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)
West: M. Elsegood 2, A. Ballard, A. Hardwick, C. Biddell, S. Thompson.
Sturt: A. Ballard.
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)
Glenelg: E. Jones 2, L. Kenny, M. Affolter.
North: A. Hatchard 2, K. Barltrop, T. Gordon, C. Taylor, C. Castle.
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.