Tag: lauren smith

2021 SANFLW team review: Central District

IN summarising the 2021 South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s season, Draft Central will run through a team-by-team review of how each of the sides fared, and who some of the standout performers throughout the clubs were. The next team in the firing line is Central District.

Position: 6th
Wins: 4
Losses: 7
Draws: 0
Points For: 385 (1st)
Points Against: 337 (5th)

Season in a Sentence: “Regardless of ladder position, Central District’s flair and exciting play to be the top offensive team in the competition had them in the mix for finals right up until Round 11”

TOP PERFORMERS:

Shelby Smith

The captain led from the front all season and was able to provide her consistent intent and clearance work from the start, picking up double-figure disposals in all bar one of her games. She amassed four or more clearances in her first four matches of the season, and was able to also get it forward to create scoring opportunities. Games are won and lost in the midfield, and Smith averaged 15.5 disposals, 6.8 tackles, 3.2 clearances and 2.4 inside 50s in the 2021 season, earning SANFL Women’s Team of the Year honours.

Chantel Reynolds

Having a huge season at full-forward, Reynolds was the SANFL Women’s leading goalkicker for the 2021 season. She booted 14 goals in her 11 games, making the most of her 8.2 disposals and 3.0 marks. Only once was she held goalless, and four times she kicked multiple majors. Kicking three goals against both Woodville-West Torrens and West Adelaide, as well as two against North Adelaide and Glenelg, Reynolds was consistently a threat inside 50, particularly as a leading aerial target and one who could be relied upon to finish off. She kicked just five behinds for her 14 goals, three of which came in the loss to South Adelaide, but otherwise kicked 13.2 for the season.

Katelyn Rosenzweig

Reynolds’ form allowed Rosenzweig to play further up the ground and be a leading target right up to the wing or even further on occasion. Leading the league in contested marks, the talented strong forward was able to play 11 games and still convert 11 goals herself. Averaging 11.6 disposals, 3.8 marks, 2.0 tackles, 1.7 inside 50s and 1.5 clearances, Rosenzweig worked hard in 2021 to have an impact further afield, and was a key reason why the Bulldogs improved this year. A third player to earn SANFL Women’s Team of the Year honours

Caitlen Teague

After the three Team of the Year players, any number of even contributors could have filled the fourth spot on this list, but Teague’s start to the season had her among the most in-form midfielders in the competition. From Rounds 1-5 she did not drop below 13 touches, and whilst her numbers were a little lower in the second half of the season, she still remained a key player in moving the ball in transition. Teague finished with an average of 11.8 disposals, 3.9 tackles, 2.4 inside 50s and 2.2 clearances, disposing of it at a healthy 73 per cent.

OTHERS:

Central District had no shortage of talent across the field, with State Academy members Lauren Breguet, Laitiah Huynh and Madison Lane all enjoying strong seasons. Lauren Smith and Paige Allen were consistent, Demi Sonneman and Nicole Mark rock solid in defence, and Chloe Scheer adding that touch of class in the final month, in what was a terrific season of improvement for the Bulldogs.

Picture credit: SANFL / Cory Sutton

SANFL Women’s Round 11 wrap: West grabs finals spot with one-point win

WEST Adelaide has won a nail-biter against South Adelaide in the final round of the regular South Australian National Football League (SANFL) season, as top two sides Norwood and Glenelg both posted victories, and North Adelaide won to give itself a finals chance, only for the Bloods’ result to effectively negate that win.

NORWOOD 2.3 | 6.6 | 9.6 | 11.7 (73)
WWT EAGLES 0.0 | 0.1 | 2.1 | 2.2 (14)

GOALS:

Norwood: R. Zerella 3, E. Sporn 3, N. Allen, E. Drake, S. Branford
Eagles: J. Zecevic, M. Fiegert.

DC BEST:

Norwood: J. Macolino, L. Cutting, S. Armitstead, N. Allen, L. Schwerdt
Eagles: K. Lee, A. Blanden, M. Fiegert, N. Collie, A. Falkenberg

Booting the first six goals of the game, and nine of 11 by three quarter time, minor premiers Norwood never looked like losing against Woodville-West Torrens Eagles. Aside from a burst of two out of three goals early in the third term for the visitors, the Eagles had to accept the 2021 wooden spoon as the Redlegs piled on 18 scoring shots to four, booting the final four goals of the game as well to win by 59 points.

Rosette Zerella and Erika Sporn both booted three goals in the win, whilst it was the midfield of the Redlegs that really stood up. Leah Cutting had 36 hitouts to go with 11 disposals and six tackles, while Najwa Allen (19 disposals, five marks, four tackles, four inside 50s, two rebound 50s and a goal), Sophie Armitstead (16 disposals, four tackles, two clearances, three inside 50s and two rebound 50s), Jess Macolino (13 disposals, three marks, five tackles, three clearances and seven inside 50s) and Lana Schwerdt (11disposals, five tackles, four clearances and three inside 50s) all stood out.

Kiana Lee was outstanding in defence for the Eagles, racking up 18 disposals, nine marks – two contested – six rebound 50s, five hitouts, two tackles and two clearances. Teaming up with her back there was Nicole Collie (13 disposals, five marks, three tackles and four rebound 50s), while Amie Blanden (15 disposals, two marks, four tackles, nine hitouts, six clearances and four inside 50s), Marlie Fiegert (14 disposals, two marks, four tackles, five clearances, three inside 50s and a goal) and Anastasia Falkenberg (16 disposals, five marks, seven tackles, two clearances and two inside 50s).

Norwood now takes on Glenelg in the semi-finals for a spot in the 2021 SANFL Women’s Grand Final, as the Eagles’ season comes to an end.

SOUTH ADELAIDE 1.0 | 1.0 | 2.1 | 5.3 (33)
WEST ADELAIDE 1.2 | 2.4 | 5.4 | 5.4 (34)

GOALS:

South: J. Hooper 2, J. Hickey, J. Kirk, G. Schirmer.
West: M. Elsegood, C. Biddell, L. Young, I. Loftes.

DC BEST:

South: N. Campbell, T. Charlton, M. McKinnon, G. Schirmer, T. Meyer
West: L. Young, A. Considine, S. Whiting, Z. Venning, A. Ballard

In the most thrilling match of the weekend, the third against fourth contest lived up to its billing, as West Adelaide held on against a fast-finishing South Adelaide outfit. The teams were fairly even as early as the third term, before West piled on three goals in seven minutes to race out to a 21-point lead at the final break. Looking home and hosed, the Bloods could not manage to score in the final term, as they watch South boot the last three majors of the contest, only to fall a point short, 5.4 (34) to 5.3 (33).

West’s youth stood up in the win, as Lauren Young had a game-high 22 touches to go with four marks – two contested – eight tackles, two clearances, two inside 50s and a goal. Fellow State Academy members Zoe Venning (18 disposals, six tackles, three clearances and four inside 50s) and Abbie Ballard (11 disposals, nine tackles, four clearances and two rebound 50s) both impressed, while the experience of Ailish Considine (19 disposals, two marks, four tackles, six clearances, three inside 50s and two rebound 50s) and Sharnie Whiting (15 disposals, four marks, two tackles, two inside 50s and six rebound 50s) stood out.

For South, Nicole Campbell (21 disposals, nine marks – two contested – three tackles, five clearances and six inside 50s) was outstanding alongside Teah Charlton (21 disposals, three marks, five tackles, four clearances and six inside 50s). Tahlia Meyer (15 disposals, two marks and four tackles) and Gypsy Schirmer (15 disposals, four tackles and a goal) both found plenty of the ball, while Montana McKinnon (14 disposals, 27 hitouts, five tackles, three clearances, three inside 50s and two rebound 50s) was strong.

These two sides lock horns again next weekend in a do-or-die semi-final that promises to go down to the wire, with the Bloods securing the home ground advantage with this win.

STURT 1.2 | 1.2 | 3.3 | 3.4 (22)
NORTH ADELAIDE 1.2 | 4.2 | 4.4 | 7.5 (47)

GOALS:

Sturt: Z. Prowse, K. Harris, A. Ladas.
North: A. Woodland 6, T. Thorn.

DC BEST:

Sturt: K. Mueller, J. Good, I. Kuiper, J. Wittervan, Z. Prowse
North: A. Woodland, J. Tabb, T. Gordon, B. Arthure, K. Harvey

Despite the West Adelaide result meaning North Adelaide missed out on a chance to defend its title in the final series, a six-goal performance from Ashleigh Woodland ensured the reigning premiers ended their season on a high note. The teams were even in the first term, before three consecutive goals to Woodland in the second broke the game open. Sturt continued to press and move to within seven points at the final break – and as low as six points early in the fourth, for Woodland to stand up again, and along with Tayla Thorn kick the last three goals of the game to win by 25 points.

Along with six majors, Woodland had the 13 disposals, four marks – one contested – and three tackles, while Thorn finished with 10 disposals, two hitouts, four inside 50s and a goal. Through the middle and forward half, Tayla Gordon (18 disposals, three marks, three clearances, two tackles and two inside 50s), Jaimi Tabb (12 disposals, 12 tackles, five clearances, four inside 50s and two rebound 50s) and Kristi Harvey (10 disposals, four marks – two contested – four tackles and four inside 50s) were all lively.

For the Double Blues, Kiera Mueller was again the standout for the second week in a row, picking up 17 disposals, eight marks, eight rebound 50s and four tackles coming out of defence. Jess Good (14 disposals, four marks, 42 hitouts, four clearances and three inside 50s) dominated the ruck, as the midfield of Jaimee Wittervan (15 disposals, two marks, six clearances, three inside 50s and two rebound 50s), Isobel Kuiper (21 disposals, two marks, six tackles and four clearances) and Zoe Prowse (nine disposals, two marks, five tackles, seven hitouts, five clearances and one goal) went to work.

Both these teams end their 2021 campaigns and will head back to their local clubs before a big preseason looking towards 2022.

GLENELG 2.1 | 3.2 | 5.3 | 6.4 (40)
CENTRAL DISTRICT 1.0 | 2.2 | 2.4 | 4.5 (29)

GOALS:

Glenelg: C. Gould 2, M. Green 2, C. Swanson, E. Marinoff.
Central: K. Rosenzweig 2, C. Scheer, N. Biagi.

DC BEST:

Glenelg: E. Marinoff, C. Gould, J. Bates, B. Tonon, E. Kellock
Central: C. Scheer, S. Smith. K. Rosenzweig, L. Smith, L. Breguet

Whilst the result mattered little to Glenelg in terms of ladder positioning – the Bays had already secured second spot heading into the round – the home team still came away with a morale-boosting victory over Central District. After Chloe Scheer slotted the first major for the Bulldogs inside the first two minutes, the Bays booted five of the next six goals to lead by as much as 18 points. Katelyn Rosenzweig kicked back-to-back goals in the final term to cut the deficit to within a single kick before a last minute major to Caitlin Gould saved the day and handed Glenelg the win.

Ebony Marinoff led the way again with 24 disposals, five marks – three contested, five clearances, five inside 50s and a goal, while Gould slotted two majors from 18 touches, six marks, 23 hitouts, three clearances and three rebound 50s. Jessica Bates (18 disposals, four marks, four tackles, four clearances, two inside 50s and two rebound 50s) and Ellie Kellock (13 disposals, three tackles, three clearances and four inside 50s) were both impressive in midfield, while Brooke Tonon (15 disposals, two marks, three tackles and five rebound 50s) impressed again for Glenelg.

The forward combination of Rosenzweig (12 disposals, three marks, six hitouts, three clearances, three inside 50s and two goals) and Scheer (18 disposals, three marks – two contested – six tackles, four clearances, four inside 50s and a goal) were both dangerous, while captain Shelby Smith (12 disposals, 11 tackles, three clearances, two inside 50s and two rebounds 50s), Lauren Smith (nine disposals, two tackles and three rebound 50s) and Lauren Breguet (10 disposals, two marks and three tackles) were among a group of even contributors for the Dogs.

Glenelg now takes on Norwood in a top of the table clash for a spot in the 2021 SANFL Women’s Grand Final, as the Bulldogs impressive season comes to a close.

Picture credit: Cory Sutton / SANFL

2021 SANFL Women’s Round 9 preview: Panthers load up for clash with red-hot Redlegs

TWO late morning games and two evening games mark a huge Round 9 of action in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS vs. STURT
Saturday, May 1 @ 11:30am
Maughan Thiem Kia Oval

Opening the round is unfairly a bottom two clash, with both Woodville-West Torrens and Sturt both playing pretty well this season. The Eagles’ percentage is quite low as the lowest scoring team, though they are just a win outside the eight. A victory here and results going the right way, and the Eagles would be fifth, but the same could be said for the Double Blues, who a fortnight ago showed they could score, and have been their reliable selves defensively to boast the best percentage in the bottom four, but are a point behind the two teams above them. From a State Academy perspective, Charlotte Dolan has proven to be able to play in multiple positions, having started at half-back, spent time on the wing, even gone inside and then played forward at the AFLW Under 19 Championships. Having been named on a forward flank again, the Eagles will be looking for her fierce intent to be a factor, particularly against Double Blues’ captain Maya Rigter. The other State Academy member to watch is Jamie Parish, with the versatile tall named on a wing for the second week in a row, but is more than capable of slotting in up forward or in defence. For future years, Shineah Goody is shaping as a classy prospect with plenty of versatility and an ability to create something out of nothing. For the Double Blues, the forward line is swarming with State Academy members, as Zoe Prowse has been named at full-forward with defenders-cum-forwards Hannah Prenzler and Alex Ballard either side of her, and Georgia Swan on a flank. It means a very exciting front 50 for the Double Blues, and the game could genuinely go either way.

NORWOOD vs. SOUTH ADELAIDE
Saturday, May 1 @ 11:30am
Coopers Stadium

Norwood has been dealt a blow ahead of its massive clash with South Adelaide, losing 50-gamer Leah Cutting to injury, whilst in-form Ella Murison is also out of the side. The Panthers have lost Lauren Clifton and Lucy Northcott among five changes, but have stacked their side with Jordann Hickey and Indy Tahau returning from Queensland, Teah Charlton and Hannah Munyard from AFL Women’s seasons completing, and Jess Kirk back in the side. Norwood has proven to accept any challenge thrown at the Redlegs, but without Cutting, Montana McKinnon and Soriah Moon will have the run of the mill around the ground. Jade Halfpenny is enjoying a terrific season for the Redlegs, playing through the midfield and rotating forward, while Sarah Branford had one of her best games of the season last week. Lana Schwerdt has been impressing as another young talent coming through, whilst Jess Macolino, Sophie Armitstead and Morgan Johnston have been consistently amongst the best. Even outside the changes, the Panthers have a lineup that is ready to shoot up the ladder, as AFL Women’s Academy talent Gypsy Schirmer has been named at half-back, and Tahlita Buethke in the middle coming off her best game last round. Nicole Campbell and Cheyenne Hammond are completing a star-studded midfield, whilst future key forward talent Jorja Hooper is in great form as well. The Panthers have bulked up and would be favourites to break the Redlegs seven-game winning streak, but if Norwood can beat this Panthers outfit without Cutting, then they are the clear premiership favourites.

NORTH ADELAIDE vs. GLENELG
Saturday, May 1 @ 4:10pm
Prospect Oval

North Adelaide and Glenelg are both starting to filter their AFL Womens’ talent back, with Amber Ward and Ash Woodland (North) and Caitlin Gould (Glenelg) all returning. The teams have opted not to unleash midfield guns Anne Hatchard (North) and Ebony Marinoff (Glenelg) just yet, though up-and-comer Piper Window has returned for the Bays with Lucy Armitage a key out for the visitors at Prospect Park. North Adelaide got back on the winners list last week to sit third, tantalisingly just behind the second placed Bays. With Ward back to provide support for Kristi Harvey, the Roosters defence is starting to look impenetrable again. Last year’s leading goalkicker Woodland will only be better for the AFLW experience, as Katelyn Pope has already been back in the side. Young guns Kate Case, Julia Clark and bottom-ager Amelie Borg have all been named in the side, with interest around where Borg will play based on the return of Ward to the key defensive post. Kelly Barltrop, Kathryn Reynolds and Tayla Thorn are a damaging trio up front, with Brianna Arthur also in form rolling through the midfield. For the Bays, Brooke Tonon has put together a fantastic season in multiple positions, but came off half-back last week, with Tessa Kohn, Ellie Kellock and Jessica Bates all having racked up the ball and taken control of the midfield. It will be a tough ask against a strong Roosters outfit, though with Gould named at full-forward, the Bays midfield will have a tall target to kick to. Tamsyn Morriss is the other State Academy member who has been named on the bench, but expect her to rotate through the defence in what should be a cracking contest.

WEST ADELAIDE vs. CENTRAL DISTRICT
Saturday, May 1 @ 5:10pm
Hisense Stadium

The final game of the round pits two exciting young teams up against each other, with the fourth placed Central District taking on the sixth placed West Adelaide at Hisense Stadium, Both teams have State Academy members returning, with Scarlett Griffiths at West Adelaide, and Laitiah Huynh at Centrals coming back into their respective lineups. Louella McCarthy (West) and Alicia Butler (Central) are another couple of key inclusions for the respective sides, with AFLW talent and youngsters across the park. From a young gun perspective, West Adelaide’s Lauren Young will continue her outstanding debut season, teaming up with AFL Women’s talents Sarah Dargan and Ailish Considine in the midfield. Chelsea Biddell and Melanie Elsegood are named as the key forwards, with State Academy members, Zoe Venning and Abbie Ballard inside 50. Venning will have the freedom to roll through the midfield but also be a leading target up forward, whilst Ballard is in her second game back from long-term injury. For the Bulldogs, Huynh slots straight back into half-forward, joining forces with fellow State Academy member Lauren Breguet inside 50, while up the other end, Madison Lane has been named off a half-back flank. Nicole Mark has had an impact since crossing from South Adelaide, and the key forward pairing of Katelyn Rosenzweig and Chantel Reynolds has proven to be effective, while Caitlen Teague, Shelby Smith and Lauren Smith have worked well with in-form ruck Isabelle Starmer. Chloe Scheer returning to the side last week proved a masterstroke, with the AFL Women’s talent starring in a best on ground performance. This has all the hallmarks of being a cracking contest.

Picture credit: On The Ball Media

2021 SANFL Women’s Round 8 preview: State Academy, AFLW talents return in massive round of action

SOME huge ins at the selection table across all eight teams means the intensity and quality of matches will lift from Round 8 onwards, as the State Academy members and some AFL Women’s players return to their state league clubs.

NORTH ADELAIDE vs. WWT EAGLES
Saturday, April 24 @ 11:30am
Prospect Oval

North Adelaide will celebrate Leah Tynan‘s 50th game in the competition against Woodville-West Torrens, welcoming back State Academy members Amelie Borg, Kate Case and Julia Clark, as well as Lauren Gauci among six inclusions, whilst Talia Radan is the crucial loss, out with a back injury. The Eagles have a number of forced changes, with Audrey Holt, Lili Gambranis, Marlie Fiegert and Samantha Hoogeveen-Hill all unavailable. Coming back into the side are the likes of State Academy duo, Jamie Parish and Charlotte Dolan, as well as AFL Women’s talent Renee Forth. Both sides inclusions are huge, and plenty on the line with the Roosters sitting a point inside the eight thanks to their draw, but also a win off the bottom of the table. Lose to the Eagles, and the reigning premiers will slip outside the finals spots. Brianna Arthur had an outstanding game in the midfield last week, and with Leah Tynan and Jamie Tabb taking on the likes of Forth, Shineah Goody and Anastasia Falkenberg, the clearance battle will be an important one to win for both sides.

GLENELG vs. SOUTH ADELAIDE
Saturday, April 24 @ 4:40pm
ACH Group Stadium

Coming off a hard-fought win over Central District last week to secure their place in second spot, the Bays now host a South Adelaide team that will load up on talent – but also lose a number of top players at the same time – in what is a top three clash. The home team will bring back State Academy members Brooke Tonon and Tamsyn Morriss, as well as ruck, Molly Affolter, with only Tess Morcom out with injury. Whilst Glenelg has minimal changes, the Panthers have made eight selection moves, with the likes of Czenya Cavouras and Tahlia Meyer out of the side for this round, but plenty of star power coming back in. AFL Women’s-listed players Lisa Whiteley and Montana McKinnon, and State Academy members Gypsy Schirmer, Tahlita Buethke and Lauren Clifton all come back into the side in what is a crucial game for the Panthers. A win will see them grab second as they head for home with their talents filtering back in, and the likes of Jaslynne Smith and Nicole Campbell in terrific form. Jorja Hooper is developing nicely up forward, while Brianna Wedding has been a rock in defence. For the Bays, Ellie Kellock, Jess Bates and Tessa Kohn remain consistent each week, while Sam Franson and Madisyn Freeman are others who can turn a game.

WEST ADELAIDE vs. NORWOOD
Saturday, April 24 @ 3:40pm
Hisense Stadium

An absolute blockbuster game between the top of the table Norwood and arguably the strongest West Adelaide side of the season presents the Hisense Stadium clash as the game of the round. The Redlegs have exchanged State Academy members with Jade Halfpenny returning to the side for Jess Williams in what will be Leah Cutting‘s 50th game. The ruck has been in sensational form this year, and she has been named forward to share the role with Elizabeth Drake. West Adelaide on the other hand have brought in some of the elite talents in State MVP from the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships, Lauren Young, as well as fellow Academy members Zoe Venning and Scarlett Griffiths, and Abbie Ballard who returns for her first game of the season off a long-term injury layoff. Add in AFL Women’s talents in Ailish Considine and Chelsea Biddell, and tall target Melanie Elsegood, and the Bloods have stocked up this week. Louella McCarthy and Gretel Ramsey are among the outs for the match, but with Sarah Dargan joining Young and Considine in the middle, the Bloods have a stacked side. The Redlegs still have talent across the board that has led them to the top of the table, The midfield featuring Sophie Armitstead, Jess Macolino and Elisha Gallagher, as well as Morgan Johnston and Lana Schwerdt, will be a tough one to beat, with Sarah Branford another talented teenager ready to impact in this huge match.

CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. STURT
Saturday, April 24 @ 7:30pm
Tanunda Oval

The final match of the round in a prime time Saturday night fixture is Central District up against Sturt, with the sides in the bottom four, but one win – and favourable results – will see the winner leap into the top four such is the evenness of the competition. The Bulldogs in particular have a massive chance given their percentage is the second highest in the league. Sturt has a lower percentage, but a win would certainly see them jump past at least one – if not two or three sides. Central District has kept the cards close to the chest, including four players on an extended bench with the trio of State Academy members – Laitiah Huynh, Lauren Breguet and Madison Lane all returning, as well as AFL Women’s representative Chloe Scheer. The Double Blues lose Lucy Griffith to concussion and Amy Brooks-Birve to a knee injury, but have added four players to the side, including a trio of State Academy members themselves in Zoe Prowse, Hannah Prenzler and Alex Ballard. This matchup is all about offence taking on defence, with the Double Blues defensive set up, often featuring Prenzler and Ballard – though both have been named up forward on this occasion – as well as captain Maya Rigter, whilst the Central attack is the most exciting in the competition, with Huynh, Breguet and Scheer roaming to leading goalkicking talents Chantel Reynolds and Katelyn Rosenzweig. Lane and Demi Sonneman up the other end provide the run, with Shelby Smith, Lauren Smith and Caitlen Teague roving to Isabelle Starmer forming a strong midfield core. The battle of the midfields will be fascinating, with Jess Good in ripping form in the ruck, alongside Alisha Gepp, Isobel Kuiper and Jaimee Wittervan onball, while Nicole Baker and Chloe Forby flank Prowse on the forward line.

Picture credit: SANFL / Cory Sutton

2021 SANFL Women’s Round 7 preview: Forced changes see teams shuffle magnets

FIVE rounds remain in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition, with the sides still without the majority of the State Academy members and AFL Women’s talent given the week’s 2021 AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships, and the fact that Adelaide is one win away from another elite level premiership.

NORWOOD vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
Friday, April 16 @ 6:15pm
Coopers Stadium

Norwood will of course be without its two State Academy representatives in Melbourne, with Alana Lishmund and Jade Halfpenny out of the side, along with Mattea Breed and Shai Hiscock, for another huge clash against North Adelaide. The Redlegs managed to topple the then-undefeated Roosters after a 15-game winning streak from the reigning premiers, and will be looking for much of the say once again, with another State Academy member in Jess Williams coming in, alongside ex-Rooster Gabrielle Gormlie. North Adelaide will be without Amelie Borg, Kate Case, Lauren Daniel, Jorja Eldridge and Julia Clark for State Representatives duties for South Australia, while Elaine Grigg ran out for the Medleys. The Roosters will be further understrength without Lauren Daniel (unavailable) and Cristie Castle (ankle) making it a total of seven forced changes. Coming into the side are a couple of AFL Women’s talents in Rhiannon Metcalfe and West Coast’s Katelyn Pope who returns from the elite level following the end of the Eagles’ season. Remy Grant is also set to make her debut coming from SMOSH West Lakes. Expect Norwood to be the favourites given the Roosters outs, though they still have a strong spine which includes Talia Radan, Kristi Harvey and Kelly Barltrop and cannot be underrated, though Leah Cutting and youngsters Sarah Branford and Tesharna Maher are exciting talents.

GLENELG vs. CENTRAL DISTRICT
Friday, April 16 @ 7:00pm
ACH Group Stadium

Central District will travel to face Glenelg in the other clash tonight, with the three forced changes due to State Academy representation in Laitiah Huynh, Lauren Breguet and Madison Lane. Into the team comes the experienced Nicole Mark, along with Ella Mickan, Aisha Thomas and Emma Keys. They will look to build on their massive win over North Adelaide prior to the weekend off, and will look to take advantage of a heavily understrength Glenelg outfit. The Bays will be missing Brooke Tonon and Tamsyn Morriss after their State Academy duties, but will also be without Piper Window, Emma Swanson, Kimberley Fry, Ellen Fauser and Molly Affolter in a raft of seven forced changes. Among those Bays named returning to the side are Anja Bancevic, Sarah Goodwin, Taylah Scapens and Sarah Wilton who have all made their way into the starting 18. The Bays will look to the consistency of Ellie Kellock, Jessica Bates and Sam Franson in order to overcome a strong Central outfit which includes a potent forward line of Katelyn Rosenzweig and Chantel Reynolds, as well as a consistent hard midfield of Shelby Smith, Lauren Smith and Caitlen Teague, and a defence that backs itself on transition. The Bulldogs will look to rack up another win here, in what will be an important game before AFL Women’s talents start filtering back into the league.

WWT EAGLES vs. SOUTH ADELAIDE
Saturday, April 17 @ 10:00am
Maughan Thiem Kia Oval

Both Woodville-West Torrens Eagles and South Adelaide will be missing some incredible talent in Round 7, as the sides make a combined 14 changes for the must-win clash for both sides. The Eagles will look to bounce back after the loss to Norwood last week following their three-game winning streak, whilst the Panthers will eye off getting their season back on track in the second half of the 2021 competition. The Eagles will host the game, but will be without AFL Women’s listed players in Jess Sedunary and Renee Forth, whilst young guns Charlotte Dolan and Jamie Parish, and the injured Kiley Green will all be unavailable. Coming into the side are three potential Eagles debutants in Samantha Hoogeveen-Hill, Cheryllee Waters and Nikita McRostie, alongside players such as Georgia Taylor and Mikayla Cavallaro. The Panthers have an exodus out of the team due to a mixture of reasons, as Hannah Muunyard, Lisa Whiteley and Montana McKinnon are all out for Crows duties, while Gypsy Schirmer, Tahlita Buethke and Lauren Clifton miss due to the State Academy, and Jess Kirk is among more outs. The Panthers have named 11 inclusions to an extended bench, with both Renee and Soriah Moon, Amy Gore and Emily Brockhurst among those ins. They still have a strong midfield in Czenya Cavouras, Nicole Campbell and youngster Sarah Wright, but will be up against it taking on an Eagles side whose youth has stepped up this year, such as Shineah Goody and Astrid Gooley.

STURT vs. WEST ADELAIDE
Saturday, April 17 @ 12:45pm
Unley Oval

West Adelaide have welcomed a massive inclusion for the remainder of the season in Richmond AFL Women’s player Sarah Dargan who has come straight in to make her SANFL Women’s debut. Her much needed experience – alongside some other debutants in Jess Chyer, Beth Sigley and Grace McNicol will be much welcomed by the Bloods who will be without a ton of top-end talent. AFLW-listed Ailish Considine, Madison Newman and Chelsea Biddell will miss the game, as well the State Academy members of Keeley Kustermann, Zoe Venning and Lauren Young, with Olivia Smith, Zoe Greer and Melanie Elsegood also forced changes for Round 7. For Sturt, the Double Blues they have the four straight forced chances with the quartet of State Academy members including co-captains Hannah Prenzler and Georgia Swan, as well as Alex Ballard and Zoe Prowse. Sarah Wallace will make her debut in the side, with Sarah Wallace coming straight into the forward line. She is joined by an extended bench that also includes Kiera Mueller, Aajiah Jericho and Casey Fraser, whilst the in-form midfield of Jess Good, Alisha Gepp, Jaimee Wittervan and Isobel Kuiper remains intact. They will provide stiff opposition for the Westies, who will look to the likes of Sharnie Whiting, Kasia Culhane and Louella McCarthy for experience, with Dargan having a huge role in the midfield.

Picture credit: Cory Sutton / SANFL

2021 SANFL Women’s Round 5 preview: Changes galore with State Academy players out

THERE was carnage in a good way at the selection table for the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s teams, as their most talented youth prospects departed to represent their state at the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships on Sunday.

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
Friday, March 26 @ 7:00pm
Flinders University Stadium

The second grand final rematch of the 2020 SANFL Women’s finale has the two sides with very different lineups to last year’s decider. On top of the host of players returning or entering the AFL Women’s competition, both teams have plenty of State Academy members who are out for their clash with Western Australia. South Adelaide lose Gypsy Schirmer, Tahlita Buethke and Lauren Clifton to the match, with North’s Kate Case, Julia Clark, Jorja Eldridge and Amelie Borg also out of the game. Both teams receive some talented reinforcements with Lisa Whiteley, Madison Bennett and Tiffany Copley among the ins for the Panthers, while Kelly Barltrop and Lauren Daniel join four new players – including former Panther Emogen Johnson – in their starting side.

The Roosters defence still has the twin talls in Kristi Harvey and Talia Radan, as well as Erin Sundstrom, whilst Jaimi Tabb played her best game of the season last week, and will match it with the likes of Czenya Cavouras and Nicole Campbell in there. Montana McKinnon is in red-hot form and will be tipped to continue that against the Roosters, as the forward duo of Jorja Hooper and Jess Kirk will be looking to apply more scoreboard pressure in this one. North Adelaide would be confident of bouncing back, though the Panthers still have a really strong midfield – including State Academy emergency Sarah Wright – and could take control there.

STURT vs. WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS EAGLES
Saturday, March 27 @ 10.40am
X Convenience Oval

Kicking off a double-header at X Convenience Oval, the 1-3 Sturt take on the in-form Woodville-West Torrens Eagles in what could make history for the visitors. The Eagles only won two games in their second season last year – after going winless in year one – and could be eyeing off a remarkable third straight victory if they can topple the last placed Sturt. They will need to do it without a host of talents including State Academy members Charlotte Dolan and Jamie Parish, as well as Zahn Anthony and Stephanie Walker. Sturt have even more outs due to the Academy game, with the Double Blues’ football factory of Alex Ballard, Georgia Swan, Hannah Prenzler and star ruck Zoe Prowse all out of the team, as well as captain Maya Rigter with a knee injury.

It will give plenty a players a chance to step up, with the likes of Sarah Wallace and Millie McCarthy new faces. Ella Vitucci is the sole new face to the Eagles’ outfit, though Renee Forth returns for some extra experience, as does young gun Jaida Tabb from injury. Jess Good will need to step up again in her second game, taking on another secondary ruck for her side in Amie Blanden. Both have great talent and will thrive on the opportunity, whilst the likes of Alisha Gepp and Shineah Goody will go head-to-head in an awesome young battle through the middle. Jess Sedunary and Forth add that AFL Women’s experience for the Eagles, while Sturt will have to shuffle around the backline and hope the midfield of Isobel Kuiper and Elsie Dawes can control the tempo.

CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. WEST ADELAIDE
Saturday, March 27 @ 12:25pm
X Convenience Oval

West Adelaide will look to snap a two-game losing streak when it comes up against Central District on a three-game losing streak of its own. The Dogs are back at home, and in a tight competition are still only two wins off the top two. They will want to convert their almost-wins into victories however, making two confirmed changes with Laitiah Huynh and Madison Lane off to represent South Australia. The home team has named an extended bench with the likes of Emma Keys and Caitlin Wendland making their way into the side. The Bloods have lost four of their stars due to the Academy game and AFL Women’s, with Keeley Kustermann, Lauren Young and Zoe Venning all out of West Adelaide’s team, while Chelsea Biddell steps up to the Crows again. Bethany Sigley is in line to potentially make her debut, whilst Ailish Considine could replace Biddell as that experienced forward.

The Bulldogs will remain relatively stable to past weeks despite their two young talents out of the side, as captain Shelby Smith is in red-hot form with Caitlen Teague and Lauren Smith also having great games in past weeks. Up forward Katelyn Rosenzweig did not miss a beat after what looked like a bad injury two weeks ago, but turned up and impressed last round. Demi Sonneman has been a reliable force down back and will be important to limiting West’s scoring chances, with Kasia Culhane down there and Sharnie Whiting thrown forward as a target. Bec Owen and Zoe Greer make a strong midfield with Louella McCarthy and ruck Kate Walsh, in what will be a fascinating clash of midfields.

NORWOOD vs. GLENELG
Saturday, March 27 @ 12.30pm
Coopers Stadium

The new top of the table Redlegs will host an up-and-down Glenelg which now sits at 2-2 and only one win off the top two places. The Bays had a fantastic come-from-behind win over West Adelaide last week, whilst Norwood’s victory over North Adelaide handed them top spot. The Redlegs will be without young guns, Alana Lishmund and Jade Halfpenny who miss due to the Academy game, as well as Elizabeth Drake who is out due to a quad injury. Into the side comes Tesharna Maher alongside a couple of Morphettville Park and ex-Glenelg talents in Cammie Williams and Celestine Dona to make their debuts in the game. Rori Perryman could be a debutant for the Bays, coming into the side with Rachel Aistrope, Rhiley Ritchie, Milli Gentle and Sheridan Howell. They replace Academy players Brooke Tonon and Tamsyn Morriss, as well as Dayna Cox (Adelaide AFL Women’s) and Lucy Earl (injured).

Both sides still have very strong sides despite the omissions, with Mattea Breed named in the ruck with Leah Cutting at centre half-forward. Jess Macolino and Lana Schwerdt – the most recent Breakthrough Player of the Week – are in good form, whilst Ella Murison slotted two goals last week. Also in good form are the likes of Sam Franson, Emily Bates and Ellie Kellock in the yellow and black, whilst Piper Window has been consistent through the season and developing well, while Molly Affolter provides the height through the ruck and up forward. Norwood will be favourites in the game, but it should be a tight contest.

Picture credit: SANFL / Cory Sutton

SANFL Women’s Round 4 wrap: Redlegs topple Roosters as Panthers and Eagles grab back-to-back wins

NORWOOD has grabbed top spot on the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s ladder with a victory over previous leader North Adelaide, whilst South Adelaide entered the top four thanks to their second consecutive win.

WWT EAGLES 1.0 | 2.1 | 3.1 | 4.1 (25)
CENTRAL DISTRICT 1.1 | 1.2 | 2.3 | 2.4 (16)

GOALS:

Eagles: J. Sedunary 2, K. Lee, S. Walker.
Central: K. Rosenzweig, C. Reynolds.

DC BEST:

Eagles: J. Sedunary, S. Goody. N. Holmes, S. Walker, A. Falkenberg
Central: S. Smith, I. Stamer, A. James, D. Sonneman, M. Lane

Booting four of the last five goals of the game, Woodville-West Torrens Eagles exacted revenge on the team that beat them in Round 1, knocking off Central District by nine points on Friday night. The Eagles booted 4.1 (25) to 2.4 (16) in the game, making the most of their scoring chances despite one less than their opposition, and handed the Bulldogs their third consecutive loss in the process. Jess Sedunary was the star, booting two goals in her return since breaking her leg last year, whilst for the second consecutive week, Kiana Lee booted the sealer. Regular scorers Katelyn Rosenzweig and Chantel Reynolds hit the scoreboard for the Dogs, but it would not be enough.

In a low-possession game, the Dogs had 10 more touches (199-189), with the visitors dominating the clearances (28-13) off the back of hitout control (23-17). Despite this, they could not make inroads going forward, with the Eagles controlling the inside 50 count (31-22), whilst the Dogs defence largely held up with rebound 50s (27-20), though the Eagles still fought through for the victory.

Sedunary finished with an impressive 14 disposals, three marks – two contested – four tackles, two clearances, three inside 50s and two goals upon return, while Stephanie Walker slotted a goal from 14 disposals, three marks, four tackles, three inside 50s and two rebound 50s. Shineah Goody was again impressive, as the youngster had 13 touches, five marks, five tackles and four inside 50s, while Natasha Holmes (14 disposals, six tackles) and Anastasia Falkenberg (13 disposals, four tackles and three rebound 50s) were also productive.

For the Bulldogs, Shelby Smith could well have been the best player on the ground, racking up 21 disposals, six marks, six tackles five clearances and five inside 50s to lead from the front, whilst Caitlen Teague (15 disposals, three marks) and Madison Lane (14 disposals, six rebound 50s) again found plenty of the footy. Isabelle Starmer stood out in the ruck with 15 hitouts, four clearances and five tackles to go with 13 touches, while Demi Sonneman (11 disposals, three tackles, three marks and four rebound 50s) and Lauren Smith (14 disposals, five tackles) were strong.

Both teams face off at X Convenience Oval in a double-header at X Convenience Oval next Saturday, with the Eagles taking on Sturt at 10.40am, before the Bulldogs host West Adelaide from 12.25pm.

 

WEST ADELAIDE 2.1 | 2.2 | 2.3 | 3.4 (22)
GLENELG 0.0 | 1.2 | 2.4 | 4.4 (28)

GOALS:

West: L. Young 3.
Glenelg: E. Kellock 2, C. Swanson, C. Packer.

DC BEST:

West: L. Young, Z. Venning, K. Culhane, C. Biddell, K. Kustermann
Glenelg: E. Kellock, M. Girvan, J. Bates, B. Tonon, D. Cox

Glenelg has bounced back from consecutive losses with a six-point win over West Adelaide, handing the Bloods back-to-back losses in the process. In a hard-fought match, Glenelg overcame a huge effort from 15-year-old Lauren Young – who booted three goals – to kick the last two goals of the match and win by a goal after trailing by as much as six points, seven minutes into the final term. In the end, two goals from Ellie Kellock in an impressive effort was enough to overcome the Bloods and ensure both teams went to 2-2 for the season after the 4.4 (28) to 3.4 (22) win.

Glenelg won 35 more disposals (185-150), and also restricted West’s outside game, with the Bloods having just 19 marks to the Bays’ 32, whilst the visitors also notched up 72 tackles to 54. West Adelaide was stronger around the stoppages with 30 clearances to 25, also winning the inside 50 count (27-24), but the Bays stood strong in defence with 24 rebound 50s to 17.

Kellock slotted two majors from 12 disposals, four clearances and two inside 50s in a strong effort across four quarters, though she was far from alone. Jessica Bates continued her red-hot 2021 form with 13 disposals, five marks, nine tackles, three clearances and five rebound 50s, while Brooke Tonon (14 disposals, three marks, three tackles and four rebound 50s) and Caitlyn Swanson (eight disposals, three marks, three tackles and three inside 50s) had an impact. Meara Girvan (11 disposals, 18 hitouts) and Molly Affolter (six disposals, 18 hitouts) both tag-teamed in the ruck, while Dayna Cox returned to the side to have 12 disposals, three marks, five tackles and three rebound 50s.

Young was a standout performer yet again, with the leading disposal winner racking up 17 touches again, but clunking four marks – two contested – three tackles, four inside 50s, two rebound 50s and slotting the three goals. Fellow State Academy members Zoe Venning (15 disposals, two marks, six tackles, three clearances and three inside 50s) and Keeley Kustermann (eight disposals, seven tackles, two inside 50s and four rebound 50s) also stood out, while Chelsea Biddell (10 disposals, 21 hitouts, four tackles) was imposing in the ruck returning to state level, and Kasia Culhane (11 disposals, four tackles and six clearances) also prominent in the middle.

Glenelg take on Norwood at Coopers Stadium next Saturday, while the Bloods take on Central District on the same day at X Convenience Oval.

 

NORWOOD 1.0 | 2.0 | 4.0 | 5.0 (30)
NORTH ADELAIDE 0.1 | 0.1 | 1.1 | 1.2 (8)

GOALS:

Norwood: E. Murison 2, M. Breed, J. Halfpenny, J. Macolino.
North: T. Thorn.

DC BEST:

Norwood: L. Cutting, E. Murison, M. Johnston, E. Clark, L. Schwerdt
North: J. Tabb, K. Harvey, E. Greet, J. Clark, T. Thorn

Norwood has ended North Adelaide’s winning streak at three, with a 22-point victory in the Saturday Round 4 contest between the sides. The Redlegs just could not miss – literally – booting five straight goals on their way to a 5.0 (30) to 1.2 (8) victory, containing the Roosters to just one goal and three scoring shots in the match. Ella Murison was the sole multiple goalkicker with two, as athletic forwards Mattea Breed and Jade Halfpenny slotted majors, as did midfielder Jess Macolino, while Tayla Thorn kicked North’s sole major of the game.

Norwood had 30 more disposals (218-188), and 20 more marks (43-23), whilst North Adelaide applied good pressure throughout the match with 85 tackles to 61. Around the ball, Norwood had the advantage, dominating the hitouts 42-15 thanks to Leah Cutting, whilst taking control in the clearances (30-24) and inside 50s (26-21), with North marginally head in rebound 50s (21-18).

Cutting was best on ground with 17 disposals, six marks – one contested – 26 hitouts, nine tackles, two clearances, five inside 50s and two rebound 50s in the win, aiding the likes of Macolino (12 disposals, four inside 50s and two clearances), Emma Clark (13 disposals, seven tackles, four clearances and three inside 50s), Lana Schwerdt (13 disposals, four tackles and three clearances) and Sophie Armitstead (15 disposals, four tackles and three clearances) at the stoppages. Murison’s two goals came alongside 13 disposals, three marks, three tackles, three inside 50s and two rebound 50s, while Halfpenny helped herself to 10 touches, four tackles and three inside 50s as well as a goal.

North’s two standouts were midfielder Jaimi Tabb who was a wrecking ball around the stoppages thanks to 18 disposals, four marks – three contested – 10 tackles, five clearances and five inside 50s – and full-back Kristi Harvey (18 disposals, three marks, six tackles and five rebound 50s) who were both sensational. Julia Clark stepped up for 14 touches, two marks, four tackles, two clearances and two rebound 50s, while Erica Greet (15 disposals, five inside 50s) and Chelsea Farr (13 disposals, five tackles and three inside 50s) were also busy in the loss.

In Round 5, Norwood hosts Glenelg at Coopers Stadium on Saturday, while North Adelaide takes on South Adelaide in the second grand final rematch of the season under lights at Flinders University Stadium from 7pm.

 

SOUTH ADELAIDE 2.1 | 2.2 | 2.4 | 3.7 (25)
STURT 0.0 | 1.1 | 1.2 | 2.2 (14)

GOALS:

South: J. Kirk, J. Hooper, H. Munyard.
Sturt: C. Forby, K. Harris.

DC BEST:

South: H. Munyard, C. Cavouras, M. McKinnon, J. Kirk, B. Wedding
Sturt: J. Wittervan, G. Swan, A. Ballard, K. Harris, H. Prenzler

South Adelaide have strung back-to-back wins together in 2021, defeating Sturt to move to 2-2 for the season despite kicking just the one goal in the second half. In what was a titanic struggle of two teams with strong defences, the Panthers got up in a thrilling 3.7 (25) to 2.2 (14) victory, with a couple of Adelaide AFL Women’s talents standing up. The Panthers were quick out of the blocks with two goals in 11 minutes to race out to a 13-point lead at quarter time. Sturt worked back into the game and even moved to within two points just 25 seconds into the final term courtesy of a goal to Kate Harris, but a response from Jess Kirk – and a couple of chances after that from the goalsneak – ended the game with an 11-point win to the home team.

Despite the loss, Sturt led the disposals (205-179), marks (51-44) and clearances (22-18), though South Adelaide clunked 16 contested marks to seven in a remarkable show of strength. The Panthers also laid 51 tackles to 39, and marginally led the hitouts (21-19) and rebound 50s (23-20), with the inside 50s practically even (26-25 in Sturt’s favour).

Hannah Munyard returned to South Adelaide for her first game of the year and immediately threw her hand up for a recall to the Crows’ AFL Women’s side, racking up 20 disposals, as well as two marks, five tackles, four clearances, three inside 50s, two rebound 50s and a goal. Czenya Cavouras was just as prominent around the stoppages, crashing and bashing her way to 17 touches, seven tackles and six clearances, whilst Montana McKinnon‘s ripping season continued with four contested marks – of six total marks – as well as 16 hitouts, 11 disposals and four inside 50s. Nicole Campbell (13 disposals, three inside 50s) won her fair share of the ball, whilst youngsters Sarah Wright (13 disposals, two inside 50s and three rebound 50s) and Tahlita Buethke (12 disposals, three marks, two clearances and three inside 50s) were also impressive.

Georgia Swan‘s rising form capped off in the game with a massive 20 touches, a clear season-best for the State Academy member, also taking five marks – one contested – laying four tackles and having four inside 50s. Jaimee Wittervan was crucial around the stoppages with 13 disposals, seven clearances, four inside 50s, three marks and three tackles, while Alex Ballard had 14 disposals, seven marks and three rebound 50s. Also busy in defence was Hannah Prenzler (10 disposals, five marks – one contested – and five rebound 50s), while Alisha Gepp (15 disposals, two marks, two tackles and two clearances) and Harris (14 disposals, three marks and three inside 50s) were also among the better Sturt players on the day.

South Adelaide will have a chance to topple North Adelaide in the first game of Round 5 at Flinders University on Friday night, while Sturt will take on Woodville-West Torrens Eagles at X Convenience Oval on Saturday morning.

2021 SANFL Women’s Round 4 preview: Crucial ladder-defining games for mid-table teams

ROUND 4 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s season kicks off tonight with two games across the weekend featuring teams on one win from three games, while Norwood have the chance to knock top of the table North Adelaide off its unbeaten perch.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS vs. CENTRAL DISTRICT
Friday, March 19 @ 6.30pm
Hisense Stadium

In the first rematch of the season, Woodville-West Torrens Eagles take on Central District under lights at Hisense Stadium tonight. The Eagles are coming in off their first win of the season following their hard-fought slog in the wet against Glenelg, whilst Central District has not won since the Round 1 victory over the Eagles, but were in control for most of the game in their last two narrow losses to Sturt and South Adelaide which were both under a kick. The Bulldogs have been terrific starters this season and will look to do so again when they take on the Eagles, whilst their opponents will be aware that if they can be close enough at half-time they can finish strongly like they did against the Bays last week.

The Eagles do have a couple of forced outs with youngster Brooklyn Kraft missing due to a knee injury, and Renee Forth called up to Adelaide’s AFL Women’s program. They have regained some AFL Women’s experience however, with Jess Sedunary among a host of inclusions on an extended bench. Central has just the one confirmed out with Alicia Butler out, though key midfield Lauren Smith returns alongside a number of inclusions for the Dogs as they hope to go 2-0 against the Eagles this season.

To do so Central will need to put scores on the board throughout the four quarters, and key forward Katelyn Rosenzweig has been named which is fantastic to see after an injury late in the loss to South Adelaide last week. Chantel Reynolds and Laitiah Huynh have found ways to apply scoreboard pressure this season, while Shelby Smith was sensational last week in the middle. She is well supported by Lauren Smith and Caitlen Teague who form a really strong onball group, whilst the defensive trio of Madison Lane, Gemma Doughty and Demi Sonneman provide great run out of the back 50.

The Eagles have to shuffle the magnets around with the loss of Kraft, as Amie Blanden – who took over ruck duties last week – will start there again, as Under 16s talent Shineah Goody will team up with reigning best and fairest winner Jovanka Zecevic at the stoppages. Anastasia Falkenberg and Natasha Holmes have put together some consistent performances this season, while South Australian State Academy members, Charlotte Dolan and Jamie Parish will provide some run for the Eagles. Kiana Lee has been named at centre half-back but as she showed last week, can go forward and kick a crucial goal.

Central District would be favoured to back up their Round 1 win over the Eagles, it will just be a case of making the most of their forward 50 entries, whilst for the Eagles, it is about winning the midfield battle.

WEST ADELAIDE vs. GLENELG
Friday, March 19 @ 8.15pm
Hisense Stadium

In the second match at Hisense Arena, the real home team in West Adelaide will host Glenelg in an important game for both sides. The Bloods will welcome back some of their AFL Women’s talent they lost from last week’s game when they went down to North Adelaide. The Bays will also bring some big names back into the side as they look to arrest a two-game losing streak they have suffered at the hands of North Adelaide and Woodville-West Torrens the last two rounds. West have the firepower up forward, but the Tigers have also been capable of kicking a big score when not slugging it out in the wet.

West Adelaide will welcome back Madison Newman and Chelsea Biddell to the fold with their AFL Women’s experience crucial, though Louella McCarthy is another key player to be named amongst the ins having kicked two late goals in the win a fortnight ago. The Bays will see a ton of players return with at last five players out of the Round 3 team, including Ellen Fauser, whilst the likes of AFL Women’s Dayna Cox, and goal-scoring threat Sam Franson are back in for the big game. Grace Duffy is another inclusion for the Bays who has proven to provide some high and work in the forward half.

With the West forward line looking bulked up again, it will the likes of Biddell and Newman who have the capacity of putting scores on the board, while Zoe Venning has rotated well between half-forward and onball this season. Lauren Young has been a revelation in her debut season at just 15-years-old, and the likes of Bec Owen and Zoe Greer will rove to Kate Walsh who could take advantage in the ruck. State Academy member Tamsyn Morriss has been thrown in the midfield for this game alongside 15-year-old Piper Window who has made a promising start to her SANFL Women’s career. Ellie Kellock provides that experience in the middle, while Madisyn Freeman and Brooke Tonon are named on the wings to provide some extra run forward.

West Adelaide will be favourites here with plenty of quality coming back, but the Bays have their own talent returning, which makes this a great contest at night.

NORWOOD vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
Saturday, March 20 @ 11.00am
Cooper Stadium

Kicking off Saturday’s action, Norwood will have the next crack at trying to end the unbeaten North Adelaide’s run which went to three games last week, but realistically the Roosters have not lost since the 2019 SANFL Women’s Grand Final. The Redlegs have won the past two games and are building some good form, though they did have a scare against Sturt in Round 3, so will want to pick it up here and put in a good performance. The Roosters controlled most of the player after an early goal to the Bloods last week, and will be without a couple of stars so will eye off others stepping up in their place.

Isabel Martin will miss the Redlegs’ Round 4 clash after injuring her ankle, joining State Academy member Sarah Branford, and defender Kate Fenton among the outs for the clash. Norwood does regain the services of Alana Lishmund who returns from suspension. The Roosters on the other hand have suffered some big outs with young gun Hannah Ewings out with the ankle injury she sustained in the second quarter of North Adelaide’s Round 3 win over West Adelaide, while key forward Kelly Barltrop will be unavailable for the clash.

The Redlegs will need to capitalise on the midfield and get the ball forward to allow the likes of athletic talls Mattea Breed and Jade Halfpenny to get plenty of looks inside 50. Lana Schwerdt won the Ellen Maple Medal in the win against Sturt last week and will be keen to back up that performance here, whilst the experience of Jess Macolino, Sophie Armitstead and Elisha Gallagher will help add some composure around the ground. The Redlegs were lucky not to concede a late goal last week, and will be wary of what the Roosters can do.

North Adelaide has a near-impenetrable defence with key posts, Kristi Harvey and Talia Radan providing the strength and smarts to not allow any easy goals. Alana Baker comes into the side and slots straight onto half-back with the running Kate Case, while Case’s State Academy teammate Julia Clark has been thrown in the midfield alongside the in-form Leah Tynan and Cristie Castle. Jaimi Tabb has been named at full-forward to provide some strength down there, whilst Brianna Arthur and Kathryn Reynolds are also among the dangerous forwards inside 50.

North Adelaide should be good enough to go to 4-0, but with the talent out, Norwood has a huge opportunity to cause an upset in this game, particularly in front of home fans.

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. STURT
Saturday, March 20 @ 5.30pm
Flinders University Stadium

‘The final game of the round is an evening game between South Adelaide and Sturt down at Flinders University Stadium. The Panthers finally got on the board last week – albeit just – with a narrow win over Central District. The game against Sturt could be another thriller, with the Double Blues also having plenty of young, developing players running around and are 1-2, though could easily have been 2-1 with a couple of missed opportunities last in the game against the Panthers last week. The winner of this game moves to 2-2 and remains in touch with the top couple of teams.

The Panthers will welcome into the side Amy Gore and Katie Whish – the latter in line for a debut – amongst others including Sheena Peters, Alannah Rochow and Georgia Pennifold, whilst Madison Bennett, Tess Brockhurst and Amy Huxtable are out. The Double Blues have lost youngster Tiah Hough to a hand injury, whilst Allani Dawes, Molly Fletcher and Jessica Good have been named in an extended team, with Good another potential debutant in the game.

Good could well have a baptism of fire, with the tall named in the ruck to face AFL Women’s ruck Montana McKinnon. The South Adelaide ruck has been in terrific form this season, and with the experience of Czenya Cavouras and Nicole Campbell in there, the Panthers have the advantage. However the fact Zoe Prowse is just rolling around as a midfielder means the Double Blues have that Plan B ready to go, with the best two young rucks in South Australia likely to cross paths on multiple occasions. Sturt duo Alisha Gepp and Isobel Kuiper are younger than their opponents, but will certainly attack the contest hard, whilst Tahlita Buethke and Sarah Wright are other State Academy members hoping to impress through the midfield.

In defence for the Double Blues, Alex Ballard, Hannah Prenzler and Lauren Clifton are a trio of State Academy members who provide skill and drive out of the back 50, going up against the likes of Gypsy Schirmer, Jess Kirk and Sophia Flanagan-Sjoberg who have all been in great form themselves. Jorja Hooper has acquitted herself successfully in her debut season as a key forward, with the Under 16s talent showing her strength in the air and around goal, while Jaslynne Smith and Georgia Swan are among the other young talents running around for their respective teams in the match.

This game could go either way, with South likely to be favourite given their extra experience, but the Sturt defence has done well yet again to start the season, which makes it a fascinating contest.

 

Picture credit: SANFL / Cory Sutton

2021 SANFL Women’s Round 3 preview: Undefeated sides to clash as others search for first win

WEST Adelaide and North Adelaide will battle for the right to the top of the ladder after three South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s rounds when they play on Sunday, while the likes of South Adelaide and Woodville-West Torrens are searching for their first win of the season.

CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. SOUTH ADELAIDE
Friday, March 12 @ 6.30pm
Coopers Stadium

Opening the round is a massive crunch game this early in the season between two sides that have the capacity to push for a finals spot. Central District sit at an even 1-1 from its two games thus far, picking up a big win over Woodville-West Torrens, then let the match against Sturt slip away in the final term. They were a quarter away from heading into this game undefeated, but the Panthers are now in a similar boat with an 0-2 start, albeit coming up against two likely finalists this year in North Adelaide and Norwood. Team selection has hurt the Bulldogs with Lauren Breguet and Lauren Smith both out due to concussion, but some of the ins add serious quality to the team, with Amber James, Gemma Doughty and Alicia Butler among those named back in the side and have he potential to put in strong performances. The Panthers have welcomed back Czenya Cavouras to the mix who was sorely missed in Round 2, and along with Alannah Rochow, the Panthers have an extended bench and only the two confirmed outs with Georgia Pennifold and Tiffany Copley both out of the side.

The Bulldogs took it up to the Panthers last season but could not capitalise on a plethora of inside 50s, and now with extra experience through that midfield, the likes of Butler, Caitlen Teague and Shelby Smith have the opportunity to match up against Cavouras, Nicole Campbell and Tahlita Buethke. Montana McKinnon has been in scintillating form at state level and will be difficult to contain, though with a solid backline that has restricted its opposition this year, the Bulldogs will back themselves in. Shannon Murphy, Doughty and Demi Sonneman make up a reliable half-back line, whilst youngsters at either end in Laitiah Huynh and Madison Lane add some extra tenacity in there. Speaking of youngsters, Gypsy Schirmer has been in terrific form to start the year, with Sarah Wright getting better by the week, and Lauren Clifton teaming up well with Jaslynne Smith in defence. Madison Bennett made a great return to the Panthers side in Round 2, and she just locks onto opposition players with her pressure and burst speed.

This is genuinely a 50/50 game. History says South Adelaide, but potential suggest Central District could cause a boilover, though the Panthers will be keen not to drop to 0-3 in a short season.

 

NORWOOD vs. STURT
Friday, March 12 @ 8.15pm
Coopers Stadium

Two sides that reversed Round 1 losses into Round 2 wins, Norwood hosts Sturt in a game that promises to provide plenty of great matchups. The Redlegs took down South Adelaide last week after a lost to West Adelaide the week before, while Sturt came good in the final term to run over the top of Central District after a forgettable Round 1 loss to Glenelg. A couple of youngsters will be out of the Redlegs side, with Alana Lishmund missing due to suspension, while Tesharna Maher is out with an ankle injury. In comes Jiarna Zerella and Charlotte Nenke, both named on the bench for the clash. Sturt have made minimal changes with only a couple of inclusions to the side as Georgia Hamilton and Allani Dawes join an extended Double Blues bench.

The Redlegs have plenty of firepower up forward, with Jade Halfpenny standing out in attack, while Mattea Breed roamed just about everywhere and even chopped out in the ruck. Speaking of the ruck, Leah Cutting will bring plenty of experience, but will need to try and contain the athleticism and talent of Zoe Prowse who never misses a beat. The draft-eligible AFL Women’s Academy member will make life difficult for not only Cutting, but the opposition midfield as well with her second efforts. Jess Macolino and Sophie Armitstead have nous to extract the ball, with Shai Hiscock and teenager Sarah Branford also named in there. Sharing the load up forward, Isabel Martin can roam up to a wing, while Kate Fenton, Alison Ferrall and Elizabeth Drake are capable of multiple goals. For the Double Blues, their defence is one of the best in the competition, led by Maya Rigter in her new defensive role, and teenage duo, Alex Ballard and Hannah Prenzler. Through midfield, the Double Blues have the youngest onball division in the competition, with 19-year-old Isobel Kuiper the oldest of the quartet featuring Prowse, Alisha Gepp and Tiah Hough who have all stood up against more experienced opposition.

Norwood are favourites to win back-to-back matches, but Sturt just grind out games and then stand up at critical moments, so the Redlegs will need to be at their best to get the job done.

 

WWT EAGLES vs. GLENELG
Saturday, March 13 @ 10.40am
Hisense Stadium

Kicking off the Saturday double-header at Hisense Stadium, the Woodville-West Torrens Eagles are searching for their first win against a Glenelg side coming off a narrow loss to reigning premiers, North Adelaide. The Eagles have lost to Central District and West Adelaide in the opening two rounds, while Glenelg triumphed over Sturt before going down to the Roosters by five points last weekend. The Bays will be without key player Sam Franson for the clash, while Anja Bancevic is also out, as Ellen Fauser and Lauren Bungey return to the team. Fauser has been named straight at full-forward with Bungey at half-back, adding some fresh faces to either end. The Eagles on the other hand have brought in five players and lost three, with Kiana Lee returning to the side to sure up defence. Jess Sedunary is a massive inclusion with the AFL Women’s talent coming back for her first game since her broken leg last year.

The Eagles have a number of young talents who provide great run and carry, with Charlotte Dolan and Jamie Parish named on respective wins, and Shineah Goody at half-back. The experience of Jovanka Zecevic and Renee Forth in midfield will look to take control, though youngster Piper Window has held her own in the competition, and Ellie Kellock is a reliable inside midfielder. Brooke Tonon and Madisyn Freeman will provide the Bays with run of their own, while Tessa Kohn and Tamsyn Morriss are still young and provide some hardness around the ground. Jessica Bates is in some great form for the visitors, while Amie Blanden is a consistent source of scoring chances inside 50, and Anastasia Falkenberg capable of roaming up the ground when required.

Glenelg have the extra experience, though the Eagles’ inclusions are mighty handy so will make it a tough contest.

 

WEST ADELAIDE vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
Saturday, March 13 @ 12.25pm
Hisense Stadium

The SANFL Women’s fixture has saved the best until last this week, with a top-of-the-table clash between two undefeated sides in West Adelaide and North Adelaide. The preliminary finalists from last year have defeated Norwood and Woodville-West Torrens in the opening two rounds of the season, whilst reigning premiers North Adelaide defeated South Adelaide and Glenelg to also enter this contest at 2-0. Unfortunately for the Bloods, they have lost some serious experience with Chelsea Biddell bouncing straight back up to Adelaide’s AFL Women’s side, Madison Newman injured and Melanie Elsegood and Louella McCarthy also out. The quartet booted five of the Westies seven goals last week, so coach Mark Moody will need to shuffle the magnets. Into the side come the likes of Samantha Ramm, and Nicole Hooper to take over the key position roles of Biddell and Elsegood, while six other players have been added to an extended bench. For North, they have added two players to the side with Chloe Short in line to make her debut, and Olivia Gallio named in the team for the first time since the 2020 SANFL Women’s Grand Final.

The Bloods defence has been steady this season with the inclusion of Sharnie Whiting at centre half-back, she has provide the strong intercept marking ability, with 15-year-old young gun Lauren Young also providing support by dropping back there and earning a Breakthrough Player of the Week nomination in Round 1. West Adelaide have an abundance of youth, and it showed when hard nut Zoe Venning attacked the contest last week and came away with her nomination for Round 2 after a dazzling 25-disposal performance. With Keeley Kustermann another one with high-end potential, West Adelaide have no shortage of talent running around. The Roosters have a Rising Star of their own in Hannah Ewings who won the Breakthrough Player Award in 2020 after also earning a nomination in debut. She teams up well in midfield with another young talent in Jaimi Tabb, as well as the experience of Leah Tynan and Lauren Daniel. The Roosters are able to roll players in different positions around the field, with Brianna Arthur able to play forward or midfield, Kate Case in defence or midfield, and Julia Clark pushing further up the ground from her traditional deep defence role. Zoe Greer and Venning will be looking for feeds from Kate Walsh in midfield, and hoping to create some scoring opportunities up front. It will be difficult with the two rocks in defence in Kristi Harvey and Talia Radan who have proven near impenetrable at times.

The reigning premiers look stronger on paper with the two AFL Women’s talents and experienced players out for the Bloods, so it will be up to the youth of West Adelaide to step up and match it with the Roosters who have so much versatility there are plenty of backup plans if the magnets need to be shuffled on gameday.

Picture credit: On The Ball Media

2021 SANFL Women’s Round 2 preview: Hisense Triple Treat

A TRIPLE-header at Hisense Stadium will allow South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s fans to watch three games back-to-back on Saturday in a massive day of action following a blockbuster Friday night fixture this evening. For Round 1 losers, one of South Adelaide or Norwood will at least get points on the board in season 2021, while for Round 1 winners, Glenelg and North Adelaide, something will have to give when they clash in the second game tomorrow.

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. NORWOOD
Friday, March 5 @ 7pm
Flinders University Stadium

Two of the SANFL Women’s most successful teams over the first four seasons go head-to-head after losing their opening round matches in South Adelaide and Norwood. Two-time back-to-back premiers and then reigning grand finalists, South Adelaide will lock horns with Norwood who took it up to West Adelaide last week, but much like the Panthers against the Roosters, were unable to get the job done against pretty stiff opposition. Now the teams head in with a few changes to try and grab their first points of the season.

The home team will have to overcome the loss of key midfielder, Czenya Cavouras who is unavailable for the match, joining Alannah Rochow as unavailabilities, and Brooke Kleinig as omissions from the Round 1 loss. Tough midfielder/forward Madison Bennett returns to the team, with the 21-year-old bringing plenty of experience to the side, whist at the other end of the scale, Amy Gore (four games) and Tess Huxtable (debut) are both in, as Gore has been named on an extended bench, and Huxtable thrown into a forward pocket. Tamara Page and Madison Ross have also been included. For Norwood, they have brought in versatile utility Mattea Breed who was an emergency in the first game, and Lana Schwerdt, who have replaced Lindsay Bigg and Kassandra Stroh in the side.

The ruck battle between Leah Cutting and Montana McKinnon will be a fascinating one, as two strong opponents not will to take a backwards step going head-to-head. Jaslynne Smith looks the heir apparent to the missing Cavouras in midfield, with the natural ball-winner and reliable defender joining Nicole Campbell and Renee Moon onball, while Norwood have thrown a splash of youth in there for the team sheet as forward Jade Halfpenny and fellow teenager Sarah Branford make their way into the midfield alongside the experienced Sophie Armitstead.

South Adelaide had enough chances against North last week, the Panthers could not quite make them stick going inside 50, while Norwood won all the key stats, but the West Adelaide defence was incredible with holding up and driving the ball back. If the Redlegs can get the ball in the hands of runners such as Alana Lishmund or Isabel Martin going forward, the inclusion of Breed gives them another athletic target, while the Panthers have Gypsy Schirmer as the X-factor in the front half, with the top-age talent joining the likes of Lauren Clifton and Tahlita Buethke as young guns will to move the ball quickly in transition and set up scoring opportunities.

Both these sides looked pretty good last week and it looks to be an even contest, though the loss of Cavouras will hurt the Panthers. Norwood might have the upper hand if their midfield can click, but it will be whether South can make more of its chances going forward.

 

CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. STURT
Saturday, March 6 @ 10.40am
Hisense Stadium

In the first of a triple-header at Hisense Stadium, the ultra-impressive Central District go head-to-head with Sturt to open a Super Saturday of matches. The Double Blues do not mind getting their hands dirty and restricting the opposition from scoring with the defence their strongest area. It makes for a fascinating contrast with the Bulldogs running-and-gunning it to have a number of multiple goalkickers in Round 1 and build on their 2020 season where they showed signs that they were keen to take the game on. Coming off a wooden spoon last season, the Bulldogs not only look to have built on their game, but genuinely were as impressive as any other side in the opening week, and it will be interesting to see how they go second-up, while the Double Blues will make some adjustments after the loss to Glenelg.

Central District have not needed to force a change, heading into tomorrow’s clash with an extended bench. Former vice-captain and talented mover Gemma Doughty returns to the side with Amber James the other key in as the 21-year-old looks to make her mark in the side along with the other blossoming youth. Unfortunately for Sturt, Lane Trenorden is out due to a finger injury, while Nicole Baker is also out of the game, and the Double Blues have opted for an extended bench with the return of bottom-age talent Tiah Hough who is still only 16-years-old, as well as the potential debut of another 16-year-old in Georgia Hamilton. Alysha Healy also comes in to provide some experience in the front half, while over-ager Allani Dawes is the other inclusion for the visiting side.

Hough has been thrown in the deep end to join Alisha Gepp onball after the latter had a solid introduction to SANFL Women’s action with 11 touches and three clearances on debut last week. 18-year-old Gepp is the oldest of the three named onballers with top-age talent Zoe Prowse standing out in her new midfield-ruck split role and one that Central will need to watch in this game. Sturt have an abundance of youth that makes them a potential to really go far, with their opponents Central District also showing off their young talent. In the front half, the strong hands of Lauren Breguet and the perfect small forward game from Laitiah Huynh in Central’s win over Woodville-West Torrens were eye-catching, and Madison Lane has the potential to cross paths with fellow South Australian Academy member, Georgia Swan in the Bulldogs’ defence.

Central District’s hardened midfield with captain Shelby Smith leading the way, and Lauren Smith and Caitlen Teague joining her in there, will make life difficult for the younger Sturt onballers. Key forward targets in Kaitlyn Rosenzweig and Chantel Reynolds give the Bulldogs a bit of firepower in the front half along with the medium and small forwards, and perhaps the fact Rosenzweig went goalless in the opening round, and the Bulldogs still had a comfortable win, was the most pleasing considering in past years she has held up the attack. Sturt’s defence has the youth of Hannah Prenzler and Alex Ballard there to use their footskills to get out of trouble, as well as captain Maya Rigter‘s experience to settle the team down, meaning the Bulldogs will still need to use the ball well going forward. For Sturt, it is about getting their hands on it and keeping possession to spend more time inside 50 and create opportunities.

Central District looked so dangerous last week and the Bulldogs style could match up against a lot of teams, so Sturt’s defence will be tested again this week, though the addition of youth to the side will also make Sturt just as exciting going forward.

GLENELG vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
Saturday, March 6 @ 12.25pm
Hisense Stadium

Two Round 1 winners go head-to-head when Glenelg takes on North Adelaide in the second game of the triple-header tomorrow. The Bays made a statement in the opening round with a strong victory over Sturt, while the Roosters unfurled the flag and claimed the points over South Adelaide to remind teams that even without their AFL Women’s talent of last year, they are still a force to be reckoned with in 2021. The match will be a great test for Glenelg to see where they are at when the go up against the benchmark of the Roosters, while North Adelaide will now test themselves against a side that showed it can pile on the goals when required.

Glenelg will head in with at least a couple of chances, as Molly Affolter returns for the Bays to give them a leg-up in the ruck after the team was smashed in the area last week against Sturt. Casie Coombe and Shae Partington also return to the side as part of an extended bench. For North Adelaide, they have kept it simple with the loss of Kate Ferguson to an ankle injury, and Flagstaff Hill’s Carli Morton gets her chance to debut in Round 2.

The North lineup has very few holes in it, with Kelly Barltrop returning successfully last week and being that forward target, while captain Kristi Harvey has the potential to play at either end, named at centre half-forward but could very easily be thrown back into defence. With the experience of Talia Radan, and the ever-improving Erin Sundstrom back there, the Roosters have some great intercepting ability. Jaimi Tabb and Kate Case are among the young guns going through the team, with Case enjoying the role through the defensive half of the ground last week, and rotating with the likes of another State Academy member in Julia Clark, while at the other end, Brianna Arthur and Cristie Castle have the potential to rotate through midfield or forward.

Glenelg’s inside midfield will need to find a way to contain young gun Hannah Ewings who dominated in Round 1 against the Panthers, but also cannot allow the experienced Leah Tynan or Lauren Daniel to get off the chain either. Ellie Kellock and Sam Franson were ever-reliable, with the latter hitting the scoreboard with multiple goals to go with plenty of touches in an impressive effort. Young talents Tessa Kohn and Brooke Tonon roll through the inside and outside midfield as well as in various spots around the ground for the Bays, while not enough has been said about the debut of 15-year-old Piper Window who racked up 13 touches, two inside 50s and laid four tackles in her first SANFL Women’s match. If the Bays can use the likes of Tonon, Tamsyn Morriss and Window to work the ball forward, they will give the front six the chance to match it with the Roosters on the scoreboard.

As good as Glenelg was last week, penetrating the North Adelaide defence is like entering the final boss battle on a game. If the Bays can do that and kick a winning score, then they will be considered a genuine premiership contender, but the Roosters are the team to beat, and the reigning premiers will be favourites in this game.

WEST ADELAIDE vs. WWT EAGLES
Saturday, March 6 @ 2.10pm
Hisense Stadium

The final match of the triple-header features the actual home team for the triple-header in West Adelaide, looking to go 2-0 against a Woodville-West Torrens side that was soundly beaten by Central District’s run in Round 1. The Bloods on the other hand were able to take care of Norwood in a tight encounter, and with an abundance of youth, look to be one of the title contenders in season 2021.

The Eagles have lost Audrey Holt to injury for the Round 2 game, while 15-year-old Marlie Fiegert has been recalled, along with the crucial inclusion of some experience in veteran, Renee Forth. Panagiota Pipinis also comes into the Eagles side, as the team heads in with some versatile options before running out on the ground. West Adelaide has lost a crucial player in Ailish Considine, one of the two outs with Samantha Ramm. Back into the side however is key forward Chelsea Biddell who comes back from Adelaide Crows duties, joining a host of players on an extended bench such as State Academy member Tamika May, 16-year-old Charlie Scutchings, 18-year-old Niamh Davis, and potential debutant, Madelyn Zacher who arrives from Adelaide University.

Make no mistake, West Adelaide is a huge chance to win the lot this season, and being able to include Biddell at this level is a massive boost to the side that unleashed Lauren Young into the SANFL Women’s world in Round 1. The fact Young is only 15 and did what she was able to do – lead the league in disposals, marks and rebounds – shows how promising her future is, and she is a name that will be talked about in the coming years. Jovanka Zecevic will lead a midfield looking to contain the likes of Young, and with the help of Stephanie Walker and Forth who could roll through their with their experience, the visitors hope to get on top through that area. Kiana Lee was impressive as that contested marking defender, but is more than suited to playing at full-forward, which is somewhere that fellow youngster Brooklyn Kraft has been named to test herself.

Charlotte Dolan continued to improve to kick-off the season last week with some line-breaking runs to team up with Anastasia Falkenberg and Natasha Holmes who can all find the football. Similarly, Jamie Parish is capable of taking a forward one-on-one and then running off them to provide good link-up work in transition, but she will have her hands full between the twin towers in Melanie Elsegood and Biddell down there. Up the other end, Sharnie Whiting slotted in seamlessly to the defence and will be that intercept option at centre half-back, while Keeley Kustermann and Zoe Venning at opposite flanks have the potential to role through the midfield with their counter contrasting abilities of clean and composed, and hard and uncompromising giving the Westies plenty to like about their side in 2021.

West Adelaide look like one of the top teams in the competition that could build on its preliminary final exit in 2020, and therefore will be favourites to take this game out, while the Eagles will be a better side with their inclusions, but will be tested against the strength of West Adelaide, so will have a good idea of where they stand with one of the potential title contenders after the match.

Picture credit: Cory Sutton/SANFL