Tag: Ebony O’Dea

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

DISPOSALS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

DISPOSALS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

HIGH DISPOSALS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

HIGH DISPOSALS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2020 AFL Women’s Round 2 preview: Expansion sides to face off as inaugural sides do battle under lights tonight

ROUND 2 of the AFL Women’s is sure to bring plenty of big clashes and ignite old rivalries with Collingwood and Carlton set to do battle on Sunday while Fremantle and West Coast will take place in their inaugural Western Derby.

Friday, February 14

Western Bulldogs v. Melbourne at Whitten Oval, 7:40pm, AEDT

Taylah Melki

With one win on the board each expect a high intensity battle from the opening bounce in search of each teams’ respective second win. The Demons announced themselves to the rest of the competition last round, downing premiership favourites North Melbourne by two points and will be riding a wave of confidence heading into their Round 2 match-up. Similarly, the Dogs inflicted their fair share of pain on newcomers St Kilda with an impressive 25-point win. The Bulldogs were slick from the beginning, exploiting their oppositions’ inexperience and making them pay while the Dees fought hard to just get over the line and set up the makings of what could be a strong season.

After waiting 693 days the return of Daisy Pearce was exactly what the doctor ordered for Melbourne and their fans. The talented midfielder-turned-defender was right back in the mix, throwing her weight around and winning plenty of the pill around the contest, something that was sorely missed last season. Karen Paxman is as experienced as they come, able to sense the moment and have an impact while the likes of Elise O’Dea and Lily Mithen could prove a handful for the Dogs who lost a couple of key players during the off-season. Forward, Tegan Cunningham will be looking to have a big game after failing to trouble the scorers last round, only registering a point. But if Cunningham and Kate Hore get going the two could pose a dominant force inside forward 50, plus throw in the likes of Eden Zanker and the Dees have a lot to work with.

With Katie Brennan and Monique Conti both departing the kennel, the likes of Ellie Blackburn and Kirsty Lamb have taken their game to another level and will be hoping to have the same dominant impact as last round. Blackburn is a class act, able to read the play, apply strong tackles and consistently get involved while Hannah Scott has upped the ante. Number one draft pick Gabby Newton did not look out of place in Round 1 with her contested ball work and cleanliness, but will be keen to prove it was not a one-off with a strong showing against Melbourne. Up forward, Bonnie Toogood will have to deliver for the Dogs if they are to apply scoreboard pressure and get over the line.

Tip: Melbourne by 15.

WESTERN BULLDOGS

B: A.Gogos 36 L.Spark 11
HB: K.Herron 31 E.Gamble 14 N.Ferres 16
C: B.Hunt 21 K.Lamb 27 G.Lagioia 12
HF: G.Newton 5 B.Toogood 8 K.McLeod 6
F: E.Georgostathis 17 D.Berry 7
Foll: K.Rennie 24 E.Blackburn – C 2 A.McCarthy 15
I/C: E.Brown 9 D.Marshall 26 N.Callinan 10 H.Scott 22 A.Van Oosterwijck 28
Emerg: N.Morris-Dalton 25 H.Munyard 20

In: E.Brown, A.Van Oosterwijck
Out: I.Huntington (concussion), C.Moody (ankle)

MELBOURNE

B: L.Birch 9 M.Downie 2
HB: S.Lampard 8 S.Goldrick 23 D.Pearce – C 6
C: S.Heath 30 T.Hanks 28 C.Emonson 11
HF: K.Hore 10 E.Zanker 29 S.Scott 12
F: T.Cunningham 1 A.Newman 16
Foll: H.Cordner 21 K.Paxman 4 M.Gay 3
I/C: G.Colvin 32 C.Sherriff 18 N.McEvoy 17 A.Kemp 36 E.O’Dea 5
Emerg: B.Tarrant 20 M.Guerin 22

In: N.McEvoy
Out: M.Guerin

Saturday, February 15 

North Melbourne v. GWS GIANTS at University of Tasmania Stadium, 3:10pm AEDT

Michael Alvaro

North Melbourne will be looking to make good on a shock Round 1 loss when it hosts the GWS GIANTS in Launceston. Premiership points may soon become a premium for Scott Gowans‘ side as it looks to top a tricky Conference A, and the pre-season premiership fancies will expect to pick up their first set in this clash. But the GIANTS are one of the few sides which can match the ‘Roos for experience throughout their squad, and already ground out a win against league newcomer, Gold Coast in an opening round thriller. While North’s home ground advantage paid dividends in its inaugural season, the GIANTS were already made to endure tough conditions last time out, which should put them in good stead to tackle the often-windy Launceston afternoons. Last year’s result – which swung convincingly to the way of the ‘Roos – will also be in the back of players’ minds, but North knows it cannot take anything for granted.

The debut of Lisa Steane looms as one of the stories of the weekend, with the 24-year-old teacher surprised mid-week with news of her inclusion while working. Steane’s replacement of Ellie Brush in the side is the only change for GWS, with its strong and experienced core remaining for what should be a tough test. The midfield combination of skipper Alicia Eva and young gun Alyce Parker will again look to lead from the engine room, and their work will be cut out for them given the depth and strength of North’s midfield. The Kangaroos have made two changes as Daria Bannister (collarbone) and Bethany Lynch come out of the side for Jas Grierson and local girl, Abbey Green, whose inclusion could free up Emma King to play a more permanent key forward role. It makes the North Melbourne forward line one to behold, with a couple of capable tall targets and the likes of Daisy Bateman and Katlyn Ashmore at their feet.

Given how deep the hosts’ talent runs through midfield and around the ground, they are rightly fancied to bounce back to more typical form. The ‘Roos should also take solace in the feats of reigning premier Adelaide, as the Crows overcame a surprise first round loss in 2019 to go undefeated throughout the rest of the season. While last week’s outcome should drive North Melbourne to better results, the pressure will be on given not many would expect GWS to trouble them a whole lot. Nonetheless, the Kangaroos should fare much better in this clash against a side which looks like battling for mid-conference status, so do not be surprised if a statement is made.

NORTH MELBOURNE

B: T.Randall 16 B.Gibson 18
HB: T.Nestor 24 D.Hardiman 31 A.Gilroy 8
C: J.Trend 21 E.Kearney – C 9 A.Riddell 7
HF: S.Abbatangelo 1 K.Gillespie-Jones 5 K.Ashmore 10
F: E.King 60 D.Bateman 11
Foll: V.Saad 39 J.Garner 25 J.Bruton 35
I/C: E.King 4 S.Wright 17 J.Grierson 19 E.Gavalas 22 A.Green 26
Emerg: M.King 23 B.Lynch 20

In: J.Grierson, A.Green
Out: D.Bannister (collarbone), B.Lynch

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY

B: P.Randall 21 T.Hetherington 9
HB: R.Beeson 6 L.Stephenson 12 A.Lister 14
C: E.Bennetts 22 A.Eva – C 2 N.Barr 8
HF: H.Zreika 24 C.Staunton 13 J.Hicks 5
F: R.Privitelli 19 I.Nielsen 25
Foll: E.McKinnon 23 J.Dal Pos 7 A.Parker 3
I/C: Y.Bonner 27 L.Steane 20 J.Allan 39 A.Schmidt 11 B.Tully 36
Emerg: T.Mackrill 32 S.Halvorsen 30

In: L.Steane
Out: E.Brush (unavailable)

Tip: North Melbourne by 20 points

Gold Coast v. Richmond at Metricon Stadium, 5:10pm AEDT

Taylah Melki

Two expansion teams are set to face off in an exciting clash at Metricon Stadium, the Suns’ first home game of the season. Both teams will be looking for their inaugural AFLW win, meaning there is plenty at stake for each side. The Suns were highly competitive over the weekend, narrowly edged out by the Giants by a mere one point while the Tigers simply had no answers for the rampaging Blues. Gold Coast went down in trying conditions with rain and wind impacting their ability to handle the ball cleanly and hit the scoreboard. On the other hand, Richmond were simply outclassed – unable to combat the torrential storm that was Carlton credit to their onslaught of pressure in the forward 50. But the girls in yellow and black know how to fight, not willing to be bullied across the field and will be hoping to assert themselves on a relatively young and inexperienced Gold Coast Suns outfit.

Richmond has a plethora of star power across the footy field, none bigger than captain Katie Brennan who has showcased her ability to turn a game on its head. Brennan will have to push up through the midfield, more to give players a chop out and provide added support despite her best work being done inside forward 50 with her leading patterns and strong hands. Full forward Sabrina Frederick could prove to be a handful for the Suns given her strength around the contest and ability to gobble up anything that comes her way while the nifty Monique Conti has shown she is all class with ball in hand, able to hit a target from a mile away. Phoebe Monahan was a ball magnet last round along with Christina Bernardi. The two will have to combine once again if they are to trouble the Suns.

Despite not being top-loaded in a-list class the Suns have a wealth of young up and coming stars that can do damage anywhere on the field. Youngsters in Serene Watson and Ellie Hampson offer plenty of excitement for the Suns’ line-up which could give them that upper hand thanks to their raw talent and unpredictability. Lauren Aherns led from the front last round, recording an equal team-high 15 touches running around ragged and burrowing in hard while Jamie Stanton was strong across the ground for the Suns. Captain Leah Kaslar will have her work cut out for her up against a strong Tigers side.

Tip: Richmond by 5.

GOLD COAST

B: J.Pregelj 42 J.Hickey 4
HB: S.Virgo 22 L.Ahrens 7 S.Watson 14
C: T.Ernst 19 J.Stanton 17 C.Hammond 29
HF: P.Parker 1 K.Surman 26 L.Kaslar – C 11
F: E.Hampson 21 B.Perry 16
Foll: L.Bella 2 J.Yorston 5 H.Dunn 24
I/C: J.Hewett 20 M.Ritson 12 S.Riley 8 D.Heslop 25 K.Howarth 23
Emerg: T.Thorn 15 T.Groves-Little 3

In: E.Hampson
Out: A.Hamilton

RICHMOND

B: R.Miller 15 G.Seymour 28
HB: S.Sansonetti 18 P.Monahan 2 A.Makur Chuot 34
C: K.Jacques 10 K.Brennan – C 3 H.Burchell 9
HF: S.Frederick 14 C.Wakefield 8 T.Stahl 24
F: L.McClelland 16 C.Bernardi 6
Foll: A.Edmonds 11 M.Conti 4 A.Woodward 13
I/C: L.Tesoriero 7 L.Bailey 12 S.Molan 1 M.Brancatisano 5 G.Campbell 43
Emerg: E.Wood 17 C.Fitzgerald 26

In: G.Campbell
Out: H.Whitford (injured)

West Coast Eagles v. Fremantle Dockers at Optus Stadium 7:10pm AEDT

Peter Williams

The Western Derby is the pride of Western Australia and for the first time ever at AFL Women’s level, the two sides can continue the tradition. West Coast and Fremantle go head-to-head in a Saturday night blockbuster with both teams coming off varying form. Last week, West Coast looked strong up against Collingwood at Victoria Park, booting the first goal and holding the Magpies scoreless in the opening term, before Collingwood took control and ran away comfortable victors in the end. Fremantle on the other hand did finish the job, knocking over fellow finalist Geelong in Western Australia in an effort that saw youngster, Sabreena Duffy win Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the week with four of her side’s six goals in the win. Both in Conference B – the more competitive conference – every win is absolutely crucial and neither side will want to relent against its biggest rival.

West Coast is the new kid on the block and they showed last week that they will be competitive, it will just be for how long. Dana Hooker plays her former side this week and it will unlikely faze the star who booted the club’s inaugural – and in the end, only – goal last week with a clever snap out of the pack. She was simply sensational across the four quarters, while Emma Swanson was also impressive with the pair leading from the front as vice-captain and captain respectively. Mikayla Bowen brought her tackling pressure from the Under 18s up to the elite level, while Imahra Cameron showed she has a nice set of wheels to burst away from stoppages and cause headaches for the opposition. Add in the smooth skills of McKenzie Dowrick coming off half-back and the reliability of Chantella Perera and Talia Radan on the last line and the Eagles are strong defensively. The Eagles have made just the one change for the this game, with the club’s social media coordinator Kate Orme making her debut for the injured Ashton Hill.

The expansion side will need to be strong defensively against a forward line that has plenty of excitement and X-factor, including Roxanne Roux, who showed exactly why she was the first West Australian taken last year with her high leaping and booming kick. She is a franchise player at centre half-forward, and with fellow teenage talent Mim Strom, the Dockers have a couple of gems they can build a side around through the ruck and key forward spots. Also up forward is Duffy who was simply sensational, and Ebony Antonio, who with partner and captain Kara and tackling machine Kiara Bowers rotating inside 50, there is no shortage of scoring options. The Dockers have made two changes for the team in Round 2 with Leah Mascall and debutant Bianca Webb coming in for Steph Cain – who unfortunately did her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) – and Mia-Rae Clifford. The question this season will be around the Dockers’ defence given the young rucks have already earned their stripes, but against an Eagles side still looking to gel, they should be able to contain their yellow and blue state-based rivals. In order to win they will want to shut down Hooker and restrict the flow forward while putting plenty of pressure on the opposition defence. Given many of the Eagles have come from the Dockers, the remaining Fremantle players would love nothing more than to get one-up on them early in the season and it will likely happen.

Tip: Fremantle by 35.

WEST COAST

B: C.Perera 27 T.Radan 26
HB: B.Smith 14 S.McDonald 35 M.Dowrick 5
C: M.Collier 8 I.Cameron 19 N.Kelly 12
HF: A.Atkins 9 K.Gibson 2 M.Bowen 1
F: G.Kelly 15 D.Pisconeri 11
Foll: P.Laurie 25 D.Hooker 17 E.Swanson – C 13
I/C: T.Tester 23 C.Guard 4 H.Bullas 24 B.Devlyn 7 K.Orme 32
Emerg: E.Bonser 6 C.Davidson 33

In: K.Orme
Out: A.Hill (knee)

FREMANTLE

B: J.Cuthbertson 29 L.Pugh 32
HB: A.Stannett 24 E.Gooch 8 L.Mascall 14
C: L.Rohde 11 H.Miller 19 J.Stewart 7
HF: E.Antonio 12 R.Roux 17 S.Duffy 6
F: G.O’Sullivan 22 G.Houghton 27
Foll: M.Strom 21 K.Bowers 2 K.Antonio – C 15
I/C: K.Flood 44 B.Webb 26 P.Seth 18 K.Grieve 13 A.Sharp 1
Emerg: E.O’Driscoll 3 M.Clifford 4

In: L.Mascall, B.Webb
Out: S.Cain (knee), M.Clifford

Sunday, February 16

Geelong Cats v. Brisbane Lions at GMHBA Stadium, 1:10pm AEDT

Peter Williams

This Conference A clash on Sunday looms as one of the more intriguing contests of the weekend. The teams head into the match with differing results from Round 1, as Brisbane toppled the Crows at home while the Cats fell to a Duffy-inspired Dockers outfit in the west. Heading into the clash, Geelong will start favourites against the current conference leaders, playing at home and with more experience in the line-up. For the Lions, they have youthful excitement about them and will worry a few teams. They will not win every game in the manner they did in Round 1, but you get the feeling they will push most teams and show that they are building something special for the future.

The Cats have not had to make any major changes to its line-up that fell to the Dockers last Sunday evening, bringing in Rene Caris and Maddy Boyd to their extended squad. Last week it was the developing midfield of Olivia Purcell and Rebecca Webster, teaming with fellow 19-year-olds, Sophie Van De Heuvel and Nina Morrison, while Julia Crockett-Grills found plenty of the ball as well. They are still missing All Australian defender, Meg McDonald from their back five, but the Cats have the reliable Mel Hickey and Maddy McMahon helping youngsters Millie Brown and Denby Taylor. Geelong is growing a great culture of youth all coming through together, and with Phoebe McWilliams and Richelle Cranston bringing experience to the forward half, there is a nice balance of talent that should get the job done in this match.

Brisbane does not necessarily have the names on paper that Geelong has, but some of the players will become household names sooner rather than later. Jess Wuetschner is a big loss for the Lions, having been rested after being struck by lightning on the eve of the season. While she got through the first game, the Lions have erred on the side of caution for a game-by-game basis. Coming into the side on an extended bench are Gabby Collingwood, Jordan Zanchetta and Jade Ellenger. Of the trio, Ellenger has played just the two games and is one of a number of teenagers who are in the Lions line-up alongside recent draftees, Lily Postlethwaite and Isabel Dawes, and second year players, Nat Grider and Jesse Tawhiao-Wardlaw. Sophie Conway made a successful return from a long term knee injury last round, and along with Ally Anderson and Emily Bates providing plenty of run and hardness through the midfield. Throw in the impenetrable Kate Lutkins at centre half-back and they have enough about them to worry the Cats.

Tip: Geelong by 15.

GEELONG

B: M.Brown 19 M.McMahon 24
HB: M.Keryk 45 M.Hickey – C 18 D.Taylor 28
C: S.Van De Heuvel 27 R.Cranston 30 N.Morrison 9
HF: J.Crockett-Grills 6 M.Maguire 7 R.Garing 12
F: P.McWilliams 23 J.Ivey 5
Foll: A.O’Connor 14 R.Webster 21 O.Purcell 16
I/C: A.McDonald 3 D.Higgins 2 G.Rankin 10 R.Goring 44 G.Clarke 17 R.Caris 1 M.Boyd 26

In: R.Caris, M.Boyd
Out: None

BRISBANE

B: N.Grider 10 S.Campbell 20
HB: R.Lugg 11 K.Lutkins 13 C.Svarc 25
C: E.Zielke – C 8 B.Koenen 3 S.Webb 4
HF: L.Arnell 16 J.Tawhiao-Wardlaw 30 S.Conway 12
F: D.Davidson 14 G.Bodey 15
Foll: J.Keeffe 27 A.Anderson 18 E.Bates 1
I/C: I.Dawes 17 M.Moloney 28 G.Collingwood 7 O.O’Dwyer 9 L.Postlethwaite 6 J.Zanchetta 2 J.Ellenger 5

In: G.Collingwood, J.Zanchetta, J.Ellenger
Out: J.Wuetschner (managed)

Carlton v. Collingwood at Ikon Park, 3:10pm AEDT

Michael Alvaro

Traditional rivals and Conference B hopefuls Carlton and Collingwood are set to do battle at Ikon Park for a four time in their histories, in what promises to be a test of either sides’ true credentials. Both teams come in having feasted on competition newcomers in their opening fixtures, both running out on home turf in comfortable starts to the season. Bizarrely, last week’s season opener was an away match for Carlton, but the Blues once again hold home status against the ‘Pies in this match-up. While the extended history between these two powerhouse clubs is storied, their AFLW meetings have been much more one-sided – with Carlton taking out all three fixtures but the Magpies getting closer to a win every year. The Blues also fared much better in season 2019, embarking on a grand final run while Collingwood floundered and took out the Conference B wooden spoon. But with marked improvement already shown, Collingwood has the elite talent to take it to the Blues.

Much of the off-season talk and narrative coming in to the match surrounded ex-Carlton skipper and new Magpie, Bri Davey. Unfortunately for both neutrals and ‘Pies fans, the 2017 All Australian is set to miss this game after picking up a lower leg injury in Round 1. Davey’s sole omission opens the door for one of Kristy Stratton, Eliza Hynes, or Ebony O’Dea to enter the winning lineup, which has struggled at times to fill out depth outside of its formidable spine. With Davey out, the emphasis down back will be firmly placed on the pairing of Stacey Livingstone and Ash Brazill, while Brittany Bonnici and skipper Stephanie Chiocci will have to dig in hard to combat a powerhouse Carlton midfield. The ruck battle between Sharni Layton and Carlton’s pairing of Breann Moody and Alison Downie will also be one to watch, with Layton’s ability to provide use to her midfielders potentially key to shutting down a usually dominant Carlton engine room.

Twins Sarah and Jess Hosking will take the field together for the first time this year in navy blue, as the latter slots in on the wing while Jess Edwards and Abbie McKay help make up an extended bench. The Carlton core of Madison Prespakis, co-captain Katie Loynes, Grace Egan, and Georgia Gee remains, while the forward targets of Tayla Harris, Darcy Vescio, and Nicola Stevens should also work to stretch the aerial capabilities of Collingwood’s back five. Round 1 Rising Star nominee Lucy McEvoy is also primed to back up an eye-catching debut performance as part of the midfield-forward rotation, only adding to the hardness of Carlton’s overall unit. The only potential concern for the Blues may come down back as Jayde Van Dyk exits the side through injury, but the half back line of Kerryn Harrington, Lauren Brazzale, and popular mature-age draftee Vaomua Laloifi has already proven solid and will have to be as much against the likes of Chloe Molloy and Sarah Dargan. While this fixture has been somewhat of a mismatch in previous years, the increasing number of intriguing match-ups on across the field suggests this one should be a corker, with the Pies looking to elevate their game against the better-established Blues.

CARLTON

B: G.Pound 6 C.Wilson 20
HB: K.Harrington – C 9 V.Laloifi 8 L.Brazzale 12
C: C.Dalton 15 G.Gee 19 J.Hosking 11
HF: N.Stevens 21 T.Harris 7 L.McEvoy 13
F: A.Downie 30 J.Doonan 26
Foll: B.Moody 16 G.Egan 1 M.Prespakis 4
I/C: S.Hosking 10 N.Plane 32 B.Walker 14 K.Loynes 2 D.Vescio 3 J.Edwards 25 A.McKay 5

In: J.Hosking, J.Edwards, A.McKay
Out: J.Van Dyk (injured)

COLLINGWOOD

B: A.Porter 9 S.Livingstone 12
HB: L.Butler 23 A.Brazill 10 E.Fowler 15
C: S.Rowe 7 B.Bonnici 8 S.Chiocci – C 17
HF: C.Molloy 2 S.D’Arcy 4 S.Dargan 46
F: M.Cann 25 J.Allen 6
Foll: S.Layton 1 A.Sheridan 14 J.Lambert 13
I/C: S.Casey 22 K.Stratton 41 S.Alexander 24 J.Membrey 21 M.Shevlin 35 E.Hynes 11 E.O’Dea 50

In: K.Stratton, E.Hynes, E.O’Dea
Out: B.Davey (shin)

Adelaide Crows v. St Kilda at Hisense Stadium, 5:10pm AEDT

Peter Williams

This is expected to be an exciting show of talent for the future, with one side having been there and done it all – twice – while the other is still looking to find its feet in the new league as part of the expansion. A wounded Adelaide Crows side welcomes back some troops for the Round 2 clash against St Kilda with this match considered a must-win contest for the reigning premiers. The Crows were well beaten by a hungry Brisbane Lions side in Queensland, showing how tight the competition has become. Not even a record-breaking disposal count from Anne Hatchard (35) was enough to help the Crows get up in Round 1, and they will want to get a win on the board before the top sides in their conference get too far away. The benefit for the Crows was that fellow premiership contender, North Melbourne also lost, while last year’s finalist Geelong went down too. For the Saints, there are no expectations on their season with such a young list, but being competitive is the bare minimum expected, and after a nervous first quarter last week, the Saints settled and seemed to match it with the Western Bulldogs for large parts of the second half.

The Crows are still missing a host of names heading into this game led by Erin Phillips and Chelsea Randall – the latter of whom will play no further part in the season – but have brought in a couple of debutants in Caitlin Gould and Montana McKinnon. Gould hails from Glenelg and provides a tall presence up either end, while McKinnon is a dual All-Australian at Under 18s level, and could genuinely start ruck if they required her to. Expect her to spend time as a forward however, a role she played in South Adelaide’s premiership side, while rotating through the ruck and providing some strong contested marking ability around the ground. Ebony Marinoff, Hatchard and SANFL Women’s best and fairest winner Najwa Allen form a strong onball brigade and with former MVP, Courtney Gum in the team up forward alongside Danielle Ponter and Stevie-Lee Thompson, they still have the firepower to get the job done. Sophie Li has also come into the side for the Crows, as the only omission was Rachelle Martin – a top-up player who was brought on due to Adelaide’s expansive injury list.

The Saints have made three confirmed changes, with South Australian Nadia Von Bertouch – missing a return to the state where she captained North Adelaide last season – while Kelly O’Neill and Emma Mackie have been omitted. Coming into the side is a mix of youth and experience with former Collingwood talent, Darcy Guttridge and ex-North Melbourne players Alison Drennan and Courteney Munn named in the extended side. Also in to potentially make their debuts are ruck, Poppy Kelly and tall utility, Isabella Shannon who continue the trend of youth at the club. Georgia Patrikios starred in Round 1 with a Rising Star nomination, and expect her to show just as much excitement out on Hisense Stadium. Teaming up with the likes of Molly McDonald, Nicola Xenos and Tarni White, the youth of the Saints will come good in time. They still have experience on the list, with former Crow Jess Sedunary set to make her return to the AFL Women’s having kicked one of the Saints’ two goals last week. While the Saints have plenty to like, expect the Crows to do enough to win in a tight one, even with a few still out. They are desperate, hungry and at home, so a win is non-negotiable when it comes to their premiership aspirations.

ADELAIDE

B: D.Cox 31 C.Biddell 12
HB: A.Foley 3 S.Allan 39 M.Rajcic 32
C: S.Li 19 E.Marinoff 10 J.Mules 23
HF: E.Jones 2 C.Gum 5 R.Forth 27
F: D.Ponter 15 S.Thompson 14
Foll: J.Foley – C 24 A.Hatchard 33 N.Allen 8
I/C: C.Gould 1 A.Considine 16 M.Newman 17 N.Campbell 20 N.Gore 7 M.McKinnon 21 J.Tabb 28

In: S.Li, C.Gould, M.McKinnon
Out: R.Martin (ineligible)

ST KILDA

B: T.White 29 C.Fitzpatrick 24
HB: H.Priest 14 C.Phillips 35 T.Lucas-Rodd 18
C: D.Guttridge 5 J.Sedunary 10 M.McDonald 1
HF: N.Exon 15 K.McCarthy 9 C.Greiser 17
F: K.Shierlaw 12 G.Patrikios 21
Foll: R.Watt – C 7 O.Vesely 23 R.Dillon 25
I/C: I.Shannon 11 A.Brown 2 C.Munn 13 N.Xenos 27 C.Whitfort 4 A.Drennan 8 P.Kelly 16

In: D.Guttridge, I.Shannon, C.Munn, A.Drennan, P.Kelly
Out: K.O’Neill, N.Von Bertouch (knee), E.Mackie

ROUND 2 TIPS: [Total tips in brackets]

Michael Alvaro [5]: Melbourne / North Melbourne / Richmond / Fremantle / Geelong / Carlton / Adelaide
Taylah Melki [5]: Melbourne / North Melbourne / Richmond / Fremantle / Brisbane / Collingwood / Adelaide
Sophie Taylor [4]: Melbourne / North Melbourne / Richmond / Fremantle / Brisbane / Carlton / Adelaide
Peter Williams [4]: Melbourne / North Melbourne / Richmond / Fremantle / Geelong / Carlton / Adelaide

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SANFL Women’s 2020 team preview: Norwood

IN the next of our South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s team preview, we take a look at Norwood, one of the most successful teams over the past three seasons, winning a flag and then coming close in the past two years. They lost a heap of talent to AFL Women’s lists – including coach Steve Symonds – and will be looking to their next tier of players to continue the success of the club.

 

2019 BY THE NUMBERS:

Position: 1st (eliminated in Preliminary Final)
Wins: 9
Losses: 1
For: 439
Against: 166
Percentage: 264.5%

 

2020 CHANGES

(as per Zak Milbank’s article on the SANFL site)

IN: Chloe Meyer (Simon Black Academy), Georgia Avery (Keilor), Shanae Walker.
OUT: Najwa Allen (Adelaide AFLW), Hannah Dunn (Gold Coast AFLW), Hannah Priest (St Kilda AFLW), Ebony O’Dea (Collingwood AFLW), Tahlia Meyer (South Adelaide), Stana Zecevic (North Adelaide), Zoe Greer (West Adelaide), Jane Fitzgerald (retired/coaching).

 

FIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH

Monique Hollick

Will be vital to the club’s experience given the departures over the off-season. The 30-year-old midfielder averaged 16.4 disposals, 6.7 marks and 4.4 inside 50s per game, showing just how valuable she was on the outside. With a largely inside brigade last season, Hollick will have to work with some fresh faces through the midfield to provide the same run and carry for Norwood.

Leah Cutting

The barometer of the team in terms of her defensive pressure, Cutting was fierce in 2019, laying a massive 85 tackles during the SANFL Women’s season at an average of 7.1 per game. She was not a huge ball winner, but stepped up in the final three weeks of the season, averaging 14.7 disposals per game, which was impressive as a ruck, averaging 21 hitouts per game, and 25.3 in the final three weeks. She will be a handful for any opposition ruck during the season, and with a largely new midfield group, she has a huge role from an experience point of view.

Sophie Armistead

Named vice-captain this year after a consistent season in 2019, the 25-year-old was often underrated compared to some of the other names through the midfield, but it was her inside work that allowed others to move the ball in transition. Armistead averaged 13.8 disposals, 4.6 tackles and 3.7 clearances per game, only dropping below 10 touches on one occasion during the season.

Jo Hill

Led the club goalkicking last year with 10 majors from nine games, finishing equal third overall in the league prior to the finals. After going scoreless in her first two games, Hill booted majors in seven of her next eight games, including a haul of four against Central District in the final round. With the team sharing the goals around last season, Hill is just one of many who benefit from the team success.

NAJWA ALLEN

Last year’s league best and fairest was a revelation in her first season at the club since crossing from New South Wales. She was drafted by Adelaide in the AFL Women’s Draft and that would have relieved a lot of Norwood officials knowing she might be available on occasions. The 25-year-old averaged 25.4 disposals per game at 73 per cent efficiency, only dropping below 20 touches once. She also averaged 3.2 clearances, 2.7 tackles, 3.3 inside 50s and 1.9 rebounds in the 2019 season.

 

FIXTURE

1 vs. Central District
2 vs. WWT Eagles
3 vs. South Adelaide
4 vs. West Adelaide
5 vs. Central District
6 vs. WWT Eagles
7 vs. North Adelaide
8 vs. Sturt
9 vs. West Adelaide
10 vs. Glenelg

Norwood has drawn a massively favouring draw based on last season, playing all non-finalists in the double-up games, including matches against bottom two sides, Central District and Woodville West Torrens. South Adelaide in Round 3 will be a challenge, as will the Round 4 clash against West Adelaide with the Bloods and Tigers in the final fortnight of the season. Norwood might have lost a lot of talent, but the depth from last season is still there, so expect others to stand up and be thereabouts in 2020.

2019/20 AFLW off-season review: Collingwood

IT was a disappointing 2019 season for Collingwood, with a combination of rebuilding through youth and unlucky losses culminating in a Conference wooden spoon. The Magpies were competitive in all their cross-conference games and were unlucky not to potentially get an extra couple of wins, but ultimately could not match it with sides for the full four quarters. After a massive influx of youth walked into the club at the start of last season, it was a different approach 12 months later as Collingwood poached the player of the trade period by securing arch rival Carlton’s captain, Brianna Davey for most of the Magpies’ picks. With pick two and AFL Women’s Rising Star Chloe Molloy also returning after missing the entire 2019 season, the Magpies effectively have two elite talents walking into the Round 1 side.

Aside from Davey, Collingwood had a relatively quiet off-season, with Darcy Guttridge and Iilish Ross departing to expansion clubs, Cecilia McIntosh retired, while the Magpies also delisted a further five players. One of those – Jordan Membrey regained a spot on the Magpies’ list, picked up in the recent AFL Women’s Draft alongside Oakleigh Chargers’ speedster Alana Porter who spent the VFL Women’s season on Collingwood’s list, fellow speedster Machaelia Roberts, former GWS GIANTS’ player Ebony O’Dea and Casey Demons key utility, Kaila Bentveltzen. While the AFL Women’s season was fairly disastrous in terms of wins and losses, the VFL Women’s side took home the premiership, with plenty of AFLW-listed players standing out across the year. That belief, along with the vital inclusions are likely to spur the Magpies on to move up the ladder in season 2020.

OFF-SEASON CHANGES:

IN: Brianna Davey (Carlton), Aishling Sheridan (gaelic), Kaila Bentveltzen (Casey Demons VFLW), Alana Porter (Oakleigh Chargers), Ebony O’Dea (GWS GIANTS), Machaelia Roberts (NT Thunder)
OUT: Darcy Guttridge (St Kilda), Iilish Ross (Richmond), Cecilia McIntosh (retired), Nicole Hildebrand, Melissa Kuys, Georgie Parker, Holly Whitford (delisted)

2020 TEAM LIST:

Sophie Alexander
Jordyn Allen
Kaila Bentveltzen
Britt Bonnici
Ashleigh Brazill
Lauren Butler
Mikala Cann
Sophie Casey
Steph Chiocci
Sarah D’Arcy
Brianna Davey
Sarah Dargan
Erica Fowler
Emma Grant
Georgia Gourlay
Eliza Hynes
Jaimee Lambert
Stacey Livingstone
Katie Lynch
Jordan Membrey
Chloe Molloy
Ebony O’Dea
Alana Porter
Machaelia Roberts
Ruby Schleicher
Maddie Shevlin
Kristy Stratton

Rookies: Sharni Layton, Sarah Rowe, Aishling Sheridan

POTENTIAL 2020 SIDE:

B: Sophie Casey – Stacey Livinstone – Jordyn Allen
HB: Ash Brazill – Ruby Schleicher – Maddie Shevlin
C: Britt Bonnici
HF: Steph Chiocci – Sarah D’Arcy – Sarah Dargan
F: Chloe Molloy – Sophie Alexander – Katie Lynch
R: Sharni Layton* – Brianna Davey – Jaimee Lambert
INT: Eliza Hynes – Emma Grant – Mikala Cann – Georgia Gourlay – Ebony O’Dea
EMG: Sarah Rowe* – Kaila Bentvelzen – Lauren Butler

DEPTH: Erica Fowler, Jordan Membrey, Alana Porter, Machaelia Roberts, Kristy Stratton.

The Magpies’ best 21 is more stable than many other sides, with the draftees likely having to force their way into the side being later picks. Given O’Dea’s links with Steve Symonds through Norwood, the former GWS GIANTS midfielder could well play a specific role within the team and could be a Round 1 starter. The Collingwood defensive back six is pretty settled, with about the last two spots able to be rotated between a number of players, but the likes of Livingstone, Schleicher, Brazill and Casey are pretty set, with Allen and Shevlin able to fill there, or in each of the other thirds on the ground. Bentveltzen has transformed into a defender and could stake a case for a starting role, while Molloy can play at either end. We have her up forward with D’Arcy and Alexander who are the two locks inside 50, while captain Chiocci showed she can play that defensive half-forward role with scoreboard impact as well. Dargan and Lynch fill out the front six because of their upside and rotational ability on wings or through the middle.

The onball brigade is an interesting one. Given Layton’s form at VFLW level, she might well be given first crack at the ruck role, but it is expected they could play the two rucks and Collingwood’s number one ruck from last year – Hynes – will rotate both through that position and up forward. The three midfielders are fairly straight forward, with Davey, Lambert and Bonnici all offering different aspects to the team. The last five to seven spots between the bench and emergency is tough to pick, with the remainder of the list fairly even, and the newbies in Membrey and Roberts already readymade for senior football, while Porter will take some time but could get some games later in the year. Gourlay and Cann made our bench because of their continued improvement at VFLW level and the upside they have, while Grant is a terrific team player likely to be given an early crack to maintain her spot in there.

Weekend preview: SANFL Women’s – Round 7

WITH a month to go in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition, things are heating up in terms of ladder positions and finals ramifications. Norwood is one win away from consolidating a finals spot this season, although they will not want to rest on their laurels with South Adelaide right behind them with five wins from six games. The Panthers take on the mid-table Glenelg who have dropped three on the trot, while North Adelaide and West Adelaide do battle in a huge game on Saturday.

GLENELG vs. SOUTH ADELAIDE
Friday, April 5, 5.40pm
ACH Group Stadium

The opening game of the round kicks off tonight with the red-hot South Adelaide travelling to ACH Group Stadium to face the out-of-form Glenelg. The Tigers started the season on fire with three victories, but the wins have dried up and while the wooden spooners are much improved from their 2018 season, their finals hopes are looking shaky with North Adelaide ready to pounce on their fourth spot. The Panthers had a bit of a shock last week against Central District before putting the foot down and doing what they do best – win by plenty. South will be minus Montana McKinnon who has AFL Women’s Academy duties, while Emily Brockhurst is out after a knee injury in last week’s win. Into the side comes three players to an extended bench, with full-forward Brianna Wedding to fill McKinnon’s role down forward, while Alana Browne and Brooklyn Kraft have been added to the interchange. Last week Mykala Walker-Murphy booted four goals in an imposing effort up forward and it will take something special to stop her, although Glenelg’s Ellen Fauser has been in good form this season and could be the match-up for her. The Tigers have opted to make at least two confirmed changes, with Charlotte Dawe and Laura Isaac back into the midfield, while Hannah Crump adds firepower to attack. The Panthers midfield is incredibly strong with Hannah Munyard, Czenya Cavouras, Nicole Campbell and Elyse Haussen all enjoying strong seasons, while Teah Charlton has potency in the forward half. For Glenelg. Lucy Bellinger is capable of doing damage up forward, while Caitlin Gould has been named at full-back having enjoyed her time in the ruck, and the likes of Sam Franson and Madisyn Freeman also contributing throughout the season. It is hard to look past South Adelaide in this game given the respective formlines, but Glenelg improved last week and will hope to take its game to another level in this clash.

STURT vs. WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS
Saturday, April 6, 10.15am
Peter Motley Oval

In a game that probably will not feature too much in finals calculations, but certainly has a lot of pride attached, is the bottom two clash between Sturt and Woodville-West Torrens. Both sides have had their chances this season showing good form at times within matches, but have not been able to sustain their consistency, winning just one game between them. Sturt took it right up to West Adelaide last week and looked like the Double Blues had turned their losing start to the season around, only for the Bloods to run over the top of them in the second half. If Sturt can maintain that intensity for four quarters, expect them to have a much better chance at the two points in this game. The Eagles looked good early in the season, but have managed just the five goals in the past three weeks with scoring drying up. To counteract this and hope for a change, the visitors have brought in half-forward Bronwyn Davey and centre half-forward Taylor McKay, as well as midfielder, Emily Tromans. Jaimi Tabb misses again due to unavailability, while Adele Gibson is out with a knee injury after going down last week. For Sturt, they have made just the two changes, welcoming back two important players for the match, with Georgia Bevan missing last week’s win due to a wedding, while Alex Ballard adds some youthful exuberance to the team. Sturt are deservedly favourites for this game, with Bevan, Caitlyn Swanson and Maya Rigter a good core midfield, while Nicole Baker and Tess Maple can create opportunities up forawrd. The Eagles have a number of players who can turn games, but rely a lot on Kiana Lee down forward, while Natasha Farrier could be a key to getting scores on the board in this game. Stephanie Walker and Tesharna Maher are other players who have shown they can lead the way when required and the Eagles will need a full team effort in this game to get over the line.

NORTH ADELAIDE vs. WEST ADELAIDE
Saturday, April 6, 4.15pm
Prospect Oval

The match of the round is certainly the North Adelaide and West Adelaide clash at Prospect oval. Sitting fifth and third on the table respectively, the sides know what is on the line in this game with the last few weeks of the season ahead. North Adelaide lose two key players with AFL Women’s representatives, Brittany Perry and Ashley Woodland out of the side, while Danielle Nunns and Eva Mitchell are the straight swaps for the Roosters. For West Adelaide, they have made four straight changes for the big clash, as ruck Leah Swain returns to the side, while Jayne Taylah, Alex Czabayski and Scarlett Griffiths all come into the team. There is more than two points on the line in this clash from an individuals perspective, as North Adelaide’s Kelly Barltrop and West Adelaide’s Chelsea Biddell go head-to-head up opposite ends. Barltrop leads the competition goalkicking with 16 goals in six games, while Biddell is just four behind in second with two majors a game this season. Madison Newman (leading the competition in rebounds) and Nadia Von Bertouch are their respective sides’ leading ball winners, with the Bloods ball winner averaging just over 19 per game, while Von Bertouch has led her side from the front, with 17.8 disposals per game. Swain has played just three matches this season for the Bloods, and averages 18 hitouts per game to be second overall in the competition, while Jane Altschwager has been as consistent as anyone in the centre square. With a midfield of Von Bertouch, Paige Allan and Leah Tynan, and a strong rebounder in Amber Ward, North Adelaide have every chance of taking home the points in this clash, however Rebecca Owen, Abbie Ballard and Helen Maidment might have something to say about that as the Bloods hope to keep in touch with the top two.

CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. NORWOOD
Saturday, April 6, 4.15pm
X Convenience Oval

The final game of the round will help Central District measure itself against the premiership favourites. Having won two consecutive games before dropping their past couple, the Bulldogs will hope to get a fast start against the Redlegs in this game. Katelyn Rosenzweig returns to the side in a crucial inclusion against a Norwood team that is reeling from injuries. Along with Rosenzweig, Keely Cannizarro returns to the team in defence, replacing captain Nicola Biagi who misses the clash, while half-back Karissa Searle is also into the team. For Norwood, they seem to have limped into this game with five four changes including three injuries and two unavailabilities. Jo Hill, Cassandra Tsoumbris and Matilda Van Riel will miss through injury, while Kate Fenton and key player Ebony O’Dea will miss the match as well. Despite the wide-scale changes at the ladder leaders, it is hard to see them not controlling this game, with Leah Cutting the number one ruck in the competition, and Hannah Dunn (20.7 disposals per game), Najwa Allen (19.8) and Monique Hollick (17.5) all ranked in the top seven biggest ball winners. Hollick has also been the far and away dominant marker this season, averaging almost seven per game, and 14 more than her nearest rival. One thing Central District do well is clear the ball from defence, and Gemma Doughty and Demi Sonneman are ranked in the top five for rebounds in 2019. It will take a massive effort from the Bulldogs to upstage the Redlegs, but with the high number of chances forcing some adjustability to the Norwood side, and a determined effort with a last chance look at finals potentially on the line, Central District will likely step up and put in a strong effort in this clash.

Weekend preview: SANFL Women’s – Round 1

THE opening round of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Statewide Super Women’s League is completed tomorrow with four games across two double headers. Two new sides – Central District and Woodville-West Torrens are making their league debuts, while reigning premiers South Adelaide begin its campaign to go back-to-back.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS vs. GLENELG
Friday, February 15, 5.20pm
Flinders University Stadium

The opening game of Round 1 for the 2019 season sees last year’s wooden spooners taking on one of the new sides of the competition. Woodville-West Torrens will hope to kick off their SANFL Women’s League campaign with a win against Glenelg, who have won four games from their 16 matches played. With plenty of changes at the Tigers, and a number of experienced players departing the club, Glenelg will hope the likes of Morphettville Park duo, Chelsea Packer and Ellen Fauser can step up and help new coach, Jason Fairall gain an early win for season 2019. The Tigers won three of their first four games in 2017, but have won just one game since March, 2017 which was a five-point victory over West Adelaide. With the two new teams up first, the Tigers hope to start their 2019 campaign like they did in 2017. Tigers’ captain, Cass Hartley, vice-captain Elle Hellock, Sheridan Howell and Bonnie Wells are the only four players on the list who played all 10 games last season. Last year’s leading goal kicker, Lexia Edwards retired and the visitors will hope to find a new target in attack this season. The Eagles are harder to gauge given they are a brand new team to the competition, but coach Tess Baxter has brought in some seriously talented youth, which means one can expect they will have plenty of run in their legs. Jaimi Tabb – who booted five goals for West Adelaide last season – and Rachel Dunstan have both headed to the Eagles, while former GWS GIANT, Stephanie Walker looms as the key player in the side. Add in Kiana Lee and the young Eagles will challenge plenty of teams.

NORWOOD vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
Friday, February 15, 6.00pm
City Mazda Stadium

Two of the original SANFL Women’s League sides, Norwood and North Adelaide clash for the seventh time in the clubs’ histories, with Norwood holding a 4-2 win-loss record against the Roosters. The Redlegs have a premiership in the bank having defeated their Round 1 opponents in the inaugural grand final, before going down to South Adelaide last year. Norwood have bade farewell to a number of players who have left to play AFL Women’s or VFL Women’s competitions. They need to find a way to replace GWS GIANT, Ebony O’Dea who was drafted last season, however Monique Hollick and Rhiannon Busch – who combined for 293 possessions in season 2018 – will be looking to start off strongly this season. The Redlegs’ lowest score in their history came against North Adelaide last year when Norwood failed to score, but two other wins – including the preliminary final victory – meant they ended the year with a positive win-loss ratio. For North Adelaide, the loss of former captain, Jess Edwards, young ball winner, Esther Boles and Adelaide AFL Women’s players, Katelyn Rosenzweig and Chloe Scheer who were both rezoned, means like the Redlegs, the Roosters will have a vastly different line-up. With GWS GIANT, Britt Perry also out for most of the season, the Roosters will look to assistant coach Emma Sampson who has returned to the playing field, as well as a host of players stepping up to the league. Paige Allan, Kelly Baltrop, Lauren Daniel, Sarah Ellis, Nadia Von Bertouch and Amber Ward all played every game last season and provide some consistency across the field.

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. STURT
Friday, February 15, 7.00pm
Flinders University Stadium

The Round 1 clash between South Adelaide and Sturt is the third time the two teams have clashed, with the Panthers emerging victorious on both previous occasions. Both new teams to last year’s competition, South Adelaide triumphed in Round 2 by 46 points and Round 8 by a thumping 86 points, en-route to the 2018 premiership. Sturt used the third last game of its season to turn the form around, upsetting eventual grand finalists, Norwood by six points, then backing it up with a win over wooden spooners, Glenelg by 16. The Panthers have a number of talented young players who have the potential to cause damage to their opposition, including top-age Under-18 South Australian ruck, Montana McKinnon, and Under 18 representatives from last season, bottom-ager Teah Charlton, now top-ager Hannah Munyard, and Madison Bennett and Jaslynne Smith. Elysse Haussen was one of the more prominent ball winners for the Panthers last season, averaging 15.3 possessions per game, third behind the departed Nikki Gore (19.5) and Czenya Cauvorous (17.3). For Sturt, they have regained Georgia Bevan for the full season after the Crows’ AFL Women’s player averaged 16.8 disposals last season from four games. Once the AFL Women’s season is over, the return of Jess Foley will be handy having averaged 18 touches from her nine games for the Double Blues. Sturt’s test will be finding targets up forward, with Becchara Palmer heading interstate leaving Shae Gundlach as the sole leading goal kicker from last season, having booted four majors. South Adelaide will head into this game as strong favourites, but it will be interesting to see how they shape up.

WEST ADELAIDE vs. CENTRAL DISTRICT
Friday, February 15, 7.45pm
City Mazda Stadium

In the final game of the round, West Adelaide hosts Central District in the Bulldogs’ first ever SANFL Women’s League game. Last season the Bloods finished just outside the top three, and will be keen to get an early win over the newcomers to the competition. They have some seriously talented young players at the Westies, with Rachelle Martin impressing for South Australia at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships last year, and proving herself to be a ball magnet in this competition, averaging 18 disposals from her 10 games. With older sister Hannah drafted by the Crows, Rachelle will be keen to put in another great season and follow in her footsteps down the track. Abbie Ballard is another player to watch out for as the bottom-ager has shown plenty of talent in her career at the level, and could take her game to the next step ahead of the 2019 AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships. Add in top-ager, Maddi Newman and a couple of basketball recruits in Leah Swain and Alice Gee, and the Westies have some potentially untapped talent. Looking at the Bulldogs’ list, no doubt the club will be carefully monitoring Adelaide’s AFL Women’s team selection since securing Chloe Scheer and Katelyn Rosenzweig from North Adelaide. While Scheer is now seemingly a lock inside Adelaide’s best 22, Rosenzweig is yet to be selected, although many expect a debut not too far away. Last year’s leading goal kicker in the competition would be a huge target inside 50 for the Bulldogs. Former netballer, Nicola Biagi has been named as captain and is a testament to her impact off the field over the pre-season for her to lead the club in 2019. While how Central District performs is a bit of an unknown, they did win a couple of practice games over the summer giving them hope they can match it with the sites this season.

SANFL Women’s: 2019 season preview

IN 2019, the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Statewide Super Women’s League will feel fully complete for the South Australian fans with the introduction of the final two non AFL-aligned clubs in Central District and Woodville-West Torrens. The Bulldogs and Eagles kick-off their 2019 campaigns with the other six clubs on Friday night with double-headers at Flinders University Stadium and City Mazda Stadium. We take a look at how each of the eight teams went last year and who might influence their campaigns in 2019.

CENTRAL DISTRICT

Last year: DNP
Coach: Shaun Ribbons

The first of the new clubs entering the SANFL Women’s League in 2019 has had no trouble bringing in some young AFL Women’s talent, with Crows’ pair, Katelyn Rosenzweig and Chloe Scheer both joining the club from North Adelaide. While Scheer was recovering from injury last year, she is no stranger to league best and fairest awards and when the AFL Women’s season is over, expect her to have a big impact. Rosenzweig won the league goal kicking last season, and is yet to be named in Adelaide’s best 21, although there is little doubt she will squeeze her way in there soon. They also picked up Jayme-Lee Sonnerman from West Adelaide who will join the pair in the forward line after three goals in two matches last year, while fellow former Bloods player, Shannen Solly managed six matches, named in the best twice. Sonnerman will play alongside sister, Demi who also lands at the Bulldogs. Three cross-coders in netballers, Nicola Biagi – who has been named inaugural captain – Taryn Wills, and cricketer, Sarah-Jane Jameson join the side in what will be a largely unknown team outside the top couple of Crows’ stars.

GLENELG

Last year: 6th – Wooden spooners
Coach: Jason Fairall

The bottom-placed side last season will be keen to build on their performance, but will need to find a way to cover for the injured Angela Moritz. The assistant coach has undergone a knee reconstruction and will miss the season, which will hurt the Tigers considering her impressive performances last season. Moritz joins Sam Allan in recovering from a knee injury, while Brianna Walling has headed to the sunshine state. The trio combined for a total of 19 times in the club’s bests last season, and with leading goal kicker, Lexi Edwards retiring the Tigers will have to fill the holes left by the departing experience. They do have renewed enthusiasm with Jason Fairall taking the reigns at the club for the 2019 season. Given the loss in experience, the Tigers will hope the likes of Morphettville Park duo, Chelsea Packer and Ellen Fauser will help spur the side back up the ladder.

NORTH ADELAIDE

Last year: 3rd – Lost in Preliminary Final
Coach: Matt Slade

While last year’s season ultimately ended in heartbreak with an eight-point loss to Norwood in the preliminary final after finishing second on the home and away season ladder, the Roosters would be thrilled with the amount of talent that reached AFL Women’s level. Former leader, Jess Edwards went to Carlton, Ashleigh Woodland landed at Melbourne, Brittany Perry became a GIANT, and talented forward duo, Katelyn Rosenzweig and Chloe Scheer were recruited by the Crows. With the latter two rezoned to Central District, all of those players will be unable to pull on a North Adelaide jumper in 2019, much like state under 18s captain, Esther Boles who is taking a chance with Richmond’s VFL Women’s side in a bid to be picked up by the Tigers ahead of the 2020 AFL Women’s season. The ins do not match the outs in terms of SANFL Women’s experience, with the exception of Emma Sampson, the assistant coach who has opted to pull on the boots again. Among the inclusions are Andie Zbierski and Amy Reid, while netballer, Elysha Willis is taking a chance on football.

NORWOOD

Last year: 2nd – Lost in Grand Final
Coach: Steve Symonds

In 2019, the Redlegs made a huge run to push South Adelaide all the way in the decider, falling five points short of a premiership. Ebony O’Dea heads the departures after she was recruited to the GIANTS’ AFL Women’s side, and four players – Tess Baxter, Adele Gibson (playing eight games in 2019), Aajiah Jerico and Georgia Taylor – all headed to new club, Woodville-West Torrens. Key players Nicole Campbell and Alana Browne have crossed to reigning premiers, South Adelaide while Nicola Burns has headed to Victoria to try her luck with Carlton’s VFL Women’s side. It means the likes of Monique Hollick and Rhiannon Busch will be among plenty of fresh faces when they kick-off this Friday. Adelaide’s Sophie Armitstead has joined the club and will be available when not selected, while former GIANTS, Hannah Dunn and Najwah Allen will fill the voids left by some of the departing players. Morphettville Park trio, Erika Sporn, Thalia Meyer and Hannah Priest will also be keen to impress in the step up in competition.

SOUTH ADELAIDE

Last year: 1st – Premiers
Coach: Rick Watts

New Panthers’ coach Rick Watts will lead a vastly different team to the one that Krissie Steen lead to a premiership last season, with a number of players recruited into the AFL Women’s and testing themselves in the VFL Women’s. Young gun, Nikki Gore was recruited by the Crows after another sensational season last year, while Lisa Whiteley joined the GIANTS. Versatile tall, Kristi Harvey opted to stay in Victoria with Carlton’s VFL Women’s side, joined by Jorja Rowe and Louella McCarthy. The Panthers should not be taken lightly however, with Norwood duo, Nicole Campbell and Alana Browne joining the club, as did promising bottom-age junior, Teah Charlton. Cross-coders, Jess Kirk (soccer) and Emma Gryczewski (netball) add an element of the unknown, while the expected inclusion of Courtney Gum late in the season could be huge in the Panthers’ hopes for back-to-back flags. Anne Hatchard, Cheyenne Hammond and Elyse Haussen remain at the club and will be as hungry as ever to repeat the success of 2018.

STURT

Last year: 5th
Coach: Danijel Herbert

The big inclusion for last year’s fifth placed side is Georgia Bevan, with the Adelaide AFL Women’s player signing on for the Double Blues and named co-captain with Caitlyn Swanson. Bevan replaces fellow young talent, Rachel Dunstan who has headed to her home club, Woodville-West Torrens now the Eagles have a side in the competition. Jess Foley has been a crucial player for Adelaide already in the ruck this AFL Women’s season and will be sorely missed by Sturt supporters, while Becchara Palmer has headed to New South Wales. Sturt is relatively untouched in terms of departures, with a number of inclusions from across the state, including Zoe Prowse, Isobel Kuiper and Hannah Dreckow. Bottom-ager Alex Ballard – sister of Gold Coast’s Charlie – will be one to watch over the next couple of years.

WEST ADELAIDE

Last year: 4th
Coach: Shane Moon

West Adelaide is a side that has been relatively quiet over the off-season, picking up a few players, while a number departed to various clubs. Hannah Martin‘s recruitment to AFL Women’s is a big loss for the Bloods, while sister, Rachelle Martin will be keen to drive the team forward to improve on its 5-5 win-loss record from 2018. Fellow youngster, Jaimi Tabb has headed to new club, Woodville-West Torrens, while Taylah Gordon has joined St Kilda’s VFL Women’s side in the hope she can move through the ranks to AFL Women’s when the Saints join the league in 2020. Sophie Armitstead (Norwood) and Shannen Solly (Central District) are others who have departed the club, while South Adelaide’s Helen Maidment and basketballers, Leah Swain and Alice Gee also head to the Westies. Teenager, Abbie Ballard is expected to have a big impact in season 2019 as she develops, while Chelsea Biddell and Allison Evans will be keen to recreate the form they showed in 2018.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS

Last year: DNP
Coach: Tess Baxter

The other new side in the 2019 SANFL Women’s League is Woodville-West Torrens, a side which targeted youth for its upcoming campaign. South Australian Under 18s vice-captain, Rachel Dunstan joined the Eagles, as did fellow Central Allies’ representative, Jaimi Tabb, and up-and-coming talent, Kiana Lee. Adele Gibson leads a list of four players who have crossed to the Eagles from grand finalists, Norwood, while former GWS GIANT, Stephanie Walker headlines the club’s recruits. The Eagles recruitment staff have gone outside the box in forming the side, also looking to ice hockey player, Tash Farrier and Mount Lofty’s Maddie Dufek. Both Gibson and Farrier have been named to lead the club in season 2019, with inaugural coach Tess Baxter knowing what it takes to reach the final game of the season having done so as an assistant at Norwood.

AFLW season previews: GWS GIANTS

THE GIANTS had a consistent season in 2018, going from finishing eighth in the AFLW’s first season to fourth last year. The side will again be led by Amanda Farrugia in 2019 as she sets her sights on being the longest serving AFLW captain. The new recruits will also be looking to make a big impact in the new conference system.

Last season: 4th – three wins, three losses.

Changes:

In: Christina Bernardi, Alyce Parker, Brittany Perry, Lisa Whiteley, Ingrid Nielsen, Renee Tomkins, Delma Gisu, Haneen Zreika, Ebony O’Dea, Yvonne Bonner, Taylah Davies

Out: Maddy Boyd, Phoebe McWilliams, Renee Forth, Melissa Freckleton, Rebecca Privitelli, Alex Saundry, Pippa Smyth

The GIANTS lost three of their most experienced players in Maddy Boyd, Phoebe McWiliams and Renee Forth over the off-season, which left a gap in key positions on the field for the GIANTS. But to fill the hole in the ruck, Greater Western Sydney (GWS) picked up Ingrid Nielsen, who is a premiership played with the UNSW-ES Bulldogs in the AFL Sydney competition. To cover the X-factor of McWilliams, the GIANTS picked up Christina Bernardi, who is almost a straight swap for McWilliams, as both players possess smarts inside 50 as well as accurate kicks. Renee Forth has been a harder one to replace for the GIANTS, as her versatility was pivotal for them during the last two seasons. Given she can rotate through the midfield and the forward line, Alyce Parker is probably the closest player in terms of position to Forth, as she can play a role in the forward line if her team is on the back foot. The Thurgoona midfielder is as exciting as it gets, with a booming kick and a set of football smarts that are second to none, meaning she is a very important pick-up for the GIANTS.

Area of strength: Midfield

The GIANTS have incredible midfield depth heading into 2019, with the usual stars in Alicia Eva, Courtney Gum, Jessica Dal Pos and Rebecca Beeson being joined by the likes of Alyce Parker, Brittany Perry, Haneen Zreika and Phoebe Monahan. Parker had a standout Under-18 year last year, being named captain of the All-Australian team and the Most Valuable Player (MVP) for both New South Wales and the Eastern Allies in the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships on the Gold Coast. Monahan had a similar influence for Richmond in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s season, being among the highest disposal-getters each week for the Tigers. Zreika is likely to add that X-factor that the midfield needs, as she has speed to burn and is a tenacious midfielder that should excite all GWS fans. She was on the GIANTS’ rookie list last season but has now been moved into the primary list for 2019.

Area of weakness: Defence

There’s not too much to worry about here for the GIANTS, as they have skilful defenders that can all play a role on dangerous forwards. With new recruits coming in, Alan McConnell will have to decide who fits where, as he has an extensive list of defenders on his hands. Renee Tomkins is likely to take the opposition’s leading forward, with Pepa Randall and Tanya Hetherington there to assist with other forward targets. Amanda Farrugia, Ellie Brush and Elle Bennetts will play as a running defenders. The problem comes into the equation if one of these players has to sit out a game, as the depth doesn’t expand much further than that in the GIANTS’ defensive 50.

Players to watch:

Haneen Zreika

Zreika was on the rookie list last season for the GIANTS and did not get to make her AFLW debut, but she will be a good chance to do so in 2019. She has exciting breakaway speed that is vital in a clogged midfield. Zreika is also a player that can break the lines and tackle aggressively, making her a complete player in the midfield. She played for Auburn-Penrith in the AFL Sydney competition during the off-season, being named in the best nine times from 12 games.

Phoebe Monahan

Monahan was one of Richmond’s leading players in the VFLW season, finishing equal third in the Tigers’ Best and Fairest count. She is a ball magnet and uses it well both by hand and by foot. Monahan played 11 games for the Tigers and was named in the best five times. She averaged 20 disposals per game last season and stood out amongst a struggling Richmond side.

Alyce Parker

Alyce Parker is one of the most talented players out of last year’s Under-18 crop. Just last year, she was named the All-Australian captain, the MVP for the Central Allies and New South Wales, played in a premiership for the Thurgoona Bulldogs and was named the best on ground in their victory. She’s received all these accolades because she is a smart midfielder who has a long clearing kick, giving her an advantage in the clearances. She tackles hard and has good hands as well, making her an all-round talent. Parker matched it with the bigger bodies when playing for Thurgoona, so she should fit right in to the AFLW.

2019 prediction: 1st in Conference B

This may be the GIANTS’ year, as they boast a strong list with plenty of depth. They are also in the easier conference, and with Brisbane losing a lot of talent over the off-season, GWS should be favourites heading in. Geelong may also be another team to contend with, but the GIANTS’ experience from the first two seasons should hold them in good stead. They have a couple of big tests in the first two rounds of the season, taking on Brisbane and North Melbourne. However, if they are to drop any of those games, they have an opportunity to bounce back against the Pies and Blues. If the GIANTS’ list can stay healthy, they will definitely be a side to watch in 2019.

2019 GWS AFLW Fixture

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Moreton Bay Sporting ComplexRound 1
Drummoyne OvalRound 2
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Blacktown International SportsparkRound 3
Morwell Recreational ReserveRound 4
Blacktown International SportsparkRound 5
Unley OvalRound 6
UNSW Canberra OvalRound 7

AFLW Draft review: GWS Giants

THIS year, the Giants took a massive leap forward in their development, but with the emergence of the expansion clubs, their forward line has been hit hard. Luckily enough, the Giants have drafted young gun Alyce Parker, who will no doubt have a presence in the midfield. However, there were many holes to fill in Greater Western Sydney’s (GWS) forward line.

 

What they needed:

  • Forwards to replace the losses of Maddy Boyd and Phoebe McWilliams
  • Defensive stocks to help Pepa Randall
  • Backup ruck
  • Extra A-grade midfielder

 

Alyce Parker – Thurgoona 

Parker has been a New South Wales (NSW) prospect for some time, as her efforts in the youth girls competitions are nothing short of elite. She received three Under 18 All-Australian nods, was this year’s captain of the Under 18 team, and the Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the Eastern Allies. This was the surest pick of the draft, as Parker, Alicia Eva, and Courtney Gum will provide the Giants with an A-grade midfield.

Brittany Perry – North Adelaide

Being the North Adelaide inaugural Best and Fairest, and a member of the South Australian National Football League Women’s (SANFLW) Team of the Year meant that Brittany Perry was a steal at pick 65. Perry traditionally plays as a midfield but has the ability to play as a half-forward flanker. She might be the answer to Renee Forth‘s departure.

Lisa Whiteley – South Adelaide

This year in the SANFLW, it was Lisa Whiteley‘s South Adelaide Panthers that won the premiership. Whiteley was an integral part in the midfield and has caught the eye of the Giants. She will provide even more support to an already powerful midfield.

Ingrid Nielsen – UNSW Bulldogs

AFL Women’s All Australian ruck, Erin McKinnon has been a force to be reckoned with this year. However, every player needs a break when playing in the heat, and Ingrid Nielsen is the right person for the job. Named as the ruck for AFL Sydney Women’s Premier Division (AFLSW) Team of the Year, Nielson will no doubt play an important role in 2019.

Renee Tomkins – Auburn Giants

Renee Tomkins was delisted this year, but has proven her worth in the AFLSW competition, and has been redrafted to the Giants. In the first year of the AFL Women’s, Tomkins was nominated for the All-Australian team, but due to injury, she was unable to show her previous year’s form. A lifeline could pay in spades for the Giants, as they haven’t let good talent go to waste.

Delma Gisa – Wilston Grange

Another state premiership player, this time from the Queensland Women’s Football League (QWAFL).  With the Giants forward stocks depleted, Delma Gisa will be a welcomed addition to their forward line.

Haneen Zrieka – Auburn Giants

Much like Renee Tomkins, Haneen Zrieka was also redrafted this year.  Zrieka played in the AFL Sydney Women’s Premier Division and would have won the Best and Fairest if not for her suspension. Zrieka was also a member of the Under 18 All Australian Squad in 2017. She was one of only five NSW-based players who were selected for the squad.

Ebony O’Dea – Norwood

A member of Norwood’s premiership side in 2017, Ebony O’Dea‘s club again challenged for another premiership in 2018, but fell short in the end. O’Dea is a midfielder that can drift into the backline to create support for her team. She was the last pick of the 2018 draft.

 

How they went:

The talent needed to replace forwards such as Phoebe McWilliams, Maddy Boyd, and Renee Forth was very difficult in this year’s draft. Alexia Hamilton was talked up as a possible replacement, but the Giants chose to go in a different direction. They could possibly have the strongest midfield in the league with the inclusion of Parker, however, it looks like superstar, Christina Bernardi will have to shoulder most of the load up forward in 2019.