the run for most of the term, but two goals in a minute from Eloise Jones during a fierce third term resulted in the Tigers drawing within a couple of points. With only three inside 50s for the term, the Roosters booted 2.1 late to all but secure the victory in an impressive performance.

The most watched battle of the game would be Ebony Marinoff up against Adelaide Crows teammate, Anne Hatchard in the midfield. It did not disappoint with the pair lining up on one another and it was Hatchard winning the first duel with her kick going forward and the next stoppage saw Kelly Barltrop mark on the lead just 40 seconds into the game. The Roosters leading goalkicker from last year had no troubles putting that through to hand her team the early lead.

Lauren Daniel released Hannah Ewings with the handball out of the pack at half-forward not long after, but the flying shot from the teenager went to the right and out on the full. Moments later a free kick was plucked out to Cristie Castle on the other side of the forward 50 in the fluorescent boots, but her shot from 30m out at a 45-degree angle drifted way right for a behind. North’s forward pressure was good in the opening few minutes, forcing kicks to be perfect, and when they were to the Roosters rebounded.

Good positioning by Sam Franson at half-back led to the Tigers entering their forward half for the first time, but could not get it into the 50 as the Tigers rebounded. Glenelg was trying to scrum it forward and finally got inside 50 with a short kick by Julia Clark was well positioned under pressure to mark. The kicking by North was spot on as Amber Ward and Clark were mopping up at the back. Ward was a rock at half-back taking a big intercept mark and kick forward.

Most of the midpoint of the term was played between the arcs as the Tigers pressed, but the Roosters always had a number at the back to either tackle or mop up. Ellie Kellock had a great chance for the Tigers when a quick kick from a Roosters defender under pressure landed in her lap, but her subsequent kick quick was spoiled before it could reach its intended target. Glenelg had stopped the early scoring with the last half of the term in their quarter, but had not been able to score themselves.

A highlight of the term was when Roosters’ full-back Kristi Harvey flew high for a big grab to intercept but could not quite bring it down. Ewings got run down at half-back but was good enough to quickly get her hands down. Despite North Adelaide running it down, Kellock had a couple of great plays, first to intercept a mark, but when her teammate was run down after a handball, she chased the Rooster running into goal forcing her opposition’s kick to fall short and Marinoff mopped up on the last line.

Lauren Daniel had a run with the give-and-go in the last couple of minutes but again was intercepted by the Tigers at half-back. Then Katelyn Pope found Leah Tynan in the middle with the ball down to Hatchard who drilled the ball in but was brilliantly read by Lauren Fisher to be in front of Barltrop and take a strong intercept mark. Moments later with less than a couple of minutes left, a terrific releasing handball from Pope to Daniel got the ball forward for another chance, but it ended in just one behind with the siren going not long after.

The second term saw the Roosters extend their lead on the game by booting a couple of goals, with only four minutes needed until Castle slotted her first. The opportunistic forward got goal side and ran onto the ball to kick truly on the run and hand her side a 15-0 lead. Ewings provided an almost play-of-the-day by getting free out the back as an end-to-end play developed and the teenager marked and kept running towards goal, only to pull her kick to the right and narrowly miss after taking a few bounces.

Up either end, the defences were playing well with Fisher impressive on Barltrop since that first 40 seconds, and Kendall Howell doing well rebounding off half-back for the Roosters. The forward pressure of Glenelg finally had some success 11 minutes into the term. Molly Affolter laid a strong tackle on Harvey to earn a free kick and just popped it through from 20m out for what would be the Tigers’ only score of the first half. They had got it back to 10 points, but a North response was coming.

Late in the term a huge free kick was picked out to Charlotte Taylor just 15m out straight in front. She duly delivered and the Roosters went up by 16 again with a couple of minutes remaining. It would be the last score of the term as the Roosters headed into the main break with a 3.4 to 1.0. Hatchard, Harvey, Howell, Ewings and Daniel were among the most prominent for the Roosters in the first half, while Kellock, Franson and Fisher had been impressive for the Tigers.

North Adelaide started the third attacking, but could not get the extra handball clear inside 50 before being closed down, forcing a turnover and Glenelg to repel up the ground. Getting it forward themselves, the Tigers looked good running it down the ground, but Harvey was there to stop it again. Then up stepped Jones.

The Crows forward was yet to have a huge impact, but a big tackle inside 50 was rewarded with holding the ball and she had no troubles from 35m out straight in front putting it through for the first of the term. Moments later, she did it again, with the ball rushed down inside 50 and Jones snapping around her body for two goals in a minute and the margin was cut down to four points in the blink of an eye.

Suddenly the Roosters were under pressure and everything was working for the Tigers. They were fiercely attacking and the Roosters were second guessing themselves inside 50. Jones had a remarkable third shot on goal but it just fell short. Hatchard tried to run it out but even she could not clear a Glenelg wall at half-back. Jones pulled out the party tricks by selling the dummy close to goal, but slipped and was forced to give off the handball.

As much as Glenelg – mainly Jones who had another kick inside 50 – were attacking, the Roosters defence led by the likes of Ward and Harvey were holding firm. Bek Rasheed took a really strong intercept mark in defence and got it back outside 50, but again the Roosters were under all sorts of pressure as the Tigers won it back and went forward again. The first 10 minutes had been Glenelg purely attacking. Then Ward ran it out of defence and it led to a chain of possessions and an open forward line. The Glenelg defender dropped what should have been a straight forward mark uncontested for the ball to slip over the back and Tayla Gordon pounced with a soccer goal against the flow to given her team some breathing space.

The Roosters second inside 50 almost led to a second goal straight up with Castle just needing a good bounce, but this time it held up and she was mopped by Tigers. Moments later though, Hatchard would get on the end of it with a beautiful left foot snap, and for all of Glenelg’s dominance – where the Tigers had owned forward half possession – the Roosters were back out to a 15-point lead with a minute to play. It could have been even worse with Hatchard winning a free kick 40m out and her kick after the siren looking true but was touched on the line. Still, the 16-point lead had all but evaporated Glenelg’s third term dominance.

The Roosters had an early chance in the fourth through Hatchard who snapped again but it bounced through for a behind in the opening minute. The Roosters were peppering the goals early with a couple of behinds and the sting seemed to be a bit more out of the game given North’s flurry of late goals from few opportunities in the third term.

Glenelg forced the ball forward and laid a series of big tackles at the six-minute mark of the term to lock it in their forward 50. The Roosters defensive core were so keen on spoiling they even spoiled themselves in one marking contest, but the reliability of Harvey was steadfast as she took another strong mark and cleared the ball free.

Marinoff was picking up with some strong efforts in midfield and then a nice shepherd to allow her teammate a chance to kick forward into the waiting arms of Lauren Kenny to pop through a bit of a wobbly, but successful chance nonetheless. Glenelg was back with 17 points with eight minutes remaining, but it would end up being the Tigers’ last score. In fact, North Adelaide would only score one more behind for the game too.

The game would not be without highlights in the final half of the last term as Jones took a strong grab on the wing amongst a pack of players. Erin Sundstrom was another reliable Roosters player on the day in what was a real team effort for the Roosters. It was hard to pick the bests outside of Harvey, Hatchard and Ward, while for Glenelg, Jones almost had a match-winning quarter in the third, as her side also had an even amount of contributors throughout the contest, including the likes of Madisyn Freeman and Kohn who had some nice moments.

SANFL Women’s Round 6 preview: Sunday clashes ones to watch in huge round of action

NOW the first games have been done and won, the eight South Australian National Football League (SANFL) teams return for Round 2 in what is a blockbuster round of action. Sunday’s games in particular – between West Adelaide and Sturt, and North Adelaide and Glenelg – are ones to watch.

NORWOOD VS. WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS
Saturday, July 4, 11.50am
Coopers Stadium

Opening up the round is a clash between fourth placed Norwood and sixth placed Woodville-West Torrens Eagles. The Redlegs made their way into fourth win an impressive win over Central District last week, leapfrogging Sturt into a finals position at the midpoint of the season. The Eagles have been close in each match they have played, but still remain with just the one win. A victory and a Sturt loss would see the Eagles move up to fifth on the table, whilst a Norwood win would see them draw level with the Bloods if Sturt can get up, or go a full three points clear inside the top four if as expected, West Adelaide wins against the Double Blues.

In terms of changes, the Redlegs have made just the one confirmed change with Lindsay Bigg the only confirmed out of the side, whilst Elisha Gallagher and Bella Smith return in what will be a good boost for the side. The Eagles have made at least two forced changes, with both Stephanie Walker and Natasha Holmes out of the match through injury. Adding to an extended bench for thew visiting side is Bronwyn Davey, Brooke Mullen, Jaida Tabb and Eli Gianakis all named.

For the Eagles to win, their top notch tackling pressure will need to be on show again, and the inclusion of Renee Forth last week added a touch of class to a fiercely defensive side. Tesharna Maher and Jovanka Zecevic impressed in the first round back after a long lay-off, whilst the inclusion of Tabb – the sister of Adelaide’s Jaimi – will show off some of he future talent on the list. One player who will be looking to have a bigger influence on the contest this week is forward, Kiana Lee who can be really influential on her day.

Norwood just has a lot of good solid talent across the park, with some serious young X-factor such as Matilda Zander and Mattea Breed who have plenty of potential to keep developing their football. Given arguably the league’s best ruckman in Leah Cutting is doing her thing and Najwa Allen and Monique Hollick are back in the side, there is plenty to like about Norwood’s premiership credentials. Smith has been named at centre half-back and will be one to watch, whilst Alison Ferrall proved a handful up forward last week booting three goals, the same as Breed.

Norwood head into this as favourites and should win, but the Eagles always make life difficult for opposition teams with their defensive pressure.

 

SOUTH ADELAIDE VS. CENTRAL DISTRICT
Saturday, July 4, 3.30pm
Flinders University Stadium

Reigning back-to-back champions South Adelaide welcome Central District to Flinders University Stadium in a match the Panthers will be keen to win well. They were pushed all the way by Glenelg last weekend, while Central District had its chances but could not convert enough to really threaten Norwood. Heading into this game, South sit second on the table only behind the top of the table Roosters, whilst the Bulldogs are in last, but a win would see them get off the bottom of the table.

Central has the less complicated changes of the teams, with young talent Kimberley Fry the only confirmed out of the side for tomorrow’s match. Emma Keys, Keely Cannizzaro and Amber James are the three players named in an extended squad. The Panthers have been forced to make five changes with some big names out through injury or work. Czenya Cavouras and Elke Jarvis both have work commitments and will miss the game, while an injured trio in captain Lauren Buchanan, Courtney Barry and Elyse Haylock are all out. Naturally South Adelaide has named seven players as possible replacements, including Emily Brockhurst, Sheena Peters, Brianna Wedding and Lauren Clifton who were all named on the field for the clash.

What makes the Panthers so strong in the depth within the starting line-up and very few weaknesses. Glenelg was able to get on top at times last week, but it took some AFL Women’s talent to break down South Adelaide. Then the likes of Nikki Gore, Hannah Munyard and Jess Kirk all fought back to have important roles through the inside midfield, outside midfield and forward line respectively. Add in the fact that the Panthers won without a huge contribution from star young gun Teah Charlton – who started to get going late in the contest, and there is a reason they have been so successful of late. In the absence of Buchanan, Jaslynne Smith and Samantha Pratt have some big jobs ahead of them.

The Bulldogs were gallant at times last week and never looked completely out of the contest. Katelyn Rosenzweig is always a danger up forward with her strong hands and penetrating kick likely to hit the scoreboard each and every week. She will always attract a crowd too at the marking contest, so if the Bulldogs crumbers can get to work, they can have a bit of freedom knowing their opponents can occasionally try and assist a defender in stopping Rosenzweig. The likes of Alicia Butler and Latiah Huynh were really impressive last week, and have some eye-catching traits. Whilst scoring at times has been an issue for Central, their defence stacks up against some of the best, with Sarah Allan returning to the club for the second half of the season and providing that extra experience alongside Demi Sonneman and another returning player in Gemma Doughty who made the successful return from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury last week.

South Adelaide will be strong favourites for this one given the midfield strength, but with a couple of key players down in the back half, Central has a chance to take advantage of the reshuffling of magnets.

 

WEST ADELAIDE VS. STURT
Sunday, July 5, 11.50am
Hisense Stadium

Of all the clashes, this could be the most exciting. Both teams have an abundance of youth which they are backing in this week and will make for quite the show at Hisense Stadium. Naturally, the third placed West Adelaide will have the upper hand at home, sitting in a good position to pounce if South Adelaide slips up. The Bloods have a good percentage gap on fourth placed Norwood, and after getting the job done against Woodville-West Torrens eagles in a scrap last week, expect the game to open up more this week. Sturt dropped out of the top four and their percentage took a hit with that huge 77-point defeat to North Adelaide, so getting a win here would be important to try and get their form back.

Amelie Finnimore and Nicole Hooper will miss the Bloods clash through injury this week, while Tamika May and Taylor Hand are also listed on the outs. A debutant in Hannah Scholar from Morphettville Park will join four others on an extended bench. Olivia Smith, Abbey Hardwick, Alex Mason, Scarlett Griffiths and Georgie Gray are all in line to return to the team for the clash. Sturt on the other hand has made just the two changes with Ally Ladas out injured, joining Holly Temby as the two confirmed changes. In line to make their debuts for the Double Blues are Olivia McEvoy and Tiah Hough, the latter of whom is a member of the Crows’ Academy. Caroline Burgess and Aajiah Jericho are the other two named in an extended team.

Whilst Sturt might have been overwhelmed last week, there was always a bit to like about the way they move the ball, and they when using their short kicking and hitting up targets it worked, but North Adelaide knew to add pressure to the mix and it was hard to quell. Hannah Prenzler was a standout down back with Maya Rigter throwing herself everywhere through midfield trying everything to get her team over the. Rigter and her co-captain Georgia Bevan are guiding a young team, and Rigter herself is still only 19. Zoe Prowse had a quieter game last week but has the potential to really get going, whilst Alex Ballard had some purple patches in the game.

West Adelaide was able to do enough to shake off a determined Eagles outfit in Round 5, and their two half-backs in AFL Women’s Crows talent Madison Newman and young gun Keeley Kustermann might be the best one-two combination at that position when it comes to running and hitting targets. Having two terrific ball users coming out of defence is crucial to a team’s success and they certainly offer that. With Rachelle Martin and Abbie Ballard leading the charge in midfield, they can get it down to arguably the most damaging forward line as well. Melanie Elsegood as the deep forward alongside AFL Women’s talent in Chelsea Biddell and Stevie-Lee Thompson is a strong mix, whilst Zoe Venning provides that dash between the arcs.

West Adelaide are one of the dark horses this season and should get the job done here, but both teams will score more than they did last week in a free-flowing contest.

 

GLENELG vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
Sunday, July 5, 12pm
ACH Group Stadium

If AFL Women’s talent is what you after, then look no further than the final game of the round between the undefeated North Adelaide and the rising Glenelg. On face value the Tigers are seventh on the table and really need to start making a move to have a chance at finals. But with the return of a number of AFL Women’s players – who all had a big impact last week against South – they are ready to rake in the wins. Unfortunately for the Tigers, they have copped the two best sides in the first two weeks back, and this North Adelaide team is coming off a 77-point demolition job of Sturt.

Glenelg will be without Soriah Moon who is a big loss, joining Cass Hartley as the players out of the side from the loss to Sturt. Coming into the team are Molly Affolter, Sheridan Howell, Lauren Bungey and Rachel Aistrope with at least two to make it into the final term. Alex Fitridge is the only out for the Roosters this week, as North Adelaide welcomes back defender Lauren Gauci, as well as adding Kendall Howell, Charlea Taylor and Brianna Arthur to an extended bench.

North have managed to get stronger with the addition of Gauci who provides extra strength to the league’s best backline. Kristi Harvey and Amber Ward have been mainstays in the key posts this year, but bringing in West Coast’s Talia Radan adds another key talent in there, and Gauci will have the freedom to provide some extra run when needed. Through the midfield, Anne Hatchard would have broken all kinds of statistical records last week when she brought her own ball to the game against the Double Blues. She was simply unstoppable and carried on her best and fairest winning from from the Crows. Teaming up with Ashleigh Woodland and Leah Tynan in midfield, and throwing in the speed and class of Katelyn Pope and Hannah Ewings, and the Roosters outfit are premiership favourites for a reason. There are very few, if any weaknesses in the line-up, and it will take a special effort to beat them on any given day.

Glenelg do have some serious talent that can stretch the Roosters however, led by Ebony Marinoff, Eloise Jones and Caitlin Gould. Marinoff was enormous in the first half for the Bays last week, and Jones was just about their best with her strong hands and work in transition up forward. Caitlin Gould could have had a bigger day and might be ruing her missed chances on goal, something she will no doubt fix for this game. Deni Varnhagen provided great speed on the outside, whilst Grace Duffy and Sam Franson also had impressive moments in the loss. The Tigers top-end talent is class and quality, and whilst North Adelaide have the greater depth, the Bays have a lot of strong contributors who work as one unit and know what each other is capable of, and why they pushed the reigning back-to-back premiers for so long last week.

The Roosters are favourites because they have not lost and on paper are the best team in the competition, but they can also not underestimate what Glenelg is capable of on its day, especially with Marinoff and Jones among those running around.

SANFL Women’s Team of the Week: Round 5 – Roosters, Panthers and Tigers quartets impress

A TRIO of teams each had four representatives in our South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s Team of the Week in Round 5 as football returned to the state’s elite competition. North Adelaide, South Adelaide and Glenelg all had four representatives in the team, with other winners, West Adelaide and Norwood, as well as Central District having three players. Sturt had two and Woodville-West Torrens the one in what was a really difficult week to select just 24 players.

North Adelaide had a massive 77-point victory and had a plethora of eligible representatives who could have squeezed into the side, however four achieved just that feat. Anne Hatchard was the dominant player over the weekend and earned the captaincy for her ball-winning efforts through the middle. She is joined the team by fellow midfielder Katelyn Pope who was named on a wing, as well as young gun Hannah Ewings at half-forward and Lauren Daniel on the bench.

South Adelaide and Glenelg played out a thriller with both teams having plenty of top-end quality and had one third of the Draft Central SANFL Women’s Team of the Week between them. South’s Nikki Gore was a star through the midfield and starts onball with Hatchard, whilst Hannah Munyard – who predominantly played on the wing – managed to win touches all over the ground and due to the strength of the midfield lands at half-back in this team. Also in the back six is another AFL Women’s talent in Lisa Whiteley, whilst competition leading goalkicker Jess Kirk slotted three majors to continue her stranglehold on that award and made the side.

While the Tigers might have lost, they had their fair share of top performers, with three players making the 24-player squad and another making the emergencies. The Tigers have three of the six forward spots with midfielder Ebony Marinoff one pushed out to a flank – though she did rest forward – given the midfield strength. Fellow Crows players Eloise Jones and Caitlin Gould are the others to make the starting side. On the bench, Deni Varnhagen makes the side, whilst Soriah Moon narrowly missed out.

Another game had plenty of representatives with Norwood’s victory over Central District. The Redlegs had starting ruck Leah Cutting made the side once more, whilst up and coming midfielder Matilda Zander booked her spot in the tough midfield group. Najwa Allen also made her way onto the team, coming off the bench in this side. For the Bulldogs, they have the bookends in Sarah Allan and Katelyn Rosenzweig up either end, whilst Alicia Butler was also impressive in the loss and makes it into the squad. Fellow Bulldog, Latiah Huynh was close to making the side and earned a spot as one of the emergencies.

West Adelaide also had a trio of players making the 24-player squad, led by Rachelle Martin who starred and earned the vice-captain nod in our side. Also in the team was reliable defenders, Madison Newman and Keeley Kustermann who were superb out of the back 50. Fellow young midfielder Abbie Ballard was also named as emergency for the team. Rounding out the team was Sturt young gun Hannah Prenzler at centre half-back, alongside Double Blues co-captain Maya Rigter on the bench, whilst Woodville-West Torrens utility Renee Forth finalises the full squad.

B: Madison Newman (WA) – Sarah Allan (CD) – Lisa Whiteley (SA)
HB: Hannah Munyard (SA) – Hannah Prenzler (ST) – Keeley Kustermann (WA)
C: Matilda Zander (NW) – Rachelle Martin (WA – vc) – Katelyn Pope (NA)
HF: Ebony Marinoff (GL) – Eloise Jones (GL) – Hannah Ewings (NA)
F: Jess Kirk (SA) – Katelyn Rosenzweig (CD) – Caitlin Gould (GL)
R: Leah Cutting (NW) – Anne Hatchard (NA – c) – Nikki Gore (SA)
INT: Najwa Allen (NW) – Alicia Butler (CD) – Lauren Daniel (NA) – Renee Forth (WWT) – Maya Rigter (ST) – Deni Varnhagen (GL)
EMG: Latiah Huynh (CD) – Abbie Ballard (WA) – Soriah Moon (GL)

SANFL Women’s review: Round 5 – Panthers, Roosters impress with statement wins

FOOTBALL returned to South Australia over the weekend and some of the state’s best footballers returned to the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition. North Adelaide and South Adelaide further enhanced their premiership credentials, whilst other now top-four sides, West Adelaide and Norwood won their respective matches as well.

CENTRAL DISTRICT 0.0 | 0.3 | 1.4 | 3.6 (24)
NORWOOD 2.3 | 3.6 | 5.8 | 7.10 (52)

GOALS:

Central: Rosenzweig 2, Reynolds.
Norwood: Breed 3, Ferrall 3, Lishmund.

ADC BEST:

Central: K. Rosenzweig, A. Butler, S. Allan D. Sonneman, L. Huynh
Norwood: M. Zander, N. Allen, M. Breed, R. McMahon, A. Ferrall

Three-goal hauls to Mattea Breed and Alison Ferrall has seen Norwood secure a solid 26-point victory over Central District in the first return game of the SANFL Women’s competition. The Redlegs were in control for the most part, particularly after a strong first half, but despite the score, the Bulldogs were matching it with their highly fancied opponent. Central District managed to find its range in the second half when they booted three goals, and whilst the Bulldogs were still outscored, showed some really promising signs.

Najwa Allen returned to the Redlegs for the restarted season after winning a league best and fairest with the club a season earlier. It did not take her long to have an impact on proceedings, teaming up well with fellow ball-winning star Matilda Zander in midfield to find plenty of it early. Along with Rebekka McMahon who was slicing up the opposition defensive zone, the trio were among the best on ground in a big first term. The Redlegs booted 2.3 to 0.0 to head into the first break with a 15-point advantage.

They did not have it all their own way however, with reliable defender Demi Sonneman taking a great one-on-one contested mark in the defensive goal square, and the Bulldogs would have been thrilled to have Gemma Doughty back from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. Doughty made a successful return and had remarkably clean hands off the deck for someone who had missed so much football. The two goals in the term went to Ferrall and Alana Lishmund whose majors in the first half of the quarter made it look like it could be a long day for the Bulldogs.

Instead, after that it was largely tight, with the Bulldogs unlucky not to be a lot closer than the 21-point deficit at half-time. They had a number of chances – particularly late – with the ball camped in Central’s forward 50 for the most part of the quarter. Katelyn Rosenzweig was starting to get going with the ball now in her zone, and she had the first chance of the day with a set shot but it fell short. She scored the Bulldogs first score – a behind – a moment later, and that was followed by behinds to Latiah Huynh and Rosenzweig again. Both were within 20m, with Huynh’s set shot just drifting and Rosenzweig’s snap over her head on the wrong side of the post.

In a cruel blow for all their efforts, Central watched as Norwood ran it down the other end, and after a couple of near misses, Ferrall was paid a free kick at the top of the goalsquare as the siren rang out moments later. She converted her second goal easily and the Redlegs were in control despite not having the majority of the play in their forward half.

The third term opened with a flurry as Breed booted her first major after some scrappy play inside 50, turning around, fending off an opponent and putting it through. She almost had a second moments later, but despite it going through, it was brought back due to a free to Doughty. The Northern Territory talent did not have to wait much longer to add another major to her name however, snapping around her body and getting the favourable bounce to clear the defender on the line.

Central refused to give in though, and continued to pepper the goals when given the opportunity. It took until the ninth minute of the third term for Rosenzweig to slot the Bulldogs’ first, and thanks to Central’s defence holding up – namely the work of Sonneman, Kimberley Fry and Shelby Smith – the Bulldogs did not concede another goal. At three quarter time, Breed had created some separation for her side with the two majors and Norwood held a comfortable 28-point lead.

Zander continued to rack up the touches and have a real influence in the early stages of the last term, but she was not the only returning player to have a say, with Doughty producing a massive run-down tackle at half-back to win the ball. She and another inclusion in Sarah Allan were prominent alongside the already reliable defensive unit, but for all their work, it was Breed who capitalised with a third goal following a free kick straight in front.

Alicia Butler was another player who was starting to really influence the contest and a long clearance inside 50 helped Chantelle Reynolds put boot to ball and dribble towards the line – after a quick fumble – but Rosenzweig finished it off with a sliding effort. Norwood responded not long after with Ferrall’s third after plenty of loose Redlegs were running around and a perfect pass from Zander found her teammate at the top of the square. With Leah Cutting also having a big day out in the ruck, the Redlegs were all but home as the time ticked down.

Reynolds got her name in the goalkicking books with a nice conversion after a free kick thanks to perfect kick placement from Huynh, and it was the last major of the day. Both Rosenzweig and Butler had chances in the dying minutes – Butler’s right before the siren – but the pressure, and in Butler’s case an opposition hand out of a stoppage, saw the chances result in behinds. The siren sounded for the Redlegs to win 7.10 (52) to 3.6 (24) and move into the top four.

STURT 1.0 | 1.0 | 1.0 | 1.0 (6)
NORTH ADELAIDE 4.1 | 8.6 | 11.6 | 12.11 (83)

GOALS: 

Sturt: A. Brown.
North: K. Barltrop 2, M. McKendrick 2, K. Pope 2, B. Perry 2, C. Castle, A. Woodland, H. Ewings, B. Arthur.

ADC BEST:

Sturt: M. Rigter, H. Prenzler, A. Ballard, G. Bevan, A. Brown
North: A. Hatchard, K. Pope, L. Daniel, L. Tynan, H. Ewings

A remarkable run of 23 scoring shots after conceding the first goal of the game saw North Adelaide Roosters send an ominous warning to the rest of the competition. Whilst it was hard to fault the effort and defensive pressure of a young Sturt outfit, the cleanliness and composure of a Roosters outfit, boosted by the inclusions of several AFL Women’s stars, was evident during the massive 77-point victory on Saturday.

The game started with Sturt setting the tone thanks to a huge Maya Rigter run-down tackle on Leah Tynan to win a free at half-back and stop a certain inside 50. Moving it down the ground, a free kick and subsequent 50m penalty moved Arabella Brown from a tight angle 20m out, to point-blank range which she duly converted. The Double Blues were up by a goal, but little did anyone know, that would end up their only score of the game.

From there, North Adelaide took control, with Adelaide best and fairest winner Anne Hatchard suffering leather poisoning, and dominating the contest. No matter what the opposition threw at her, Hatchard moved around the stoppages with grace and continued to find the ball all over the field. The accuracy with the North Adelaide kicks going forawrd was telling, and it benefited full-forward Kelly Barltrop who marked on a lead 30m out and booted the Roosters’ first of the contest seven minutes into the match.

It started a momentum roll-on with Hatchard bursting out of the middle and booting it long which led to a Mollie McKendrick goal. Lauren Daniel joined Hatchard as one of the prime movers, and despite Sturt saving a goal off the boot of Hatchard, the Roosters midfield was starting to swarm, and fellow AFL Women’s talent Britt Perry marked at the top of the goalsquare and put another home. Shortly after, Cristie Castle added her name to the list with a free kick and subsequent goal from 25m out, mostly thanks to the work by Katelyn Pope who used afterburners to blow away any opponent from trying to catch her.

If the danger signs for Sturt were not there before the break, they were shortly after as the first clearance of the second term saw Hatchard burst away, bomb it long and then Barltrop got goalside to soccer through her second. The next clearance saw young gun Hannah Ewings scoop the ball off the deck with remarkable cleanliness to give it by hand to a running Ashleigh Woodland who saluted from outside 50 with the help of a bounce in the square.

Sturt had its chances as well, getting the ball inside 50, but the work of Kristi Harvey and Amber Ward was suffocating any forward moment for the Double Blues. Holly Temby had a brave run into a contest to stop a North Adelaide switch as the Roosters were attacking, but the ladder leaders recovered and soon got it forward where McKendrick won a free out of the stoppage and kicked truly from 40m to see her side’s third in five minutes. By this stage, North was peppering the goals and arguably could have finished with more.

Arabella Prowse was showing some promising signs throughout the games through the ruck for Sturt, but the midfield of the Roosters was just too strong, and when Pope once again put the afterburners on in the 10th minute of the term, there was no stopping her as she slammed another one home and it was party time. To Sturt’s credit, the pressure applied by the likes of Rigter and young defender Hannah Prenzler coming out of the back half was stopping the flood gates opening. Hatchard had a couple of chances herself, as did fellow inclusion, Tayla Gordon whose shot from 35m out straight in front got touched on the line.

Ewings was getting better as the game went on, showing some serious X-factor with her ability to quick turn out of a stoppage and burst away to kick inside 50. She was then on the end of a Hatchard kick to mark 20m out straight in front and slot another Roosters goal. By the end of the term, Brianna Arthur and Pope had both added goals, with Hatchard still being heavily involved in most plays. Sturt also had a number of chances, but a late free kick to Georgia Bevan saw the co-captain opt to hand off the pass with the flying shot falling short and the siren going not long after.

Facing a 66-point deficit at the final break Sturt wanted to come out with fire in the belly in the second half, and Alex Ballard showed serious intent winning a free kick for going in low and hard to grab the ball at ground level. It set the tone for the rest of the quarter as the Double Blues held the Roosters goalless until the last few minutes when Perry converted a great goal. Ballard, Prenzler and Rigter were all strong right until the end, with Prowse again showing great initiative, even if it could be over zealous at times and giving away free kicks.

Whilst the Roosters arguably could have won by more with inaccuracy plaguing them, the midfield was just too deep to beat, and it will be hard to see North Adelaide losing too many games with the inclusions strengthening an already impressive outfit. For Sturt, there were signs of a promising future with some real standouts, but they were just outclassed by the clever zoning of the Roosters.

WEST ADELAIDE 1.1 | 2.1 | 3.2 | 4.3 (27)
WWT EAGLES 0.0 | 1.2 | 1.3 | 1.4 (10) 

GOALS:

West: Z. Venning, S. Thompson, R. Martin, C. Biddell.
WWT: J. Zecevic.

ADC BEST:

West: R. Martin, K. Kustermann, M. Newman, A. Ballard, S. Thompson
WWT: R. Forth, J. Zecevic, T. Maher, G. Smallcombe, A. Blanden

West Adelaide have moved clear in third spot on the SANFL Women’s table with a dour win over Woodville-West Torrens Eagles on Sunday. In what was a low-scoring slog that was predominantly a battle of half-back lines and defensive pressure, the Bloods’ defence was able to hold the Eagles to just one goal from five scoring shots, whilst capitalising on four of seven of their own to win by 17 points.

Rachelle Martin was absolutely sensational for the winners, but she was far from alone, teaming up well with partner-in-crime Abbie Ballard, whilst the defensive work of young gun Keeley Kustermann and the equally slick ball user in Madison Newman ensured the opposition had a tough time scoring. For the the Eagles, it was Renee Forth returning to the competition to be the clear standout in a losing side, and while the Eagles were only five points down at half-time, could not capitalise on their few opportunities after the main break.

The match started with Martin and Ballard immediately having an impact, and Zoe Venning capitalising on the opening goal with a long-range set shot. Forth was working hard back in defence alongside Tesharna Maher, whilst Jovanka Zecevic was having a big say in proceedings early on for the Eagles. The composure of 15-year-old Kustermann to switch at times to open up the opposite side of the ground was impressive. Her quick hands in traffic also stood out in a first term that aside from the goal in the first few minutes, yielded just one behind.

Neither defence refused to give in and clear marks inside 50 were hard to come by. Early in the second it was Ballard who put a perfectly weighted kick into Chelsea Biddell leading out 45m from goal. The pressure from the Eagles ensured that any shot that fell short was rebounded, as Maher showed off second and third efforts to desperately clear the danger zone. The goal drought broke with 2019 AFL Women’s leading goalkicker Stevie-Lee Thompson put one through the big sticks off, whilst her midfield partners were still racking up the touches.

An end-to-end play for the Westies almost resulted in a massive play of the day. It started with Kustermann laying a huge tackle to force her opponent to ground and get a stoppage. Martin won the ball at the stoppage and went for a run around the wing, Zoe Greer received it and put it quickly to Melanie Elsegood‘s advantage who put it deep to Kate Walsh near the square, but the ball slipped through her hands. In typical Eagles fashion, reliable defender Grace Smallcombe wrapped up Walsh to force another stoppage.

A couple of behinds to the Eagles were missed opportunities later in the term, before Zecevic stepped up to pick-pocket her opponent attempting to handball then took a long-range shot which sailed through with just a couple of minutes remaining. The quarter ended with just five points separating the sides and the game well and truly in the balance heading into the second half.

The third term saw Martin pick up where she left off, racking up the ball with ease. Ballard was fierce in the contest and won a free kick for a terrific tackle, whilst Forth was still battling hard coming out of defence and using her skills to advantage. The Bloods were able to use their slick short passing game to advantage and get to half-forward, but the convocation of Eagles ensured that a mark close to goal was incredibly difficult. It took until a free kick to the Bloods and Martin sneaking into a pocket to receive the ball uncontested and slot a major from 20m out to give the home side some breathing room.

One of the plays of the day from Thompson came midway through the quarter when she burst out of the middle, kicked it to half-forward, then followed up with a big tackle to lock the ball up and force a stoppage. With another behind added to the Eagles’ total, they were still down on the scoreboard, but not completely out of it.

The fourth term was the biggest arm-wrestle of the lot, with neither team able to really dent the opposition’s sturdy defence. Kustermann and Newman were class acts at half-back, standing out with their terrific ball use, whilst Martin and Ballard were able to spend time resting forward at intervals. Sensing one goal could just about seal the deal, it took a bit of magic from Biddell, who at a stoppage, gathered, snapped and put it through the middle to all but end the contest.

The Eagles had a chance to add a consolation goal through Amie Blanden who worked her opponent under the ball with great body work, got to the goalsquare, gathered the ball and went to kick it through from point blank range. Unfortunately it hit the side of her boot and cannoned into the post. With just one more behind – to West Adelaide – to end the contest, the Bloods secured an important 17-point win.

GLENELG 2.2 | 4.3 | 5.3 | 5.3 (33)
SOUTH ADELAIDE 1.2 | 3.2 | 4.3 | 7.6 (48)

GOALS:

Glenelg: E. Jones 2, E. Marinoff, S. Wilton, S. Moon.
South: J. Kirk 3, N. Gore, T. Meyer, M. Bennett, T. Charlton.

ADC BEST:

Glenelg: E. Jones, C. Gould, D. Varnhagen, E. Marinoff, S. Moon
South: N. Gore, H. Munyard, J. Kirk, T. Meyer, L. Whiteley

FOUR unanswered goals from South Adelaide to end the contest saw the Panthers get up by 15 points over Glenelg in a highly entertaining contest on Sunday. Both sides welcomed back a host of AFL Women’s talent for the contest, and it lived up to all expectations with the likes of Nikki Gore and Hannah Munyard controlling the Panthers’ midfield up against Ebony Marinoff and Deni Varnhagen, whilst Eloise Jones, Caitlin Gould and Lisa Whiteley were among the top players too.

The stacked midfields were on song from the get-go with Munyard having the first meaningful inside 50 of the game courtesy of a trademark sidestep. Her opposition midfielders in Marinoff and Varnhagen were both racking up the touches through the middle as Marinoff’s tackling pressure and Varnhagen’s outside run were swinging the contest in favour of the Bays. It took a special moment from athletic ruck, Soriah Moon to put the first scoring chain together, as she beat her opponent, turned swiftly and still got her kick away as she was tackled, with Grace Duffy getting the handball off to Jones who snapped around her body.

Czenya Cavouras was working hard in the middle for the Panthers, whilst Gore’s speed and defensive pressure was causing Glenelg headaches, producing a massive run-down tackle to win the ball back. Cheyenne Hammond put on the afterburners for South and it led to Jess Kirk winning a free and kicking the Panthers’ first. In what was a see-sawing contest, debutant Tiger Sarah Wilton got involved with Marinoff by finding her inside 50. The Crows star played on and quickly kicked a goal, but was called back and nailed the set shot anyway.

Wilton herself almost put one through from an impossible angle in the pocket, but it was touched on the line, and with the likes of Lauren Buchanan and Whiteley in defence, South managed to keep possession towards the dying moments. Kirk had a chance for her second marking strongly moments before the siren but uncharacteristically missed the set shot from straight in front for a straight-kick deficit at the first break.

Both teams were needing to start off on the right note and it was no surprise to see Marinoff on the front foot with her pressure forcing an opposition turnover and getting it down by a series of handballs to the debutant Wilton who put it straight through the middle and hand her team a 12-point lead. Young gun Panther, Indy Tahau was matching it with Moon in the ruck as a really entertaining duel, whilst Munyard and Gore were teaming up with great success. It would be Kirk who got the Panthers back on track however, being in the right place at the right time to soccer through a bouncing shot on goal from Tahlia Meyer for Kirk’s second of the day.

If Gore was not already considered one of the best-ons at that stage, she soon was with a remarkable goal that came from great defence. Gore won the ball, was intercepted, but a team defence inside 50 forced a turnover with the ball back to the Crows’ midfielder who kicked a terrific running goal to level the scores once again. In response, Marinoff stood up to mark in the pocket 35m out, but her set shot surprisingly fell short. However a huge contested grab and subsequent goal from Jones in the goalsquare saw the young star boot her second to match Kirk and hand the Tigers another lead.

Moon’s work across the ground – including getting back into defence to take a strong mark led to a scoring opportunity involving Jones, Marinoff and Wilton, ending with Gould who had a chance from 40m out but sprayed the set shot. It was a missed opportunity as the Tigers had one last chance and it was fitting that Gould would again be the recipient from a similar distance. This time it was on target, but it landed on the line and was punched through for a behind.

Leading by seven points, Glenelg was still in control of the game and needed an early response. After eight minutes of wrestling for momentum, it was Glenelg, through Moon, who got the all-important goal. Varnhagen’s work in defence had saved an earlier chance, and with Moon’s ruck work getting the ball to her midfielders’ advantage, she was on the end of one from a Jones’ set shot that fell short. Moon earned a free kick at the top of the goalsquare and popped it through. At that stage, Glenelg led by a game-high 13 points and looked in complete control of the game. Little did anyone know, it would be the Tigers’ last score of the day.

It would not be the last the crowd saw of South’s scoring though, with Meyer curling a set shot around the goal and in to almost immediately respond and put the deficit back to seven points. The atmosphere rose for the Panthers, with Gore and Cavouras burying in through the middle, and Munyard doing well on the outside. Nicole Campbell who had been quiet to that point took a massive courageous grab. Unfortunately for South, Courtney Barry had to be carried off after injuring herself in the final minutes of the game. Whilst the Panthers had the last few attacking forays, a terrific intercept contested grab by Gould in the dying seconds ensured the Bays headed into the final term with a six-point advantage.

The final term belonged to South Adelaide, though not without an early Tigers’ fight. Whilst they might not have seemed switched on immediately from the break – the Panthers only fielded 17 players and had to be told to bring another on – they were certainly switched on once the ball was bounced. A big tackle from another star who had been quiet to that point, Teah Charlton, led to a chance on goal, but it ricocheted into the post. It might have been a behind, but the pressure stakes were up.

South Adelaide were starting to swarm in numbers and Munyard had a terrific run off half-back to hit-up Charlton and she in turn got it in the Kirk direction. Whilst the ambitious tap behind the head hoped to get into her teammates’ advantage, Ellie Kellock was the first to the ball, but the pressure was there from the losing side. Soon, the breakthrough goal came and it was fitting that Kirk won a one-on-one marking contest straight in front and converted her third for South’s first lead of the game.

The duo of Gore and Munyard had gone from incredibly good to match-winners as they firmly took control of the middle in the final term as Marinoff and her side began to tire. The final term seemed to be a quarter for those to stand up and take their chances, with Madison Bennett soccering home a goal to much jubilation from her teammates. Moments later the swarming Panthers put through another as Charlton got on the board in what had been a big last quarter for the teenager.

Glenelg had a couple of chances through the quarter, but Whiteley further enhanced her credentials and match performance with a huge last term in defence, intercepting plenty of forward forays, as the reigning premiers ensured they did not let the lead slip. The last play of the day was a terrific pass from Meyer into Kirk who marked on a long lead and had a set shot after the siren. In a bizarre end to the game, Glenelg punched the ball back into play, but as the players walked away to shake hands, the ball rolled through for a behind, meaning the score counted and the Panthers had won by 15 points.

SANFL Women’s Round 5 preview: AFLW stars return as competition kicks off

FOOTBALL is back in South Australia, but it is not just the return of the beloved game which will excite fans, but the fact the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s teams are going to be even stronger than before with a stack of AFL Women’s talent returning to the competition. We preview a huge round five of action which starts tomorrow morning.

CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. NORWOOD
Saturday, June 27, 11.50am
X Convenience Oval

The first game off the bat in the return of season 2020 is a clash between two sides that had the one win each prior to the break, but the Bulldogs’ victory came at Norwood’s expense back in Round 1. Since then Central had three consecutive losses, two by heavy margins, whilst the Redlegs won one and drew one to move up to fifth in a remarkably close competition after four rounds. With the draw in-hand, Norwood will move up to fourth on the table if they win and the undefeated North Adelaide take care of Sturt. For the Bulldogs, a win would certainly see them lift off the bottom, with both West Adelaide and South Adelaide starting favourites against their respective opponents, Woodville-West Torrens Eagles and Glenelg. At the very least, Central would leapfrog Norwood with a second win against them in this clash.

Last time these teams clashed, Central won by four points and Katelyn Rosenzweig proved a problem with three majors for the winners, whilst the Bulldogs tackled their way to victory with 56 tackles to 39. Their defence led them to victory with a plus seven differential in rebounds, whilst the Redlegs dominated most other stats, most notably the marks (plus 30) and the hitouts (plus 21). It was the accuracy in front of goal that let the reigning minor premiers down in the clash, and the Bulldogs made the most of their chances.

Fast forward to this match and the teams are welcoming back a couple of AFL Women’s talents. Sarah Allan comes in for the Bulldogs to provide some much needed experience to a team that whilst impressive defensively, is still young, and will aide young gun Kimberley Fry with support back there, freeing up Demi Sonneman to continue her ripping form of the past 18 months. The Redlegs bring back last year’s league best and fairest, Najwa Allen who provides the cream on top of a well rounded team that just had not gelled prior to the season. Her inclusion could spark a real revival for the Redlegs as they eye off yet another finals series.

With the VFL Women’s not going ahead in its traditional form, Matilda Zander remains in South Australia and will have more freedom with Allen back in the side, whilst Monique Hollick – who was yet to play a game this season – and Rhiannon Busch are among those to return to the team. Whilst the COVID-19 period might have been a terrible time for a lot of people, Gemma Doughty returns from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury she sustained last season, something the Bulldogs talent would never have been able to do if the season had run its course as expected.

The Redlegs will start favourites despite the Round 1 loss, with the key to try and limit Rosenzweig’s opportunities. For Central, they have to bring the heat like they did in Round 1, and if they can reduce the impact of Allen in the midfield whilst getting more opportunities up forward, then this is a huge chance to get off the bottom of the table.

STURT vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
Saturday, June 27, 11.50am
Peter Motley Oval

League disposal records might be in threat when these teams take to the field tomorrow morning with ball magnet Anne Hatchard returning to an already ridiculously stacked Roosters outfit. North Adelaide has some unbelievable top-end experience, and they take on one of the youngest sides going around in Sturt. The Double Blues opted to not bring in any AFL Women’s players for the remainder of the SANFL Women’s season, and will focus on youth to round out 2020 – something that they have an abundance of this year.

When the competition abruptly ended, the Roosters sat on top of the table as the only undefeated team, having knocked off the other top three teams, as well as accounting for both Glenelg and Central District easily in the first two rounds. Sturt on the other hand had started slowly with losses against contenders, West Adelaide and South Adelaide before grinding out wins against Woodville-West Torrens Eagles and Central District.

The Roosters will be incredibly difficult to beat in this side, with Hatchard not being the only AFL Women’s inclusion for the side that was already dominant prior to the boosts. GWS GIANTS’ Britt Perry and West Coast’s Talia Radan both come into the side with Perry being a former Rooster before being drafted last year. She has been named at half-forward, with Radan named in defence alongside Kristi Harvey who was arguably the best state league defender in the competition. With Amber Ward and Lauren Gauci having more freedom to run the ball down the field with Radan’s inclusion, it will be difficult for most sides to try and stop them. In the forward half, Kelly Barltrop will benefit off even better disposal, whilst the likes of Cristie Castle and young star Hannah Ewings will cause havoc inside 50.

Sturt might not have the names fans know now, but they have the names fans will know in the future. Their list is stacked with some of the best young talent in the league, and led by former AFL Women’s talent Georgia Bevan, and a rising star in Maya Rigter. Prior to the break, Hannah Prenzler, Zoe Prowse and Isobel Kuiper were really stamping their authority on the competition, with Alex Ballard another young talent who has shown good signs. They have all the hallmarks of a great future side, but make no mistake this would take a mammoth upset to topple the experience that the other team has. But young teams play with no fear, and Sturt is certainly an exciting team to watch.

WEST ADELAIDE vs. WWT EAGLES
Sunday, June 28, 11.50am
Hisense Stadium

Prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, West Adelaide had shown some real promising signs in season 2020, with two wins and a draw in four rounds. They would have been disappointed to let slip against Norwood in Round 4, splitting the points instead of taking all two, but now take on a Woodville-West Torrens outfit who the Bloods should start strong favourites against. With favourable inclusions from an AFL Women’s perspective, West Adelaide has every chance of being a dark horse in the competition and you cannot put a line through them given the talent they have injected into the team.

West Adelaide have wasted no time welcoming back some former Bloods, with Chelsea Biddell having a huge 2019 season which resulted in her being drafted. She lines up back at centre half-forward, whilst bringing in 2019 AFL Women’s leading goalkicker Stevie-Lee Thompson to an already damaging forward line presents nightmares for opposition defences. Madison Newman and Rachelle Martin have also been named – but they played in the Round 4 draw so did not need to be inclusions.

The Eagles have welcomed back two AFL Women’s players in Renee Forth and Jess Sedunary from the Crows and Saints respectively. Forth slots onto a half-forward flank, whilst Sedunary has been named on the bench in a side that has also lost a lot of quality for this game. Both former AFLW talent Rhiannon Metcalfe, and current Crows young gun Jaimi Tabb are unavailable, out amongst seven changes to the Round 4 clash. That match was the club’s first ever win in competition, marking a special moment for the Eagles after so many close misses this season.

The Eagles were the number one tackling team in the competition prior to the lockdown, and if they can return as such then they will make every side earn their goals. They have Tesharna Maher and Kiana Lee as talents up either end, with the latter no doubt benefiting off the strength of the team being bolstered. The Bloods have their fair share of young talent too with first time watches expected to hear the names Zoe Venning and Keeley Kustermann a fair time over the next couple of years, whilst Kasia Culhane knows how to hit the scoreboard.

The combination of Biddell and Melanie Elsegood, along with Culhane, Venning and Thompson all inside 50 makes the West Adelaide forward 50 arguably the best in the competition. The Eagles have a strong defence that is built on pressure, but the back six will certainly get a work out if the Westies fire as expected. The underdogs will need to be at their best in order to stem the flow, and winning the midfield is crucial to getting on top of their opposition.

GLENELG vs. SOUTH ADELAIDE
Sunday, June 28, 12pm
ACH Group Stadium

The final match of the round pits back-to-back premiers South Adelaide up against a Glenelg side that has struggled in the opening month of the season. The Panthers won three straight to open the season, before falling to the red-hot North Adelaide in the grand final replay back in Round 4. Glenelg managed to get one up over Central District in Round 3 thanks to the inclusion of Caitlin Gould who ran rampant and led her side to a huge win. Gould returns to her side, alongside one of the AFLW’s best players in Ebony Marinoff, but South Adelaide’s inclusions are also very good.

The Panthers welcome back Crows talent Nikki Gore and Western Bulldogs’ midfield Hannah Munyard who both slot into the side alongside other listed players Nicole Campbell and Czenya Cavouras who played in Round 4. They face off against a Tigers side that not only has Gould and Marinoff in the team, but also Deni Varnhagen and Eloise Jones to provide some serious X-factor around the ground. This game is shaping up to be the best of the round with so much top-end quality running around, allowing those who had already impressed prior to the break, to have more freedom in their games.

Last year Marinoff returned to the Tigers outfit in the last few rounds to guide Glenelg to a finals series, and whilst they fell short of the grand final-bound Roosters, she showed just how much of an impact she could have. She has been named in the forward pocket, but expect her to rotate with Jones who has been named onball and could easily kick multiple majors up forward. The Tigers should have no trouble generating opportunities, if the duo can get on top of the highly touted Panthers midfield. That is not to discount the likes of rising star Tessa Kohn and up and comer Sam Franson who were in good form prior to the break.

South Adelaide has won the past two flags for a reason, and whilst it would be understandable for them to drop back a peg after a host of their young guns were drafted last year, the Panthers had other ideas. They matched it with the undefeated Roosters and ticked off every other box after almost slipping up in Round 1 against the Eagles. That seemed to be a wake up call and they never looked back. Aside from their great talents of Gore, Cavouras, Campbell and Munyard through the middle who are proven at AFLW level, they also have two of the state’s brightest prospects. Teah Charlton and Indy Tahau are in the AFL Women’s National Academy, with Charlton the potential first pick for the state this year, whilst Tahau stepped up on the big stage to be best on ground in last year’s grand final. They can similarly not be underestimated by the Tigers.

The match is essentially a battle between the midfields. If the highly touted South Adelaide onball brigade get on top, then the Panthers have enough firepower to put a big score on the board. However if Glenelg can get on top, then watch out because Gould showed what she can do with delivery inside 50, and Marinoff and Jones will certainly offer that.

Draft Central’s 2020 Top 50 AFLW Players: #5 – Kiara Bowers

WITH the AFL Women’s 2020 season officially come to a close now the awards are done and dusted, Draft Central looks back on our Top 50 Players of season 2020. This countdown purely looks at the 2020 season so does not look at past performances and will not include injured stars such Erin Phillips or Chelsea Randall.

In this edition, we look at number five in the rankings and someone who can only be described as an absolute tackling machine.

#5 Kiara Bowers

7 GAMES AVE: 17.6 disposals, 2.6 marks, 14.1 tackles, 3.6 inside 50s, 1.1 rebounds, 1 goal

While Ebony Marinoff famously became known as the tackling machine at AFL Women’s level, a contemporary in Bowers – who is actually seven years Marinoff’s senior – has proven to be the undisputed champion in that regard. The sheer fact she not only took her game to another level in 2020, but lifted her remarkable tackle average is credit to the Fremantle star’s determination to get better each and every week.

Bowers was rarely fazed by bigger opposition, averaging a mind-boggling 14.1 tackles per game and falling one tackle short of a century in just seven games. Just when many fans thought 11.1 tackles per game in 2019 was off the chart, Bowers lifted it again. She thrives on the contested ball and is the ultimate team player, but really shone as a better offensive weapon in 2020 despite only kicking the one goal – having more inside 50s and average disposals.

Bowers hardly had a quiet game, and certainly not defensively with her lowest tackle count coming in at 12. Twice, Bowers actually laid more tackles than won disposals which signifies the importance she places on doing all the team things first. While there were multiple games one could argue as her best, Bowers’ ability to stand up in the semi-final against Gold Coast Suns and record 22 disposals, six marks, three inside 50s, two rebounds and 14 tackles in the Dockers’ huge win was memorable for the occasion.

Now a back-to-back All-Australian and already a club best and fairest winner, Bowers’ past two seasons have been up there with the best in the league and it is shown with a top five finish here. She also wrote herself into the record books by winning the inaugural Derby Medal in the Dockers’ win over West Coast early in the season.  Having turned 28 last November, Bowers is far from a veteran and still has a number of seasons left to continue her elite defensive pressure and maybe even catch Marinoff in the tackling stakes.

Draft Central’s 2020 Top 50 AFLW Players: #9 – Anne Hatchard

WITH the AFL Women’s 2020 season officially come to a close now the awards are done and dusted, Draft Central looks back on our Top 50 Players of season 2020. This countdown purely looks at the 2020 season so does not look at past performances and will not include injured stars such Erin Phillips or Chelsea Randall.

In this edition, we enter inside the top 10 with an Adelaide ball magnet coming in at number nine.

#10 ANNE HATCHARD

6 GAMES AVE: 25.3 disposals, 4.7 marks, 5.7 tackles, 2.7 inside 50s, 1.3 rebounds, 1 goal

If there was a prize for the most rapid improvement year-on-year over the course of three seasons, then Adelaide’s Hatchard would be right up there. Looking at pure numbers she has bolted up from a player just inside her side’s best team to an elite ball winner in the AFL Women’s. It is hard to believe the person who averaged just 7.5 disposals and 1.0 marks from four games two years ago led the competition in disposals for the season.

In 2020, Hatchard racked up 25.3 touches per game – an improvement of 6.4 on last year, and 17.8 two years prior. Every facet of her game improved statistically, and in the absence of Phillips and Randall, she stepped up and worked hard with fellow gun, Ebony Marinoff in the midfield to lead the side.

Still only 22-years-old, Hatchard is quite young and one who has plenty of growth for the future. At 175cm, she is a taller midfield and she uses it to advantage, having now played every game in the past two seasons and become a premiership player in 2019.

While her year was as consistent as they come, it was hard to look past her Round 1 performance against Brisbane Lions when she broke the all-time disposal record with 35 touches. In that match she had 18 kicks and 17 handballs, as well as nine marks and six tackles. If that performance was anything to go by, she needs very little time to have a real impact.

With the Crows stars returning in 2021, all eyes will be on whether Hatchard can continue her ascent into the game’s elite and provide a very potent core of talented players for Adelaide.

Draft Central’s 2020 Top 50 AFLW Players: #14 – Ebony Marinoff

WITH the AFL Women’s 2020 season officially come to a close now the awards are done and dusted, Draft Central looks back on our Top 50 Players of season 2020. This countdown purely looks at the 2020 season so does not look at past performances and will not include injured stars such Erin Phillips or Chelsea Randall.

In this edition, we look at number 14 in our count, a young star who continues to break new ground despite the absence of her club’s stalwarts. 

#14 EBONY MARINOFF

6 GAMES AVE: 23.3 disposals, 5.2 marks*, 7.8 tackles*, 4.5 clearances*, 1.8 rebound 50s, 2.8 inside 50s*, 316 metres gained*

* – denotes club-best

The depth of the competition’s elite players shows when Marinoff only manages to come in at number 14 after another remarkable season, taking her game to new heights in the face of a club injury crisis.

The 22-year-old’s midfield move in 2018 has proven a natural progression since, with her ball winning ability improving each season. While the tackling machine’s numbers in that specific area were down on her career-best during 2020, Marinoff’s disposal average exceeded her previous best as she was seldom beaten to the ball.

Marinoff led her side for marks, tackles, clearances, inside 50s, and metres gained to cement her status as a bonafide leader of the side, with key figures like Phillips and Randall sitting on the sidelines. It may have been a difficult year for the Crows result-wise, but the emergence of a dependable engine room will hold them in good stead.

Partner-in-crime Anne Hatchard has a lot to do with that potential too, having complimented Marinoff’s combination of class and one-percent work with her own presence around the stoppages. Hatchard in fact broke Marinoff’s previous record disposal haul for a single game, as the pair provided the perfect fold for one another.

Previously a two-time All-Australian, premiership player, and inaugural Rising Star, Marinoff’s season may not have earned the same competition-wide plaudits, though she looks certain to feature in the medal placings for Adelaide’s best and fairest count.

Already four seasons down in a well-credentialed career, Marinoff has the world at her feet in terms of just how good she can get at an individual level, though helping the Crows rise back to prominence will undoubtedly be the top goal for 2021.

Prespakis claims best and fairest in second season

CARLTON’S Madison Prespakis has capped off a remarkable 2020 AFL Women’s season by taking out the League Best and Fairest Award at tonight’s W Awards ceremony. While the feeling amongst the room might have been different compared to a packed house at a gala event, Prespakis and the other winners were no less deserving of their awards.

The second-year dynamo has collected just about every award there is to collect, already being a dual best and fairest, dual All-Australian and Rising Star winner. The former Calder Cannons skipper and top five pick has not put a foot wrong in two seasons with the Blues, averaging 20.1 disposals, 2.3 marks, 3.1 tackles and booting 10 goals across 16 games.

Prespakis won the award with 15 votes with Fremantle Dockers star Kiara Bowers just three votes behind. In at third was the Kangaroos’ Emma Kearney on 11 votes while Anne Hatchard and Jenna Bruton managed 10 votes apiece to round out the top five.

The awards did not stop there with former number one pick Isabel Huntington taking out the Rising Star award. Huntington might be the feel-good story of the 2020 W Awards. Having to overcome various injury setbacks including long-term knee injuries, Huntington repaid the faith the Bulldogs showed in her by selecting her with Pick 1 back in the 2017 AFL Women’s Draft. She had only managed the five games prior to 2020, but doubled that amount this year and averaged 13.0 disposals, 4.8 marks, 2.6 tackles and 3.4 rebounds. It was enough for her to earn All-Australian honours this year.

Caitlin Greiser has known since the season’s conclusion that she would receive the Leading goal kicker award, booting 10 goals in her debut season. The former Western Jets talent missed out on being drafted when she played as an overager, but then crossed from Melbourne University to Southern Saints where coach Peta Searle saw enough to offer her a senior list spot. Coming from a soccer background, Greiser did not look overawed on the big stage, with a season-best three majors against Richmond, and the winning goal against Melbourne to spur the Saints onto victory in both those matches.

Announced the night before, the other major achievement bestowed upon 21 of the league’s finest was the All-Australian team. The team featured 11 debutants in Sarah Allen (Adelaide Crows), Libby Birch (Melbourne), Isabelle Huntington (Western Bulldogs), Jaimee Lambert (Collingwood), Olivia Purcell (Geelong Cats), Caitlin Greiser (St Kilda), Kate Hore (Melbourne), Sharni Layton (Collingwood), Kalinda Howarth (Gold Coast SUNS), Alyce Parker (GWS GIANTS) and Ash Riddell (North Melbourne). Along with the debutants, two players maintained their unbeaten streak in the league’s best side with Karen Paxman (captain) and Emma Kearney (vice-captain) handed leadership roles for making a remarkable fourth-straight team.

The full team is below:

Molloy leads talented #22Under22 AFLW side as Patrikios is named Best First Year Player

COLLINGWOOD 2018 AFL Women’s Rising Star talent, Chloe Molloy has been announced as captain of the 2020 AFL Women’s #22Under22 Team which was announced this morning. The 2019 Rising Star, Madison Prespakis was named vice-captain in the side, one of three Blues in the team – the most represented side. Of the 14 teams, 13 are represented in the squad, with Adelaide, Brisbane, Fremantle, Gold Coast, Melbourne, St Kilda and Western Bulldogs all having two players.

Despite their first season being cut short, it did not stop the likes of Gabby Newton, Georgia Patrikios, Roxanne Roux and Caitlin Greiser making the side off limited games. Inaugural Rising Star, Ebony Marinoff joined Molloy and Prespakis as other Rising Stars to earn selection. Patrikios added another accolade to her trophy cabinet today, being named Best First Year Player for 2020.

As well as the Rising Stars, the past three number one picks were also named in the side with Isabel Huntington, Nina Morrison and Newton all making the team. Also among the squad is a raft of talented talls, with Sarah Allen, Eden Zanker and Jesse Wardlaw on the bench, joined by North Melbourne’s Jasmine Grierson and Brisbane’s Sophie Conway in the six-player interchange.

There are also a number of players who have already represented two different sides in their careers, with former Western Bulldogs Monique Conti (Richmond) and Libby Birch (Melbourne), as well as former Lions-turned-Suns Lauren Bella and Kalinda Howarth all named.

Rounding out the remainder of the side are a trio of second year players, Charlotte Wilson, Alyce Parker and Sabreena Duffy, while pocket rocket Georgia Gee earned a spot in the action-packed forward line.