THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s action featuring the stat’s top young talent returned in Round 6, and we took a look at the State Academy players once again in what was their last preparation ahead of the first AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships match against Western Australia next Sunday. All notes are the opinion of the individual writer.
GLENELG vs. STURT
By: Phoebe Doyle
#7 Brooke Tonon
A quieter game compared to past weeks for the smooth-moving Glenelg product with 10 disposals, six kicks, four handballs and one mark. However it was a lower-disposal game and Tonon still provided some highlights with her hard running and ability to cover the ground well on the open spaces of the Adelaide Oval.
#12 Tamsyn Morriss
Morriss was fairly quiet during this match, with only five disposals and one mark overall. She did demonstrate some classy defence in the first quarter, but as the ball spent more time in Glenelg’s attack she did not get the chance to show as much of it.
#3 Georgia Swan
Swan was an ever-presence against Glenelg, finishing with the 10 touches and three marks – one contested – as well as two inside 50s. She had a chance at goal in the first quarter from 45 metres out but just fell short. She sat off for a bit at the start of the second quarter, ran straight into it when coming back on to replace an injury, getting a hand on the ball not even a minute after coming on.
#19 Alex Ballard
Putting on the defensive pressure in the first quarter, Ballard came out even stronger in the second quarter, with a nice passage of play leading to a mark and subsequent goal to bring her scoring accuracy to 100 per cent. Despite the goal, Ballard had just the six touches, but laid four tackles to provide some great defensive pressure on the ball carrier.
#20 Hannah Prenzler
Prenzler was prominently in the background throughout the game. The State Academy prospect had an impressive game, finishing with 11 disposals, three marks and a game-high seven rebound 50s. She mopped up in defence time and time again, and with two thirds of her disposals resulting in rebound 50s, it showed how much she was a help in moving the ball along and decongesting play.
#30 Zoe Prowse
Prowse did not necessarily dominate passages of play as she has in the past, but was certainly a help in the background. The talented ruck was able to rest from the ruck duties with Jess Good taking the brunt of it, with Prowse having a quieter game but still clunking a couple of contested marks showing off her aerial ability.
CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
By: Peter Williams
#28 Lauren Breguet
Played a really solid game returning to the SANFL Women’s after missing matches due to concussion and the State Academy game. Leading out from the forward 50, Breguet showed off her trademark strong hands, and then used the ball well by foot on a number of occasions. Breguet’s second efforts were noticeable, when she did turn over a a ball in the first term, but worked hard to intercept the next ball closer to goal. She showed her second efforts again in the third term when she was knocked off it at half-forward, but backed up with a strong tackle to force a turnover and win the ball back for her side. Midway through the final term, Breguet read the ball well at top speed after almost being intercepted, grabbed it cleanly off hands and running in to kick a goal and cap off the performance.
#40 Madison Lane
Not having to do much in the first term with the Bulldogs controlling the ball up the other end, Lane worked into the game when required. She could not quite pull down a mark midway through the second term when it bounced off her chest, but she had a clean pick up before being tackled and locked it up. She laid a fierce tackle late in the term to force a rushed kick, and showed high-level effort and defensive mindset with a lunging tackle at half-back and then an attempted smother immediately after. In the third term, Lane after kicking outside of the boot and out of bounds, she ran hard in defence to receive the ball off the next play and produce a lovely kick out of the defensive 50.
#41 Laitiah Huynh
Huynh had a couple of noticeable plays throughout the match using the ball well when she needed to. Not racking up as much of the ball as past games, Huynh still showed a clean pair of heels on a number of occasions, such as when she turned Kristi Harvey inside out to get goalside close to the line and put it to a dangerous position and set up a goal to Paige Allen. She had a flying snap in the third term which went high and towards a teammate in the goalsquare, then set up a goal to Breguet by marking free at the top of 50 and kick inboard which whilst not perfect, was effective off hands to her teammate to run into goal.
#33 Julia Clark
Had a busy start early in the match, starting on a wing and then working hard through to half-back. Whilst she could not quite take the ball cleanly at half-back, she worked hard to quickly gather and give off the quick hands. She won a couple of free kicks – one for going in hard and another through the last touch rule – and produced neat chips with those kicks. Overall a quieter game, but took a couple of good grabs.
#38 Kate Case
Had a crack throughout the game and whilst she was not overly prominent or afforded the time and space that the running talent would like, she mopped up in the back half a number of times. She had a nice play in the final term when she did find space, drawing an opponent then releasing by hand to a teammate at half-forward after going for a bit of a run.
#43 Amelie Borg
The most prominent of the Roosters’ State Academy members, the bottom-age talent worked hard in defence with Kristi Harvey. Showing composure deep in the back 50, Borg mopped up under pressure and was able to clear the ball from congestion with a couple of quick kicks to get it free. She saved a certain goal near the goalsquare with a great tackle 15 minutes into the third term to force a behind, then had a nice one-on-one in the final term with a clean pickup and spin kick forward for distance. Made a couple of errors by foot, but overall did not panic when under pressure.
#47 Jorja Eldridge
Rotated between defence and rolling through the ruck, Eldridge laid a strong tackle early in the game to lock it up at a stoppage, then showed good second efforts at ground level when in the ruck. She made a couple of mistakes when trying to break through a tackle in defence in the third term and was dispossessed for a free kick, and then turned over a ball from deep defence near the top of 50. To her credit, she worked hard up the ground to win the ball in a contest on the wing and then handball to a teammate whilst Eldridge was under pressure, to keep it moving in congestion. She also took a strong grab in the middle and kicked to half-forward midway through the quarter.
WWT EAGLES vs. NORWOOD
By: Peter Williams
#8 Charlotte Dolan
Her numbers were down in the match, but Dolan’s intensity at the football was still high, having a number of plays where she attacked the hard ball. She cracked in with some fierce tackles and won plenty of contested possessions, but could not free herself from the stoppage. She won a free kick for going in hard in the second term and kicked to half-forward, often using the ball in transition from space going forward, though was under pressure most of the time.
#25 Jamie Parish
Played up forward this week and did not get to see a lot of it, but Parish did have her first main impact in the second term, leading out from the attacking 50, marking, then spinning and quickly moving it on inside the forward 50. She applied good pressure around the ball carrier and was sighted in defence late in the game offering herself as an option at half-back, but could not quite pull down the mark under pressure, through she did track it.
#15 Alana Lishmund
Had her moments around the ground but like many players did not have a lot of space within which to move the ball. She won it at half-back midway through the second term and kicked forward but the unlucky bounce saw an Eagles defender intercept. She kept working hard throughout the match, and had a nice clearance for her troubles.
#22 Jade Halfpenny
Her form of 2021 continued with a solid first three quarters up forward and an outstanding last quarter in the midfield. The versatile tall had a kick off the ground in the opening 20 seconds of the game, but it went to the right for a behind. Later on in the term she took an intercept mark at half-forward and hit a target inside 50. On a number of occasions she would win the contested ball but be immediately tackled, but in the third term she showed great hands under pressure early to get the ball out to Lana Schwerdt for a snap on goal. The final term saw Halfpenny thrown into the midfield and she immediately had an impact where she won the majority of her disposals for the day. She had a few inside 50s and driving balls going to the danger spots, keeping the ball moving quickly in transition. One kick set up a Mattea Breed goal, and then next stoppage she shrugged off a tackle and kicked long again showing her confidence. She took a great intercept mark on the forward side of the win in the 12th minute, then worked hard to help out in the back half, winning the ball at half0back and chipping into the true centre half-back position.
WEST ADELAIDE vs. SOUTH ADELAIDE
By: Michael Alvaro
#8 Keeley Kustermann
Stationed in her usual defensive post, Kustermann was resolute as ever and decisive on the ball. She competed well each time her name was called upon and dug in with repeat efforts to help push the ball out of West Adelaide’s defensive 50. One benefit of her competitiveness was a knack of earning free kicks in important areas to help relieve pressure. With ball in hand, Kustermann’s kicking was clean and she made really good decisions when looking further afield. She looks natural when going by foot and plays the percentages well.
#9 Zoe Venning
Venning spent a good amount of time up forward during this outing, but still managed to contribute some handy work around the stoppages and congested areas. She popped up with nice movement at an early contest and would often look to move the ball on quickly by hand when pressured, while also applying solid pressure herself. A couple of key one-on-one wins highlighted Venning’s day; the first was a big holding the ball tackle in term one, and the second was a ground ball win at half-forward which ended in a goal assist.
#30 Lauren Young
Again outstanding in the red and black, Young proved a constant in midfield and later capped off her game with promising work up forward. While she was caught and went to ground on a few occasions when fighting for loose balls, Young’s best traits came to the fore aerially with terrific marks at either end of the ground. She set up well across half-forward to help lock the ball in Westies’ attacking arc and even got back to take a relieving grab deep in defence. Her judgement of the ball in flight was sound, and you cannot fault her willingness to compete on all levels. Young’s kick penetration was another key feature of her game, which was iced fittingly by a final term goal – earned through a holding the ball tackle.
#1 Tahlita Buethke
A real ‘moments’ kind of player, Buethke was one of South’s better midfielders on the day and showed flashes of her scintillating best. Her speed away from the contest made for eye-catching centre breaks, with her athleticism also translating to some courageous aerial acts. Buethke often flew back or across to contest high balls, but was also quick to follow up at ground level – showing clean hands at both levels. Her natural game is exciting, with her first instinct nearly always seeing her take off quickly to then boot the Panthers forward. Her kicking at speed could do with some refining, and Buethke found herself caught a couple of times on the run during term two – though a hair malfunction may have distracted her on the second instance.
#5 Sarah Wright
Wright was relatively quiet throughout the game, but worked hard in defence during the early stages to help South Adelaide find a way forward. Her decision making and execution by foot was pretty sound, and she got to showcase a bit of run-and-carry as the game wore on with clean gathers at speed and take-on attempts. A desperate dive to force a rushed behind in the first quarter was among Wright’s best moments for the day.
#36 Gypsy Schirmer
Another who popped up in flashes, Schirmer worked high up the ground to provide an outlet option from defence and showed clean hands when called upon. She did some nice work on the outer with attacking runs and played a hand in one of South’s best end-to-end passages during the third term. On that occasion, Schirmer got into space and moved the ball on quickly to hit a target by foot inside 50. She found herself in the wars during term four as she looked to help out in defence, but seemed to come away unscathed.
#41 Lauren Clifton
Clifton’s run-and-carry was a real feature of her game, with good timing on handball receives allowing for productive play on the outside. She was not afraid to cut inboard or take on opponents ahead of her, backing her speed and then looking to deliver forward by foot. Clifton’s execution at full tilt was not always perfect, but relatively effective under good pressure from Westies. She bookended her outing well and showed nice signs overall.