Tag: Kiana Lee

SANFL Women’s Round 2 review: Bloods and Roosters size up ahead of blockbuster clash next week

NORTH Adelaide and West Adelaide have sent early messages to the rest of the competition in Round 2 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s, ahead of the side’s huge Round 3 clash next week. South Adelaide became the only other undefeated side in the league taking care of Sturt, while Norwood pinched a come-from-behind win against Woodville-West Torrens in the other game.

WEST ADELAIDE 2.3 | 3.6 | 5.10 | 6.12 (48)
GLENELG 0.0 | 1.2 | 1.2 | 1.2 (8)

GOALS:

West: M. Elsegood 3, T. McDermott, Z. Venning, K. Culhane.
Glenelg: S. Moon.

HIGH DISPOSALS:

West: R. Martin 21, Z. Greer 18, A. Ballard 17, K. Kustermann 15, E. Smith 15
Glenelg: C. Packer 17

West Adelaide has sent a statement to the rest of the SANFL Women’s competition with a 40-point belting of Glenelg. After an impressive win in Round 1 over Sturt, the Bloods took it up a notch to record a massive 18 scoring shots to three, and answering every challenge asked of them. When the Tigers booted their first – and only – goal to get within nine points, West Adelaide kicked away with the last four goals of the match to run out 6.12 (48) to 1.2 (8) winners.

After an inaccurate 2.3 last week, Melanie Elsegood made the most of her chances with three majors, and in what was a super defensive effort from the Bloods, restricted Glenelg from scoring in all bar five minutes of the match. The Tigers’ only goal came at the 10-minute mark of the second term when Soriah Moon broke the drought, but it was all West Adelaide after that, with the Bloods recording the last nine scoring shots of the match. Indeed with a team score of 6.12, the end margin could have been even greater with Rachelle Martin (three behinds) and Zoe Greer (two behinds) among those who could have walked away with some majors.

The stats all pointed to the Bloods, recording 42 more disposals than their opponents, and they dominated both the clearances (30-15) and inside 50s (21-12), despite Glenelg winning the hitouts for the second week in a row (33-17). Greer had a day out in a best on ground performance, picking up 18 disposals, one mark, eight clearances, 12 tackles and two inside 50s, with the two misses potentially adding an extra string to her bow on the night.

Martin was also influential in the middle with 21 disposals, one mark, five clearances, four inside 50s and four tackles, while Emma Smith (15 disposals, 10 tackles) and Olivia Smith (eight disposals, 13 tackles) were incredible with their defensive pressure. While she did not rack up the same numbers as last week, Abbie Ballard still played her role with 17 disposals, two marks, two clearances and three inside 50s, while Keeley Kustermann (15 disposals, four marks, two clearances, two rebounds and two tackles was once again good out of the back half. Zoe Venning also impressed with 13 disposals, five marks, two clearances, two inside 50s and a goal proving to be a dominant force in the forward half.

The Tigers were well beaten on the night, but Chelsea Packer was the standout with a team-high 17 disposals, two marks, six tackles and three rebounds. While the midfield was not able to make use of her dominance, Moon was a star with 24 hitouts and three clearances, as well as four tackles and a goal from just five disposals. Tessa Kohn was the other Tiger with more than two clearances, picking up four to accompany 11 disposals, two marks and seven tackles, while Lucy Armitage led the way for defensive pressure with 12 tackles.

The Tigers will need to bounce back next week when they take on Central District, while the Bloods have a huge clash against North Adelaide.

SOUTH ADELAIDE 1.2 | 3.7 | 3.11 | 5.13 (43)
STURT 1.3 | 1.3 | 1.3 | 1.3 (9)

GOALS:

South: J. Kirk 3, E. Haylock, T. Meyer.
Sturt: K. Harris.

HIGH DISPOSALS:

South: T. Charlton 24, T. Meyer 21, C. Barry 20, E. Haylock 18, T. Buethke 15, C. Cavouras 15, M. McKinnon 15
Sturt: G. Bevan 19, H. Prenzler 15

A dominant South Adelaide outfit put Sturt to the sword after quarter time in a comfortable 5.13 (43) to 1.3 (9) win, booting 4.11 to 0.0 in the final three quarters to run away 32-point winners. Jess Kirk got proceedings underway for the home side, before Kate Harris responded for the Double Blues four minutes later. An array of missed chances for the visitors – including two behinds to Ally Ladas back-to-back would come back to bite them as Sturt led by just one point heading into quarter time. It was all South Adelaide after that, with Kirk adding her second and Elyse Haylock getting on the scoreboard for the Panthers to open up a 16-point advantage at half-time. An inaccurate South Adelaide side booted seven straight behinds to go from 3.4 to 3.11 and just give Sturt a sniff heading into the last quarter. Tahlia Meyer took just 32 seconds to close the door on any potential comeback in the final term, with Kirk booting her third goal later in the quarter to lock up the comfortable win.

The Panthers could have won by more with Callie Wilson (four behinds), Indy Tahau (two behinds) and Kirk (3.2) among those that could have had bigger days out. For Sturt, the side was just outplayed by a better unit, as South won 62 more disposals, and had six more contested marks, as well as won the clearances (26-16) and dominated the inside 50s (32-10). Sturt’s defence again tried to hold strong with 16 more rebounds, but were overwhelmed with the volume of inside 50 entries, though their skilful outside game showed at times, with a higher disposal efficiency (76 per cent) and 14 more marks (44-30).

Teah Charlton showed just why she is considered South Australia’s top prospect for the 2020 AFL Women’s Draft with 24 disposals, three marks (one contested), five tackles, four clearances and five inside 50s in the win. Meyer (21 disposals, three marks, three tackles, three inside 50s and a goal) was also impressive, while Courtney Barry‘s work on the inside (20 disposals, nine clearances, 10 tackles, two inside 50s and two rebounds) was outstanding. Montana McKinnon continued to look a class above with 17 hitouts, three clearances, six inside 50s and 15 touches, while midfielder, Czenya Cavouras helped herself to 15 disposals, three clearances, two inside 50s and two tackles. Haylock was the other big ball winner with 18 disposals, five tackles, two inside 50s and a goal.

The Double Blues’ standout trio from last week again were the three best, with co-captains Georgia Bevan and Maya Rigter impressive in midfield, and Hannah Prenzler standing up in defence. Bevan picked up a team-high 19 disposals, as well as eight tackles, three marks, three inside 50s and three rebounds, while Rigter had a team-high 12 tackles to go with 12 disposals, two marks, three clearances and three rebounds. Prenzler finished with 15 disposals, six marks and four rebounds in a quarter back type role. Other Double Blues who showed some nice signs despite the loss were Isobel Kuiper (10 disposals, three marks, nine tackles and two clearances), Jaimee Wittervan (10 disposals, three tackles and three clearances) and Stephanie Ratliff (seven disposals, 13 hitouts, two clearances and six tackles).

Sturt has to come in next week against a hungry Woodville-West Torrens side which keeps falling short of its inaugural win in the competition, while South Adelaide takes on rival Norwood with both games a part of the Triple Header at Flinders University Stadium.

WWT EAGLES 2.2 | 4.3 | 4.5 | 4.5 (29)
NORWOOD 0.0 | 1.2 | 3.2 | 4.6 (30)

GOALS:

WWT: K. Lee 3, J. Zecevic.
Norwood: J. HIll 3, L. Bigg.

HIGH DISPOSALS:

WWT: J. Tabb 16
Norwood: M. Breed 21, S. Armitstead 17, M. Zander 16

So near, yet so far for a disappointed Woodville-West Torrens outfit that for the second consecutive week, fell short of the four points despite an incredibly spirited effort. The Eagles looked unbelievable in the first half of their clash against Norwood having almost toppled reigning premiers, South Adelaide just a week earlier. But while the winless Eagles outfit led by as much 19 points at half-time, they could not sustain it as the Redlegs booted 3.4 to 0.2 in the second half to run over the top of them with a late Lindsay Bigg goal the dagger in the hearts of Eagles fans.

Having missed out on a massive upset the week prior, Woodville-West Torrens looked determined to turn it around in the second match against Norwood. Last year’s minor premiers looked shaky last week with so much turnover from the off-season, while the Eagles lost but were every bit in the contest in Round 1. Kiana Lee started the Eagles off on the right foot with the teenager converting a goal six minutes into the contest, before Jovanka Zecevic made it two and the home side was 14 points up at quarter time without its opponent making an impact on the scoreboard. Jo Hill finally did that early in the second to get the ball rolling for Norwood, but Lee immediately answered a minute later with her second, and then her third came later in the quarter with the lead out to a 19-point advantage by the main break. Looking down and out, Hill stepped up again, booting back-to-back goals, albeit eight minutes apart, to suddenly drag her side back to within seven points at the final break. Both Lee and Eboni Tiller missed chances to give the Eagles some breathing space at the last chance, and the final term was all Norwood. Despite the Redlegs doing all the attacking, they booted four straight behinds from Bigg (two), Mattea Breed and Hill, to still trail by five points as late as the 16th minute of the final term. Then, it was a case of third time lucky with Bigg kicking a match-winning goal with 50 seconds on the clock, to send the Norwood faithful into jubilation, while for the Eagles fans it was another heartbreaking loss.

The stats were fairly even across the board in terms of ball finding and use, with Norwood able to work its way on the outside with 36 marks to 19, including nine contested to five. The Eagles brutal defensive work again stood up with a whopping 88 tackles to 47, not giving the Redlegs an inch. Despite Norwood winning the hitouts (28-20), Woodville-West Torrens won the clearances (22-20), as both the inside-50 and rebound counts were almost identical. There was not much between the sides, and it showed on the scoreboard, with Norwood able to weather the defensive pressure of the Eagles and kick a goal when required to get the job done.

Breed was the standout for the Redlegs with the Central Allies’ Under-18 representative picking up 21 disposals, three marks (one contested), five tackles, four clearances, six inside 50s and two rebounds in a good all-round performance. Sophie Armitstead built on her Round 1 game with 17 disposals, one mark, five tackles, three clearances, three inside 50s and two rebounds, while Matilda Zander again found plenty of the ball with 16 touches, two marks, four inside 50s, three rebounds, two clearances and two tackles. The top ruck in the competition, Leah Cutting had 23 hitouts and two contested marks to go with four inside 50s, six tackles and 13 touches in the win. Alison Ferrall (10 disposals, three inside 50s) and Bella Smith (10 disposals, four inside 50s, three tackles and four marks) worked hard in the forward half of the ground, while Tessa Hankinson (10 disposals, two marks, two tackles, two clearances and three rebounds) was strong in defence. Hill’s three goals from six touches was ultimately the difference in the end, while Rhiannon Busch had a team-high four rebounds to go with her six touches and three tackles.

Jaimi Tabb put in a huge performance to make the Adelaide AFL Women’s coaching staff take note, recording a team-high 16 touches, as well as two marks, 10 tackles and six inside 50s, setting the tone for her teammates. Speaking of setting the tone, Mikayla Cavallaro laid a huge 14 tackles to go with 11 disposals, while Tesharna Maher was again prolific out of defence with 12 disposals, two marks, two inside 50s, three tackles and four rebounds. Also among the top ball winners for the losing side were Chloe Forby (12 disposals, two marks, three tackles, two clearances and two inside 50s) and Stephanie Walker (12 disposals, five tackles, two clearances and four inside 50s). All bar one player on the Eagles side laid at least one tackle in the match, as Grace Smallcombe and Jaime Parish had equal team-high rebounds of four apiece to aide Maher out of defence.

It would have been disappointing for the Eagles who arguably deserved the win between their efforts of the first two rounds, but it showed that whoever stands up when it counts can take the four points. Norwood was the better team on the scoreboard in the second half, and the Redlegs have a great escape heading into such a huge Round 3 match against reigning premiers South Adelaide, while the Eagles will search for that win against bottom of the table, Sturt.

CENTRAL DISTRICT 0.0 | 1.0 | 1.1 | 1.1 (7)
NORTH ADELAIDE 2.2 | 5.3 | 7.4 | 9.7 (61)

GOALS:

Central: K. Rosenzweig.
North: A. Woodland 4, K. Reynolds 2, C. Castle, L. Daniel, H. Ewings.

HIGH DISPOSALS:

Central: G. Madigan 13
North: L. Daniel 23, C. Castle 22, L. Gauchi 21, A. Woodland 19, H. Ewings 17, A. Ward 16

It was touted as arguably the match of the round prior to the weekend given it was the only one between two Round 1 winners, but it ended up being a premiership contender endorsement for North Adelaide. Looking to go one step further than their runner-up effort last year, the Roosters flexed their muscles on Central District with the Bulldogs side clearly improved from last season, but unable to make too much leeway against an incredibly impressive North Adelaide outfit. The Roosters ran out 54-point winners with the highest score and biggest winning margin of the season, putting an exclamation mark on their already top of the table position.

The signs looked ominous early on, with former Melbourne AFL Women’s player, Ashleigh Woodland up and about up forward, booting 2.1 in the first term as she led her side to a 14-point lead at the break. By the eighth minute of the second term, North Adelaide was 33 points up and the game seemed done and dusted. Woodland had booted her third, with Kathryn Reynolds and last week’s Breakthrough Player of the Round, Hannah Ewings both hitting the scoreboard. Competition leading goalkicker, Katelyn Rosenzweig broke the drought for her side midway through the term to give them a sniff on the edge of half-time. Alas for the home team, it was the Roosters who continued their dominance after the break, as Woodland narrowly missed a fourth goal early, before Cristie Castle and then Reynolds both capitalised, and the lead was out to 39 points at the last change. Refusing to take the foot off, North Adelaide piled on the pressure with Lauren Daniel booting her first of the contest, then Woodland converted her fourth to head home with 4.2 for the day, and the Roosters headed home with a nine-goal win.

Not surprisingly, the Roosters were dominant on the stats sheet, winning 261 disposals and going at a terrific 74 per cent efficiency. Their handball game was on-point as they moved the ball well down the ground. They took 16 more marks and seven more contested marks, and dominated the inside-50 count, 36-22. Working in the Bulldogs’ favour, they matched it with the Roosters in the middle, with both the hitouts and clearances, and were able to rebound the ball out of the back half 26 times to 21. Unfortunately for the home side, the sheer weight of numbers prevailed and the Roosters managed to score 16 times from 36 entries, with the extra class and experience of Woodlands and her teammates getting the visitors home.

There was no shortage of huge individual performances on the Roosters side, with Woodland the clear standout thanks to 19 disposals, five marks – one contested, three inside 50s, three tackles and of course, four goals from six scoring chances. Daniel was the top ball winner with 23 disposals, four marks, six clearances, four inside 50s, seven tackles and one goal, while Castle was not far behind with 22 touches, five marks – one contested – two clearances and three rebounds. Ewings had a match-high nine inside 50s working the ball brilliantly on the outside to go with her 17 touches, five marks – one contested – and three tackles. Amber Ward was reliable in defence with 16 disposals, five tackles, two rebounds and two inside 50s, while Kristi Harvey had an equal team-high four rebounds to go with 10 touches. Aside from Daniel, Leah Tynan had the most clearances with four, as well as 13 disposals and three tackles. In total, the Roosters had a massive 14 players reach double-figure disposals as they shared the ball around, and arguably what made the huge win more impressive was the fact that last year’s leading goalkicker, Kelly Barltrop was a non-factor in the contest with six touches and one behind.

Central had six players that were in double figures for disposals, with Georgia Madigan leading the way with 13, as well as three marks, three tackles and three inside 50s, while Demi Sonneman had 12 disposals – all kicks – coming out of defence as well as two marks, two tackles and three rebounds. Danielle Stewart (12 disposals, five clearances) worked hard in midfield, while Jayme-Lee Sonneman (three clearances), Shelby Smith (two) and Lauren Smith (two) were the other main midfield extractors. Kimberley Fry held up well under pressure in defence with eight touches and four rebounds, while Amber James provided a presence in the forward half with eight disposals, two marks – one contested – and four inside 50s.

There was little doubt that North Adelaide has its sights set on a premiership this year, with a number of its rivals losing players to the AFL Women’s competitions. While the Roosters also suffered some departures, they are primed for a huge attack on 2020 and would have to be premiership favourites at this stage. While no doubt the loss will sting for the Bulldogs, they have just witnessed the benchmark of the competition, and there will be some good and bad weeks throughout the season, but they have a consistent side across the park and have a great chance of bouncing back against Glenelg next week. The Roosters will take on the Bloods in a top of the table clash not to be missed.

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: Woodville-West Torrens

IN our final South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s team preview, we take a look at Woodville-West Torrens Eagles, a side that finished its inaugural season without a win, but showed great spirit throughout and seemed to gel more as the season went on.

 

2019 BY THE NUMBERS:

Position: 8th
Wins: 0
Losses: 10
For: 227
Against: 542
Percentage: 41.9%

 

2020 CHANGES

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

IN: Ali Evans (West Adelaide), Rebecca Catterall (Central District), Nicole Collie (North Adelaide).
OUT: Jaimi Tabb (Adelaide AFLW), Tash Farrier (Ice Hockey), Hannah Scholar (West Adelaide), Taylor Hand (West Adelaide), Jo Baltias (Sturt), Rachel Dunstan (Sturt), Aajiah Jericho (Sturt).

 

FIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH

Kiana Lee

Missed out on being drafted last year, but the 18-year-old showed in patches that she has what it takes to keep pushing and deserved a place in the Central Allies side at the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships. Lee returns to the Eagles line-up having booted nine goals from 10 games in a team that struggled to put scores on the board last year. She will again be a key target inside the arc so expect her to cause some headaches with an extra year of experience under her belt.

Stephanie Walker

A member of the leadership group having stepped back from the inaugural captaincy last year, Walker was one of the Eagles’ most consistent players last season. She played 10 games and averaged 15.3 disposals and 2.8 rebounds, working hard to push back and help her defenders, all while running at 75 per cent disposal efficiency. She will again be one the team turns to this season, though the former AFL Women’s player has been touted for a role change in 2020, to provide more support in attack

Jaimi Tabb

Despite the fact Tabb will likely play plenty of games for the Crows given her form last year – getting better as the season went on – if she does manage to come back and play it is impossible not to have her on this list. She went from strength to strength in 2019, winning the ball on a string and then continuing that form into the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships. Loves the contested side of football but can also outrun her opponents on the outside, always wearing them down.

Caitlin Sampson

A key player through the ruck, Sampson provided first hands to her teammates in the role, playing the first seven games of the season and showing some promising signs in her first year in the competition. She averaged six touches and 14 hitouts per game, ranking fifth overall in the stat. Still raw and developing, Samson will have benefited from 2019, and with some fresh faces around, she could be important against a host of talented talls in the competition this year.

Jovanka Zecevic

The 21-year-old was a permanent fixture out of defence, averaging 11.1 disposals and 2.7 rebounds per game. She played nine of a possible 10 games, and had a purple patch mid-season where she racked up 17, 16 and 18 disposals consecutively – against the top three teams. In the same period, she averaged almost five rebounds per game, standing up under severe heat, and with Walker playing more of a forward role, she will be the one to turn to when it comes to settling down the back six.

FIXTURE

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

Woodville-West Torrens has a mixed bag when it comes to double-up games, facing last year’s minor premiers Norwood, finalists Glenelg and bottom three side Sturt, twice. It is a tough start to the season with the reigning premiers and Redlegs up in the first fortnight, but the goal for the Eagles this season will be to breakthrough for that first win and then build from there.

Lee no stranger to football pathway

UNLIKE many of her peers, Kiana Lee has been lucky enough to spend plenty of years in the Australian rules football pathway. Initially joining her brother in the sport as a six-year-old, Lee went on to play more than 100 games before being identified as a clear footballing talent by Woodville-West Torrens in the South Australian National Football League Women’s (SANFLW).

“My older brother who played footy when he was six. He played for Rosewater Football Club and I thought it would be fun to go out there and give it a shot with the boys, and I did,” Lee said. “I ended up playing longer than he did. “Played there until I was 14 and I was no longer allowed to play with the boys. “At that point AFLW wasn’t a thing so I didn’t have anything to do with footy after that for a year. “As soon as I heard about AFL footy, I went straight back and I set goals and I strived to make it to the AFLW. “Played at Henley Sharks for a year and then played at South West Lakes and have played there ever since. “I’ve also played SANFLW for the Woodville-West Torrens and got the chance to play state footy.”

Lee was a part of history when the Eagles made their debut in season 2019, running out for Woodville-West Torrens as they played out their inaugural season in the SANFLW.

“It was definitely good,” Lee said. “I really enjoyed it, the team environment was very good. Everyone was really close and supportive of each other. “It was lots of fun to rock up to training and just see all your friends. “Get better and improve. “Obviously we didn’t get a win, but that doesn’t matter to me. “I enjoyed what the team environment was like and had lots of fun.”

Lee has not let adversity get in the way of achieving her goal of being drafted into the AFL Women’s. She was disappointed on missing out on the Central Allies side as a bottom-ager in 2018, but made up for lost time in 2019, booting four goals in both of her games for South Australia against the Northern Territory to book her spot for the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships.

“It was definitely something I wanted to do last year which I didn’t make the team, but I wanted to improve and hopefully make it this year which I did,” Lee said. “Happy to achieve that and it’s been good. “The team’s also very nice and we’re all as a group from different states we’ve come together, we’ve won one, lost one which was good.”

The humble Lee said kicking the bags of goals was a “pretty good feeling” but credited her teammates with their work up the ground for her to “polish” off their work. A feeling she is used to playing up forward as the focal point for the Eagles in the SANFLW.

“Yeah I like kicking goals and the feeling of kicking a goal and finishing off my teammates hard work,” Lee said. “Just getting around the girls was really good.”

Like many forwards, Lee said she is still developing the defensive side of her game but is keen to build in any areas she lacks to become the most complete player possible.

“I definitely think I need to work on my tackle pressure and defensive pressure from a forward perspective,” Lee said. “Definitely my attitude towards the game (too), not dropping my head and just keeping going as the game goes along.”

With dual AFL Women’s Best and Fairest winner Erin Phillips as her inspiration, Lee said reaching the highest level to play alongside or against Phillips was the clear goal.

“Yeah my biggest dream ever,” she said. Now it is a game of wait and see, but whatever the future holds for Lee, you can be sure she will not stray too far from the game she loves.

Scouting notes: AFLW U18s – Wednesday, July 10

ON the second day of the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships, we headed down to muddy Southport where Vic Metro and Vic Country picked up another two wins against Queensland and Eastern Allies respectively, while Western Australia defeated Central Allies in the final match of the day. All notes are opinion-based of the individual writer.

QUEENSLAND VS. VIC METRO

Queensland

By: Peter Williams

#4 Lily Postlethwaite

Another strong performance from the Queensland captain who just kept getting better as the game went on. Her last quarter was phenomenal as she tried to lift her side to victory. She finds a way out of tight situations and uses the ball well by hand or foot. A couple of times she was forced to pump the ball inside 50 and it was chopped off, but she set up scoring opportunities by teaming up with Zimmorlei Farquharson. She had a highlight play in the final term, winning the ball on the wing, hitting up Farquharson, running past, sidestepping an opponent after receiving the handball and kicking forward, although it was chopped off in the attacking 50. Overall another impressive game, but particularly in the second half.

#6 Allanah Phineasa

Had a couple of chances on goal in the second term with a quick snap under pressure in the goal square missing before she lead out and took a good mark then converted the set shot. Phineasa kept pushing up and being involved in the play.

#8 Isabel Dawes

Hits the ball at speed on a muddy ground which was interesting but impressive at the same time. She is able to work her way through traffic and generally uses the ball fairly well throughout. Dawes had a chance on goal late in the game but it was stopped on the line.

#13 Dee Heslop

Really strong opening term, using quick hands in defence and was able to use the ball well by hand or foot. She was the key to restricting Metro’s flow in that first half, and also laid a massive tackle during the game on Emily Harley to earn a free kick and save a goal scoring opportunity. She won a free kick in the final term and went to take the game on to try and create something, but was wrapped up and called for holding the ball.

#14 Serene Watson

One of, if not Queensland’s best on the day and she really put together a consistent four quarter effort in the back half. She read the ball well in flight and used quick hands to run the ball out of defence in muddy conditions. Watson was good one-on-one at half-back to spoil a difficult kick that was right to her direct opponent, but she was able to nullify that contest. She also made a good decision under pressure to turn away from her opponent earlier in the game, spin and hit up a short target on the wing, and continually showed composure with ball-in -hand to save a potential goal late in the game and still hit-up a teammate in the back pocket despite being chased.

#16 Elle Hampson

A work horse performance in conditions that suited her game style to a tee. While her kicking at times was a bit scrappy, she was able to thrive in the mud with some strong positioning in marking contests and around the ball, firing out crucial handballs at times and suffered leather poisoning with plenty of possessions around the ground. She also had a perfect kick down the middle to a teammate after marking at half-back, and when not in possession was good at protecting the ball drop to mark at half-back.

#19 Zimmorlei Farquharson

Had a much better second game than her first, making a real impact at Southport with strong positioning in marking contests and a presence around the ball that always made her look damaging. Farquhqrson protected the ball drop when leading at the football and was able to simplify her marking by taking it on her chest. She not only showed good offensive attributes, but defensive ones as well, running down an opponent right on the defensive 50 and then producing a lovely kick into Allanah Phineasa.

#26 Maddison Levi

Played well in the back 50 and showed nice composure when under pressure. She won a big one-on-one close to the boundary deep in defence in the first quarter to kick cleanly out of the danger zone. Levi did this a number of times throughout the match and just looked solid throughout. Her work with and without the ball was impressive on the day.

#27 Kitara Whap-Farrar

Had another impressive performance, particularly on the defensive side of things with some great tackles, including a big run-down tackle on Britney Gutknecht on the wing. She showed good acceleration and determination, and put pressure on the ball carrier constantly. Whap-Farrar was also able to use her vision to dispose of the ball cleanly, and showed nice hands when under pressure.

Vic Metro

By: Taylah Melki

#4 Nicola Xenos

Showed good glimpses of spatial awareness to kick to teammates in space and was able to pick the ball up with ease off the deck. Clever read of the play to stay down when all the players went up and used her clean hands to move the ball out of congestion. Good evasive skills to dodge a couple of players and skip through the middle of the ground.

#5 Elisabeth Georgostathis

She made her presence felt going in hard at the contest and competing at every contest possible. Applied good strong physical pressure and showcased her strength to get her arms free in the tackle and dish the ball off. Georgostathis presented hard up at the footy to give Metro options across the ground and used her dynamic movement to cause confusion. Got a good crumbing goal out of the pack midway through the fourth term credit to her consistent attacking pressure and ability to read the play. Had moments of clever play to break away from the pack and break lines but was inaccurate by foot at times.

#16 Emily Harley

Scored the opening goal for Vic Metro credit to a strong mark in the goal square over the top of a couple of players. She showcased her impressive knowledge to out body her opponent and work them under the ball to take a big strong mark and kick truly.

#17 Georgia Patrikios

After a quiet first quarter by her standards Patrikios well and truly imposed herself on the match in the following three quarters. She displayed her football smarts with a perfectly weighted pass in the second term to teammate Britney Gutknecht on the lead. Patrikios steadily built into the game in the second quarter winning plenty of ball and finding good space across the ground. She covered the ground well and ran hard throughout the match to provide options. Really clean hands coming out of defence to work the ball through traffic and hit a teammate in space. Constantly involved in the contest hunting around the back of stoppages and working her way through congestion to win the ball. She provided plenty of attacking and defensive pressure to make her presence felt right across the field with her clever decision making and silky skills.

#20 Sarah Sansonetti

Started the match off with good intent and was clean below the knees to pick the ball up off the ground and dish it off to a teammate. She tracked the ball well at ground level and used her long kick to move the ball out of the back half.

#21 Ellie McKenzie

She worked her way into the match really taking the game on and opening up space credit to her run and carry. Good use of angles and vision to kick to teammates on the lead and displayed her impressive spatial awareness with an over the shoulder handball to a teammate in space. McKenzie’s sheer ability to shrug off tacklers and burst away is second to none while also using her bullet like passes to slice through Queensland’s defence. She is a real bull around the contest going in hard to extract the footy time and time again. McKenzie proved that she is not afraid of the contest laying her body on the line and dishing out some bone bruising bumps to win the ball across the ground.

#23 Nell Morris-Dalton

The forward was awarded a 50 metre penalty in the third term and made no mistake kicking the footy straight through the middle to claim her first for the morning. Grew in confidence as the game went on taking a strong grab in the forward 50 but was unable to convert only registering a behind.

#26 Gabby Newton

Newton showcased her ability to read the play dropping into holes and taking timely intercept marks throughout the match. She was not afraid to apply some strong physical pressure with big tackles through the middle of the ground and used her strong hands to out mark her opponents. Provided a good lead in the forward 50 using her football nous to break away from her opponent. Her cleverly positioned kick put the ball to the top of the square resulting in a mark turned goal to set Metro up for the rest of the game. Utilised her long booming kick to move the ball inside forward 50 and create some possible scoring opportunities. Took a really strong mark on a tricky angle inside forward 50 and made no mistake banging it straight through the middle for her first goal of the game. Good off the deck to take the ball cleanly below her knees and bang it long down the line out of defence late in the fourth term.

#29 Cleo Saxon-Jones

Showcased her ability to be a real presence up forward with her imposing figure and long booming kick. She created a couple of scoring opportunities early in the first half to trap the ball inside the forward 50 but faded out a bit as the game went on.

#34 Jessica Fitzgerald

Really good positioning to take a clever intercept mark in the middle of the ground in the third term. Displayed her footy nous to cut off passes and then quickly transition into attack for Vic Metro. She worked hard throughout the match to win the ball and out position her opponent time and time again.

EASTERN ALLIES VS. VIC COUNTRY

Eastern Allies

By: Peter Williams

#9 Jayde Hamilton

A really strong defensive effort from the forward who capitalised after some hard running in the first term. She ran past her opponent and got to the ball first as it rolled along the ground close to goal for her to soccer it through for the first major of the day. Hamilton was able to create some good run across the ground and also crack in and lay a number of memorable tackles.

#10 Abby Favell

Had a really busy start to the game picking up some early touches, then buzzed around the ground to intercept the ball through either marking, tackling or implied pressure to help her teammates. She showed good hands moving the ball out of defence and was able to get to the right spots around the ground.

#11 Mia King

Got better as the game went on to be an inside machine, laying tackle after tackle with huge amounts of defensive pressure. King not only applied pressure to her opponents, but won the pill herself, racking up the most touches of anyone on her side. What is impressive is she not only uses the ball well, but cracks in at both ground level and in the air and always puts the team first with good bumps and shepherds to lead by example. Once she got going she was hard to stop with good acceleration and a hard edge to her game,

#13 Zoe Hurrell

Booted the second goal for Eastern Allies after a free kick just outside the goalsquare. Hurrell positioned herself well in the marking contest and earned the free, then set up a scoring opportunity for her teammate in Emily Hurley after Hurrell burst away to kick inside 50 nicely. A big tackle on the much taller Olivia Barber on the wing in the third quarter to earn a free kick was an important moment and overall she was really solid across the board.

#19 Sophie Phillips

Did not finish with a huge amount of touches but honestly was one of Eastern Allies’ best. Phillips was terrific in the back half with three big tackles leading to three free kicks and disposals that cleared the danger out of the back half. When the defence was under pressure, Phillips was a shining light and her best tackle came against Sophie Molan, stopping a would-be goal deep in defence.

#20 Brenna Tarrant

Another Eastern Allies player who was strong on the inside and found plenty of it going in hard at the contest. Tarrant showed good vision under pressure to hit-up a target going forward and was able to create some scoring opportunities by moving the ball on in transition. Tarrant also worked hard to push into defence and assist her teammates and play an important role throughout the game.

#21 Olivia O’Donnell

Started the game strongly with a long kick inside 50 to set up a goal, and just patrolled the defensive half of the ground winning the footy and dropping back to assist the defence. She was hard at it around the stoppages on her way to a solid game and the second most touches for her team behind Mia King.

Vic Country

#1 Elise Vella

Went in hard at the footy and was involved in the contest early on. Good attack on the footy to pick the ball up off the ground all in one action and dispose of it. Showed good composure to think her way through the traffic. 

#3 Paige Sheppard 

Found good space and used her long, accurate kick to hit targets. Showcased a safe set of hands to take strong grabs even with players coming at her. Good lead up at the footy in the forward 50 and slotted her first goal of the afternoon from about 35 out directly in front. 

#7 Ella Wood

Worked tirelessly throughout the match winning her fair share of the footy and making the most of her opportunities with ball in hand. Impressive sliding pick up off the ground to regain possession for Vic Country.

#9 Darcy Moloney

Almost kicked an impressive goal on an impossible angle in the first term with the ball hitting the post. She showed good goal sense to take a step and bring it back around but just missed out. Good hands out of congestion and impressive vision to find her teammates. Tracked the ball well at ground level and applied strong tackles. 

#10 Sophie Locke

Played her role across the field doing the little things right and regaining possession many times. Laid a huge tackle in third term and showed good awareness to come off her player and influence the play.

#12 Tyanna Smith 

Impressive through the midfield and at stoppages extracting the ball out of the packs and working it to a teammate in space. Good tackling pressure and intent to win the footy. Lovely kick and pass to McDonald to set up a scoring opportunity for Vic Metro.

#13 Molly McDonald

Good evasive skills to dodge a couple of opponents in the middle of the ground and still dispose of the ball. Good awareness to soccer the ball forward and keep it moving into their forward 50 to help supply forward pressure. Nailed her first goal of the game in the fourth quarter showcasing her good kicking action and strong hands to take a big mark inside 50.

#15 Isabella Shannon

Good long kick, always looking to move the ball on quickly and down the line. Slick hands out of the middle to bang it on the boot and push the ball forward. Clever burst of speed through the middle to kick the ball deep into the forward 50.

#19 Brooke Vernon

Clean pick up off the ground and good sense of spatial awareness to sight a teammate and handball the footy off to her.

#21 Sophie Molan

Really good run and carry through the midfield in the second term to open the ground right up. Strong in and around the contest to extract the footy and dish it off to teammates. Good tackling pressure to bring her opponent to ground. Beautiful snap around the body after reading the tap out of the ruck to top off her solid performance. 

#23 Lucy McEvoy

Hot start once again, finding good space and using her body to put muscle her opponents in the contest. Good both in the air and at ground level scrapping hard to win the footy time and time again. McEvoy showcased her tackling prowess with plenty of strong tackles to bring opponents to ground. Strong hands and displayed her football knowledge to float back into spaces and pick off errant passes and then quickly transition into attack. Really good angled kick through the middle of the ground to open up the whole field. Impressive evasive abilities to sidestep her opponent and palm off a handball. Took a huge contested mark in the fourth quarter using her body and brute strength to win the ball and penetrate inside 50.

#25 Olivia Barber 

Really strong mark above her head and good spatial awareness to move the ball on quickly into an open forward 50. Her forward thrust created a scoring opportunity for Vic County. Constantly stayed in the contest laying strong tackles and making her presence felt across the field. 

#27 Shanara Notman

Really injected herself into the contest going in hard at every opportunity. She worked hard in the ruck contests to try and out body her opponent and tap it to her teams advantage. Really good elevation to get up high and get a tap. Good clean pick up in the second quarter in the forward 50 with the ball rolling forward and kicking her first goal of the game. Showed good intent to keep the ball moving taking a strong mark in the forward 50 and playing on but just missed only managing a behind. Really good hands and composure to stand under the high ball but was unable to convert from a tricky angle in the forward 50. 

WESTERN AUSTRALIA VS. CENTRAL ALLIES

By: Taylah Melki

Western Australia

#9 Isabella Lewis

Contested hard to win the footy on the ground and proved that she was not afraid to take on the physicality of the game. Nailed an impressive goal from the boundary line midway through the second term. Highlighted her attacking abilities and footy smarts to go back and think her way through the shot. Lewis consistently

#10 Mikayla Hyde

Displayed her solid kicking action and strong hands to take a big grab and then convert from directly in front about 30 out in the third quarter. Hyde was clever in traffic to work her way through the players and deliver the ball to teammates in space.

#13 Kia Buckley

Good strong hands to take a contested mark on the chest. Found good space and in the forward 50 to set up play for her teammates. Created a real presence in the forward half using her footy smarts to get into damaging positions and having a ping at goal but just missing.  

#17 Mikayla Bowen

Lifted in intensity hitting the contests hard and using her voice to help set up play. Presented well up at the footy and capitalised on her opportunities in front of goal nailing her first goal in the last quarter. 

#22 Nyra Anderson

Electric around the stoppages always hunting the ball and applying strong tackles in and around the contest. Good evasive skill to get around her opponents and then bomb it long down the line.

#23 Mikayla Morrison

Displayed good footy nous to drop back into an open goal square and dribble one through for her first of the afternoon. She ran hard across the ground and showed good composure to not blaze away. 

#29 Roxanne Roux

Showcased her defensive pressure with a good smother in the midfield to stop the forward foray of Central Allies. Constantly involved in the contest and used her aerial abilities to contest the ball in the air and attack the hands of the opposition. Took a really big leap in the third quarter but was unlucky to not come down with the footy. Roux applied plenty of physicality and worked overtime to try and win the ball for WA. Applied plenty of physical pressure laying bone crunching tackles but copped a head knock in the third and forced her to come off with a blood rule. 

Central Allies

#9 Jaimi Tabb

Real bull around the contest applying strong physical pressure. Did not take a backwards step throughout the game. Good burst through the stoppage in the forward 50 having a shot at goal but had more time than she thought with the ball going out of bounds.

#10 Madison Newman

Good with ball in hand and showed great composure across the field to work the ball through traffic and dish it out to a teammate. Used her long penetrating kick to move the call forward. Good hands in close and impressive spatial awareness to spin out of trouble and into open space. 

#11 Teagan Usher

Impressive diving mark to regain possession for the Allies showcasing her skills and desperation to put her body on the line. Strong booming kick to move the ball forward and great scoring opportunities for the Allies. She was constantly involved in the action and worked tirelessly to try and win the ball.

#13 Kiana Lee

Imposed herself in the forward 50 with a good strong mark directly in front but was unable to covert with the ball just dropping short. Really good strong contested mark on the wing to our body her opponent and bomb the ball forward. Won her fair share of the footy and found good space to work the ball into.

#23 Stephanie Williams

Displayed her speed and skill to burst down the wing and create some run and carry. Good user of the footy and always looked to move the ball on and down the field. She was competitive throughout the match and had glimpses of real excitement.

#26 Montana McKinnon

Really good in the defensive end picking off errant passes and applying good pressure. Strong one on one and tried hard to limit the forward thrusts from Western Australia. She was a real lynchpin down in defence using her voice to help set up play. McKinnon out bodied her opponents on multiple times and showcased her strength above her head to clunk some important and timely marks.

Scouting notes: AFLW U18s – Monday, July 8

ON the opening day of the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships, there were wins to both Victorian sides over Queensland and Western Australia, while Central Allies got over the line against Eastern Allies. We were there and took notes on some of the players that impressed us throughout the day at Metricon Stadium. All notes are opinion-based of the individual writer.

Queensland

By: Peter Williams

#4 Lily Postlethwaite

Was prominent throughout the midfield as we have come to expect from the Queensland captain. She produced a four-quarter effort and in wet conditions when many others were struggling to be clean, Postlethwaite added a touch of class to the game and was able to win the ball in every third of the field. She was able to hit targets more often than not with her ability to kick across her body or on the move. Postlethwaite also applied good defensive pressure, laying a nice bump to allow a teammate to win the footy. She mopped up in defence at times and then got forward to hit-up Taylor Smith who marked inside 50 and goaled in the final term.

#11 Tiarna Ahwang

Ahwang showed some very nice glimpses with some clear scope for the future. She has great acceleration which she used at times to keep the ball in front of her, and she did so late in the game where she was unable to take the ball cleanly on the wet surface at first, but then got hold of it and then kicked it forward well.

#13 Dee Heslop

Cracked in and got the hands up to handball out of the contest on a number of occasions. Heslop was able to position her body well when sliding in or approaching an opponent to fairly bump and go to win the contested ball. A nice mover around the ground, Heslop found space under pressure and kicked long to the wing in the second term in what was a nice piece of play.

#14 Serene Watson

The reliable defensive general, Watson was solid all game in a defence that was under siege at times. She was able to use the ball fairly well and read an errant kick from Isabella Simmons in the second term to mark on the last line and settle the team down. Watson has great composure with ball-in-hand and proved a strong intercept mark and a player who stopped quite a few Country forward forays. In the final term she took an unbelievable mark, pushed under the ball but was able to get hands to it to keep it in front of her and pull it down. Unfortunately, she played on and had to rush a handball after slipping, but overall a really impressive game.

#16 Elle Hampson

Copped a number of knocks throughout the first half but kept bouncing back and playing an important role through midfield. She continually hit the opponent hard with fierce tackles, and even fended off a couple of players to win an important contested ball in midfield. Hampson took a big grab at half-back in the second term, but her subsequent kick was smothered. Her first half was terrific and continued her good work after the break, with some neat kicks along the wing. Did get pinged for a high tackle late in the game.

#20 Charlotte Hammans

Reliable as ever, Hammans was strong in defence, getting back to take the ball and clear it up the field on a number of occasions. At times she pushed up the ground to try and get the ball deeper down the ground, and played a good team role throughout the game, doing the hard stuff in the back half of the ground.

#21 Taylor Smith

Smith had a couple of set shots on goal, one in the third term and one in the fourth. The first one was a good attempt but fell short to the right, the second went through however. She provided a tall target inside 50 in the game and was able to capitalise with the last quarter major.

#27 Kitara Whap-Farrar

One of the cleanest players out there, Farrar was able to control the wet pill at ground level by protecting the zone and handballing out to teammates. On a number of occasions, she stepped around opponents like it was a dry track and set up teammates up the ground by opening the game up with her agility. She also showed good hands in close.

Vic Country

By: Taylah Melki

#4 Renee Saulitis

Impressive goal in the second quarter with a clever snap from the pocket. She showcased her goal sense to turn and bang it through the middle. She worked hard to pose a threat up forward running hard and winning a free kick but was unable to add another major to her name with the ball just dropping short.

#7 Ella Wood

Proved that she was not afraid to go hard at the footy and apply strong physical pressure with tackles and bumps to put her opponents off balance. She showcased her long strong kick and ability to sight players in space.

#9 Darcy Moloney

Worked well through the midfield to win the ball and dispose of it cleanly and cleverly, won a free kick in the first term in the forward 50 and moved the ball quickly. Broke free in the forward 50 and found good space to create opportunities. Moloney worked hard at ground level to win the ball and force contests. Kicked an impressive goal off a step and around the body in the third quarter working hard to use her feet and body to out position her opponent.

#12 Tyanna Smith

Clean hands and good vision to move through the packs and create forward thrusts. She worked hard to use the ball well and covered the ground with ease laying off a pass and then receiving it back in the forward 50 in the second quarter. She tracked the ball well at ground level given the tricky slippery conditions. Good hands under pressure and good direction to work the ball through traffic. Really good run and carry through the middle of the ground to open the forward 50 up.

#21 Sophie Molan

Really good strong hands and clever ability to read the play. Kicked the ball well supplying cleverly weighted kicks to teammates on the lead. She showcased her strength to hold up in the tackle and shake her opponent off to then dish a handball off to a passing teammate. Worked herself into the game in the last term roving the packs and getting involved at the stoppages.

#23 Lucy McEvoy

Long penetrating kick into the forward 50 and applied good pressure. She showcased her strong hands to win the ball cleanly and used her good hands at the stoppages to feed the ball out of the contest and to a free teammate. McEvoy was not afraid to apply strong physical pressure putting her body on the line to win the ball in the air and on the ground. Used her body well throughout the game to barge through congestion and deliver the ball to teammates. Showcased her general footy smarts to create forward opportunities for Vic Country. She is a real bull in and around the contest and showcased her spatial awareness to lay the ball out to teammates in advantage. Topped off her impressive performance with a snap in the last quarter credit to her goal sense and strength to break free and win the ball. McEvoy kicked her second goal moments later reading the tap out of the ruck and snapping truly.

#24 Isabella Simmons

Simmons worked hard to get into the right place at the right time nailing her first for the morning with a goal right on the goal line. Simmons used her body well and showcased her general footy smarts to work her way to the goal line and capitalise on her opportunities.

#25 Olivia Barber

Kicked the opening goal for Vic Country credit to her strong hands to take a contested mark and then back it up with a strong kick. She quickly followed that up slotting her second goal in the first quarter off the deck after a booming kick from McEvoy into the forward 50. Barber continued her goal kicking form nailing her third in the dying minutes of the second quarter. Continued to be an imposing force in the forward 50 create scoring opportunities but was unable to capitalise scoring two points straight. Barber proved to be a force to be reckoned with in the forward 50 slotting her fourth goal in the opening few minutes in the last term.

VIC METRO VS. WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Western Australia:

Peter Williams

#9 Isabella Lewis

Got the first inside 50 for Western Australia with a quick kick, and kept battling in the forward half with some fierce tackles. She was often trying to win the hardball and feed it out, and whilst Lewis did give away a few free kicks in the process, showed great attack on the ball.

#10 Mikayla Hyde

A human highlight reel in the air, Hyde had a number of high-flying attempts throughout the match. Hyde reads the play well and was able to chop off a kick in-board to the middle in the second term, and then handball quickly to a teammate quickly. She has great strength overhead and while she did not take every mark she flew for, still created a presence in the air. A damaging player in the forward half and still a year to go in her development.

#13 Kia Buckley

Played in the forward half and showed some nice offensive and defensive traits. Buckley was able to use her body well in on-on-one contests, taking a strong mark while being held at one stage, then took another good mark on a lead just outside the 50. Her kick inside set up a goal for her team.

#14 Sarah Verrier

One of the important inside midfielders, Verrier was superb with her tackling and clearance ability in a role often understated in a hard slog. She continually fought hard in the middle to win the footy and then kick long, getting it out of congestion and into the forward 50. She gave away a few free kicks, but her use with the ball was telling in the conditions, just looking to kick rather than handball.

#17 Mikayla Bowen

An outstanding game from Bowen who showed once again why West Coast made the decision to pre-list her ahead of next season. She was everywhere, using the ball well, playing the team role and leading from the front. When her side was down early, she was cracking in trying to win the ball and thump it forward. Her tackling was not just often, but fierce and made her opponents earn every possession. Her clearance work was the best on the ground and she never stopped running. Bowen’s smarts should also not be underrated, kicking off the ground to gain distance in congestion and give her side a chance to run onto it early in the game. Brought down Elle McKenzie in a tackle too which is no easy feat.

#23 Mikayla Morrison

Not a huge amount of ball, but she was classy in the big moments late. Her last quarter in particular was a highlight, winning the ball tight in the pocket and getting the ball by hand over to Lily Bird who converted a goal, then got on the end of one herself after marking terrifically under pressure and nailing the set shot from 35m – bringing the deficit to just 11 points.

#29 Roxanne Roux

Along with Bowen, Roux was a standout player, with a dominating presence in the air and capitalising on the scoreboard. She booted two goals during the game – both from set shots – and could have had a third. She booted a goal early in the second which was Western Australia’s first major, then launched from long range in the third quarter for a huge goal. Her contested marking was a treat, and while she did not take as many marks as she has in the past, she fly a number of times, almost bringing down a cracker at half-forward in the second term. She then moved into the ruck in the final term, having a huge game and finishing with 18 hitouts to complement her game further, and had a massive leap that was too hard for the opposition to combat.

#35 Mim Strom

Really impressive throughout the day because while Strom was clearly the number one ruck on the ground, it was her work around the ground that also looked good. She worked within usual ruck limitations of aiming to handball to running teammates, but did not mind doing the hard stuff, laying a terrific tackle on Elisabeth Georgostathis who tried to evade her, and winning a free on the wing. Worked hard in close and became like a fourth midfielder at times.

Vic Metro:

By: Sophie Taylor

#2 Felicity Theodore

Great clearing kick down ground. Right in the contest when needed, putting in the hard yards especially in the late stages of the match to apply constant pressure on the scrap and be the crumbing player to clear back out of the contest. She may not have had the influence on the ball that she wanted, but produced plenty of stoppages credit to her tackling pressure and ability to force her opposition to be unsure about the contest.

#17 Georgia Patrikios

Patrikios was one of the best on ground for the afternoon, if not best for Metro in an altogether successful match. Showcased her skill to produce a great clearing kick from the midfield toward the forward, and was right up in every contest from the get-go. Had a great read of the play, finding the ball with ease and producing some impressive marks in among the contest. Had a run on goal in the first that was punched on the line but showed good intent and ability to find space to line up in front, following it up with a successful goal moments into the second after a 50m penalty. Also showed off some of her game smarts late, proving her great read of play as she spotted Saxon-Jones one on one inside 50, leading to a goal.

#21 Ellie McKenzie

Put on a solid performance credit to her ability to take the game on but was stopped in her tracks by a hungry WA side on a number of occasions, unable to find the space to run free with the ball. Produced some great crunching tackles, while also creating play credit to her ability to find a loose player and clear the ball out of the contest in their direction.

#23 Nell Morris-Dalton

Kicked one goal in a mostly successful hitout. Spent a lot of the first term further up the ground than usual, not hanging inside 50 as accustomed to and giving some room to the likes of Cleo Saxon-Jones and Emily Harley. Showcased some of her good marking ability, providing great option inside 50 and taking a great mark right in front of goal in the second, putting an easy goal on the board.

#26 Gabby Newton

Newton was impressive off the stoppage, finding teammates with ease and using her ability to play with smarts to not only create play across the field but use her teammates’ position to advantage as she made opportunities arise. Her booming kick was effective on multiple occasions, while her pressure both on and off the ball forced her opposition to second guess around the footy and rethink their options.

#29 Cleo Saxon-Jones

Early took a good contested mark off the boot of Morris-Dalton, finishing with a snap around the body from the pocket and goal. Wasn’t able to take advantage of sitting alone in the goal square but set up well for open goal if it came to her. Hit the post on second try minutes later but made up for it by putting her body on the line at every opportunity. Kicked a sensational goal in the final term to keep Metro in the contest when WA was hot on their heels, taking a great running mark one on one for a set shot well within her range, straight through the middle for her third goal.

#20 Sarah Sansonetti

Applied very good physical pressure, nullifying influence of her opponent with her one on one play. Read the play well and was able to cherry pick passes. Was both good at ground level and aerially, producing some good linkup play with the likes of Newton and McKenzie. Fumbled a mark late in the game but recovered well, also producing a great clearing kick from a 50m penalty that finished in a goal to Metro.

EASTERN ALLIES VS. CENTRAL ALLIES

Eastern Allies:

By: Taylah Melki

#10 Abby Favell

Clean hands in and around the contest to feed the ball out of congestion and to teammates streaming past. She used her long booming kick to move the ball down the field and push hard forward. Favell worked tirelessly to win the ball and showcased her vision to flick the ball out to teammates in better positions across the ground. Was a real bull at the stoppages bursting through to gain possession and tackled hard.

#11 Mia King

Good intent and attack on the footy at all times. She tracked the ball well in the air and used the footy cleverly delivering well weighted passes across the field. Good burst of speed through the midfield to open up the forward 50. King displayed her strength and courage standing under the high ball and just taking the knock while also applying strong tackles across the ground. Really good kick and ability to measure her passes to hit her teammates on the chest. Stood up in the tackles time and time again and showcased her strength to still dispose of the ball with players hanging off her. Displayed good evasive skills to sidestep her opponents and work through the traffic. Consistently kept her feet in the contest and led up at the footy creating space across the ground.

#14 Jessica Whelan

Hot start to the game finding plenty of the ball early on. Good hands at ground level to pick the ball up off the deck and then follow up her efforts with a lead in the forward 50. Proved that she was not afraid to take the game on laying a big crunching tackle and winning a dropping the ball call. Good read of the flight of the ball to take a running intercept grab and propel the ball forward.

#17 Lillian Doyle

Slotted the first goal of the game on a tricky angle. She presented well up at the footy and showcased her strength to take a big mark under pressure. Doyle was composed under pressure and made the most of her opportunities in front of goal.

#15 Emily Pease

Really took the game on in the last quarter bursting through the middle and chasing her opponents to force turnovers. Went in hard at the contests and showcased her clean set of hands to work the ball out of the congestion time and time again.

#20 Brenna Tarrant

Won plenty of the footy and showcased her footy smarts to read the play. Worked hard throughout the match and applied good physical pressure to try ad regain possession for the Eastern Allies. Presented well up at the footy and showcased her strength to take the mark on her chest. Showcased a good urgency to move the ball on and create attacking pressure in the forward half.

#21 Olivia O’Donnell

Good read out the middle to get the ball cleanly out of the ruck contest and punch the ball forward. She covered the ground well and provided a spark up forward for the Allies. Good hands in close to dish off handballs to teammates and think her way through traffic.

#22 Hannah Stewart

Really good strong mark above her head stretching the mitts out and taking it cleanly in the opening term. Used her body to position well against her opponent and hold her ground. She was unfazed by the physical contest and rose to the occasion multiple times.

#25 Tarni Evans

Hot start to the second half bursting out of the blocks and showcasing her goal sense to kick her first major for the game. Applied good attacking pressure streaming inside forward 50 and using the space to her advantage to go for goal only for the ball to be cut off at the line.

#27 Emily Hurley

The defender tried hard throughout the game to nullify the influence of her opponent. Took a big intercept mark in the second term to try and repel the attacking forays of Central Allies. She had her work cut out for her with the ball entering with great speed and at high volumes but she held her own on a couple of occasions.

#30 Jordyn Jolliffe

She kicked a goal on the siren to keep the Eastern Allies in the game after taking a big contested mark just outside the goal square. She showcased her strong hands and ability to read the flight of the ball to drop back into the space and take the grab.

Central Allies:

By: Peter Williams

Central Allies:

#2 Madisyn Freeman

A tough player who roamed up and down the ground with the wing and provided an option, kicking well down the wing to hit-up Teah Charlton in the first term. Freeman then went forward and took a good mark inside 50 despite fierce contact coming front-on, converting the set shot. Took another great mark under duress from front on contact at half-forward, showing her strong hands above her head.

#6 Hannah Munyard

One of those players that just does not waste a disposal. Seemed like she had 20-plus touches but only recorded the eight such is her impact on the game. Whilst her first quarter was quiet, she stepped up and hit a lovely kick inside 50 to set up Tayla Hart-Aluni on the lead. She had her own chance on goal in the third term after a nice side-step but her shot went to the right. She worked into the game well in the second half, being a playmaker in the forward half, but also laying a couple of strong tackles. Her only mistake was a missed set shot which went out on the full after a good mark inside 50. Overall one of the classier users by foot in the game.

#9 Jaimi Tabb

One of Central Allies’ best throughout the game, particularly having a massive third term and finishing off stronger in the fourth. She was a tackling machine who time and time again locked the ball up and nullified contests. She began to win more of the ball as the game went on and set up attacking plays in the third term, then was rewarded with a goal making the most of a half chance in the goalsquare late in the third term for a crucial goal and one that would prove to be the match winner. In the dying last couple of minutes, Tabb laid some big tackles to lock the ball up, and when not tackling won the footy and was able to keep it locked away in her clutches so the Eastern Allies could not have an easy exit going forward.

#10 Madison Newman

A prominent player throughout the match, Newman won plenty of the ball in the back half, using her foot skills to kick it outside defensive 50 with some nice rebounding. Often able to get back and take a good mark, flying high at one stage and being able to pull down the grab, Newman showed a kick-first mentality out of the defence. She was often the one teammates found to move the ball in transition.

#13 Kiana Lee

A strong mark and hard worker, Lee took an early grab one-on-one 30m out, but just missed the set shot. She then pushed up to the wing and took a great mark there, kicking further down the ground. Lee kept presenting as a marking target going forward and worked hard with great leading patterns.

#23 Stephanie Williams

Had a couple of nice highlights throughout the game with a burst down the middle and kick inside 50 in the first term the best of them. Williams had another interesting moment at one stage at half-back, winning the footy, paddling it to herself in the air and then punching it forward along the wing after not taking possession to avoid being tackled.

#25 Teah Charlton

A dominant player throughout, but particularly the first half, Charlton was pulling down everything with some terrific marks after long leads up the ground. She did miss a couple of targets by foot with her first couple of kicks, but then used it well thereafter, laying some big tackles including a front-on tackle on the wing to win a free kick. Charlton did not hit the scoreboard as she has in the past games, but her work rate and movement in traffic was terrific, really having an impact on the game.

#26 Montana McKinnon

Presented around the ground and was a steadying influence during frantic moments. She flew high to pull down a number of strong marks, including a couple of contested grabs under pressure. Her best were one at half-forward in the second term coming in from the side, and then a huge intercept mark deep in defence late in the game when the Eastern Allies were attacking. She did well around the ground in the ruck with some nice hitouts, and was able to pump the ball forward, using it well by foot. It was her presence that was the most important thing, always looking to be involved and stepping up when her side needed her.

#27 Tayla Hart-Aluni

Had a busy first term by kicking a set shot goal after a lead, then setting up Kiana Lee for a scoring opportunity inside 50. She had another couple of chances, but could not convert on those occasions, finishing with two behinds. Hart-Aluni managed to push up the ground late in the game and ran hard off half-back to keep the ball moving. A clean player who was noticeable throughout.

AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships: South Australia and NSW/ACT claim Series One wins

SOUTH Australia and New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory (NSW/ACT) have claimed back-to-back AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships Series One wins over Northern Territory and Tasmania respectively, ahead of the sides amalgamating to form the Central Allies and Eastern Allies.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA 13.5 (83)
NORTHERN TERRITORY 4.1 (25)

South Australia powered home with a strong second half, booting seven goals to one in order to run out 58-point winners over Northern Territory. After the home side kept the Thunder scoreless in the opening half, both sides managed three majors in the second term for the Croweaters to lead by the same margin as they had at quarter time – 19 points. Kiana Lee was the star up forward booting four majors, while Alex Ballard and Teah Charlton were also rewarded with a couple of goals each. Charlton was named best on ground in the big win, along with South Adelaide teammates and South Australian vice-captain and captain, Hannah Munyard and Montana McKinnon. For the Territory, Tayla Hart-Alumi booted two majors, while the talented Mattea Breed and Christine Davis also booted a major.

GOALS:

South Australia: Kiana Lee 4, Alex Ballard, Teah Charlton 2, Julia Clark, Laitiah Huynh, Lucy Griffith, Madisyn Freeman, Montana McKinnon
Northern Territory: Tayla Hart-Aluni 2, Mattea Breed, Christine Davis.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA 10.11 (71)
NORTHERN TERRITORY 0.2 (2)

The second game was all one-way traffic to South Australia as the home side powered to a 69-point win over Northern Territory. The Croweaters scored 5.8 to 0.0 in the opening half, before a more accurate 5.3 to 0.2 in the second half saw South Australia claim back-to-back wins. Lee was again big in attack booting another four goals to take her total to eight for the series, while Charlton kicked another couple, as did Munyard. Teagan Usher was named best on ground, while Madisyn Newman, Jaimi Tabb and Julia Clark were also impressive in the win. For Northern Territory, Shantel Miskin-Ripia was strong under fire in defence, Breed impressed around the ground, and Shoneeka Abbott took out the overall Northern Territory Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the series.

GOALS:

South Australia: Kiana Lee 4, Hannah Munyard, Teah Charlton 2, Indy Tahau, Jaimi Tabb.
Northern Territory: Nil.

NSW/ACT 11.5 (71)
TASMANIA 2.1 (13)

The first game between the sides started evenly, with the Devils scoring the opening goal, before the Rams added two of their own to head into quarter time with a six-point advantage. The home side added three more goals in the second term to open up a handy four-goal buffer, and then all but put an end to the game with a four goal to one third term. They finished strongly with two goals in the last term, while holding the Devils scoreless. NSW/ACT overager, Jordyn Jolliffe and AFL Academy talent, Georgia Garnett both booted two goals, as did Olivia O’Donnell, as the Rams shared the goals around in the victory, having eight individual goalkickers in the win. For Tasmania, Hannah Smith and Jemma Webster both booted goals for the Devils, while Mia King was unsurprisingly a standout in the defeat.

GOALS:

NSW/ACT: Jordyn Joliffe 2, Georgia Garnett 2, Olivia O’Donnell 2, Jessica Whelan, Tarni Evans, Olivia Edwards, Lillian Doyle, Hayley Fell
Tasmania: Hannah Smith, Jemma Webster.

NSW/ACT 13.6 (84)
TASMANIA 2.4 (16)

The second game started similarly to the first, with Tasmania able to put the opening goal on the board, before the Rams square things up by quarter time. NSW/ACT added two more goals in the second quarter to regain the lead after the Devils kicked the first of the term yet again. It was after half-time that the Rams put the foot down, piling on four goals, while holding the Devils scoreless in the premiership quarter. The final term saw the Rams step up to another level and boot another four goals to zero to run out 68-point winners and claim the series. Brenna Tarrant booted a series-high four goals in a best-on-ground performance, as Lillian Doyle and Jessica Whelan all booted two majors each, while Garnett and Hannah Stewart were named among the best. For Tasmania, Smith and Steph Griffiths each booted a goal, while King, Camilla Taylor and Ella Maurer were named among the Devils’ best. After the wins, Tarrant and Garnett were named as join MVPs for NSW/ACT.

GOALS:

NSW/ACT: Brenna Tarrant 4, Lillian Doyle 2, Jessica Whelan 2, Hayley Fell, Zoe Hurrell, Olivia Edwards, Paris Crelley, Abby Favell.
Tasmania: Hannah Smith, Steph Griffiths.

Weekend wash-up: SANFL Women’s – Round 10

THE four favourites all triumphed on the weekend in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) meaning the four remaining sides in the premiership race come into the first week of finals in form. Norwood and North Adelaide both made resounding statements over their bottom three opponents, while Glenelg snatched fourth spot with a win over Woodville-West Torrens as West Adelaide slipped at the final hurdle against an impressive South Adelaide side.

NORTH ADELAIDE 1.3 | 4.6 | 7.9 | 9.11 (65)
STURT 0.1 | 0.2 | 2.2 | 2.5 (17)

GOALS:

North: Kelly Barltrop 3, Leah Tynan 2, Nadia von Bertouch, Erica Greet, Kathryn Reynolds, Brittany Perry.
Sturt: Sophie Hoyle, Kate Harris.

DISPOSALS:

North: Nadia Von Bertouch 26, Lauren Daniel 20, Kathryn Reynolds 19, Brittany Perry 16
Sturt: Georgia Bevan 21, Maya Rigter 17

North Adelaide locked up third spot with an impressive win over Sturt, holding the Double Blues goalless in the opening half and final term as they piled on 20 scoring shots throughout the game in the 9.11 (65) to 2.5 (17) victory. Kathryn Reynolds opened the Roosters’ account in the opening term with the only goal of the quarter, and by the seventh minute of the second term, Kelly Barltrop and Brittany Perry each had a goal to their name and the Roosters were 20 points up. Barltrop kicked her second just before half-time to open the lead up to 28 points, and soon Leah Tynan and Nadia Von Bertouch joined the party and the Roosters had all but sealed the game five minutes into the third term with a seven-goal advantage. Sturt finally got on the board through Sophie Hoyle and Kate Harris, but a second major to Tynan meant North Adelaide were well and truly home and hosed. Barltrop and Erica Greet finished off the game strongly with goals as the Roosters stormed to a 48-point victory in the final round of the season. The captain Von Bertouch led from the front with a game-high 26 disposals, six marks, three clearances, three tackles and two inside 50s, while Lauren Daniel had 20 touches, five marks, three tackles and four inside 50s. Reynolds (19 disposals, five clearances, three tackles) and Perry (16 disposals, seven tackles) were other Roosters who stood tall in the win. For Sturt, Georgia Bevan (21 disposals, four marks, nine clearances, two inside 50s, three rebounds and six tackles) was the best, while it was no surprise to see Maya Rigter (17 disposals, four marks and 10 tackles) and Caitlyn Swanson (14 disposals, four marls, four inside 50s and two rebounds) also among the Double Blues’ best. For the losers it is season over, while for North Adelaide the result means a semi-final battle with fourth placed Glenelg next week.

NORWOOD 4.0 | 7.2 | 8.5 | 12.9 (81)
CENTRAL DISTRICT 0.0 | 0.0 | 2.1 | 2.1 (13)

GOALS:

Norwood: Jo Hill 4, Leah Cutting 2, Lindsay Bigg, Monique Hollick, Erika Sporn, Michele Reid, Thalia Meyer, Jane Fitzgerald.
Central: Katelyn Rosenzweig, Jayme-Lee Sonneman.

DISPOSALS:

Norwood: Najwa Allen 29, Sophie Armitstead, Monique Hollick 20, Hannah Dunn 18, Leah Cutting, Sally Riley 15.
Central: Demi Sonneman 19

After having their perfect season interrupted last week, Norwood was always going to come out firing in the final game of the season, regardless of the fact the Redlegs had sown up top spot and the minor premiership heading into finals. After losing to South Adelaide in its only defeat of the season, Norwood showed no signs of letting up against bottom two side, Central District, piling on seven goals to zero in the opening half, before keeping the foot down in a massive 21 scoring shots to three victory. Aside from the opening eight minutes of the third term when Katelyn Rosenzweig and Jayme-Lee Sonneman hit the scoreboard, it was all Norwood as they could not miss early, and then just put the Bulldogs to the sword in a commanding message to the rest of the competition. Jo Hill and Leah Cutting both booted two majors in the opening term, and by full-time, Hill had four on the board, and the Redlegs were doing it easy in their best performance of the season, and the competition’s highest score for the year in the 12.9 (81) to 2.1 (13) victory. Najwa Allen‘s sensational season continued with another 29 disposals, nine marks, five clearances, six inside 50s and three tackles in a best-on-ground performance, while Hill’s four majors were accompanied by four marks and six hitouts. Cutting was by far the dominant ruck on the ground with 32 hitouts and 15 disposals, while getting it done at ground level, laying 12 tackles. Sophie Armitstead (20 disposals, nine clearances and three inside 50s) and Monique Hollick (20 disposals, 13 marks – two contested – nine inside 50s and a goal) were others who stood tall in the huge win. For Central District, Demi Sonneman stood up with 19 disposals, five marks, four rebounds and four tackles, while sister Jayme-Lee battled hard despite being beaten in the ruck, having the 13 hitouts and laying seven tackles as well as having 12 touches and four clearances. Kimberley Fry (13 disposals, eight tackles) and inclusion Laitiah Huynh (12 disposals, three clearances) were others who had an impact for the losing side.

SOUTH ADELAIDE 0.4 | 1.6 | 4.7 | 6.7 (43)
WEST ADELAIDE 0.1 | 3.1 | 3.2 | 4.3 (27)

GOALS:

South: Madison Bennett 2, Elyse Haussen, Hannah Munyard, Indy Tahau, Mykala Walker-Murphy.
West: Melanie Elsegood 2, Mary Smith, Rachelle Martin.

DISPOSALS:

South: Nikki Gore 20, Nicole Campbell, Indy Tahau 17, Czenya Cavouras, Hannah Munyard 16, Teah Charlton 14.
West: Abbie Ballard, Rachelle Martin 24, Madison Newman 22, Rebecca Owen 18, Emma Smith 16.

It was far from easy, but second placed South Adelaide finally shook off their West counterparts to secure second spot and a double chance, while bundling the Westies out of the finals race. Neither side could find its range in the opening quarter, and South Adelaide looked good when Elyse Haussen slotted through the first major of the game five minutes into the second term. But that was followed by three consecutive West Adelaide goals as the visiting fans began to believe they could topple the favourites. Mary Smith, Melanie Elsegood and Rachelle Martin had all booted goals in that second term and the Bloods found themselves seven points ahead at the main break despite three less scoring shots. Unfortunately for the visitors, it was all South Adelaide from there, as they piled on five consecutive majors in the second half, with Madison Bennett booting two, before Elsegood could slot her second late in the game. While it cut the deficit to 16 points, by that stage the game was done and dusted and West Adelaide’s finals hopes dashed. Nikki Gore led the way for the Panthers with 20 disposals, four marks, four inside 50s and four tackles, while Indy Tahau was huge in the air, taking three contested marks as well as her six uncontested marks, while racking up 17 disposals, eight hitouts and three inside 50s. Nicole Campbell, Czenya Cavouras and Hannah Munyard again performed strongly through the midfield as they have all season, amssing at least 16 disposals each, and combining for 18 tackles and 11 inside 50s. For West Adelaide, Martin was impressive with 24 disposals, eight marks and eight tackles, while Abbie Ballard had an equal game-high 24 disposals, with three marks, six clearances, five rebounds and five tackles. Madison Newman had six rebounds ato go with her 22 disposals and seven marks, while Rebecca Owen had 18 touches, seven marks and two tackles in the loss. South Adelaide now faces Norwood next week for a spot in the 2019 decider, while West Adelaide will have a long break to reset and prepare for the 2020 season.

GLENELG 3.2 | 4.6 | 6.9 | 7.9 (51)
WWT EAGLES 1.0 | 1.0 | 2.0 | 5.2 (32)

GOALS:

Glenelg: Lucy Armitage 2, Samantha Franson, Ebony Marinoff, Lucy Bellinger, Ellen Fauser, Bonnie Wells.
Eagles: Kiana Lee 2, Rachel Dunstan, Chloe Forby, Jovanka Zecevic.

DISPOSALS:

Glenelg: Ebony Marinoff 36, Ellen Fauser 19, Caitlin Gould 16, Samantha Franson, Brooke Trevena 15.
Eagles: Kiana Lee, Stephanie Walker 14, Jaimi Tabb 13.

Another massive performance from Adelaide Crows star, Ebony Marinoff has led Glenelg to its first finals series on the back of a 19-point win over winless Woodville-West Torrens. The Eagles were destined for the wooden spoon regardless of the Round 10 result, but the Tigers needed the win to guarantee finals action after receiving the wooden spoon last year. After Chloe Forby booted the opening goal of the game, it was all Glenelg as Ellen Fauser, Lucy Bellinger and Marinoff all slotted first quarter goals for a 14-point quarter time lead. The Eagles managed to restrict the Tigers’ scoring in the second term as Bonnie Wells converted the only major of the game, but the visitors could not score themselves, as Glenelg headed to half-time with a 24-point lead. Lucy Armitage booted two majors in the third term either side of Kiana Lee‘s first for the Eagles, and handed the Tigers what would have expected to be an unassailable 33-point lead at the final break. Lee and Jovanka Zecevic gave the Tigers something to think about, before Samantha Franson settled the nerves for the home side with her first major, while Rachel Dunstan booted a late consolation goal for the losing side. Marinoff was unbelievable throughout with a sensational 36 disposals – breaking her own personal game record in the competition from last week, while amassing eight marks, nine clearances, 10 inside 50s, nine tackles and booting 1.2. Fauser had the next most for the Tigers with 19 touches, five marks – two contested – as well as seven inside 50s and a goal. Caitlin Gould was dominant in the ruck with 22 hitouts, 16 disposals and six clearances, while Franson had the 15 touches, five marks and nine tackles. For the Eagles, Lee had 14 disposals and seven marks – three contested – to go with her two goals, while Stephanie Walker finished with 14 disposals, three marks, three rebounds and three clearances. Jaimi Tabb (13 disposals, four marks, three clearances, three rebounds and seven tackles) was also prolific for the visitors in defeat. Next week the Tigers face off against the raging North Adelaide side to keep their premiership dream alive, while the Eagles will be disappointed they could not win a game in their inaugural season, but will take solace from the fact Glenelg were wooden spooners 12 months ago and are now entering finals.

Weekend preview: SANFL Women’s – Round 10

AFTER an entertaining nine rounds, everything comes down to the final week with five teams attempting to squeeze into four in what is set to be an entertaining Round 10 of football in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition. The only guarantee is Norwood has locked up the minor premiership, with a double-chance on offer for North Adelaide with a win, and a loss to South Adelaide, who will have stiff opposition in West Adelaide with Bloods having to win to book a finals place. Their poor percentage means a loss will certainly see them drop out of the four assuming Glenelg can topple the winless Woodville-West Torrens. For the Eagles, Sturt and Central District, they cannot make finals, but they can certainly shape the top four if they throw spanners in the works with upsets.

STURT vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
Saturday May 4, 10.45am
Peter Motley Oval

In the first game on Saturday, the only guarantee is that North Adelaide will play finals, and Sturt will not. With a massive percentage of 184, the Roosters have been the dominant scoring team since being 1-3 after four rounds. They have strung together five straight wins, albeit against lower sides, and this is no different with a match against the bottom three side Sturt. With all bottom three sides facing finals hopefuls, it will be a tough ask for them to get up and cause an upset, meaning Sturt will likely finish six ahead of the two newcomers. A win would be a just reward for the Double Blues’ efforts this season, but there is much more on the line for North Adelaide. If the Roosters win, and West Adelaide cause an upset against the Panthers, and North Adelaide slides into second spot, and the double chance. The Roosters percentage is better than South Adelaide, but are a game behind and therefore must win to take the spot. If Glenelg does make it into the finals series, it will mean the Roosters are surrounded by the only three teams they have lost to, but they were incredibly close contests. The last time North Adelaide and Sturt faced off was in Round 2, with the Roosters getting the win in a seven-point contest. It was North Adelaide’s only victory in the first four rounds, while Sturt had to wait until Round 5 for its first triumph. In the Round 2 clash, Roosters’ captain Nadia Von Bertouch lead from the front with 20 disposals, four marks, four clearances and six inside 50s, while Kelly Barltrop announced herself as a genuine leading goalkicker this season with five straight snags from six kicks. For Sturt, Georgia Bevan was her characteristic dominant self, picking up 24 touches as well as eight clearances, three inside 50s and two rebounds. Looking ahead to this weekend, both sides have been forced to make a couple of changes with Ashleigh Woodland injured and Julia Clark unavailable for North, while for Sturt, Jess Schulz and Casey Fraser will miss the Double Blues’ final game of the season. Into the underdogs side comes forwards, Zoe Prowse and Holly Temby, while Paige Allan is a massive inclusion for the Roosters for an already brimming midfield. The midfield battle will be the highlight of the game, with Bevan, Maya Rigter and Caitlyn Swanson going head-to-head with the likes of Allan, Brittany Perry and Kat Reynolds. The Roosters’ forward line is dynamic and hard to stop, with Barltrop leading the way, although Cristie Castle and Leah Tynan have both been able to find avenues to go, and the likes of Paxton Davis-Mattner and Hannah Prenzler will be keen to restrict those players. Up the other end of the ground, Georgia Swan, Nicole Baker and Alex Ballard can cause their own headaches for the Roosters’ defence. but Amber Ward has been as consistent as they come this season, so look to her for plenty of rebound, whereas the Double Blues will be keen to shut her down in this match. North Adelaide have to be overwhelming favourites in this game. The Roosters could take second with a win, but could also drop to fourth with a loss, so everything is on the line, and as far and away the highest scoring team, they should have too much firepower for the Double Blues.

CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. NORWOOD
Saturday May 4, 12.20pm
Alberton Oval

The second game of the round pits minor premiers Norwood up against Central District at Alberton Oval at a touch just after midday. It is the only game of the round that does not have a bearing on the finals race, with Norwood having locked up top spot a couple of weeks ago, and could even afford to lose to second placed South Adelaide in Round 9. If there is anything we have come to know about champion teams that have a rare loss, it is that they are fully determined to atone for that loss the next week, which could spell trouble for the Bulldogs. Central District could jump ahead of Sturt with a victory, but cannot fall lower than seventh on the table, safe in the knowledge that fellow newcomer to the competition, Woodville-West Torrens has taken out the wooden spoon for season 2019. These two teams do not have to look far to find the last time they faced off, with the Round 7 match going comfortably the way of the Redlegs. After keeping touch with them in the ladder leaders in the first half, Central District eventually relented as Norwood piled on six consecutive goals before the Bulldogs booted their second major, resulting in a 38-point win to the favourites. Najwa Allen suffered a bout of leather poisoning on the day, racking up 30 touches as well as nine marks, two clearances, three inside 50s, two rebounds and 2.2 in a best afield performance. Hannah Dunn and Monique Hollick both had 22 touches and combined for 13 marks and eight inside 50s, while Central’s Jayme-Lee Sonneman did all she could in the ruck with 17 hitouts and eight clearances to go with 13 disposals. Gemma Doughty (13 disposals, four rebounds) and Shannen Solly (12 disposals, three rebounds) also stood up in defence for the losing side. Heading into this match, Central has made at least four changes, with Laitiah Huynh – the Bulldogs’ highest disposal winner in these sides’ last match – back into the team, while Norwood has lost Alison Ferrall to injury, with Jane Fitzgerald coming into a forward pocket. The game may lack the finals-defining quality of the other games over the weekend, but the Redlegs will still have plenty to focus on, finishing the season on a high and heading into a clash with either South Adelaide – who the Redlegs lost to in Round 9 – or the red-hot scoring machine that is North Adelaide. Either way Norwood will have a tough task and will be keen to take care of business in this game. It is spoken about each week in this preview, but the ridiculous depth in the Redlegs midfield is sensational with Allen, Hollick and Dunn, as well as former Adelaide midfielder, Sally Riley, as well as Hannah Priest, Tahlia Meyer and Sophie Armitstead rolling through there. Matilda Zander and Rhiannon Busch have had some terrific games, while Jo Hill and Bella Smith make up a strong key defensive combination, and Leah Cutting is a dominant ruck. Along with the other top three sides, Norwood has all the hallmarks of a premiership side. Central have the beginnings of a great side, but are not quite there. Katelyn Rosenzweig is a developing key forward, the Sonneman sisters (Jayme-Lee and Demi) are always key players in the side, while Kimberley Fry, Chantel Reynolds and Danielle Stewart have all had their moments throughout 2019. It is almost impossible to look past Norwood in this clash. Everyone is hoping the Bulldogs can finish off their season with a strong performance, although with Norwood casting an eye ahead to the next few weeks in what will be a big finals series, the Redlegs must play with finals intensity so expect them to come away with a comfortable win.

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. WEST ADELAIDE
Saturday May 4, 4.15pm
Flinders University Stadium

The most finals-defining game of the round is that between South Adelaide and West Adelaide, for the simple reason that both teams have so much to gain, and to lose by the result. If South Adelaide triumphs, the Panthers secure second spot and a double chance to try and topple Norwood for the second time in three weeks when they face off in the semi-final next weekend. That result would likely see West Adelaide tumble out of the four with Glenelg taking on the winless Woodville-West Torrens. Despite being a win ahead of the Tigers, the Westies have the worst percentage of any finals hopeful, and it is now coming back to bite them. If however, the Bloods can get up in the game, they will secure a finals birth, and, if North Adelaide somehow drops its game wot Sturt, can even take third on the table. In that scenario, South Adelaide would still retain second, but in the much more likely scenario, the Roosters would have their way with the Double Blues, snatching second spot at the expense of the Panthers in the process. So all in all, this game has everything on the line which makes for a fascinating contest. The last time these teams met was back on March 1 in Round 3 when the Panthers got the job done in a 16-point win. Czenya Cavouras was easily best on ground in the win, amassing 29 disposals, and having a whopping nine clearances, five inside 50s and laying 10 tackles. Teah Charlton showed promise as she has all season, racking up 19 disposals and booting a goal alongside Adelaide midfielder, Nikki Gore. Montana McKinnon was superb in the ruck with 23 hitouts, four clearances and five of her seven marks contested. For West Adelaide, Abbie Ballard had a team-high 18 touches, as well as four clearances, three inside 50s and six tackles, while sharp shooter, Chelsea Biddell snagged two majors from 13 disposals and five marks (two contested). Looking ahead to this weekend, on paper, South Adelaide has the stronger side, the depth across the ground is terrific and the midfield up there with Norwood in terms of both ability and depth. They don’t have a dominant forward like some teams, relying on contributions from not only forwards, but midfielders as well. West Adelaide have Biddell who has shown herself to be capable of kicking a bag on her day when she is on fire, but she will not be there to help them in this clash. The Bloods have made at least three changes to their side, with full-back Kelly Whittaker and forward Ashlea Brown among the inclusions to the side with Leah Swain among those out of the team. For the Panthers, they will miss the impact of Lauren Buchanan who did her knee, but will welcome back Emogen Johnson and Brooklyn Kraft to the forward line, and Samantha Pratt into defence. While Ballard and ball magnet Rachelle Martin can be huge influences for their team, the likes of Cavouras, Hannah Munyard, Elyse Haussen and Nicole Campbell form a dominant midfield brigade, and one of the few that can go toe-for-toe with Norwood’s star-studded line-up. For the likes of Charlton, Munyard and McKinnon, they will have the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships coming up over the next couple of months and will be keen to continue their great form, while from a team perspective, will be excited to tackle the imminent finals series. The Bloods know a loss will more than likely mean the end of their season after sitting in the top four for the entire season, which would leave a bitter taste in their mouths. Melanie Elsegood and Emma Smith will be the ones needing to pile scores on the board for the Bloods, while Maddie Newman and Lauren Rodato will hope to provide good rebound out of defence. Helen Maidment and Rebecca Owen can add to the movement in transition on the outside, but face a stiff opposition this weekend. South Adelaide are the team to beat at the moment having slayed the top side last round, but West Adelaide must be respected as they have done enough thus far to put themselves in a position to contend for finals.

GLENELG vs. WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS
Saturday May 4, 5.15pm
ACH Group Stadium

The final game of the round is another match with huge consequences for one side, as Glenelg battles to snatch fourth spot. The Tigers need to win against the winless Eagles, who are unable to move off the bottom of the table, but could end their season on a high with their inaugural victory. The biggest problem the Eagles will have in achieving this feat comes in Adelaide Crows star, Ebony Marinoff who simply dominated last week, picking up the most disposals of any player this season, in her debut. She is a class above and will be one that has to be watched and restricted if the Eagles are to be any chance in this match. These two teams first met in Round 1 with Glenelg coming off a wooden spoon but victory in Round 1, and Woodville-West Torrens playing its first match in the competition. Despite hitting the front late in the first quarter courtesy of a Kiana Lee goal, the Eagles were no match for the Tigers as Glenelg piled on six of the last seven goals of the match to record a comfortable 35-point victory. The versatile Lucy Bellinger had 23 disposals, 10 marks (two contested), four inside 50s, five tackles and two goals, while Ellen Fauser and Samantha Franson both booted a goal from 15 disposals. For the Eagles, Jaimi Tabb had a strong performance through the midfield with 17 disposals, five clearances and five inside 50s, while Georgia Taylor played her best game of the season, rebounding the ball nine times while clocking up 17 disposals in the loss. Looking to the final game of the season on Saturday, Hannah Crump and Tamsyn Morriss have been brought in as some extra firepower for the Tigers, with no confirmed outs as of yet. For the Eagles, Rachel Dunstan returns to the side on an extended bench, with Courtney Plowman and Eboni Tiller also named there, while Jo Baltais has slotted into the ruck to allow Taylor McKay to play forward and provide some much needed height inside 50. When looking at the sides on paper, it is hard to look past the influence Marinoff will have, and the importance for the Eagles to send a player to watch her all game. It will not be easy, but if the likes of Natalie Subelli and Natasha Farrier can continue their good form, then it opens up possibilities for the underdogs. Lee is a future star and will find the ball wherever it foes inside 50, while Taylor has been playing forward of late and could be an X-factor in there, as could Tabb who will provide fresh legs off the bench and run all day while finding the pill. Tesharna Maher and Stephanie Walker are the defenders Woodville-West Torrens needs to provide the movement out of the back half, while still minding the likes of Bellinger and Lucy Armitage who can be dangerous forwards. Tess Morcom and Franson are consistent key defenders, while Gould can rotate through the ruck or defence, and Madisyn Freeman has the run to help the Tigers out of trouble. Glenelg would be the overwhelming favourites in this game given their position, the Eagles’ position and the finals predicament that the home side faces, not to mention the star quality they have with Marinoff in the team. The Eagles need to play at their best to secure their first win, but with so much on the line for Glenelg, it is hard to see them slipping up in this contest.