Tag: kate walsh

SANFL Women’s season review: West Adelaide

WEST ADELAIDE is the next team up in our South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s season review series as we look at the eight sides in reverse ladder order and how their 2020 seasons went down.

Position: 3rd
Wins: 6
Losses: 5
Draws: 1

2020 IN A NUTSHELL

West Adelaide enjoyed a successful season in 2020, going all the way to a Preliminary Final. The Bloods had no played in a finals series previously, but saved their best game for the elimination final when they piled on the highest score in their club’s history. They went down to South Adelaide the next week, but can be proud with how they played this year, and certainly showed huge signs of improvement and will be a serious contender in 2021.

AFL WOMEN’S ALL-STARS GAME REPRESENTATIVES:

Emma Smith

Is a clever outside player who generally uses the ball well between midfield and attack. She is often seen running down the wing and creating things going inside 50, and uses good vision to spot up free targets and short kicks to open up space.

Zoe Venning

Strong overhead and a fierce attack on the ball, the mid-forward had a really good season in 2020, becoming one of West Adelaide’s top players despite still being a middle-age prospect. She can find her own footy easily, and as she showed in the All-Stars game, is quick on the lead and strong overhead.

Abbie Ballard

Possessing a lethal left foot, Ballard loves the contested side of things and just attacks the ball and the ball carrier. She can play inside or down forward, and has such superb defensive pressure, but also capable of playing an outside role too. Despite not being tall, she is not afraid to take on players much bigger than herself in a tackle.

Rachael Martin

The league’s top player this season, Martin earned a train-on invitation with the Crows and even got a game early in the year given Adelaide’s injury list. More than capable of playing at the top level, Martin is just a natural ball winner with elite defensive pressure and a knack around goals or creating goals for other players. A deserving equal league best and fairest in 2020. Unfortunately she was unavailable for the All-Stars game but showed enough this season to show clubs what she can do.

OTHERS WHO STOOD OUT:

  • Madison Newman
  • Stevie-Lee Thompson
  • Keeley Kustermann
  • Chelsea Biddell
  • Lauren Rodato
  • Kate Walsh
  • Zoe Greer

There was no shortage of talent across the Bloods list in 2020, with defender, Madison Newman and Keeley Kustermann providing great run and balance, and elite skills coming out of the back 50. They flanked captain Lauren Rodato who was reliable as ever there, making it difficult for most opposition attacks. Looking through the midfield, Stevie-Lee Thompson and Zoe Greer were superb, while Kate Walsh had a breakout season in the ruck, and Chelsea Biddell provided a presence when in attack.

Summary

West Adelaide won a maiden final and showed how exciting the Bloods can be with some great attacking football. They had plenty of youth mixed with their AFL Women’s experience, and it made for a really strong season and something to build on for 2021.

Picture: SANFL

SANFL Women’s weekly wrap: Round 9 – Finals locked up as Norwood wins crucial match

THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s Finals Series has been determined a couple of weeks out from it commencing following the completion of Round 9. Norwood locked up the final spot in the top four by defeating West Adelaide, ensuring those teams face off in the elimination final in a couple of weeks, while North Adelaide and South Adelaide are bound for the qualifying final.

CENTRAL DISTRICT 0.1 | 2.2 | 2.4 | 2.8 (20)
SOUTH ADELAIDE 3.2 | 4.3 | 6.5 | 9.5 (59)

GOALS:

Central: R. Richardson 2.
South: H. Munyard 2, S. Peters, M. Bennett, C. Ross, T. Meyer, I. Tahau, G. Schirmer, N. Campbell.

ADC BEST: 

Central: S. Smith, S. Allan, D. Sonneman, L. Breguet, A. Butler
South: H. Munyard, G. Schirmer, L. Whiteley, T. Charlton, M. Bennett

The reigning premiers were more polished and efficient, but ignoring the final margin, this match was an entertaining battle from start to finish. South Adelaide got the chocolates by 39 points, but if Central District had just finished off the terrific work up the ground by capitalising on more chances in front of goal, this would have been a much tighter contest.

In what would be a sign of things to come for the match, Central District controlled the midfield in the opening half, yet it was the Panthers who would burst out of the blocks kicking the opening four goals of the match. Sienna Peters was the first one on the board after Gypsy Schirmer showed great burst to win the ball at speed and pump it forward for Peters to read it well off the bounce, turn and goal in the opening few minutes. The defence led by Lisa Whiteley and Lauren Buchanan was on song, and despite the inside 50s coming frequent in the opening half, they stood up, limiting the Bulldogs to just one behind in the opening term.

Hannah Munyard provided an early highlight in what would be a game to remember from the teenager, spinning out of an opponents’ grasp to take a few bounces and handball over the top to Madison Bennett in the square to pop through a second major. Both Munyard and Bennett would have chances not long after but missed, though Caitlin Ross would make the most of an errant handball out of a pack to snap around her body for a goal.

When the switched on Munyard pounced on a loose ball close to the boundary line everyone else thought was going out, the Western Bulldogs AFL Women’s player sped off, caught the defence napping and snapped it around the goal post to hand her side a four-goal lead. As frustrating as it would have been for the Central box to see the midfield controlling play but not getting scoreboard reward, they were soon able to celebrate following a neat passage of play out of the middle got to Katelyn Rosenzweig who bombed it long for birthday girl Renai Richardson to run onto and put through from point blank range.

Five minutes later Richardson made it a double after Smith handballed out of a pack at half-forward to set up a scoring chain to Richardson who marked one-on-one and converted her second major. A lot of Central’s young players were starting to have an impact, and the likes of Zoe Perry and Madison Lane were having some good moments. Now back within a manageable margin, Central was getting reward for effort. South tried to hit back late in the term, with Tahlia Meyer winning some important touches at half-forward, with a late chance to Schirmer missing leaving the half-time margin at 13 points.

The third term was where South weathered the Central storm and just pulled away for some breathing space at the final break, as the shared load in front of goal for the Panthers continued. Indy Tahau almost snapped a perfect goal out of nothing thanks to fellow AFL Women’s Academy player Teah Charlton‘s smart thinking to not take possession and punch it to Tahau 30m out from goal, but the ball was deemed touched off the boot. Instead the pair would team up again soon, this time with Charlton giving it off to Meyer who got it in the Tahau direction to snap to the square and bounce home with no interruptions. The goal came moments after Meyer had done a similar thing in play with a quick boot to ball scenario.

Allan and Smith were working hard teaming up in midfield, and it seemed a set play for a Bulldogs player to handball to the running Allan to kick deep, while Rosenzweig was marking most things that came her way. Unfortunately her usually reliable accuracy did not match her hands as she kicked multiple behinds in the match and South went 25 points up at the final break.

The floodgates opened early in the final term as South piled on three goals in eight minutes, with Schirmer, Campbell and then Munyard’s second all helping the Panthers build some good percentage coming out of the game. Indeed Munyard was superb for the Panthers in a standout best on ground performance, while the likes of Schirmer, Tahau, Whiteley and Buchanan were all strong. Central’s Smith and Allan stood out, and Rosenzweig could have had a handful had she kicked straight, though the defence of Sonneman, and cameos from Lane and Latiah Huynh around the ground were good. The Bulldogs had a number of chances in the final term but could not put it through, as South enjoyed a 39-point win.

NORWOOD 2.1 | 2.4 | 2.7 | 4.9 (33)
WEST ADELAIDE 1.1 | 2.2 | 2.3 | 3.4 (22)

GOALS:

Norwood: T. Hankinson 2, A. Lischmund, M. Zander.
West: S. Lee-Thompson, R. Killian, C. Biddell.

ADC BEST:

Norwood: J. Macolino, N. Allen, M. Zander, M. Breed, T. Hankinson
West: S. Thompson, L. Rodato, N. Davis, R. Martin, M. Newman

Norwood became the last piece in the SANFL Women’s finals series puzzle after toppling West Adelaide in a four-quarter armwrestle. The third placed Bloods were not out of the race for second heading into the game, though had secured a finals spot last week, but now will certainly play Norwood in the elimination final after the Redlegs won 4.9 (33) to 3.4 (22). It also ended any chance Glenelg had of playing finals, with the Bays playing later in the day and facing Norwood in the final round in what could have been a virtual elimination final. Instead, Norwood gained a vital advantage ahead of the two teams facing off again in a fortnight.

It is fair to say the game was not one for the highlight reel, though it was not without tension and drama as neither side would give an inch. With a total of four goals kicked in three quarters, it became more about capitalising one chances when presented with them. The first term masked what would be a low-scoring match when Redlegs captain Alison Ferrall got it to Najwa Allen in the pocket who centred it to Tessa Hankinson. She marked in the goalsquare and truly delivered from point-blank range to give her side the lead early in the game. Rachelle Martin had started strong for the Westies, while Mattea Breed was getting busy in the midfield for the Redlegs.

After not much in the way of goals for the first half of the term, it took some terrific work from half-back and a team effort for West Adelaide to rush it down and Chelsea Biddell mark at half-forward. She spotted Stevie-Lee Thompson one-on-one alone inside 50 and put it to her advantage running back with the 2019 AFL Women’s leading goalkicker making good on her chance to put it home with five and a half minutes to spare in the term. With the game neck-and-neck, a costly high tackle on Alana Lischmund 30m out from goal in the last minute proved the difference between the sides with the Redlegs forward converting and handing her team a six-point lead at the first break.

The second term was a bizarre one, and a quarter that looked to be goalless right up until the last 10 seconds of the game when Madison Newman – who had been a little errant with her usual elite kicks – found Thompson at half-forward who got it deep to Rachael Killian to run onto and put it through moments before the half-time siren to draw within two points. Whilst the scoring had been rare, there were some huge individual efforts in the quarter, with Norwood’s Jess Macolino and Breed among the top performers, while Matilda Zander and Jade Halfpenny had some nice moments with their hands in close. Lauren Rodato and Niamh Davis were rocks in the back half for the Westies however, and Thompson and Chelsea Biddell were providing the presence through the middle third of the ground.

Opening the third term, West Adelaide started a player short with Abby Hardwick running on after the Bloods realised, and caused a moment of confusion with the umpires. Once the game got going, the defences came to the fore, as neither team could capitalise. Both teams had chances, but in the end it was Norwood that extended its lead with three behinds to one. Keeley Kustermann was solid off half-back with Newman getting better and better, while ruck Kate Walsh had a big term for the Westies. Breed continued her good form in the game as Macolino went from strength to strength, and Allen and Zander continued to press hard through the middle. A contested mark by Biddell on the wing, and a couple of quick kicks on goal by Zander missed, but Norwood was looking the more damaging of the sides.

With finals on the line for Norwood, and potentially a top two spot in the works for West Adelaide, the last quarter meant a lot to both sides. Straight away Norwood took control with Allen winning the ball on the wing, taking three bounces and slicing up the defence to centre the ball into Zander 25m out on a slight angle. She tugged it to the left, which was fortuitously marked by Halfpenny close to the behind post. The youngster decided to give Zander a second shot on goal instead of trying to snap with the number one Redleg marking in space yet again. Her behind to the left marked Norwood’s seventh straight miss which could have proved costly.

West Adelaide’s defence was holding up well, but the Redlegs kept forcing it forward. Zander continued to get busier and put it to Lischmund’s advantage but her soccer off the ground hit the behind post. Moments later though, Zander managed to snap from congestion and it bounced through to give her side a crucial 11-point lead just over five minutes played. The celebrations did not last long though, because the deficit sparked the Westies into action. The next centre clearance worked its way to Thompson at half-forward who hit-up Biddell. Her subsequent free kick saw her nail a set shot goal and put the deficit back to five points. Not long after, Ferrall had a chance up the other end to extend the lead but missed.

Through the middle of the ground both Zander and Martin were applying fierce pressure, as Martin laid a couple of massive tackles to stop opponents in their tracks. In what was the most bizarre moment of the game that proved fatal to the Bloods’ chances, Hankinson won a free kick for Norwood near the behind post with four minutes left on the clock. Her set shot should have been tucked up against the line, but instead her opponent ran to stand on the line with teammates and a surprise Hankinson played on with no pressure and easily put it through from 10m out to all but seal the game. Biddell had another late chance with two minutes left on the clock but was rushed through on the line and the siren sounded not long after for the Redlegs to finally celebrate and enjoy another finals appearance with a week to spare in the regular season.

 

NORTH ADELAIDE 6.1 | 8.4 | 10.9 | 14.4 (88)
STURT 0.0 | 0.2 | 0.5 | 0.6 (6)

GOALS:

North: C. Taylor 2, K. Pope 2, E. Greet 2, A. Hatchard 2, A. Woodland 2, C. Castle, B. Perry, H. Ewings, B. Perry.
Sturt: Nil.

ADC BEST:

North: K. Pope, B. Perry, A. Woodland, A. Hatchard, H. Ewings
Sturt: Z. Prowse, G. Bevan, K. Harris, A. Jericho, T. Hough

North Adelaide has made it eight consecutive quarters without conceding a goal after a flexing 82-point thumping over Sturt to secure what was already all but secured – the minor premiership. A six-goal first term set up the huge 14.4 (88) to 0.6 (6) victory at Prospect Oval, with the game perhaps best summarised by the final goal of the match by Erica Greet. Facing a one against two battle at the top of the goalsquare in the final minute of the game, many would have forgiven the Roosters player for not going 100 per cent. But she attacked the ball carrier and not only nullified the contest, but wrestled the ball back and then dribbled it home for a major between her two opponents.

That goal was the last of 14 majors piled on by the Roosters in what was a one-sided contest from midway through the first term. Sturt had its moments, particularly in the second term when it managed to stabilise the damage, but ultimately efficiency inside defensive 50, and the slick skills of the Roosters on the counter attack was too much for the Double Blues. North Adelaide had four multiple goalkickers on the day with Greet’s second major seeing her join speedster Katelyn Pope, Adelaide best and fairest winner Anne Hatchard, and strong forward Charlotte Taylor on a couple of goals.

Britt Perry was first on the board for the Roosters two minutes in off the back of a terrific Pope play using her speed for a one-two handball chain and then getting it forward for Brianna Arthur to try and shoot. While it was smothered, Perry mopped up and kicked a nice goal. Cristie Castle and Perry were involved in a lot of scoring early, as Taylor and then Pope got their names in the goalkickers books. Despite the work of Hannah Prenzler pushing into defence, the ruck dominance of Zoe Prowse and the work horse effort of co-captain Georgia Bevan, the Double Blues could not stop the run of the Roosters. Three late goals in the term really hurt the Double Blues as Greet, Hatchard and then with one second left on the clock, Castle all kicking goals for a 37-point quarter time lead.

The game was effectively done by then, but Sturt would not give up. Though red time goals would prove a factor in the second term, with the Double Blues managing to score a couple of behinds, albeit through rushed behinds, but at least they were keeping the ball inside 50. After not conceding a goal for the first 14 minutes, Sturt watched two late majors sail home as Ewings nailed a nice set shot from 30m, then Woodland did well to beat her opponent near the boundary and get goal side to slam it home with a minute to play and open up a 50-point half-time margin.

Too many mis-kicks early in the third term by the Double Blues were preventing them from getting too far up the ground, but North Adelaide was missing most of the gifts for the last touch out of bounds rule. Five minutes into the quarter, Pope benefited off a loose ball to run onto it, burn off an opponent and finally put one through. A minute later, Taylor took a strong one-on-one mark close to goal off a deep Ewings kick and added a ninth goal to the team’s tally. Sturt had some chances with Ally Ladas‘ shot just missing, and then another attempt from the boundary also going the wrong side of the big sticks. The Double Blues had their moments, but the Roosters were too strong with Woodland and Castle getting involved, and heading into three quarter time with a 64-point advantage.

Whilst the final term could have been playing out time, Pope ensured that would not be the case with another huge run from half-back, taking a bounce, handballing off and receiving it back, then delivering it beautifully to Woodland on the lead to convert an early goal in the third minute. Prowse, Bevan and Kate Harris continued to work hard for Sturt, but the red jumpers around the contest outnumbered them and were dominating possession. Aajiah Jericho had a good last term with a crunching tackle to win a free kick and a few good marks, while Georgia Swan got into the game. Tiah Hough was another who had shown signs throughout the game, but the Roosters had winners all over the park.

The penultimate goal came from Hatchard who receiving a pass in from another last touch free, wheeled around and put through her second, in what had been another professional performance from here. The eventual 82-point margin showed just what North is capable of and look very good to go one better than last year. Crucially, the Roosters were able to throw around the magnets after quarter time with Kristi Harvey thrown forward and Hatchard even playing in a pocket for stints. There were plenty of players in the bests for the Roosters who head into the final round against Central District as they bid to go undefeated in season 2020.

 

GLENELG 2.1 | 3.2 | 7.4 | 8.5 (53)
WWT EAGLES 1.0 | 1.1 | 1.1 | 1.2 (8)

GOALS: 

Glenelg: C. Gould 3, E. Jones 2, S. Franson 2, M. Affolter.
WWT: G. Smallacombe.

ADC BEST: 

Glenelg: S. Franson, C. Gould, E. Jones, T. Kohn, L. Armitage
WWT: T. Maher, R. Forth, C. Dolan, C. Forby, N. Holmes

Despite being ruled out of a 2020 SANFL Women’s finals appearance only hours earlier, it did not stop Glenelg coming through with an impressive 45-point victory over Woodville-West Torrens Eagles in an evening game. With the second half played under lights, it was a four-goal third term by the Bays that really separated the home team from the last placed side on the day. In the end, despite some confusion with the score, Glenelg got up 8.5 (53) to Eagles’ 1.2 (8).

Caitlin Gould finished with three majors, while Eloise Jones and Sam Franson both booted two as the trio were clearly among the best on the ground for the winners. The Eagles tried to create some run through youngsters, Tesharna Maher and Charlotte Dolan, but after a promising start – where Grace Smallacombe booted the first goal five minutes into the game – it was all Glenelg, piling on eight unanswered goals for the remainder of the match, whilst restricting the Eagles to just two behinds.

The Eagles enjoyed the lead only briefly in the first term, with Franson creating something out of nothing courtesy of a strong contest by Gould putting the Bays back in front. Five minutes later they made it too when pressure through midfield from Ellie Kellock allowed quick ball movements inside 50 and a towering Molly Affolter mark close to goal. She capitalised, and the Bays were up by seven at the first break with the likes of Tessa Kohn and Lucy Armitage also busy.

Jovanka Zecevic tried to set the tone for the Eagles from the opening bounce with a big tackle and first inside 50, as Woodville-West Torrens continued to attack early in the second term. Despite the likes of Chloe Forby and Natasha Holmes doing well, and Maher continually breaking the lines, it was the composure of Madisyn Freeman and the likes of Brooke Tonon getting involved in midfield to aid the AFL Women’s talents for the home side. Midway through the term, a great kick from Franson found Jones on the lead just 15m out with a strong contested grab which she converted, while up the other end, Bronwyn Davey had a chance after a terrific tackle, but her shot missed to the right for the Eagles to trail by 13 points at half-time.

The third term belonged to the Bays as they booted four goals throughout the term, including a couple later in the quarter to Gould who stretched the margin out to an unassailable 39-point advantage by the final break. Franson again created something out of nothing with a kick off the ground two minutes into the quarter, before a touch of magic from Jones under pressure on a tight angle swung home. Gould proved a real handful for the defence, taking a couple of strong marks and converting her opportunities, while the likes of Kellock and Deni Varnhagen were being effective around the ground.

There was not too much to celebrate in the third term for the Eagles, but Dolan was proving productive through the back half of the ground, as Kiana Lee was again consistent on the last line, but struggled to get it past the half-back wall of the Tigers. Woodville-West Torrens would have a couple of early chances in the opening few minutes, but could only put through a behind, as the likes of Chloe Forby and Anastasia Falkenberg were trying to keep the ball moving. Forth tried hard all day for the visitors, but the Tigers were just too strong, as they showed in an end-to-end play for Gould to slot home her third major midway through the quarter. Holmes had a chance in the last couple of minutes to put through another for the Eagles, but it agonisingly fell short and stayed in play, as Glenelg enjoyed a comfortable win.

SANFL Women’s preview: Round 8 – Triple header on Super Sunday

A TOP against bottom clash on Saturday is followed by a Super Sunday with three back-to-back games at ACH Group Stadium as Round 8 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) takes place.

NORTH ADELAIDE vs. WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS
Saturday, July 18, 3.50pm
Prospect Oval

A couple of crucial injuries to both North Adelaide and Woodville-West Torrens have forced changes at the selection table as AFL Women’s players, Talia Radan (North) and Jess Sedunary (Eagles) are out of the clash. The Roosters regain important defender Lauren Gauci as both teams go with extended benches for the standalone women’s clash at Prospect Oval. It will take a monumental effort from the Eagles to topple the Roosters who have shone this season and are the clear team to beat in season 2020. They are by far the highest scoring team in the competition, with a ridiculous average of 52 points a game, whilst only conceding a competition low 17.3 points per game. The Eagles are the best defensive side outside the clear three standout teams, and have been capable of generating scores at times, though coming up the benchmark in the competition, it will be tough.

Anne Hatchard leads a Roosters midfield that has plenty of depth with the X-factor of Hannah Ewings, the speed of Katelyn Pope and the smarts of Lauren Daniel working through there. A couple of defensive rocks in Amber Ward and Kristi Harvey make it difficult to win one-on-ones in the Roosters back 50, while there are no shortage of goalkickers up front with Kelly Barltrop the main target, and the likes of Britt Perry and Katelyn Reynolds (both two goals last week), and Cristie Castle able to generate scores. The Eagles have some young talent through the list, with Tesharna Maher one who can catch the eye with her line-breaking ability, while Charlotte Dolan has strung together some good form of late. Amie Blanden has been a consistent forward, while Jovanka Zecevic has covered so much ground in 2020. It is fair to say the Roosters will be red-hot favourites in this clash, but stranger things have happened in footy.

 

STURT vs. NORWOOD
Sunday, July 19, 10.10am
ACH Group Stadium

A massive Super Sunday at ACH Group Stadium begins just after 10am when the Double Blues take on the Redlegs in a must-win clash for both sides. If the top four sides win again this round, then the finals will be done and dusted with a five-point gap between fourth and fifth, and in particular lock in year another finals series for Norwood. The inaugural premiers and then unlucky the past two years at the pointy end of the season, the Redlegs have undergone a fair bit of change in 2020, but a number of young guns have emerged and really stepped up at senior level. They have won three, lost three and drawn o in that time, but the issue is they are sixth for scores conceded, with only Central District and Sturt conceding more this season. The Double Blues unfortunately have the least points more and most points against this season. If they can cause an upset here, then final are far from done and dusted, though with North next week it makes it tough.

Norwood’s key talls who can play up either end in young guns, Mattea Breed and Bella Smith control the airways clunking some strong contested marks and providing that extra strength and smarts when reading the ball in flight. They lost Monique Hollick early last week to injury so were one down for the most of the contest against the top placed Roosters. The Redlegs were competitive and take confidence out of that game, they just faded away in the second half. Leah Cutting‘s battle with Zoe Prowse will be massive as the best ruck in the competition goes up against the best young ruck in the competition. Cutting has great body positioning and smarts, while Prowse has the athleticism that can worry opponents.

The midfield battle is just as intense, as Norwood have Najwa Allen, Matilda Zander and Jess Macolino of whom the latter is in some ripping form of late, while Isabel Martin can also pop up and have an impact in the forward half. Sturt looks to its co-captains in Georgia Bevan and Maya Rigter, with Isobel Kuiper also a mainstay in there. The youth of the Double Blues is superb and they are trying everything to manufacture scores including throwing Hannah Prenzler and Alex Ballard forward to join Georgia Swan down there, while Elsie Dawes has been impressive of late in the back half. Sturt must win this clash, but to do so, they must find a way to score, and the average of 15 points per game the Double Blues score will likely not cut it, so Norwood head in as strong favourites.

CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. WEST ADELAIDE
Sunday, July 19, 11.55am
ACH Group Stadium

The middle game at ACH Group Stadium is a third against sixth where it is effectively the last chance for Central District – like the other bottom four sides – to roll the dice and try and secure a finals spot. West Adelaide have that finals spot – barring a complete capitulation, losing all three games and one of the other sides winning all three – but they would still like to put an exclamation mark on their season with a win here. If they win, finals are assured as they will sit at least game and a half – and likely two games and a half – ahead of the bottom five. The Bloods are still in contention of a top two spot if Glenelg can upset South Adelaide and they face the Panthers in the final round of the season. For the Bulldogs, they need a win and need Norwood to lose, but even if the Redlegs do not, finals are not completely out of reach. But it makes life tough as Central would need to find a way to defeat the top two sides – North and South – in the final two weeks, while hoping Norwood lose both its games. Central has a rough fixture to finish the year, and it will be a great test to see where it sits as it comes to the end of its second season.

The Bulldogs have only had to make the one chance with Gemma Doughty returning and replacing Chantel Reynolds who was impressive last week. Doughty will give the Bulldogs some great run off half-back, with their defence holding up well this season. Demi Sonneman is the rock at full-back, and Nicola Biagi has provided extra support there since returning. Last week was about their scoring power, as they piled on a team-high record score of 44, and will need to muster something similar again. Katelyn Rosenzweig is the player that makes things happen in the forward half, booting three goals and providing a presence to set up opportunities for her teammates. However the likes of Latiah Huynh, Shannon Murphy and Amber James up there have been able to hit the scoreboard in the last couple of weeks and just provide that support that was lacking prior to the break. Shelby Smith will have a massive role along withe Lauren Smith and Alicia Butler in trying to quell West Adelaide’s midfield.

The Bloods have Rachelle Martin, Abbie Ballard and Zoe Greer in there who are just sensational, while Kate Walsh has great strength in the ruck and her battle with Sarah Allan will be huge. The Westies’ half-back line of captain Lauren Rodato, and elite kicks Madison Newman and Keeley Kustermann is A-grade, and their forward line is the best in the competition. Stevie-Lee Thompson, Chelsea Biddell and Kasia Culhane to name a few are so damaging, but it will be up to the Bulldogs’ defence to try and quell them. The Bulldogs will be helped by the absence of Melanie Elsegood who is out injured in this game, though there are plenty of targets inside that forward 50. West Adelaide is a real roughie for the flag so the Bloods have earned favouritism, but Central is an impressive outfit that keeps getting better each week and are not afraid to take the game on.

 

GLENELG vs. SOUTH ADELAIDE
Sunday, July 19, 1.40pm
ACH Group Stadium

In a rematch from a few weeks earlier, the Tigers try and have another crack at reigning back-to-back premiers, South Adelaide in the final game of the round on Sunday. They have brought back a number of players including ruck talent, Soriah Moon, while the Panthers have a couple of handy ins among four with Elyse Haylock and Brooklyn Kraft both returning as well. In the first round back post-lockdown, Glenelg pushed South all the way for three quarters until three goals to zero in the last term handed the Panthers a 15-point lead. It was at the very ACH Group Stadium where the Tigers almost caused an early upset in what was one of the games of the season. Now to have a hope of making finals, they must win here and indeed their final two games against Eagles and Norwood to make finals. In many ways, this is almost like a virtual elimination final for the Bays, because if they win, they go fourth favourites overall, with Norwood having to play West Adelaide next week. It means the Tigers could overtake them heading into the team’s final round clash, but a loss here and a likely win to Norwood means the Tigers’ finals dreams are dashed. South are into finals, and are hoping North can slip up at some point, but will enjoy heading into the post-season series as underdogs. Though they would not want to get too complacent and drop a couple of games in the run home and potentially slip to third, missing out on that double chance.

Much like the first time these teams played, the midfield battle will be fascinating. They both have star power in there, with Ebony Marinoff leading the charge for Glenelg alongside another AFL Women’s talent in Deni Varnhagen, while Tessa Kohn has been named back on a wing after playing forward the last few weeks. South has that dominant combination of Nikki Gore, Czenya Cavouras and Hannah Munyard through there, as well as Nicole Campbell who can have a real influence. Throw in the young guns of Teah Charlton popping up for crucial goals, and Indy Tahau working hard through the ruck, and they have the youth to match the experience.

Glenelg has some talented young players scattered around the ground as well with Madisyn Freeman and Brooke Tonon both exciting players, while the likes of Eloise Jones and Caitlin Gould straight the Bays up and capable of playing up either end and providing height. South’s defence is a real team defence and they work together well, with Samantha Pratt and Lauren Buchanan always working it well out of the back 50. Glenelg has the capability of putting up a big total – as do South – but the Panthers are often more defence-first and make life difficult for the opposition. The Panthers won the first time and they just seem to do that – grinding out wins even when there have been patches that go against them – so expect them to be the favourites, but when a team is backs-against-the-wall like Glenelg, anything can happen and they made it happen last year by scraping into finals with a massive final few rounds to the year.

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

ADC BEST:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOALS: 

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

ADC BEST:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

ADC BEST:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

ADC BEST:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SANFL Women’s Round 4 review: Eagles take home maiden win as Roosters claim outright top

IT has been a long time coming, but it was finally celebration time for Woodville-West Torrens Eagles who celebrated their first win in the club’s history, 14 games into its inauguration. So many times the Eagles have come close, but they got the job done with an impressive second half to down Glenelg by 25 points. In other results, North Adelaide went outright top with a four-point win over South Adelaide, Sturt made it back-to-back wins with victory over Central District, and West Adelaide and Norwood played out the season’s first draw.

WWT EAGLES 1.1 | 2.2 | 4.2 | 7.3 (45)
GLENELG 2.0 | 3.2 | 3.2 | 3.2 (20)

GOALS:

WWT: N. Collie 3, K. Lee 3, S. Walker.
Glenelg: M. Althouse, L. Kenny, M. Speechley.

HIGH DISPOSALS:

WWT: R. Metcalfe 15
Glenelg: T. Kohn 18

After so many close games and near misses, there was finally cause for celebration at Woodville-West Torrens after the Eagles produced a second half to remember and run out 25-point winners over Glenelg on Friday night. The Eagles trailed by as much as 13 points five minutes into the second term, but then took total control of the match to boot the final 6.2 of the game and enjoy a comfortable maiden victory in the SANFL Women’s.

The Tigers were missing a number of starters from the game due to Adelaide Crows’ selection and injury or unavailability, but still looked good early in the match, booting two first quarter goals – Molly Althouse and Lauren Kenny – to counter the Kiana Lee major early in the term. When Melinda Speechley converted the Tigers’ third just 39 seconds into the second term and a behind to Althouse shortly followed, the visitors were up by 13 points. Little did they know that a wave of Eagles goals would follow. Rhiannon Metcalfe added a behind in the sixth minute – the first Eagles’ score since Lee’s major seven minutes into the first term – and then Lee had her second not long after to cut the half-time deficit to just six points. Two minutes into the second half and Stephanie Walker had levelled the scores and 10 minutes later, Lee’s third snag had the winless side a goal up at the break. Still only narrowly ahead, the fans were still nervous. Enter Nicole Collie who took the game by the scruff of the neck and booted three consecutive goals every five minutes in the last quarter to help her side to a 7.3 (45) to 3.2 (20) win.

Not known as a high possession side, the Eagles had 30 less touches and seven less marks, but their reputation as the number one tackling side continued with another remarkable effort of 92 tackles to 74. Woodville-West Torrens also dominated the hitouts 43-28, though the Tigers made more opportunities with clearances (30-24) and had an extra inside 50 (21-20). It was once again the Eagles’ defence that held up in the tough times, recording 16 rebounds to 14, but more importantly, finding a way to score from limited opportunities in what was really a battle between the arcs.

Metcalfe had a team-high 15 disposals, 26 hitouts, four clearances and four inside 50s in the win, a huge reason for her side’s ruck work dominance. Up forward, it was Lee (12 disposals, five marks – one contested, three tackles, two inside 50s and three goals) that did the damage early, while Collie made the most of just five disposals to take four marks – one contested – and boot three majors. Also among the best were Chloe Forby (11 disposals, seven tackles, five clearances and five inside 50s) and Walker (11 disposals, three tackles). For the Tigers, Tessa Kohn continued her brilliant form with 18 disposals, seven clearances, five tackles, three inside 50s, two marks and two rebounds in the loss, teaming well with Lucy Armitage (13 disposals, seven clearances, and 10 tackles) through midfield. Tasja Batzavalis made a welcome return with three inside 50s to go with 12 touches, four marks – two contested – and three tackles, while Tess Morcom tried hard in defence with a team-high three rebounds to go with nine touches and five tackles. Soriah Moon had great experience against Metcalfe, still managing 17 hitouts as well as five clearances to accompany seven disposals.

CENTRAL DISTRICT 0.0 | 1.2 | 1.2 | 2.3 (15)
STURT 2.1 | 3.1 | 4.2 | 4.2 (26)

GOALS:

Central: K. Rosenzweig 2.
Sturt: G. Bevan, L, Firth, Z. Prowse, G. Swan.

HIGH DISPOSALS:

Central: S. Smith 15
Sturt: Z. Prowse 23

Sturt has won back-to-back matches to move into fourth spot on the SANFL Women’s ladder, downing Central District by 11 points. The result handed the Bulldogs their third consecutive loss, and with the Eagles’ win, fell back to last spot on the table. The Double Blues booted three first half goals to lead throughout the contest, and despite Central drying up the scoring in the second half, could not make up the difference as they fell short of a second victory this season, losing 4.2 (26) to 2.3 (15).

Sturt had the perfect start to the match with Louise Firth converting a major for the visitors just 44 seconds into the match, and then Georgia Swan made it two midway through the quarter to help her side to a 13-point lead at the break, keeping the opposition scoreless to quarter time. Georgia Madigan got the Bulldogs on the board in the opening 30 seconds of the second term, albeit with a behind, before Georgia Bevan converted a third major for the Double Blues in the seventh minute for Sturt to stretch the lead out to a straight three goals. Katelyn Rosenzweig continued her good work in front of goal to use her strength and goal sense to kick one as the term was winding down, and by the main break, Central District trailed by 11 points. The scoring dried up in the second half, but Zoe Prowse made it count in the dying moments of the third quarter with her first of the contest, as the teenager was best on ground in the win. Rosenzweig continued to press hard and booted her second major midway through the final term, but ultimately her efforts would not be enough as the home team fell short.

Central had a different approach to its last couple of weeks, winning the disposal count for the first time this season, whilst also laying 29 more tackles than their opponents. Sturt led the marks (31-20) and dominated the hitouts (32-11) helping its strong midfield to get on top in the clearances (29-23). Central managed to keep the ball out of its defensive 50 a fair bit by winning the inside 50s, 23-16, but the Double Blues’ defence was up to the task with 20 rebounds to 11 in the match.

Prowse was the standout player on the ground for the Double Blues with 23 disposals, four marks, 20 hitouts, 10 clearances, two inside 50s and two rebounds making her presence felt. Bevan was also prominent in the midfield group, recording 14 disposals, two marks, three tackles, four clearances and two rebounds, while co-captain Maya Rigter had the nine touches, five tackles and four clearances. Elsie Dawes (eight disposals, four tackles, four clearances and two inside 50s), Jo-Anna Baltais (10 touches, eight tackles and two rebounds) and Isobel Kuiper (10 disposals, eight tackles and two rebounds) were also among the best for the winners.

For the Bulldogs, Shelby Smith amassed a team-high 15 disposals, as well as 10 tackles, three clearances and four inside 50s, while Lauren Breguet was strong through the middle with 12 disposals, seven tackles and four clearances. Up forward Rosenzweig was hard to contain, booting 2.1 from 10 disposals, four marks (three contested), four tackles and two inside 50s, while Alicia Butler (14 disposals, six tackles) and Laitiah Huynh (14 disposals, four tackles) also showed fierce defensive pressure in the loss.

WEST ADELAIDE 0.2 | 2.3 | 3.5 | 3.5 (23)
NORWOOD 0.0 | 1.2 | 1.2 | 3.5 (23)

GOALS:

West: M. Elsegood 2, K. Culhane.
Norwood: M. Breed, A. Gould, S. Hiscock.

HIGH DISPOSALS:

West: R. Martin 20, M. Newman 18, R. Killian 17, K. Culhane 15
Norwood: M. Zander 22, M. Breed 17, L. Cutting 15

West Adelaide has maintained third sport on the SANFL Women’s table, while Norwood keeps its premiership hopes alive after the pair drew in an exciting Saturday evening contest. In a low-scoring affair, the Bloods looked to have the Redlegs covered at the final break, but a 2.3 to 0.0 final quarter resulted in the visitors drawing level by the final siren.

Neither team could register a goal in the opening term, with West Adelaide scoring a couple of behinds through Melanie Elsegood and Helen Maidment. Norwood then had its chances go begging on the other side of quarter time with back-to-back behinds, before the Bloods made the most of their chances midway through the term. Kasia Culhane had an impact coming back into the team with a good goal, followed by Elsegood making good on a chance five minutes later. Mattea Breed missed a chance early in the term but then saluted near half-time to bring the deficit back to seven points. Elsegood added more pressure to the Redlegs in the third term with an early goal with a couple of behinds either side of the major at opposite ends of the quarter going begging. The main positive for the Bloods was the fact Norwood had not scored since Breed’s late goal in the second term. That would change in the final term as Norwood charged home from a 15-point deficit, as Ashlee Gould and Shai Hiscock converted chances with the latter’s coming with just a few minutes on the clock to level the scores and moments after a flying snap from Breed that bent a little too much. Despite both team’s efforts in the final few minutes – West Adelaide doing the bulk of the attacking – neither could find a winning score and the match fittingly finished as a draw.

Statistically the sides were evenly matched across the board with the Bloods having just six more disposals and two more marks, though Norwood controlled the centre square with 10 more hitouts (22-12) and three more clearances (17-14), while West Adelaide had a lot more chances inside 50 (30-20). The Redlegs defence stepped up however, rebounding 27 times to the Bloods’ 16, while West Adelaide’s tackling pressure was a feature of its game with 65 tackles to 51.

Rachelle Martin was arguably best on ground with 20 disposals, three marks, nine tackles and five clearances, working as the dominant clearance midfielder on the Westies’ side. Madison Newman returned to the team and almost pinpointed a crucial pass inside 50 late, finishing with 18 disposals, four marks (one contested), four inside 50s and four rebounds, while Culhane’s inclusion yielded 15 touches, five marks – two contested – five tackles, five inside 50s and a goal. Abbie Ballard (14 touches, six tackles, two clearances), Kate Walsh (13 disposals, two marks, 12 hitouts, three clearances, two inside 50s and two tackles) and Keeley Kustermann (12 disposals, three rebounds) were solid too.

Matilda Zander was a natural ball-winner once again, amassing 22 touches, three marks – one contested – seven tackles, two clearances and three inside 50s, while Breed was arguably the top player on the Redlegs’ team with 17 disposals, four marks – three contested – four tackles, five clearances, two inside 50s and three rebounds, as well as 1.2. Leah Cutting took control in the ruck and had 15 disposals, four marks, 21 hitouts, six tackles, two clearances and four inside 50s, while Michele Reid (13 disposals, five rebounds) and Rebekka McMahon (eight disposals, five rebounds) held up in defence. Jade Halfpenny was equally strong in the air with three contested marks from her five total, also picking up 13 disposals, three tackles, two clearances and three inside 50s.

SOUTH ADELAIDE 3.1 | 3.1 | 3.2 | 3.3 (21)
NORTH ADELAIDE 0.0 | 3.0 | 3.0 | 4.1 (25)

GOALS:

South: J. Kirk 2, N. Campbell.
North: K. Barltrop 2, C. Castle, H. Ewings.

HIGH DISPOSALS:

South: C. Barry 23, N. Campbell 22, C. Cavouras 21, I. Tahau 16
North: L. Daniel 18, L. Gauci 18, K. Pope 17, K. Harvey 15

North Adelaide has remained as the sole undefeated side in the SANFL Women’s competition after a late goal to Kelly Barltrop sealed a four-point win over reigning premiers, South Adelaide. In a grand final rematch, last year’s leading goalkicker might have been the hero, but after a slow start and conceding the first three goals of the match, the Roosters kept the Panthers to just two behinds for the rest of the contest as they booted 4.1 themselves during the 4.1 (25) to 3.3 (21) victory.

Early on it was seemingly like it could be a one-sided contest as Nicole Campbell booted a goal midway through the term, and by quarter time, consistent goalkicker and last week’s dominant scorer, Jess Kirk had 2.1 to her name with goals in the ninth and 14th minutes of the quarter. Without a score on the board and trailing by 19 points at the break, North Adelaide fans wanted a response from their faithful – watching from home of course – and it was Cristie Castle who gave it to them with an early goal to break the deadlock. Barltrop soon chipped in with her first goal since Round 1, while Rising Star talent, Hannah Ewings joined the party for the Roosters to be back within a point by the main break having kicked three goals in six minutes. Neither team could elicit a major in the third term, with young gun, Teah Charlton missing a chance at the sixth minute mark of the third quarter, and the next score came a good 20 minutes later when Ashleigh Woodland also added a behind to her name. When Courtney Barry scored a behind for the Panthers at the 14-minute mark of the final term, they held a two-point lead meaning the Roosters would need a major to win. In a remarkable play for a side that had not scored a goal since midway through the second term, the team went end-to-end and while each of the players managed to hit targets, it was Katelyn Pope‘s daring move to take on an opponent, get the extra five metres and deliver the ball quickly enough into Barltrop to not have a third player come over and spoil. Last year’s leading goalkicker turned around and kicked towards goal seemingly between having a shot and passing to a one-on-one and whilst a hand flew up and Panthers defenders appealed for a touched ball, the goal was given the all-clear and the Roosters held on for a remarkable win.

Both these teams love to use the ball and they clocked over 200 disposals each, though the Roosters had 40 marks to 26, while the Panthers still applied plenty of tackling pressure (78-64). South Adelaide won the clearances (28-21) and dominated the inside 50s (31-16) despite losing the hitouts (29-25). Credit must be given to North Adelaide’s defence that held up well with 26 rebounds to 13, surviving the wave of Panther attacks.

The Roosters shared the ball around with Lauren Gauci clocking up the most touches with 19, as well as four tackles and three rebounds, as Lauren Daniel (18 disposals, four marks, three tackles, three clearances and three rebounds) and Pope (17 disposals, four tackles, three clearances, three inside 50s and four rebounds) both got back to help the back six. Kristi Harvey was unstoppable at full-back, a complete brick wall with 15 disposals, eight marks – two contested – six tackles and eight clearances, while Bek Rasheed stood tall in the ruck with 21 hitouts from 11 touches and five tackles. Woodland was not as dominant as past weeks, but still managed 14 disposals, eight tackles and three clearances, while Castle booted a goal from 13 disposals, three marks, three tackles, two clearances and two inside 50s.

South Adelaide had a number of prominent ball winners as Barry led the midfield with 23 disposals, two marks, five tackles, eight clearances and three inside 50s, alongside Czenya Cavouras (21 disposals, 12 tackles, seven clearances and five inside 50s). Campbell was also a prominent ball winner in there with 23 disposals, two marks, nine tackles, three clearances and five inside 50s, as Indy Tahau laid double-figure tackles too with 10, to go with 17 hitouts, 16 disposals and two inside 50s. Jaslynne Smith was the standout defender for the Panthers, having a remarkable eight of her team’s 13 rebounds as well as 11 touches and five marks. Kirk again made the most of her chances with 2.1 from just four disposals, but she laid five tackles too.

SANFL Women’s preview: Round 2 – Bulldogs and Roosters lock claws in standalone Saturday game

AT least one team will suffer its first loss in Round 2, while another will get on the board with its first win in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition, as a blockbuster Friday night is planned across two venues. The undefeated clash between Central District and North Adelaide then takes place on Saturday morning in what could be a blockbuster match.

WEST ADELAIDE vs. GLENELG
Friday, February 21, 6.30pm
Hisense Stadium

Opening up the second round of the SANFL Women’s is a clash between two sides with differing results from the opening round of action. Glenelg went down to North Adelaide by 24 points at X Convenience Oval on the back of conceding six consecutive goals, while West Adelaide ran out 21-point winners over Sturt in the game immediately after that contest. Looking across both games, Glenelg had the much higher efficiency, running at 73 per cent in a match that was higher skilled against the Roosters, while the Westies had a 61 per cent efficiency against Sturt, but got the job done. The Tigers dominated the hitouts (+8) and clearances (+7) but lost the inside 50s (-2) and booted 2.10 for the match in a disappointing effort in front of goal. Had it been 10.2 instead, the Tigers win by 16 points. The Bloods were well beaten in the hitouts (-13) but completely dismantled Sturt in the clearances (+15) and inside 50s (+11), while also laying more tackles (+10). One area the Bloods would want to improve on from Round 1 was the opposition’s uncontested ball movement, with Sturt taking 46 marks to 20. What the Round 1 matches tell us is that Glenelg need to make more of its chances inside 50, and limit the influence of West Adelaide’s superb onball division, which included Abbie Ballard – who led the league in disposals with 27 – and Rachelle Martin who both form a damaging contested-ball duo. Glenelg should get first hands to the ball at stoppages with Soriah Moon playing well on debut, and recording more hitouts than the entire West Adelaide side. But with Ballard and Martin combining for 14 hitouts – and ruck Kate Walsh even recording four, it is a tough midfield to combat. Glenelg will rely on the likes of Madisyn Freeman to push up the grounds at times, winning an equal team-high four clearances last week, and if the likes of Sam Franson (two behinds) and Molly Althouse (four marks, two contested) can start to have an impact up forward, then they will be a damaging forward six to combat. Keely Kustermann looked settled last week and covers a lot of ground, while Lauren Rodato is a consistent player in defence for the Bloods. Up forward, Kasia Culhane and Melanie Elsegood both scored multiple goals, and Elsegood could have had a real day out if she put through a few more of her five chances (2.3). West Adelaide will start favourites in this clash due to the onball and forward talent, but Glenelg’s loss last week was not as bad as it might appear on the surface, and it is about taking chances in Round 2.

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. STURT
Friday, February 21, 7pm
Flinders University Stadium

These two teams also come into this clash with different results from Round 1, but both sides would know they can improve on their output from those respective matches. South Adelaide pulled off the great escape against Woodville-West Torrens, while Sturt suffered a disappointing defeat at the hands of West Adelaide. In that game, the double Blues were well beaten around the contest with the clearances (-15) and the inside 50s (-11) going the way of the Bloods. This all came despite Sturt winning almost double West Adelaide’s hitouts (+13). The area where Sturt impressed was in its outside ball as the Double Blues took 26 more marks (more than double) and had a solid 68 per cent disposal efficiency, playing a kick-first gamestyle. South Adelaide plays a possession-style brand of football, racking up 33 more disposals than the Eagles in Round 1, nullifying the opposition’s ability to get ball to boot with a low kick-to-handball ratio. The Panthers are great at shutting down the outside run, with the Eagles only taking 18 marks to South Adelaide’s 37, while the Panthers also won the hitouts (+4), clearances (+9) and inside 50s (+6). Despite all this going the reigning premiers way, they won by just four points, and it was the defensive pressure of the Eagles that forced them to overuse the ball, and also the visitors’ inaccuracy that helped the Panthers get home. South Adelaide is an incredible side and it will be expected to put out a similar effort against Sturt in shutting down the outside run and making more chances in front of goal. With Montana McKinnon potentially heading back to AFL Women’s after being named in the extend squad, Sturt will have a advantage in the ruck, and the Double Blues’ defensive setup is quite solid, but they cannot afford to be beaten out of the middle again. Stephanie Ratliff and Zoe Prowse were impressive in the ruck last week, with the mobile Prowse also doing her part around the stoppages. Georgia Bevan and Maya Rigter (five combined clearances last week) will have to step up again in this contest, with South Adelaide having the likes of Indy Tahau (eight clearances), Czenya Cavouras (six) and Teah Charlton (four) all standing out as a dominant trio in there. Rachel Dunstan and Hannah Prenzler were able to work hard defensively, with Prenzler picking up two rebounds and seven marks against the Bloods to hold up in the defensive 50. Along with Alysha Healy and Aajiah Jerico, it will be important for the visiting side to hold up back there and drive the ball forward against an unpredictable forward line. South gets a lot of goals out of its midfield, and once it wins the ball, it is hard to stop it being locked in the Panthers’ forward half. Expect South Adelaide to come out firing, with so much depth in its side, but if Sturt can make more of its ruck dominance, then the Double Blues can try and up the tempo and play keepings-off.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS vs. NORWOOD
Friday, February 21, 8.15pm
Hisense Stadium

Yet to have a win in their short history, Woodville-West Torrens Eagles would be seeing this Friday night clash as a real chance to breakthrough and record a ‘W’. The Eagles came agonisingly close to causing a boilover against reigning premiers South Adelaide on the road, and now take on a Norwood side still finding its feet after so much change in the off-season. With a brand new midfield brigade, the Redlegs still looked solid, but will be better for the run during the loss against Central District last week. Norwood had an extra scoring shot than the Bulldogs, and played their traditional possession style game with 33 more disposals and 30 more marks – including seven more contested – but were not able to capitalise on their inside 50 entries (+7). The Central defence was able to pick-off the attacking forays with eight more rebounds and 16 more tackles. Norwood’s ruck, Leah Cutting is the best in the business and dominated the Bulldogs with 21 more hitouts and that helped the Redlegs win three more clearances too – an area that could further improve considering that ruck work dominance. The Eagles will have seen the pressure that Central applied to the Redlegs and bring much of the same, laying 14 more tackles than the Panthers, and three more rebounds. They will need to make more of their opportunities count as well, booting just three goals from nine scoring chances in Round 1, and you cannot afford to do that every week. The Eagles are not a huge disposal-winning team, but instead have that shared brand of football where everyone plays their role and it seemed to be effective for the most part against a highly-credentialed Panthers side last week. Youngster, Tesharna Maher recorded six rebounds in the loss last round, while Allison Evans had three as the pair patrolled the backline. In the middle, Teagan Usher had a team-high four clearances, but the Eagles will need to muster up more of those by sharking the opposition ruck. The tackling pressure is something that the Eagles had no problems bringing, with Evans and Sophie Zuill both laying eight, and Adele Gibson having a team-high four inside 50s. Kiana Lee was quiet on the scoreboard last week but will be better for the run, taking three contested marks and signalling her intent in the air. In the absence of a number of midfielders who made the step up to AFL Women’s this season, Matilda Zander picked up a game-high 20 touches against the Bulldogs last week, well aided by Alison Ferrall (15) and Lindsay Bigg (14). Mattea Breed was also important in that midfield group with three clearances and four inside 50s, while Jo Hill made the most of her chances up forward with two goals. Sophie Armitstead was the leading clearance worker, and while the Redlegs midfield is still developing, they have the talent to make more opportunities from Cutting’s dominance. Norwood have the runs on the board over past years, but the Eagles arguably looked more impressive last week. It will be an absolute blinder of a game.

CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
Saturday, February 22, 11.30am
X Convenience Oval

The only game in Round 2 that features two Round 1 winners is between the sides that finished second and second last, in 2019. A much improved Central District team outlasted last year’s minor premiers Norwood in a nice little upset to start 2020, while North Adelaide booted six consecutive goals to run out four-goal winners over Glenelg and now sit top of the table. In that win, the Roosters actually had five less disposals and seven less tackles, but were so efficient with their scoring accuracy, capitalising on more chances than the Tigers’ 2.10. North lost both the hitouts (-8) and clearances (-7) but rebounded well to win the inside 50 count (+2) and overall were a more efficient side going forward. They will need to continue that throughout the season, because as impressive as the win was, the Roosters can still improve further. The Bulldogs also had less disposals for greater efficiency which makes this an intriguing match. Central had 33 less touches than Norwood in the win last round, and were beaten on the outside with 30 less marks. But the Bulldogs made more of their chances inside 50 and tackled their way to victory (+16). They were smashed in the ruck (-21) and lost the clearances (-3) and inside-50 (-7) counts, but the Bulldogs defence held firm under the attacks with eight more rebounds. The Bulldogs will not be afraid to make it a contested game, with Shelby Smith (20 touches, five clearances and three tackles) leading the way in Round 1, while Jaymee-Lee Sonneman and Lauren Smith both had the three clearances. Demi Sonneman, Kimberley Fry and Abbey Scheer were reliable in defence with a combined 12 clearances, and then Katelyn Rosenzweig was the dominant force up forward with four goals from five scoring chances and seven disposals. North Adelaide has its own goal-scoring machine in Kelly Barltrop, with last year’s leading goalkicker booting two goals in the Round 1 win to start her season off on the right note, while Cristie Castle was sensational across the ground with 17 touches, six marks (three contested), five clearances, four inside 50s and a goal. Hannah Ewings won the Breakthrough Player for Round 1 after the 16-year-old won 12 disposals and four marks, and also booted a goal on debut. Kristi Harvey will likely have the tough job of containing Rosenzweig in the match, while the likes of Lauren Daniel and Amber Ward provide the offensive run out of the back half. North Adelaide have the experience in big games and go in deserving favourites, but the Bulldogs look to have built on last season and will be up for the fight.

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: West Adelaide

IN the next of our South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s team preview, we take a look at West Adelaide, a side that came agonisingly close to a finals appearance, but was pipped at the post by an Ebony Marinoff-inspired Glenelg.

2019 BY THE NUMBERS:

Position: 5th
Wins: 6
Losses: 4
For: 298
Against: 347
Percentage: 85.9%

 

2020 CHANGES

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

IN: Rachael Killian (returned/NT Thunder), Zoe Greer (Norwood), Taylor Hand (Woodville-West Torrens), Hannah Scholar (Woodville-West Torrens), Kate Walsh (SMOSH West Lakes).
OUT: Madison Newman (Adelaide AFLW), Chelsea Biddell (Adelaide AFLW), Tayla Gordon (North Adelaide), Ali Evans (Woodville-West Torrens), Leah Swain (maternity leave/Melbourne).

 

FIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH

Madison Newman / Chelsea Biddell

Similar to our South Adelaide preview, we have included both Newman and Biddell as ones to watch purely because though they departed the club for AFL Women’s, they did land at Adelaide which gives them a chance to still run out with the Bloods in the upcoming season. Newman finished top five in disposals last year and was a revelation in the back half, while Biddell was the club’s leading goalkicker. While it is hoped they can both make an impact at AFL Women’s level – especially given the Crows’ recent run with injuries – the club would love to have them back, even if it is only a few games towards the back-end of the season.

Abbie Ballard

The teenager is entering her draft year and the now top-ager will look to take over from Newman as the key talent through the midfield group with the more experienced, Rachelle Martin. Ballard showed a fierce tenacity to attack the contest and despite her size – 159cm – she won double-figure disposals on all bar one occasion to average 16.1 per game to go with her 4.1 clearances, 5.4 tackles and 2.1 inside 50s. Her final game of the season in the loss to South Adelaide saw Ballard rack up 24 touches, three marks, five tackles, six clearances and five rebounds in a superb effort leaving fans excited for what could come in 2020.

Rachael Killian

One of the bigger inclusions across the SANFL Women’s competition for 2020, the 174cm midfielder is still only 25-years-old but has premiership experience at the highest level, playing in the inaugural AFL Women’s premiership side with Adelaide. Last season she played three games with NT Thunder, where she averaged more than 10 touches per game. She should slot straight into the midfield and be that extra hand around the stoppages, not afraid to lay a tackle and then go forward and find the goals. A handy player to have running around for the Bloods.

Rachelle Martin

After an unbelievable 2018 SANFL Women’s season where she was one of the most dominant ball winners in the competition, Martin was restricted to just four games due to injury in 2020. She made them count, averaging 19.8 disposals, 6.8 tackles, three clearances, three marks and 2.3 inside 50s. She also managed to boot a goal in two of her games, and did play the last three of the season, Unfortunately it took her a few weeks to get back to her best and by then the season was over. Could stake a claim as one of the best ball-winning state players and is almost a new inclusion into last year’s side. If she stays fit will be an unbelievable talent in that on-ball brigade.

Melanie Elsegood

Finished second overall in the club goalkicking last season, slotting 10 goals in nine games for the Westies. With Biddell potentially no longer inside 50, Elsegood has free reign to be the dominant target for her club, and she has to stand up and deliver this year. Not a huge ball winner, Elsegood is someone reliable to hit the scoreboard, doing so in seven of her nine games, including a bag of three to open the season, and two goals to finish it. One who could benefit from the permanent inclusions of Martin and Killian.

FIXTURE

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

West Adelaide could be one of the more unknown quantities in the competition. The Bloods came close to finals last year, and while they have lost a number of key players, have brought in quite a few talents at the same time. If they play to their potential, the Westies could sneak into the top four and play finals. They face a tough draw however, with double-ups against reigning premiers South Adelaide – both in the last four weeks – and Norwood, as well as Sturt. Realistically need to win quite a few early to make finals a possibility, but have faith because in patches they looked impressive last season.