Tag: izzy kuiper

Ankle injury can’t stop Kuiper rekindling love for footy

STURT over-ager Izzy Kuiper‘s top-age year might have come to a sour end due to an ankle injury last year culminating in her missing the 2019 AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships, but it has not deterred the inside midfielder.

It was just her first year in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition after spending a season with her local club, Mt Lofty Devils. Her pathway to where she is today is not too dissimilar to most young female footballers, who were forced to stop playing the game they loved due to limited opportunities growing up.

“I grew up playing netball since the age of seven or as early as you’re allowed to, up until about two years when I first played (football) games for Mt Lofty Devils,” Kuiper said. “Then just enjoyed that and loved that so much and from there decided to quit netball, played at Lofty for the season and then went down to Sturt.

“Then just had heaps of other opportunities arise from that like the Crows Academy, State (Under 18s Academy) all of that. “But i did play footy when I was younger with my brothers so I was at Onkaparinga Valley club which was my local footy playing with my twin brother Zachary. “That’s where it all started and yeah just got back into it about two years ago.”

“I think after Under 13s or something the girls couldn’t keep playing with the boys only because at that age there were no options for a girls teams, so I just had to decide to stop playing and had to go with netty because that was about it for footy, so yeah started back up and we got back into it,” Kuiper said.

For her first season at the top level in South Australia, Kuiper said she immediately noticed the difference and knew she would have to adapt to the faster, more challenging style of play.

“It was just a big step up from Mt Lofty, the skills-wise of everyone was that next level above so it was really exciting you get to play with a good bunch of girls,” Kuiper said. “Love playing with ‘Bevo’ (Georgia Bevan) because she had obviously been drafted to the Crows and come back so it was really exciting to be able to play with her. “Unfortunately I only got to play the four games before I injured my ankle but up until then I was loving it.”

The ankle injury only spurred her on more for what would become an over-age season in the Double Blues, keen to remain fit and play out every game. She managed to do that, but instead this time instead of her ankle, it was a global pandemic that prevented Kuiper from playing at the national championships.

“I guess I was really determined to come back because I obviously missed six games on the SANFL last year so I was just really excited to come back and have an impact on the game and really just get back into footy because I had so much time off so I was just keen to get back into it, play with all the girls and have a really good season with Sturt,” Kuiper said.

The Sturt contested ball-winner said fitness was a key component that was able to transition from the netball courts to the football field, but otherwise it was a completely different ball game. That suited Kuiper to a T though, finding it easy to pick up where she left off as a child.

Nah it was really easy getting back into it,” Kuiper said. “I think footy suited me more than netty, like I love to run and be aggressive and lay tackles and stuff, and with netball you can’t do that. “So it was really easy to get into footy and do all those things.”

Kuiper said her tackling pressure and fitness are among her best traits on the field. Certainly a couple of important traits to have when you are an inside ball winner wanting to clear the ball from a stoppage. She did concede she was keen to improve her kicking further and work on her speed off the mark, but her talent was noticed when she was awarded a Breakthrough Player of the Year Award in Round 3.

In the Double Blues’ first win of the season, the then 18-year-old had 18 disposals, five marks, six tackles and four clearances against Woodville-West Torrens. Kuiper said she was thrilled to be nominated for the award.

“It was awesome to get that,” she said. “To be recognised and have a little write-up and a video (on the SANFL website), I just thought it was.. I really loved that. “All the parents loved that.”

While Kuiper is known for her pressure and her role as an inside midfielder, the 172cm contested ball winner used to play on a wing. That was Mt Lofty, but then coaches began to quip “you’re always laying tackles” which is not always the first thought for a winger, prompting her move to the inside, and she has never looked back.

In the time since she has returned to the game, and in particular from her disrupted 2019 season through to her 2020 season, Kuiper said her awareness was one area that had developed in her time with Sturt under new coach, Bruce Dawes.

“My Sturt coach really just harped on being aware of the game and where your person is,” she said. “So it’s about recognising ‘okay someone is already in what else can I do to impact the game?’. “I never really had much thought when it came to footy, I would always see ball, get ball and that was it. “But now I can really see the game and impact the game in other ways if you’re not in at the ball.”

Kuiper has been thankful for her return to football, and none more so than the person she named as her inspiration throughout her journey, Sturt teammate and best friend, Allani Dawes.

“She was the first one who got me back into footy,” Kuiper said. “She was like ‘oh just come out to Lofty, have a run, have a kick see how you go’ just to have a kick. “I was playing netball but I wasn’t enjoying it too much so she was like ‘come out and enjoy it’ and ever since then she’s always encouraged me and been proud of all my success. “She’s someone I can always go to to talk about my game. “So she’s definitely my biggest inspiration.”

Picture: Supplied

Whilst her football career is blossoming, Kuiper was heading down a similar path with her netball, representing Matrix in the South Australian Premier League. While she could have continued down that path, she said she was happy for a number of teammates and opponents who had progressed on to play in the Suncorp Super Netball.

“I love seeing them out there and continuing their netball pathway,” Kuiper said. “it’s super exciting and really good for them that they’ve been able to keep progressing through. “It’s been really good to see.”

While it might have been a calling at some stage for Kuiper, now she firmly has her sights set on the elite level of the AFL Women’s.

“My long-term goal is naturally I’d love to get drafted,” Kuiper said. “But at this point just continue playing in the Sturt side and hopefully going well in there next season.”

Player notes: SANFLW All-Stars

LAST week’s South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s All-Star display between Team Marinoff and Team Hatchard was a brilliant spectacle as plenty of players stood up and had an impact. We have taken a look at every player from the sides.

Team Marinoff:

Alex Ballard

Playing out of full-back, Ballard was one of the smoothest movers on the ground, but balanced equally in her attacking and defensive efforts. Donning the bright white boots which stood out under lights, Ballard’s use by foot and decision making was impressive, as was her positioning in marking contests. At one stage in the second term, Ballard handballed to herself to sidestep an opponent and continue at full speed to kick long down the line. In the third term, she sold candy to Charlotte Dolan and worked her way out of the back pocket, and tried to play on out of full-back on every occasion. Her second and fourth quarters were particularly influential and reminded people of the talent she has.

Nicole Campbell

Had the type of game you would expect from the South Adelaide midfielder, constantly winning the ball in close and giving her teammates the best chance of running free. She was often under a pack or feeding the contested ball out, and did it throughout four quarters in a real team performance. She showed her experience in that onball group and remained vital in the team’s success, doing her job around the clearances and when it counted with the game on the line.

Kate Case

As one of the youngest players out there, Case was busy inside 50, and continued to present throughout the night. Unfortunately she had a few unlucky moments, including a pass towards her hitting the ground just before she could grab it last in the third term, and then gave away a free in the final term. She was always active inside 50 however.

Lauren Clifton

The middle-age talent played forward and had an impact, kicking a second quarter goal to put her team within a kick at the main break. She had a chance on the end of quick ball movement earlier in the term, but got a poor bounce and ended up having to be the tackler on Zoe Prowse. Her 1-2 work with Laitiah Huynh led to her running into an open goalsquare and putting it home from 40m. In the third term, she had a set shot from a similar distance, but looked for a short option in Kate Case, only for the ball to just fall short and the opposition wrap it up for a stoppage. Moments later, Clifton had a quick snap but just went wide.

Leah Cutting

The ruck competed well around the ground against the athletic Prowse. Whilst Prowse was better in the centre square bounces, Cutting used her strength wherever possible, and was able to get back and help an under-siege defence in the first term. She intercepted with a strong mark in the goalsquare to save a certain goal, and worked hard throughout the four quarters to use her long kick to penetrate through the defence.

Jorja Eldridge

The talented medium utility played forward and took a great mark in the third term to get front position and kick the goal to put Team Marinoff in front for the first time.

Lauren Gauci

Was solid throughout the game, but her third quarter in particularly early, was a key reason Team Marinoff won the game. Time and time again she would intercept mark or lay a great tackle that stopped Hatchard in its tracks. One-on-one, Gauci positioned herself well and then would search for a difficult target inboard for the 45-degree kick. In one instance in the third term, Gauci intercepted, kicked forward, then immediately got back in position to mark one-on-one against Zoe Venning and do it all again.

Jade Halfpenny

Showed in glimpses what she is capable of playing as a forward and taking some really strong marks. She used the ball well such as in the first term where she hit up Emma Smith going inside 50. Another long bomb in the second term put the opposition under pressure in defence but unfortunately Clifton got a poor bounce. Halfpenny had another nice kick inside 50, hitting up Clifton well and showed quick hands at ground level in the fourth term gathering the ball inside 50 before being immediately tackled.

Kristi Harvey

The experienced full-back was a rock in defence and one of the standouts, particularly at the bookends of the game where the back 50 saw plenty of action. She took a number of contested marks, and then spread to offer an option to kick long with her raking kick an advantage to get out of trouble. She started the game on Katelyn Rosenzweig and was terrific one-on-one, but her ability to read the ball in flight and then take off when required was great. At one stage, she was beaten for speed against Alana Lishmund, but had the smarts to keep going and apply a tackle and win it back.

Laitiah Huynh

Huynh got better as the game went on and became a real factor in the second half of the match. Her quick hands in close were a standout with her ability to fire off a quick handball to a teammate under pressure, with a score assist via Tessa Kohn for a Jorja Eldridge goal in the third term. She set up another scoring chance to Lauren Clifton later in the term, and then was lively along the win in the final term. While she gave away a free kick for a tackle in the last quarter, she often teamed up with Central District teammate, Madison Lane and used her speed to advantage.

Jess Kirk

Did what you would expect South’s leading goalkicker to do and got front position early with a mark at the top of the square in the second term. She took the grab and protecting the ball drop, sent it home with four minutes remaining in the half to kick her side’s second goal of the contest. Kirk had another involvement in the third term when she scooped the ball off the deck for a quick snap but was marked on the goalline by Tahlia Meyer.

Tessa Kohn

The Glenelg midfielder had her moments, playing predominantly up forward and having a few chances on goal. A quick snap midway through the second term was bungled after a strong tackle from the opposition, but then a neat kick to the square set up Jess Kirk for a drought-breaking goal. She also locked the ball up inside 50 with a good tackle against two opponents to nullify the situation. Kohn had a direct goal assist in the third quarter with her kick going straight to Eldridge for a goal at the top of the square. Kohn switched into defence in the final term and was used on a number of occasions to kick outside 50, but was often sold into trouble against multiple opponents. Midway through the term, Kohn rushed through a behind for safety.

Brooklyn Kraft

The developing 182cm ruck/forward played permanently forward with Cutting taking the the ruck duties around the ground. Her first kick was intercepted going inside 50, but her next was the first goal for her side after a free kick inside 50. She converted from 20m out to draw within two points at that stage of the first term. Kraft bobbed up again with a second goal in the third term, winning a fortunate free kick because she tried to take the tackler on, slipped and the tackler fell in her back. Once again her perfect set shot routine won out and she kicked a second goal. She took a good mark on the wing in the final term, but rushed kicking and it was smothered by Tahlia Meyer, but showed off her long kick drifting to half-back later in the quarter.

Madison Lane

The Central District middle-age talent hit up Kraft with her first kick of the game in the first term, but became more lively later in the game. She was often looking for her Bulldogs teammates in Shelby Smith and Huynh, coming off half-back to spot them free on the wing. In the third term she was one of Marinoff’s best, mopping up in the back 50 and kicking long on multiple occasions. She was mowed down in a tackle by Grace Duffy after great work in a marking contest later in the quarter, then took a huge intercept mark on the wing in the dying moment to kick inside 50 and lead to the last goal of the game. Lane was just as prominent in the final term, and while on one occasion she was overzealous with a tackle to fall in her opponent’s back, she won it back with another tackle moments later. Her short kicking and work with Huynh down the outside was a feature of her game.

Kiana Lee

After a quieter first half, she won a fair few touches in the second half, particularly in the last term when she was handed a number of kick outs from defence. She won a free kick in defence and hit up Kraft, and then kicked long to safety from full-back, though Marinoff had plenty of numbers at the drop zone. She showed her strength in the air and her quick disposal with a handball out of a stoppage earlier in the game in the third term.

Jess Macolino

A superb performance by the inside midfielder and would have been among those considered for best on ground if they had awarded it. She put together a four quarter performance and used her hands in close and strength around the stoppages to have an impact. Time and time again she would be tackled, but remained upright and handballed off to a teammate to clear the ball out of congestion, which was vital for her side. She was a clear best-on in the second term, racking up the ball with ease and showed off her work rate to get to multiple contests in a passage of play. She set up a scoring chain by fending off an opponent inside 50 and handball to Huynh which eventually led to an Eldridge goal. Finally Macolino’s hard work had extra reward, getting on the end of a movement forward to win a free kick just before the final break, kicking a set shot goal from 35m out, which would end up being Marinoff and the game’s final goal.

Tesharna Maher

One of Marinoff’s best in the first quarter, she stood tall in the first term when her side was under-siege and played the percentages long towards the boundary line. She was often the first kick out of defence, and used her speed to take the game on. Whilst she missed the odd target, she showed what she can offer in spurts and certainly showed in in the first term.

Katelyn Pope

Her night ended early with a broken wrist in the fourth term, but showed her trademark speed and desire around the contest prior to that. Running hard down the wings and providing an option, Pope was used in transition as Marinoff got back on top in the match. In one instance she won a free kick on the wing, darted around Grace Duffy and went for a run to kick forward, having a number of inside 50s on the night.

Gypsy Schirmer

A highlight-reel player, the middle-age talent’s best moment came midway through the second term when she produced a massive run-down tackle in the middle of the ground, showing off her closing speed. Whilst she did not hit the scoreboard as she regularly can for South, Schirmer showed she will be one to watch next year having that defensive mindset to accompany her offensive prowess.

Bella Smith

A rock in defence, particularly early when Team Marinoff was under pressure. She touched what would have been a certain goal on the goal line to rush a behind, then took a strong contested mark at half-back and rebound well. She continued to have an impact throughout the game, and rolled forward in the third term to put the hands out to gather, but was immediately tackled. She had another goal-saving effort in the final term with a relieving kick out of the danger zone to Lane.

Emma Smith

Really prominent early as one of the few who was moving the ball in transition. While others took over as the game went on, Smith remained vigilant in her attack between the wing and half-forward. Her first instance in play was a great one-on-one contest to outbody her opponent and have a shot on goal with probably the weirdest run up. She stopped midway through the run up only metres from her opponent, then started again but her kick fell short and bounced on the line to remain in. Her work overhead was great, taking a number of strong marks, and then showed off her speed in the final term with a nice run, through it was intercepted going inside 50.

Shelby Smith

Did not look out of place roaming through the Marinoff midfield, and contributed with her attack on the ball and desire to win the footy. Often combining with her Central District teammates in Huynh and Lane, Smith found space on the wing and maintained a high work rate throughout the match.

Teagan Usher

Had a busy middle two quarters coming out of defence for Team Marinoff, and continually tried hard to move the ball quickly. Made a few mistakes and was caught early in the second term trying to take on Hannah Prenzler, but did well deep in defence late in the second term and then early in the third. She managed to hit up Jess Macolino at half-forward and kept the ball moving. Once she adapted to the speed – having missed a fair bit of footy this year – she played short and sharp passes which proved effective.

Andie Zbierski

Unlucky to give up a free kick in the second term for going in hard, Zbierski was able to gain plenty of experience out of the match having come from Whyalla in North Adelaide’s country zone. With plenty of development left, she will be one to watch for the future.

Team Hatchard:

Abbie Ballard

Worked hard throughout the game for not a great deal of reward, but was ever present cracking in and giving it her all. Her best quarter came in the final term when she had a number of inside 50s in an attempt to haul her team back into the contest. Spending time around the ground, once she went into the middle she had more of an impact and had a great kick inside 50 to hit up Rosenzweig leading out 20m late in the quarter.

Tahlita Buethke

Had some impressive moments throughout the game, being involved in one of her side’s first quarter goals, winning it at half-forward, then combining with Cristie Castle to get it to Brooke Tonon to run on and kick her second of the quarter. She had some great moments through the third term and was one of the best for her side in the quarter, often used as a link in the chain going forward. Copped a knock in the final term from a tackle but got up and was able to take her kick inside 50.

Rhiannon Busch

Reliable as ever, Busch did not need to rack up a heap of the ball to just play her role. She often nullified an opposition forward when the ball went in there, and showed some great defensive pressure. She laid a huge tackle in the back 50 in the final term, and her team won the ball as a result of her pressure. Then she showed her aggressive side with possession by intercepting it further up the ground in the last quarter and bombing deep, but the shot was rushed across the line by Tessa Kohn.

Cristie Castle

Might not have got on the board herself, but seemed to always be in the periphery whenever the ball went forward. The North Adelaide forward came out to attack the ball and whilst she was sold into trouble in the first term, managed to get the ball to Tonon who kicked the second goal of the game. Moments later, she beat two opponents and gave off quick hands to Lishmund who also finished off. Involved in those two early goals, the Hatchard forwards had a tougher day after quarter time, with Castle again bobbing up in the final term, copping a knock and ending up a bit sore, but bouncing up and continuing to compete.

Czenya Cavouras

Much like Campbell, had a game that you would expect of someone with her experience. A train-on player at the Crows, Cavouras is one of those players you know will play a four-quarter game and she did just that. There was not much flashiness about it, but her hardness and attack on the contest around the stoppage was rarely matched. She had a couple of strong moments where she just kept the ball moving forward and trying to crash through opponents to keep it live in the forward half, and then had a great shrug from a tackle and kick to Rosenzweig inside 50 in the third term. A fourth term intercept mark against a much taller Cutting showed how well she reads the play and is able to position herself so effectively in one-on-one contests. Her set shot from the intercept mark 45m out just fell short.

Julia Clark

Had some moments throughout the game and won a free kick on the wing for last-touch and kicked forward. Was able to utilise her speed on a number of occasions despite not winning a heap of the ball. Uses the ball well when she does have it.

Charlotte Dolan

The lively player did not have the usual time and space that she is afforded at SANFL Women’s level, but still had a number of highlights. In the second term she got down and won the ball out of a pack by hand to get it to Izzy Kuiper for a kick downfield. She then gave by hand to Grace Duffy not long after to go inside 50, and whilst in the third term she was sold candy by Alex Ballard at half-back, she mopped up the ball in defence late in the game, with a number of clever plays at ground level, and a free kick in a marking contest with five minutes remaining on the clock.

Grace Duffy

Played a good four quarter game and was lively early in the match, with the opening clearance of the game. She would drop back into defence to mop up and look to run down the field, winning plenty of it through the first half to be quite prolific. Often she would receive it in space and kick inside 50, then did well one-on-one against the dangerous Katelyn Pope to use her strength and tap it away from Pope to a teammate in space. She laid a huge tackle on Lane in the third term, and whilst she was sidestepped by Pope not long after, she did well to back up and create a contest. Duffy won a free kick in the final term when she was tackled and looked to create an extra number at each contest she attended.

Madisyn Freeman

The over-ager first appeared early in the second term with a free kick and 25m penalty inside 50 to try and give her side their fourth goal of the contest. Unfortunately the kick horribly skewed off the boot and went wide for a behind. She remained lively through the early stages of the term, winning a free kick, turning it over, but then pressuring the opposition at the next stoppage to win a free kick.

Izzy Kuiper

Her notes from the game were almost identical each time, went in hard and won the contested ball. The Sturt teenager did it time and time again and refused to back down from a challenge. Using her taller frame around the stoppages, she can win the ball with ease and showed during the second term, create scoring opportunities by kicking inside 50. Her intent and tackling pressure never waivers.

Alana Lishmund

The middle-age talent was one of the more prominent for Hatchard, kicking an opening term goal after great work by Castle against two opponents to get it free by quick hands to Lishmund who finished off with a great goal 15 minutes into the term to extend the lead to 14. Lishmund remained prominent after quarter time, beginning with a huge run-down tackle in defence in the second quarter. She laid another big tackle, this time inside forward 50. Managing to pick up touches around the ground, Lishmund was able to kick towards Rosenzweig midway through the third term, and then had a clean pick-up off the deck who kicked forward but was intercepted by Lane. A final term set shot resulted in one behind, whilst doing well later in the final stanza to keep the ball inside the lane in forward 50.

Tahlia Meyer

Able to stand out wearing the long socks, Meyer found plenty of the ball and was predominantly stationed in defence. She pushed up the ground when he side had more ascendancy, but was involved in a lot of attacking plays. Meyer played well to win the ball in dangerous positions for the opposition and safely exit the back 50 by foot. She was among the best on the field in the second term, as she did her best to restrict the damage done by Team Marinoff. Meyer worried the opposition early in the third term with a quick kick along the ground inside 50, but Rosenzweig could not quite get a proper shot on goal. Meyer pulled in a strong goal-saving mark on the goal-line after a quick snap by Kirk in the third term, and then smothered a ball on the wing off Kraft’s kick. She was so clean at half-forward in the final term, spotting up the loose Lishmund to hand her younger teammate a set shot on goal.

Tamsyn Morriss

Named among Team Hatchard’s best by the coaches, Morriss played her team role well. Possessing a terrific kick and an ability to run hard, she was involved in plays in transition and did what was asked of her on the night. She might not win as much of the ball as others, but she uses it well and can play just about anywhere on the field.

Jamie Parish

Took a strong mark in defensive 50 in the second term, and whilst she did not win a heap of it, gained a great deal of experience playing in a back 50 with a lot more experienced players. She played her role and rotated around despite having a quieter night.

Hannah Prenzler

Made her impact early with a charge through the middle and a willingness to take the game on. She kicked long down the guts and her work set up a vital goal to Brooke Tonon on the end of some handballs which had put the defence under pressure. When Teagan Usher tried to take her on at half-back, the Sturt talent was having none of it, laying a superb tackle and winning a free kick to kick deep. One of those players that does not need to win a lot of the ball to have an impact and she showed that, because she is a natural metres-gained player.

Zoe Prowse

Had a great battle with the more experienced Cutting around the ground. Cutting had more influence early in the game, but Prowse won more after quarter time, laying some strong tackles and getting her hands dirty at ground level. She thrived in the air with her athletic leap. Prowse had a number of forward half possessions and was able to lock up a ball in the second term when Clifton was about to run into an open goal. With another year of development, the talented young ruck will be one to watch in 2021.

Katelyn Rosenzweig

The Central Districts forward was well held by Kristi Harvey early on when her side was on top, though the duel was entertaining between the two contested marking players. She did manage to get free and give the handball off to Zoe Venning in the opening term, but unfortunately her kick was marked on the line. Early in the third when she had more space, she gathered the ball and gave it to Buethke, but whenever the ball came in her direction, the defenders were often aware of her ability to hit the scoreboard and were quick to lay the tackle.

Rayne Rivalland

Played in defence and had a couple of noticeable moments. In the first term, Rivalland played a great passage of play by intercepting the ball under pressure and used it well by foot midway through the quarter. In the second term when under pressure, she had the sense to rush through a behind and help her team reset to kick out of defence. Lastly, she laid a great tackle in the back 50 to lock the ball up and force a stoppage for her side when Marinoff was attacking.

Erin Sundstrom

Really productive, particularly in the second half coming out of defence when Hatchard was under pressure. On a number of occasions she charged out of defence, and kicked long down the wing to safety. Showing her ability to pressure opponents with her closing speed, Sundstrom laid a great tackle on Kate Case who could not take the sliding mark, and it forced a ball-up inside the defensive 50.

Brooke Tonon

Finishing with two goals, Tonon was really lively in the opening term, with both her majors coming from running goals. The fast transition from Team Hatchard helped the middle-ager on this occasion, being on the end of a play and using her speed to create some distance between her and her opponent goalside. That resulted in her putting through the first major of the game in the third minute, and then made it two when Castle got the ball to her and she ran into another open goal in the last five minutes of the quarter. She almost set up a third goal with a nice kick inside 50 to a leading Zoe Venning, but unfortunately Venning missed the set shot. Tonon attacked the contest hard when inside 50, and whilst she did not get a great look at it after the first term – due to Marinoff’s dominance, she featured in the final term with a set shot from 35m that just fell short and was marked on the line.

Zoe Venning

One of Hatchard’s best even if it was an almost-game in the sense that she just fell short of kicking multiple goals. Nonetheless, Venning was lively, quick on the lead and strong in the air, just needed the extra touch of confidence when kicking for goal. She had an early touch off the first play going forward, and then had a couple of marks inside the fist five minutes. Her first set shot was touched on the line and then a quick snap with her second was marked on the line. A third shot on goal in the last minute again just fell short from 25m, but she was getting amongst it. Venning won an early free in the second term for her pressure, and remained busy rotating through the Hatchard midfield. She was beaten a couple of times one-on-one against more experienced opponents, but showed her class with a terrific kick inside 50 late in the game to hit-up Tonon leading out.

Amber Ward

The over-ager had a strong performance in the back half, and even went forward throughout the game to be a target, but it was her booming kick from half-back in the first term that set up an end-to-end goal for Tonon. Her tackling pressure was impressive, laying multiple tackles on opponents early in the second and kicking long inside 50. She had a minor slip in the final term but otherwise had a really solid game with her penetrating kicking and intercepting when needed.

Ashleigh Woodland

The midfielder-forward spent a fair chunk of time in defence in the match, trying to use her skill and run to impact the contest off half-back. She was not afraid to break the lines and use her booming kick to advantage, having a real impact in the first term as one of Hatchard’s best players. Whilst she was not able to ply her known scoreboard impact in the game due to her role, she certainly showed her versatility by spending minutes behind the ball. Unfortunately a head knock in the opening minute of the final term ended her night.

Matilda Zander

It was no surprise to see Zander covering a heap of ground and being one of the more prominent ball winners on the ground. Even in a losing team, the Norwood talent remained among the better players on the ground. She spent a great deal of time on-ball and combined well with Cavouras and Isobel Kuiper on the inside, then would also go forward and try and keep it moving. She had a flying shot at the goal in the final term but just missed to the right, her second behind of the contest after a first quarter miss. She was involved in the transition play going inside 50, setting up Venning with an early set shot, then had a neat kick to Ward early in the second term. Overall, she remained pivotal in Hatchard’s game plan and was always busy across the field.

Picture: AFL Media

Weekend preview: SANFL Women’s – Round 5

FOUR rounds down and the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition ladder is starting to take shape. Norwood remains the only undefeated team and takes on West Adelaide in what should be a terrific clash, while Central District and North Adelaide looms as another tight encounter.

STURT vs. GLENELG
Saturday, March 23, 12pm
Coopers Stadium

In the first game of a triple header at Coopers Stadium, the winless Sturt takes on Glenelg, a side seething from its first loss of the season last week. The Tigers will be keen to bounce back from the defeat at the hands of West Adelaide and regain ascendancy in the mid-table logjam. The Tigers have brought in four players to the side with ruck, Lauren Bungey and key defender, Olivia Walker-Obushak among those returning to the fold. The Double Blues have been forced to make some changes with Izzy Kuiper out due to injury, Jessie Keech out to play softball and Alexandra Ballard also omitted from the side. Into the team comes full-forward, Caroline Burgess in a bid to try and create more scoring power, and defender Brooke-Lee Chaplin. Glenelg will be the favourites in this game to bounce back from a rare los and hand Sturt its fifth consecutive defeat, however the Double Blues have been competitive across the board this season and would be edging towards a victory sooner rather than later.

NORWOOD vs. WEST ADELAIDE
Saturday, March 23, 1.45pm
Coopers Stadium

In the Game of the Week, top-of-the-table Norwood takes on fourth placed West Adelaide in a vital game for shaping the top four early in the season. The Bloods are one of three teams with a 3-1 win-loss record and victory would be crucial in getting an upperhand on their rivals. The undefeated Redlegs have made three confirmed changes, with Elisha Gallagher and Rhiannon Busch key outs as they have army duties, while Zoe Greer will miss through injury. Into the side comes forward, Tara Robertson, GWS GIANTS defender, Ebony O’Dea and Crows’ onballer Sally Riley. For the Bloods, They have brought in four players to an extended team, including full-back Jacalyn Pickering and defender Emma Smith. Norwood deservedly head in as favourites and are expected to continue their undefeated run, but the Bloods knocked off Glenelg last week in a low-scoring contest, so could have the defensive ability to restrict the Redlegs. Riley, Monique Hollick and Najwa Allen is a formidable midfield, while O’Dea and Sophie Armitstead provide good rebound out of attack. For the Westies, Abbie Ballard has been a shining light in the midfield, while Maddie Newman and Chelsea Biddell have been others to watch this season.

CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
Saturday, March 23, 3.30pm
Coopers Stadium

In the final game of the double header at Coopers Stadium, the in-form Central District faces North Adelaide. The Bulldogs have won back-to-back games against the Eagles and Double Blues and will look to make it three on the trot against North Adelaide. The Roosters have had a tough draw to start the season and are unlucky to have just one win from four games. Victory would see North Adelaide have a chance of overtaking the Bulldogs, while also keeping the bottom two at arms-length. With more of a favourable draw coming up in the future, the Roosters could get on a roll. For the Round 5 match, just the combined two changes have been made with Alex Fittridge and Elysha Willis coming into the Roosters’ line-up, while four players have been added to an extended bench for Central District. This could be the game of the round if both teams play at their best, with firepower and consistent players across the field. Katelyn Rosenzweig has been a lively point at full-forward this season, while Jessica Sedunary has serious abiloty. Abbey Scheer and Demi Sonneman have been consistent so far this season, while Jayme-Lee Sonneman has stood tall in the ruck. For North Adelaide, Amber Ward has been a rebounding machine in defence, Kelly Barltrop has been a target up forward, while Leah Tynan, Nadia Von Bertouch and Rheanne Lugg have made a formidable midfield trio. North Adelaide could be considered favourites given their experience, but the Bulldogs have the confidence after stringing two wins together and the scoring power to make it three.

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS
Saturday, March 23, 4.15pm
Flinders University Stadium

The final game of the round has reigning premiers South Adelaide coming up against a Woodville-West Torrens side that has been forced into making changes. The Panthers head into the game with a loss to Norwood the only blemish this season, having not put a foot wrong since then. The Eagles are still searching for their first win this season and team selection has not helped them. Sarah Perkins and key midfielder, Jaimi Tabb are unavailable, while Chloe Forby was suspended and Natalie Subelli forced out due to concussion. Add in the omissions of Taylor Hand and Amie Blanden and the Eagles head into the match with at least six different players to last round. Cassandra Glover will look to replace Perkins up forward, Georgia Taylor returns to the side to help out the defence as will Colbie Frankland. South Adelaide also lose a crucial player with Nikki Gore out due to AFL Women’s duties with Adelaide’s preliminary final against Geelong, while Alana Browne will miss due to a hamstring. The Panthers have brought four players into the mix, with Tonia Fielke slotting on a wing to replace Gore. The Panthers midfield might be missing Gore, but with Hannah Munyard, Czenya Cavouras, Elyse Haussen and Nicole Campbell in the team, it will make life difficult for the Eagles. Rachel Dunstan and Natasha Farrier are potential match-winners, while Kiana Lee will shoulder the load up forward and has plenty of talent. Stephanie Walker‘s work in defence is also important in this game as they look to cause an upset. Woodville-West Torrens will need to bring the heat for four quarters as the Panthers are an impressive outfit, but anything can happen on the right day.

Weekend preview: SANFL Women’s – Round 4

AFTER a week off, the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition recommences tonight for Round 4 action. The night sees a double header at X Convenience Oval, as well as 7pm games at both Flinders University Stadium and City Mazda Stadium. Two sides remain undefeated, and two are yet to get a win on the board in season 2019.

NORWOOD vs. WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS
March 15, 6.45pm
X Convenience Oval

The first of two games at X Convenience Oval pits one of the premiership favourites, Norwood against newcomers, Woodville-West Torrens. The Eagles are yet to taste victory in season 2019, having gone down to Glenelg, Sturt and fellow 2019 debutants, Central District in the opening three rounds. For the Redlegs, they have answered every challenge thrown at them, knocking off the reigning premiers, South Adelaide, as well as North Adelaide and Sturt. They will head into this game as strong favourites to make it four in a row, while the Eagles will be keen to break their winless start to the season. Norwood’s team selection includes two forced outs with Bree-Anna Liebhadt and Emma Clark both out of the side with injury, while Jiarna Zerella has also made way. Into the team comes defender, Rosette Zerella, as well as Michele Reid, Zoe Greer and Tara Robertson who have all been named on an extended bench. For the Eagles, they lose a couple of players due to concussion, as Annastasia Falkenberg and Georgia Taylor are both out of the side. Jessica Wilson will be looked upon to play Taylor’s role out of defence, as the Eagles have also named ruck Taylor McKay and winger Tesharna Maher among five inclusions for their Round 4 clash. All eyes will be on both sides’ forward lines with Sarah Perkins and Kiana Lee providing some serious firepower up front for the Eagles, while Hannah Dunn has been a ball magnet this season, and has been named at centre half-forward. The Redlegs’ rebounding power of Sophie Armitstead and Monique Hollick will also give them an advantage, while a potential head-to-head between Najwa Allen and Jaimi Tabb could be a battle in itself. Expect Norwood to get the job done, but the Eagles have shown that if they can get it forward, they are always able to cause some headaches.

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
March 15, 7pm
Flinders University Stadium

The clash of the round is set to occur at Flinders University Stadium, with last year’s minor premiers taking on the reigning premiers. The Roosters have had just the one win, but their losses have come against the two undefeated sides in Norwood and Glenelg. The Panthers’ only loss also came against the Redlegs, and they will head into the game as favourites, having pushed Norwood, and looked impressive in the other matches. The Roosters still have some really dangerous players, and their leaders will be keen to get a vital win here. South Adelaide have made three changes to their Round 3 side, with Tiffany Copley and Brianna Wedding both out due to injury. The Panthers have named an extra extended bench, bringing in five players, including forwards, Lauren Buchanan and Jess Kirk, and winger Nicole Campbell. Nikki Gore has been named on an extended bench, timing her debut with Adelaide in the AFL Women’s perfectly to coincide with a bye last week. For North, they have made three changes, as they bring back important onballer, Rheanne Lugg, as well as Cristie Castle and Kathryn Reynolds. Both sides contain some of the top players in the SANFL Women’s with South’s team brimming with young talent. From ruck/forward Montana McKinnon, to midfielders, Teah Charlton and Hannah Munyard, the Panthers have some future stars developing within the club. Czenya Cavouras tore the game apart in Round 3 and will once again be a key contributor in South’s efforts, while Madison Bennett and Jaslynne Smith are others who have gone through the Under 18s state side. For the Roosters, captain Nadia Von Bertouch has been consistent all season, and with Lugg back in the side the pair will combine with Leah Tynan through the inside, and look to set up leading goalkicker, Kelly Barltrop at full-forward. Meanwhile up the other end, Amber Ward has been a prolific rebounder this season and could be a player to set up attacking drives. South Adelaide head in as favourites, but North Adelaide are not a team to take lightly.

WEST ADELAIDE vs. GLENELG
March 15, 7pm
City Mazda Stadium

Both West Adelaide and Glenelg were undefeated heading into Round 3, but the Bloods dropped their first game of the season to South Adelaide, while the Tigers showed they were the most improved team of the competition by toppling the Roosters. In Round 4, Glenelg would look to win to keep touch with Norwood, while West Adelaide will keep its spot in the top four if it can salute in this game. The Bloods have lost ruck, Leah Swain due to work commitments, while Alana Lowery is out following a knee injury and suspension. Tekira Hoffman has been thrown into the ruck, while Phoebe Edwards returns to the side, slotting straight into full-back. Helen Maidment returns to the onball brigade, while Emma Smith and Alex Czabayski have been named on an extended bench. For the Tigers, they remain unchanged, with Olivia Walker-Obushak and Eirenn Harkness added to an extended interchange. West Adelaide’s forward targets of Chelsea Biddell and Melanie Elsegood always attract attention when going inside 50, while Lucy Bellinger and Hannah Crump have equally shown to be a handful to opposition sides. Samantha Franson will look to take advantage of the in-form Swain’s absence in the ruck, to get forward and try and hit the scoreboard. Ellen Fauser is another Tiger who has been impressive this season and will likely match-up on one of the twin towers in the Westies forward line. Abbie Ballard continues to develop for the Bloods, as does Maddie Newman, while Glenelg have a well balanced team that continues to get the job done. In this match, Glenelg will use their consistency across the field to head in as favourites, but West Adelaide are every chance of causing an upset.

CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. STURT
March 15, 8.30pm
X Convenience Oval

The second game in the double header at X Convenience Stadium sees newcomers, Central District go up against Sturt. The Bulldogs claimed their first win in Round 3 following a victory over Woodville-West Torrens, while a brave Double Blues side is still yet to taste a win, but is competitive each match. The Bulldogs have lost Isabella Wilson to suspension – a key out after the tall forward booted 2.2 from 11 disposals in the previous game. They have welcomed back Jessica Sedunary who will look to fill that void, while Karissa Searle has also been added into the forward mix. For Sturt, Nicole Baker has to miss due to work commitments, while Jess Schulz has been omitted. Key defender, Paxton Davis-Mattner comes into the side, as does forward, Brianna Burt. The game will see Sturt’s strong midfield take on a Central side that has some standout players across the ground without a dominant third in particular. Katelyn Rosenzweig looms as the X-factor up forward for the Eagles, with Abbey Scheer, Rebecca Catterall and Shalee O’Brien looking to win the ball in the midfield and get it forward. The half-back line of Gemma Doughty, Nicola Biagi and Chantelle Reynolds has been effective, while Sturt’s forward line that contains Georgia Swan and Caitlyn Swanson will need some careful watching. Izzy Kuiper, Maya Rigter and Georgia Bewvan are a challenging midfield at the best of times for any opposition and with a forward line that shares goals around, it will be an unpredictable set-up to combat. Sturt might not have won a game yet, but the Double Blues have never been out of a contest and remain firmly in contention to be a competitive outfit in season 2019. Expect them to go hard at the contest and they could almost be favourites, although Central’s efforts last week were very impressive.

Weekend preview: SANFL Women’s – Round 2

THE second round of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s takes place tonight with a grand final replay highlighting an exciting round of action.

NORTH ADELAIDE vs. STURT
Friday, February 22, 6.30pm
Coopers Stadium

The opening game of the round sees two losing sides from Round 1 face off to try and get their first win on the board. Both sides have made minimal changes, with Rooster, Gabrielle Gormlie coming in for her first game, replacing Sharni Tansell. For Sturt, Nicole Baker is a welcome inclusion back into the Double Blues’ side, as is Jessie Keech, while Casey Fraser is out with a broken hand, joining Della Griffith on the sidelines. Last week, Roosters captain Nadia Von Bertouch was a leader on-field with 15 disposals, four marks and eight tackles, while defender Amber Ward was efficient with 17 disposals and nine rebounds. Both sides will be keen to put more scores on the board with North booting 1.5 and the Double Blues 2.2. Izzy Kuiper was the highest disposal winner for Sturt with 15 touches and four tackles, while Alexandra Ballard, Georgia Bevan and Maya Rigter all recorded 12 disposals.

WEST ADELAIDE vs. WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS
Friday, February 22, 7.30pm
City Mazda Stadium

West Adelaide hosts Woodville-West Torrens in a bid to make it two wins in a row for the Bloods, while the Eagles are hoping to snare an inaugural win. West Adelaide have just the one confirmed out – Lauren Rodata (concussion) – while bringing in three players with Jacalyn Pickering, Alice Gee and Mary Smith all named. The Eagles have rolled the dice with six players coming into the side and five outs. Madeline Dufek is the sole forced change with a knee injury, while Shae Pacifico-Hart, Taylor Hand and Courtney Jonson are also out of the side. Among the ins are Adelaide AFL Women’s forward, Sarah Perkins and South Australian Under-18 vice-captain, Rachel Dunstan. Madison Newman (26 disposals, four marks, six inside 50s and six rebounds) had a day out for the Bloods in Round 1, while Rachelle Martin laid a massive nine tackles to go with her 23 touches, four rebounds and a goal. Leah Swain was dominant in the ruck with 24 hitouts, as was Caitlin Sampson who recorded 19 for the Eagles. Jaimi Tabb and Georgia Taylor were equally as crucial for Woodville-West Torrens, notching up 17 disposals each, with Tabb going inside 50 five times, and Taylor rebounding the ball nine times. Kiana Lee was the sole beneficiary up forward with the Eagles’ two goals.

CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. GLENELG
Friday, February 22, 7.30pm
X Convenience Oval

Last year’s wooden spooners got their season off to the best possible start last week with a 35-point win over Woodville-West Torrens, while Central District fell to West Adelaide by 20 points. Lucy Bellinger racked up 23 disposals, 10 marks (two contested), five tackles, four inside 50s and two goals in a best on ground performance against the Bulldogs, while Ellen Fauser and Samantha Franson both picked up 15 disposals and kicked a goal. Central District have named two ins to their side with Kimberly Fry named on the half-back flanks and Shalee O’Brien brought onto an extended bench. Jayme-Lee Sonneman recorded 16 disposals, three marks, three tackles, three inside 50s and three rebounds, while Danielle Stewart (15 disposals, two marks and eight tackles) and Katelyn Rosenzweig (12 disposals, two contested marks ad three tackles) were also crucial in the loss. This week Rosenzweig was named at full-back with the Crows AFL Women’s forward looking likely to play in a new role tonight.

NORWOOD vs. SOUTH ADELAIDE
Friday, February 22, 8.15pm
Coopers Stadium

Two impressive winners from Round 1 were last year’s grand finalists and they face off in Round 2 in what should be considered the match of the round. The Redlegs have made just two changes to the side that triumphed in Round 1 and will be keen to back it up against the high-scoring Panthers outfit. Adelaide AFL Women’s young gun Nicky Gore was the big ball winner last week, racking up 19 disposals, five marks (two contested) and laying 10 tackles but will not take the field in this game. She was the sole out for the Panthers with Emily Woods, Natalie Gibbs and debutant, Emily Brockhurst named in the extended side. Hannah Munyard and Nicole Campbell also shared in 19 disposals, with the former booting a goal. Teah Charlton was lively up forward for the Panthers, creating havoc on her way to three goals. For Norwood, Hannah Dunn had a league-high 29 disposals in Round 1, while also recording four marks and five inside 50s. Najwah Allen booted the Redlegs’ two goals, while Monique Hollick continued where she left off last season with 12 touches and seven inside 50s.

SANFL Womens Review: Round 1

LAST year’s grand finalists both enjoyed victories in the first round of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s League, while both newcomers suffered defeats despite promising starts.

WWT EAGLES 1.2 | 1.2 | 2.3 | 2.4 (16)
GLENELG 1.1 | 5.4 | 6.7 | 7.9 (51)


GOALS:
Glenelg: Lucy Bellinger, Hannah Crump 2, Ellen Fauser, Sam Franson, Brooke Trevena.
Eagles: Kiana Lee 2.

DISPOSALS:
Glenelg: Lucy Bellinger 23, Ellen Fauser 15, Sam Franson 15
Eagles: Jaimi Tabb 17, Georgia Taylor 17, Madeleine Dufek 16

Last year’s wooden spooners got their season off to the perfect start, as Glenelg proved too strong for league newcomers, Woodville-West Torrens. The Tigers had a fight on their hands early, and toughed it out in the second half, but a four goals to zero second term proved to be the difference for the winners. Samantha Franson made history with the first SANFL Women’s League goal for 2019, then teenager, Kiana Lee did the same, becoming the first Eagles goalkicker in the team’s history. With the game tight eight minutes into the second term and Glenelg leading by a point, Hannah Crump popped up to boot two consecutive goals, before Ellen Fauser joined the party and in less than four minutes, Glenelg had opened up a 20-point lead. A quick goal before half-time to Brooke Trevena had the Tigers 26 points up and in control. Lee gave the Eagles a glimmer of hope with a goal midway through the third term to cut the margin to 28 points, but two goals either side of the final break to Lucy Bellinger, put the game beyond doubt as Glenelg enjoyed the 35-point victory.

Bellinger was ultra-impressive for the Tigers throughout the game, racking up 23 disposals, 10 marks (two contested), four inside 50s, six tackles and two goals in the win. Fellow goalkickers, Fauser and Franson both had 15 disposals, while Fauser got free for six marks, and Franson laid seven tackles to cause headaches for the opposition. For the Eagles, Jaimi Tabb was superb in the front half of the ground, notching up 17 disposals and five inside 50s, while teammate Georgia Taylor did everything she could in defence, recording nine rebounds to go with her 17 touches and three marks. Caitlin Sampson was huge in the ruck with 19 hitouts as well as her 10 disposals. Next week Glenelg faces another new side in Central District, while the Eagles look to secure their first win when they take on West Adelaide.

NORWOOD 0.6 | 0.9 | 0.9 | 2.10 (22)
NORTH ADELAIDE 0.1 | 0.4 | 1.5 | 1.5 (11)


GOALS:
Norwood: Najwah Allen 2.
North: Elysha Willis.

DISPOSALS:
Norwood: Hannah Dunn 29, Najwah Allen 20, Rhiannon Busch 15
North: Amber Ward 17, Nadia von Bertouch 15

Both sides were considered contenders heading into the match, and it proved to be a battle of attrition as neither side managed to find the big sticks in the first half. At the major break, a combined 13 behinds had been scored, with the Redlegs five points ahead. Failing to score in the third term, Norwood found itself down by two points at the final break, courtesy of a drought-breaking Elysha Willis goal in the sixteenth minute. Another behind early in the fourth to the Redlegs saw them one point down and with 10 minutes remaining, it looked as though the four points was heading home with North Adelaide. Enter Najwah Allen who became Norwood’s saviour in the final term, converting two goals in the final 10 minutes to help Norwood to the win.

Allen was crucial with 20 disposals, three marks, three tackles and two inside 50s, while Hannah Dunn had a day out, recording a league-high 29 disposals in the win, as well as four marks and five inside 50s. Monique Hollick was busy in transition with seven inside 50s to pair with her 12 disposals, while Leah Cutting laid a massive 12 tackles to apply serious defensive pressure to the Roosters. For North Adelaide, Amber Ward was the leading ball winner with 17 disposals, but her work in the defensive half was superb, also racking up nine rebounds, and registering three inside 50s. Nadia Von Bertouch had 15 disposals, four marks (two contested) and laid eight tackles in a strong performance, while Lauren Daniel laid 12 tackles from her 12 disposals. Next week Norwood takes on South Adelaide in a Grand Final rematch in what looks to be a thrilling contest, while North Adelaide faces Sturt with both sides keen to get a win on the board.

SOUTH ADELAIDE 1.2 | 1.7 | 2.8 | 6.10 (46)
STURT 2.0 | 2.1 | 2.2 | 2.2 (14)


GOALS:
South: Teah Charlton 3, Alana Browne, Lauren Buchanan, Hannah Munyard.
Sturt: Caitlyn Swanson, Lauren Lovell.

DISPOSALS:
South: Nicole Campbell 19, Nikki Gore 19, Hannah Munyard 19, Czenya Cavouras 15, Danielle Goding 15
Sturt: Izzy Kuiper 15

It took until a final quarter flurry, but the SANFL Women’s League reigning premiers reminded the competition of what they were capable of, running out 32-point winners over Sturt to start their season off how they had left it. With a mix of youth and experience, Sturt threw up a challenge to the reigning premiers, leading at quarter time and heading into the main break level. Ultimately, the Panthers ability to finally find the big sticks proved the difference as they booted 1.1 to 0.1 in the third term to lead by a goal, before running away with a four goals to zero final term to sit top of the table after Round 1.

Adelaide AFL Women’s midfielder, Nikki Gore was sensational winning the ball as easily as she had last year for the Panthers, and teamed up well with fellow youngster, Hannah Munyard, and Nicole Campbell of whom all three racked up 19 touches. Gore laid a massive 10 tackles in the win, while Campbell and Munyard combined for 15 inside 50s. Teenage sensation, Teah Charlton booted three goals to be a crucial link up forward, while AFL Women’s Academy ruck, Montana McKinnon had 20 hitouts to go with her 13 disposals and four tackles. Izzy Kuiper had the highest disposals for Sturt, notching up 15 for the game as well as four tackles, while former Crow, Georgia Bevan had six rebounds as well as her 12 touches and six tackles. Alexandra Ballard and Maya Rigter both finished the game with 12 touches to be among Sturt’s best as well.

WEST ADELAIDE 2.4 | 4.5 | 5.7 | 6.7 (43)
CENTRAL DISTRICT 1.0 | 1.1 | 1.4 | 3.5 (23)


GOALS:
West: Melanie Elsegood 3, Kasia Culhane, Rachelle Martin, Zoe Venning.
Central: Abbey Scheer, Chantel Reynolds, Laitiah Huynh.

DISPOSALS:
West: Madison Newman 26, Rachelle Martin 23, Abbie Ballard 17
Central: Jayme-Lee Sonneman 16, Danielle Stewart 15

West Adelaide posted an important win over newcomers, Central District in the final game of Round 1. The Westies lead throughout the contest at each break, and although they were outscored by the Bulldogs in the final term, West Adelaide still recorded a comfortable 20-point win. Central District had a reason to celebrate early when Abbey Scheer put through the first major of the game just a minute into the match, but it was slim pickings for Bulldogs goals until the final term, until Laitiah Huynh found the big sticks just 39 seconds into the fourth quarter. By that stage, Melanie Elsegood had booted three of West Adelaide’s five goals, and while Chantel Reynolds cut the deficit to just 15 points at the six-minute mark of quarter, and a behind to last year’s leading goalkicker Katelyn Rosenzweig saw it reduced to 14 points, it was not enough, as one of West Adelaide’s best – Rachelle Martin – kicked the steadier to ensure the victory.

Madison Newman was huge for the Bloods, racking up a game-high 16 disposals, as well as six inside 50s and six rebounds, while Martin had 23 touches of her own and laid nine tackles with four rebounds. Talented youngster, Abbie Ballard was impressive in West Adelaide’s midfield, amassing 17 touches and three inside 50s while laying seven tackles. Former basketballer, Leah Swain had 24 hitouts working hard through the ruck, while Elsegood’s efforts inside 50 to boot 3.2 from just seven disposals showed how damaging she can be. For the Bulldogs, Jayme-Lee Sonneman had the most individual disposals, recording 16 touches as well as three marks, three inside 50s and two rebounds. Danielle Stewart‘s 15 touches were complimented by her eight tackles, three inside 50s and two rebounds, while Rosenzweig took two contested marks from 12 disposals, and while she did not kick a major, was still able to provide a presence up forward. Defender Gemma Doughty had a remarkable six rebounds from seven disposals showing how effective she was in providing support to the midfielders from the back half.