Tag: lisa whiteley

SANFL Women’s Round 6 wrap: Norwood extends lead at top as Bays and Double Blues play out another draw

IT was quite the day of action on Saturday at Adelaide Oval, with all four games of South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition taking place in a massive quadruple-header at the ground. The top of the table Norwood enjoyed a hard-fought win, there was a draw between Glenelg and Sturt, last year’s wooden spooners smashed the reigning premiers, and West Adelaide had a big win to bounce back from three consecutive losses.

GLENELG 1.4 | 2.7 | 3.9 | 5.9 (39)
STURT 2.0 | 4.1 | 4.2 | 6.3 (39)

GOALS:

Glenelg: M. Freeman 2, L. Armitage, L. Bungey, A. Bradley.
Sturt: A. Healy 2, A. Ballard, A. Brooks-Birve, C. Forby, I. Kuiper.

DC BEST:

Glenelg: E. Kellock, L. Armitage, J. Bates, M. Freeman, T. Kohn
Sturt: J. Good, K. Harris, J. Wittervan, I. Kuiper, H. Prenzler

After four quarters of action, Glenelg and Sturt could not be split, with the Bays and Double Blues playing out a 39-apiece draw to open the massive day of action at Adelaide Oval. The Bays were more inaccurate, having 14 scoring shots to nine, though manage to still come away with a point from the match, and it could have been even more if Alysha Healy had not kicked her second goal in the dying minutes of the match. Nonetheless the teams were evenly matched with a number of standouts, and the team stats reflected that, as the Double Blues – led by Jess Good dominated the hitouts (54-16) and won the clearances (27-22), but the Bays trumped the inside 50s count (32-25).

Good recorded a season competition-high 46 hitouts for the Double Blues, getting better and better as the weeks go on, also picking up 10 touches, five tackles, three clearances and five inside 50s in the process. She was far from the only standout though, with Kate Harris having a game-high seven clearances to go with 16 touches and six tackles, whilst Jaimee Wittervan (19 disposals, four clearances, four inside 50s and seven tackles) and Isobel Kuiper (14 disposals, four clearances, four tackles and four rebound 50s) were strong in midfield. Hannah Prenzler returned from captaining her state to pick up a game-high seven rebound 50s with 11 disposals and three marks, while Alisha Gepp was busy once again with 14 touches, five tackles and three clearances.

Glenelg’s Ellie Kellock did all she could in a losing effort, racking up 21 disposals, three marks, seven tackles, six clearances and five inside 50s, working hard alongside the likes of Lucy Armitage, Jessica Bates and Tessa Kohn. The trio combined for 12 clearances and 25 tackles themselves, providing a staunch defence to the opposition. Madisyn Freeman slotted two goals up the other end, also amassing 13 disposals, two marks and six tackles in the process.

 

CENTRAL DISTRICT 3.1 | 4.1 | 6.3 | 9.3 (57)
NORTH ADELAIDE 0.0 | 2.0 | 2.0 | 2.1 (13)

GOALS:

Central: K. Rosenzweig 2, C. Reynolds 2, P. Allan, L. Breguet, A. James.
North: B. Arthur, J. Tabb.

DC BEST:

Central: K. Rosenzweig, P. Allan, L. Breguet, A. Butler, C Wendland.
North: L. Daniel. K. Harvey, E. Greet, K. Reynolds, J. Tabb

Central District reaffirmed itself as a genuine contender after putting reigning premiers North Adelaide to the sword in an outstanding performance. The Bulldogs beat the Roosters at their own game, absorbing the pressure early, and piling on the goals in the second half to run away with the contest by 44 points. Rarely does a reigning wooden spooner account for a reigning premier by more than seven goals, but the Bulldogs did just that, kicking five consecutive goals after leading by 13 points at half-time to continue their high-scoring escapades this season. Katelyn Rosenzweig was again the chief architect with 2.1, equalling the entire opposition team, whilst Chantel Reynolds also kicked a couple of majors. The Bulldogs shared the ball around but win the disposal count by 26 (193-167), marks by 17 (59-42) and led all the hitouts, clearances, inside 50s, rebound 50s ad tackles in an all-round promising performance.

Rosenzweig was strong with three contested marks out of her five or the game, as well as 10 disposals, three hitouts and two rebound 50s with her two goals. Reynolds was efficient with two goals from three kicks and five touches, whilst there were others who stepped up for their best games of the season. Paige Allan had a day out with 12 disposals, four marks and a goal, while Taryn Wills (13 disposals, five marks), Caitlin Wendland (12 disposals, five marks and a goal) and Alicia Butler (11 disposals, three marks – two contested – three clearances and three inside 50s) were also busy.

Erica Greet had the most touches on the ground, with the Rooster picking up 18 disposals, two marks, two tackles and three inside 50s in the loss. Kristi Harvey was strong throughout once again with 15 touches, five marks and three rebound 50s, teaming up with youngster Amelie Borg (eight disposals, three marks, three tackles and three rebound 50s) in defence. Lauren Daniel (14 disposals, six marks, three clearances and two inside 50s), Kathryn Reynolds (10 disposals, five marks, three tackles and three inside 50s) and Jaimi Tabb (10 disposals, six tackles, two clearances and a goal) were others who worked hard throughout the game.

 

WWT EAGLES 0.1 | 1.2 | 2.3 | 3.4 (22)
NORWOOD 1.5 | 2.5 | 2.6 | 4.8 (32)

GOALS:

Eagles: K. Lee, J. Tabb, J. Zecevic.
Norwood: E. Drake 2, R. Zerella, M. Breed.

DC BEST:

Eagles: N. Collie, R. Forth, K. Lee, A. Falkenberg, S. Goody
Norwood: S. Armitstead, J. Halfpenny, L. Cutting, E. Drake, S. Syme

Norwood has won its fifth consecutive game with a 10-point triumph over the in-form Woodville-West Torrens Eagles. The Redlegs peppered the goals early and did not make as much of their chances as they could have, with the Eagles cutting the deficit to just three points at the final break. Two goals early in the fourth term cemented the Bloods’ control, and whilst the Eagles kicked a consolation major in the last minute, it would not be enough, going down 4.8 (32) to 3.4 (22). Norwood dominated possession (210-167), and easily won the hitouts (34-10), clearances (28-19) and inside 50s (35-15), which was a credit to the Eagles’ defence to not suffer a larger defeat, but they racked up the 29 rebound 50s to 12 to show a staunch resistance to the Redlegs’ attack.

Sophie Armitstead led the way with 17 disposals, five clearances and four inside 50s, as youngster Jade Halfpenny again stepped up in the midfield with a fantastic 15 touches, four marks, three clearances and seven inside 50s. Isabel Martin (14 disposals, three inside 50s), Sachi Syme (13 disposals, four tackles, five clearances and three inside 50s) and Leah Cutting (12 disposals, four marks, 33 hitouts, four tackles, two clearances and four inside 50s) were others in the midfield who impressed, as Elizabeth Drake slotted two goals from 13 touches and five marks up forward.

The defensive work of Nicole Collie (20 disposals, six marks – two contested – three tackles and five rebound 50s) and Renee Forth (17 disposals five marks, three tackles and five rebound 50s) helped keep the Eagles in the contest, while Shineah Goody (14 disposals, two clearance sand two tackles) and Anastasia Falkenberg (13 disposals, three marks, five tackles and three rebound 50s) were good once again. Kiana Lee slotted the last goal of the game for her side yet again, and finished with 12 disposals, six marks – three contested – three tackles and 1.1.

 

WEST ADELAIDE 2.3 | 2.6 | 4.11 | 7.11 (53)
SOUTH ADELAIDE 1.0 | 1.1 | 1.2 | 2.4 (16)

GOALS:

West: C. Biddell 2, M. Elsegood 2, K. Culhane, S. Whjiting, L. Young.
South: J. Kirk, L. Whiteley.

DC BEST:

West: C. Biddell, L. Young, L. McCarthy, A. Considine, K. Kustermann
South: B. Wedding, M. McKinnon, L. Whiteley, J. Griffen, J. Kirk

West Adelaide bounced back from three consecutive losses to produce a sterling 37-point win over South Adelaide in the last game at Adelaide Oval. The Bloods booted five goals to one after half-time following a tight first half, to begin to capitalise on their scoring opportunities, of which they had 18 scoring shots to six during the comprehensive 7.11 (53) to 2.4 (16) victory. With their AFL Women’s stars and State Academy members back in the side and leading the way again, the Westies had too much firepower for the Panthers during the big win. The key differences in the stats were the hitouts heavily in South’s favour (27-7), though West just sharked them with a domination in the clearances (23-9) and inside 50s (29-23).

Keeley Kustermann relished the open space of Adelaide Oval with a team-high 17 disposals, as fellow young guns Lauren Young (15 disposals, two marks, five tackles, three clearances, three inside 50s and a goal) and Zoe Venning (11 disposals, two marks, five tackles and two clearances) also had good days upon return. Chelsea Biddell was huge with 2.2 from 15 touches, eight marks and five inside 50s, while fellow Adelaide Crows talents, Madison Newman (16 disposals, three marks and five tackles) and Ailish Considine (12 disposals, five marks, four inside 50s and three rebound 50s) were also impressive. Louella McCarthy continued her strong form with 17 touches, four tackles, four clearances and three inside 50s in the victory.

Brianna Wedding‘s work in defence this year remained strong with four marks – two contested – six rebound 50s and 20 disposals the end result for the tall. Supporting her throughout the match were Jaimi Griffen (17 disposals, five marks, two tackles and two rebound 50s), Lisa Whiteley (15 disposals, five marks, four tackles and two inside 50s) and Czenya Cavouras (12 disposals, five tackles, two clearance and three inside 50s) impressive through the midfield. Montana McKinnon dominated in the ruck yet again with 11 touches, four marks – three contested – 23 hitouts and six inside 50s, while Jess Kirk slotted 1.1 from eight disposals, three marks – two contested – and four tackles.

 

Picture credit: Scott Starkey

2021 SANFL Women’s Team of the Week: Round 5

CENTRAL District’s big win over West Adelaide has seen the Bulldogs record the most players in the Draft Central South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s Team of the Week for Round 5. They stood alone in terms of nominations, with their opponents having just the two players, and the remaining six teams recording three players. It was a tough round to select just 24 players with so many terrific individual efforts, as others stepped up in the absence of the competition’s most talented youngsters off on State Academy duties on Sunday.

Central District’s quartet of players includes its two damaging forwards in Chantel Reynolds and Katelyn Rosenzweig who made the side again inside 50. Captain Shelby Smith locked in another spot onball, while Alicia Butler made the team on the bench after an impressive effort in the win. By comparison, the Bloods had the two players with Taylah Jayne slotting into a back pocket, and Ailish Considine at half-forward after kicking two goals in a strong effort. Sharnie Whiting narrowly missed out to keep her streak going of making the team, named as an emergency playing forward in Round 5.

Friday night provided the competition with its first draw, and South Adelaide and North Adelaide also have the same amount of players in the Team of the Week – three. The Panthers had ruck Montana McKinnon in at centre half-forward given Norwood’s Leah Cutting‘s dominance in the centre square, but McKinnon’s work around the ground was phenomenal and needed a starting spot. Also in the side were Lisa Whiteley and Nicole Campbell who are no stranger to Team of the Week. For Norwood, Sophie Armitstead and Ella Murison joined Cutting in the side for Round 5. Teammate Emma Clark was named as an emergency in the hypothetical team.

The Redlegs’ opponents Glenelg also had the three players named in the Team of the Week, with Tessa Kohn in centre, Ellie Kellock at half-forward, and Madisyn Freeman up the other end on the half-back flank. In the final game, both Woodville-West Torrens Eagles and Sturt had three players apiece. The winning Eagles were represented by Adelaide AFL Women’s talents Renee Forth and Jess Sedunary, as well as Natasha Holmes. For Sturt, Alisha Gepp was handed the captaincy after a ridiculous 35 disposals to be the standout performer of the round, while both Jaimee Wittervan and Isobel Kuiper were strong in midfield as well, and  earned spots on the bench. Ruck Jess Good impressed again and earned an emergency spot for Round 5.

DRAFT CENTRAL SANFL WOMEN’S TEAM OF THE WEEK: ROUND 5

B: Taylah Jayne (WA) – Kristi Harvey (NA) – Ella Murison (NW)
HB: Madisyn Freeman (GL) – Lisa Whiteley (SA) – Renee Forth (WWT)
C: Nicole Campbell (SA) – Tessa Kohn (GL) – Alisha Gepp (ST) (c)
HF: Ellie Kellock (GL) – Montana McKinnon (SA) – Ailish Considine (WA)
F: Chantel Reynolds (CD) – Katelyn Rosenzweig (CD) – Jess Sedunary (WWT)
R: Leah Cutting (NW) (vc) – Shelby Smith (CD) – Lauren Daniel (NA)
INT: Alicia Butler (CD) – Jaimee Wittervan (ST) – Natasha Holmes (WWT) – Jaimi Tabb (NA) – Sophie Armitstead (NW) – Isobel Kuiper (ST)

EMG: Emma Clark (NW) – Jess Good (ST) – Sharnie Whiting (WA)

SANFL Women’s Round 5 wrap: Bulldogs win big as first draw, two thrillers wrap up entertaining round

NORWOOD secured outright top spot, Woodville-West Torrens Eagles won their third straight game, Central District had a massive win to bounce back from three consecutive losses, and South Adelaide and North Adelaide played out the season’s first draw.

SOUTH ADELAIDE 2.1 | 2.1 | 2.1 | 3.3 (21)
NORTH ADELAIDE 1.0 | 2.2 | 3.2 | 3.3 (21)

GOALS:

South: M. Bennett, S. Peters, A. Rochow.
North: T. Gordon, J. Tabb, L. Tynan.

DC BEST:

South: M. McKinnon. N. Campbell, C. Cavouras, L. Whiteley, J. Smith
North: L. Daniel, P. Waterford, J. Tabb, K. Harvey, B. Arthur

A Tayla Thorn behind in the dying seconds of the match has saved North Adelaide from back-to-back losses, instead playing out the first draw of the 2021 season with South Adelaide. Leading by seven points at the final break, the Panthers scoring 1.2 to hit the front with a couple of minutes to go, only for North to go down the other end and Thorn have a chance to win it for the Roosters. It registered just the one behind, but it handed the teams a point each, in a low-scoring contest for 3.3 (21) apiece. The teams were fairly even across the board, as the Roosters had a higher kick-to-handball ratio compared to the Panthers, and led in the clearances (21-15) and inside 50s (31-25), but the home team took out the hitouts (22-18) and rebound 50s (25-21).

Montana McKinnon continued her red-hot form this season with a whopping 25 disposals to go alongside 16 hitouts, also picking up eight marks, four inside 50s, four rebound 50s and two clearances. Nicole Campbell worked well in tandem with 24 touches, six marks, six tackles, three inside 50s, two rebound 50s and two clearances. Czenya Cavouras (19 disposals, five tackles and three clearances) and Lisa Whiteley (16 disposals, four tackles, five marks – two contested – and three rebounds) were also impressive. For the Roosters, Lauren Daniel picked up 21 disposals, five clearances, three marks and three inside 50s, with Poppy Waterford (17 disposals, four marks, four tackles, three clearances, three inside 50s and two rebound 50s) and Chelsea Farr (14 disposals, four clearances and three inside 50s) and Jaimi Tabb (15 disposals, three marks, five inside 50s and one goal) busy in midfield, while Kristi Harvey and Talia Radan were again strong across the board.

Across at the quadruple header at Adelaide Oval, North Adelaide take on Central District in the second game, and South Adelaide face West Adelaide in the final clash.

 

STURT 0.2 | 0.4 | 1.6 | 2.7 (19)
WWT EAGLES 0.2 | 1.3 | 2.3 | 3.5 (23)

GOALS:

Sturt: A. Brooks-Birve, C. Forby.
Eagles: J. Sedunary 2, K. Lee.

DC BEST:

Sturt: A. Gepp, J. Wittervan, I. Kuiper, J. Good, K. Mueller
Eagles: J. Sedunary, A. Falkenberg, N. Holmes, R. Forth, J. Zecevic

Woodville-West Torrens Eagles have claimed a third consecutive win to make 2021 their most successful season to-date, just midway through the season. The relatively new side in its third year, held off Sturt to win by just four points in a tight contest despite some remarkable individual efforts from the Double Blues’ teenage midfield. Jess Sedunary kicked two majors – including the first of the final term to give her side some breathing space, before ex-Eagle Chloe Forby almost broke her former teammates’ hearts with a goal midway through the quarter. Despite the goal in the ninth minute, the Eagles held firm to win in a low-scoring encounter, 3.5 (23) to 2.7 (19). Sturt had more marks (41-29) and tackles (69-50), and absolutely slaughtered the Eagles in hitouts (39-9) and clearances (24-14), but the visitors managed to win the inside 50s by 10 (30-20) to have enough scoring opportunities to get the job done.

Sedunary starred with two goals from 21 touches, three marks, two clearances and three inside 50s, whilst it was an even team effort across the board. The usual suspects in Anastasia Falkenberg (17 disposals, five tackles and three clearances), Natasha Holmes (12 disposals, five inside 50s and three rebound 50s), and Jovanka Zecevic (17 disposals, three tackles and two marks) were all impressive, as Renee Forth had 12 disposals, two marks, four tackles, two inside 50s and three rebound 50s. Sturt had some mind-boggling individual performances led by teenage star Alisha Gepp, racking up 35 touches, four marks, six tackles, four clearances and six rebound 50s in the highest disposal game of the year. Jaimee Wittervan (21 disposals, five clearances, three inside 50s and three tackles), Izzy Kuiper (14 disposals, four clearances, four inside 50s, five rebound 50s and 14 tackles) and Jess Good (13 disposals, 31 hitouts and six tackles) were all outstanding in the loss.

Next week Sturt takes on Glenelg in the first game at Adelaide Oval, whilst the Eagles test themselves against top of the table Norwood in the third match of the day.

 

CENTRAL DISTRICT 2.6 | 2.6 | 7.7 | 8.9 (57)
WEST ADELAIDE 0.0 | 2.3 | 3.3 | 5.5 (35)

GOALS:

Central: C. Reynolds 3, K. Rosenzweig, N. Biagi, A. James, G. Madigan.
West: A. Considine 2, S. Whiting 2, L. McCarthy.

DC BEST:

Central: K. Rosenzweig, S. Smith, C. Reynodlds, A. Butler, C. Teague. I Starmer
West: A. Considine, S. Whiting, T. Jayne, B. Owen K. Culhane

A five goals to one second quarter was the catalyst for a memorable Central District win, getting back on the board after three consecutive losses to defeat West Adelaide by 22 points. The Bulldogs took advantage of a Bloods outfit missing a host of its in-form players, piling on the pressure in the third term and running away with a 8.9 (57) to 5.5 (35) victory and hand West Adelaide its third straight loss in the process. Both sides moved to 2-3 for the season, with Chantel Reynolds slotting three goals for the match, and the the Bulldogs four consecutive goals in the space of six minutes during the third term to secure the four points. They dominated possession (228-141), took 24 more marks (55-31) including seven more contested marks (11-4) and controlled the hitouts (20-16), clearances (18-15) and had plenty of inside 50s (28-16), whilst West Adelaide won the tackle (46-36) and rebound 50 (19-11) counts.

The key forwards of Katelyn Rosenzweig (17 disposals, eight marks – three contested – four hitouts, two inside 50s and 1.3) and Reynolds (17 disposals, five marks – four contested – and 3.0) were unstoppable, as captain Shelby Smith again led from the front with a game-high 26 disposals, as well as three marks, four tackles, two clearances and four inside 50s. Alicia Butler (19 disposals, seven marks and four inside 50s) provided some class, while Isabelle Starmer (11 disposals, 16 hitouts and four tackles) and Caitlen Teague (15 disposals, four clearances and three inside 50s) were among the best players once again. Ailish Considine made a promising return to state level with a dominant 17 disposals, six clearances, three tackles, two inside 50s and three rebound 50s, while Sharnie Whiting played forward and slotted 2.2 herself from 12 touches, four marks and three inside 50s. Taylah Jayne (13 disposals, four rebounds), Bec Owen (nine disposals, six tackles and five inside 50s) and Kasia Culhane (10 touches, two clearances and two inside 50s) also worked hard in the loss.

Central District takes on North Adelaide in the second game next Saturday at Adelaide Oval, while West Adelaide faces South Adelaide in the late game in the quadruple header.

 

NORWOOD 0.0 | 1.8 | 1.9 | 3.11 (29)
GLENELG 1.1 | 1.1 | 3.3 | 4.3 (27)

GOALS:

Norwood: E. Clark, E. Sporn, R. Zerella.
Glenelg: L. Armitage, M. Freeman, E. Kellock, S. Partington.

BEST:

Norwood: L. Cutting, E. Murison, M. Breed, S. Armitstead, E. Gallagher
Glenelg: E. Kellock, J. Bates, C. Packer, T. Kohn, M. Freeman

Norwood has secured outright top spot with a hard-fought come-from-behind victory over Glenelg. The Redlegs trailed by 12 points early in the fourth term, and inaccuracy threatened to spoil the party for the home team, but 2.2 to 0.0 in the last 15 minutes of the final term saw them flip the deficit into an eventual two-point win. When Madisyn Freeman converted a goal three minutes into the last quarter – which was the Bays’ third consecutive major, the Redlegs were on the back foot. But back-to-back goals to Rosette Zerella and Erika Sporn resulted in them coming back and running over the top of their opponents, 3.11 (29) to 4.3 (27). Norwood led the disposal count (194-169), as well as the marks in a low-marking game, 24-17. Whilst Glenelg’s defence did hold up for the most part, the Redlegs dominated the hitouts (40-13) and won the clearances (28-21) and inside 50s (27-22).

Emma Clark led the disposal count for the Redlegs with 15, as well as six tackles, three clearances, two rebound 50s and a goal, as Leah Cutting dominated the ruck yet again, picking up 14 disposals, laying 15 tackles and amassing 35 hitouts and four inside 50s. Mattea Breed (14 disposals, three marks and four inside 50s), Ella Murison (14 disposals, three marks, four tackles, three inside 50s and five rebound 50s) and midfield duo Sophie Armitstead (11 disposals, eight tackles, six clearances and two inside 50s) and Elisha Gallagher (11 disposals, four tackles, five clearances and three inside 50s were all prolific. For the Bays, Jessica Bates again had a day out with a whopping 16 tackles to go with nine disposals and two inside 50s, as Ellie Kellock kicked a goal from an even 12 disposals, six tackles, four clearances and four inside 50s. Tessa Kohn (11 disposals, six tackles and six inside 50s), Chelsea Packer (11 disposals, two tackles and three inside 50s) and Freeman (10 disposals, four rebounds) were others who stood out.

Next week Norwood takes on Woodville-West Torrens Eagles in the third game at Adelaide Oval, while Glenelg opens the day against Sturt from 10.30am.

 

Picture credit: SANFL / John Emery

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

AFL Women’s Sunday wrap: Adelaide lock down St Kilda to claim one-sided victory

ADELAIDE has moved into fourth position on the AFLW ladder with a 53-point drubbing of St Kilda at Norwood Oval on Sunday afternoon. In what was arguably the Crows’ most complete team performance of the season to date, they had contributors all across the ground and dominated the inside 50s (47-8), contested possessions (110-80) and centre clearances (7-4).

Najwa Allen was a standout for the home side, providing plenty of drive off half-back and halting many of St Kilda’s forward thrusts. Ebony Marinoff (23 disposals, nine tackles) and Anne Hatchard (15 disposals, four marks) were powerful at the stoppages, while superstar Erin Phillips (21 disposals, five marks, one goal) showed her usual class in the midfield and up forward. Georgia Patrikios (24 disposals, three marks, three tackles) was exceptional all day for the visitors.

It was a hot footy early, as both sides applied strong tackling pressure and did not allow the other any space. St Kilda defender Bianca Jakobsson was fantastic in the opening term, as she repelled several of Adelaide’s attacks and showed poise with ball in hand. Kate Shierlaw was prominent early as well, but the Saints struggled to get the ball into their forward 50. Chloe Scheer was busy at the stoppages for the Crows, as was Marinoff, who had four tackles in the first quarter alone. Less than 30 seconds before the quarter-time siren, Phillips earned a free kick for a high tackle and kicked the Crows’ first to give them a nine-point lead.

While St Kilda’s pressure dropped off after the first break, Adelaide’s forward 50 pressure increased to new heights. This meant that they were creating many opportunities, with Randall eventually capitalising and kicking the Crows’ second with a nice snap. Soon after, number four pick Teah Charlton shrugged off a tackle and kicked her maiden AFLW goal. Charlton kicked her second just minutes later, proving once again how comfortable she is competing at AFLW level in just her fifth match. Defenders Lisa Whiteley and Sarah Allan continued to be brick walls for Adelaide at half-back, while Eloise Jones and Justine Mules supported them by providing some outstanding run and carry down the wings. Nadia von Bertouch laid a brilliant tackle on Caitlin Gould to save a certain goal, as Adelaide’s lead stayed at 30 points going into the main break. At half time, the Crows led the inside 50 count 29 to 2.

Adelaide’s pressure continued to be too much for the Saints in the third term, especially when they were exiting the defensive 50. Danielle Ponter kicked her first for the day after earning a free kick 15 metres out from goal, then Ashleigh Woodland extended the Crows’ lead with a nice checkside from the pocket. This was Woodland’s fifth goal for the season, a fantastic start to her career in Crows colours. Shierlaw gave Saints fans something to cheer about at the end of the term when she got on the end of some nice ball movement from Patrikios and kicked St Kilda’s first goal for the day.

Ex-Saint Jess Sedunary rubbed some salt in the wound at the start of the last when she kicked truly from a set shot. Despite this, St Kilda played much better in the final term. They started to control the ball well and were much more effective by foot, finding gaps in Adelaide’s zone as they chipped the ball around. The problem was that, outside of Patrikios, the Saints could not facilitate much attacking play through the middle of the ground. In her 32nd AFLW game, Mules made Adelaide fans even happier when she took a contested mark and kicked her first ever AFLW goal from a set shot on a tight angle. From there, St Kilda created some chances but could not kick straight in front of goal. The Crows ran out comfortable winners.

In Round 6, Adelaide will plan on making it three straight wins when they take on the winless Gold Coast at Norwood Oval on Saturday afternoon. Meanwhile, St Kilda will come up against Melbourne in what should be a fascinating clash at Casey Fields on Saturday night.

By Tom Cheesman

ADELAIDE | 1.3 | 4.6 | 6.10 | 8.13 (61)
ST KILDA | 0.0 | 0.0 | 1.0 | 1.2 (8)

GOALS:
Adelaide: T. Charlton 2, J. Mules, J. Sedunary, E. Phillips, C. Randall, D. Ponter, A. Woodland 1.
St Kilda: K. Shierlaw 1.

ADC BEST:
Adelaide: E. Marinoff, N. Allen, A. Hatchard, E. Phillips, J. Mules, S. Allan.
St Kilda: G. Patrikios, B. Jakobsson, R. Dillon, T. Lucas-Rodd, C. Phillips, H. Priest.

Image credit: Getty Images

Image credit: Michael Klein

UNDEFEATED MAGPIES OUTCLASS INACCURATE DEMONS

Collingwood showcased their development in a huge clash against Melbourne, which was ultimately do or die for the red and blue side needing to prove they were capable of holding up under pressure. The Pies well and truly got their revenge on the Demons at Victoria Park, running down Melbourne for an excellent 35-point win 7.7 (49) to 1.8 (14). With this win on the board and given Fremantle’s loss on Saturday, the Magpies remain the only undefeated side on the ladder with five straight on the board.

It was the Chloe Molloy and Bri Davey show as the hot Pies ran down the inaccurate Dees, taking advantage of the young side’s slump in form and punishing Melbourne for its inability to put pressure on the scoreboard. Whilst a slow start from both sides set the scene, it was a huge second quarter that not only put Collingwood on the map, but also on the right path as Melbourne struggled to contain the Magpies’ engine room. Molloy’s work rate and ability to find the scoreboard was punishing for the Dees, who defensively could not compete despite continuous efforts from the usually impenetrable Libby Birch and Daisy Pearce. Molloy finished with three goals and partnered well with Davey who booted two of her own to go with a match-high 25 disposals, and whilst Melbourne certainly had its chances – most remarkably in the third, when the Dees lifted but could only manage 1.4 despite dominating possession and momentum – it was not enough as the Magpies commanded control in another three-goal quarter to finish the match. 

Despite sitting out the remainder of the match after a hit to the shoulder in the final quarter, Molloy’s influence could not be quelled as she head to be a three-way equal-leader on the goalkicking leaderboard for the season with nine majors to her name. Britt Bonnici and Jaimee Lambert also proved to be ball magnets in the tough contest with 23 and 21 touches respectively, whilst Melbourne’s Tyla Hanks continued her terrific form with a 22 disposal, six mark and six tackle effort. Lauren Pearce was the lone goalkicker for Melbourne and also nabbed 15 touches, whilst Karen Paxman was kept relatively quiet with 19 touches, and Kate Hore (17 touches), Maddi Gay (12) and Alyssa Bannan were amongst those who failed to hit the scoreboard with two behinds apiece. Collingwood’s Jordan Membrey unfortunately went down with a knee injury, seeing her season in doubt. The Magpies will host fellow in-form side Western Bulldogs next round once more at Victoria Park, whilst Melbourne host St Kilda on Saturday evening.

COLLINGWOOD | 1.1 | 4.3 | 4.4 | 7.7 (49)
MELBOURNE | 0.1 | 0.2 | 1.6 | 1.8 (14)

GOALS:
Collingwood: C. Molloy 3, B. Davey 2, A. Sheridan, M. Cann
Melbourne: L. Pearce

BEST:
Collingwood: C. Molloy, B. Davey, B. Bonnici, S. Livingstone, J. Lambert, R. Schleicher
Melbourne: T. Hanks, K. Paxman, S. Scott, L. Pearce, K. Hore, L. Mithen

 

Image credit: Daniel Carson / AFL Photos

EAGLES SNAG MAIDEN 2021 WIN IN CLOSE ENCOUNTER WITH SUNS

The last match of Round 5 saw the West Coast Eagles pile on the pressure in a tight contest with Gold Coast, gaining ascendancy early and fighting to remain ahead in the 5.4 (34) to 4.9 (33) victory. This win registered the Eagles’ first for the season, and whilst this encounter was bound to see one of the winless sides put points on the board, both teams were tested in a highly offensive contest.

A three goal first quarter from the Eagles well and truly got the ball rolling, but Gold Coast proved they were capable of standing up to the onslaught with an improved second term to limit West Coast’s chances and apply their own forward pressure, rewarded with a goal to go into the second half trailing by eight points and well within their chances. Second year Eagles talent Mikayla Bowen was everywhere throughout the contest, taking the game on and drawing Maddy Collier and Emma Swanson into the fray as the trio piled on the pressure through midfield. Defensively, Lauren Ahrens proved once more how dangerous she can be with 19 touches, five marks and three rebounds, limiting the Eagles from finding avenues to goal after the first quarter as Alison Drennan (14 disposals, 11 tackles) and Jamie Stanton (14 touches, six tackles and 1.3) also switched on across the ground following the first quarter barrage from the Eagles.

Whilst the Suns showed some really good signs, hunting the footy and propelling the ball forward consistently – finishing with 34 inside 50s to the Eagles’ 20 – they were ultimately unable to capitalise under pressure. Sarah Perkins and Kalinda Howarth piled on second half goals for the Suns but it was to no avail, and while Stanton’s snap in the last minutes of the match could have spelled trouble for the Eagles, it was not to be as the Eagles ran out one-point winners in tight circumstances. 

Next round, Gold Coast will continue on the road for a fifth straight match when they look to upset Adelaide on Saturday afternoon, whilst the Eagles will take on Fremantle for the second time this season on Sunday.

WEST COAST | 3.1 | 3.1 | 4.3 | 5.4 (34)
GOLD COAST | 0.4 | 1.5 | 3.7 | 4.9 (33)

GOALS:
West Coast: M. Bowen, I. Cameron, M. Caulfield, G. Kelly, K. Orme
Gold Coast: K. Howarth, A. Parker, S. Perkins, J. Stanton

BEST:
West Coast: M. Bowen, E. Swanson, G. Kelly, M. Collier, I. Lewis, C. Perera
Gold Coast: L. Ahrens, J. Stanton, K. Surman, L. Single, L. Bella, A. Drennan

AFL Women’s Saturday wrap: Dees dismantle Suns with five-goal second term

MELBOURNE Demons have opened their season with a win on the road, toppling Gold Coast Suns by 21 points at Metricon Stadium yesterday. Led by a dominant duo of Karen Paxman and Lily Mithen, the Demons started slowly but recovered to win, 9.2 (56) to 5.5 (35) in front of more than 1900 fans.

The original fixture had the Demons at home against Adelaide, but despite the Sunshine State being a fair distance from Casey Fields, Melbourne was determined to make it a home away from home. It did not look that way early when Jamie Stanton converted a goal in the first 30 seconds of the match. Six minutes later and Leah Kaslar had the Suns’ second and the margin was out to 12. It took until past the midway point of the quarter before known goalsneak Kate Hore finally put through a major, and when Tegan Cunningham converted her first of the 2021 season, the scores were level again. A strong pack mark from Gold Coast recruit Sarah Perkins in the dying seconds of the term resulted in her new side taking a seven-point lead into quarter time.

The second quarter belonged to the visitors though, as Melbourne piled on five goals, starting with an Eden Zanker major in the opening minute of the term. Krstel Petrevski and Shelley Heath provided spark at ground level and brought up their first goals, while Cunningham kicked another and when Hore converted her second in the final minute, Melbourne was out to a 22-point lead at the main break. Petrevski became the third multiple goalkicker with a major six minutes into the term, which meant the Demons had kicked 6.1 to 0.2 since quarter time, turning a seven-point deficit into a whopping 28-point lead in just 26 minutes of action.

Brittany Perry finally broke the drought for the home side a couple of minutes later, only for Mithen to counter with another major for the red and blue. Perkins kicked her second to prove her worth as a target inside 50, but despite their best efforts, the Suns had only shaved the half-time deficit by one point to 20 at the final change.

Needing a miracle, Leah Kaslar had a chance but missed, and in what was an anticlimactic finish – though more than suitable for Melbourne – the teams only managed the one behind apiece in the final term for the siren to sound with Melbourne winning 9.2 (56) to 5.5 (35).

For the most part it looked like Paxman might rack up a record with 19 disposals at half-time, to finish with 25, as well as three marks and four tackles, while Mithen picked up 22 disposals and two marks to go with her goal. Tyla Hanks and Eliza McNamara battled above their heights to pick up 18 touches and lay six tackles between them, with McNamara’s debut one to remember. Jacqueline Parry (17 disposals) and both the Pearces – Daisy and Lauren – were also impressive, racking up 15 touches.

The Suns had a number of impressive players, with Stanton leading the way thanks to 18 disposals, three marks, two tackles and a goal, while Alison Drennan had 17 touches and nine tackles. Bess Keaney starred on debut herself with 15 disposals and six tackles. Looking ahead to Round 2, Gold Coast travel to Victoria Park on Saturday for an afternoon game, while Melbourne hosts Richmond at Casey Fields in the evening game.

GOLD COAST  3.1 | 3.3 | 5.4 | 5.5 (35)
MELBOURNE 2.0  | 7.1 | 9.1 | 9.2 (56)

GOALS
Gold Coast: Perkins 2, Stanton, Kaslar, Perry.
Melbourne: Cunningham 2, Hore 2, Petrevski 2, Zanker, Mithen, Heath.

ADC BEST 
Gold Coast: 
Stanton, Perkins, Keaney, Drennan, Ahrens
Melbourne: Paxman, Mithen, McNamara, L.Pearce, Cunningham, Hanks

Picture credit: Matt Roberts/Getty Images

Picture credit: Paul Kane/Getty Images

Phillips and Randall lead the Crows to a winning start

By: Tom Cheesman

Adelaide has produced a dominant second half to run away convincing 38-point winners against a young West Coast side at Mineral Resources Park. Premiership superstars Erin Phillips (23 disposals, five tackles, five marks, two goals) and Chelsea Randall (19 disposals, three marks, three tackles) led from the front and were a class above throughout the contest. Once numerous other premiership Crows stepped up in the second half, the Eagles struggled to get the ball into their forward 50 and could not overcome the Crows’ immense tackling pressure.

Chelsea Biddell gave her side a strong start when she collected the ball cleanly in congestion and kicked the first major of the match from 30-metres out. Draftee Ashleigh Woodland followed this up by kicking a nice snap goal with her first kick for the club, which was one of many impressive signs she showed on the day. Captain Randall, who missed the entire 2020 season with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, started the game at half-forward and made an immediate impact by providing a focal point for her side and continually moving the ball forward. West Coast’s quarter went from bad to worse when Brianna Green exited the field with an ankle injury after a heavy collision in a marking contest. Najwa Allen’s ball movement out of defence was a highlight for the visitors early, as was their pressure game.

The Crows led the tackle count 25 to 14 at the first break, which was particularly important because this was an area that they struggled in last season. This was led by debutant Teah Charlton, who had a remarkable six tackles in just the opening quarter. West Coast started the second term with more aggression and won plenty of contested balls at centre clearances and around the ground. The Eagles got their first goal through Mikayla Bowen after a nice pass from Shanae Davison, but Woodland immediately responded with her second after some clean ball movement from Randall. An uncharacteristic poor turnover from ex-Giant Lisa Whiteley led to some great counter-attacking play from Ashlee Atkins, which Niamh Kelly used her pace to get on the end of and kick her first goal in AFLW. Just minutes later, Kellie Gibson had a golden chance to bring the Eagles to within a point but missed the running shot on goal. Phillips was a sole shining light for Adelaide in the second term, as she was powerful in the contest and turning around opponents very crisply on the outside.

The Crows were lucky to go into the main break with a five-point lead given West Coast’s dominance in that term. Early in the third, Phillips received a 50-metre penalty for an encroachment by the woman on the mark and kicked truly from the goal square. Encroachment 50-metre penalties were a theme of the day in AFLW, as Gold Coast were penalised heavily for them in their match against Melbourne earlier in the afternoon. Just minutes after kicking her first, Phillips kicked another goal, this time on her left after cleverly selling some candy in congestion. Adelaide’s pressure up forward continued to cause problems for the Eagles, as Charlton and Woodland created another turnover and the latter found Marinoff by foot for another major. Speedster Eloise Jones was tripped inside 50 and kicked truly after the siren to give Adelaide a 32-point lead at three-quarter time.

The Crows dominated the inside 50s again early in the last term but missed a few opportunities to extend their lead. This was until Phillips won a free kick on the 50-metre arc and found Ailish Considine with a nice pass, who kicked Adelaide’s eighth goal from 30 metres out. Although no more goals were kicked for the rest of the match, Gibson was dangerous up forward late and created some chances for the Eagles in the closing minutes. Former Bulldog Aisling McCarthy (15 disposals, two marks, seven tackles) and Emma Swanson (17 disposals, 11 tackles, two marks) were two shining lights for the Eagles throughout the contest. The Eagles will look to rebound next week against the relocated GWS Giants on Saturday at Norwood Oval. Meanwhile, Adelaide will look to build on their impressive second half when they take on Fremantle in a Sunday blockbuster.

WEST COAST 0.1 | 2.3 | 2.3 | 2.6 (18)
ADELAIDE 2.1 | 3.2 | 7.5 | 8.8 (56)

GOALS:
West Coast: M. Bowen, N. Kelly 1.
Adelaide: E. Phillips 2, A. Woodland 2, C. Biddell, E. Marinoff, E. Jones, A. Considine 1.

ADC BEST:
West Coast: E. Swanson, A. McCarthy, D. Hooker, A. Atkins, M. Bowen, N. Kelly
Adelaide: E. Phillips, C. Randall, N. Allen, E. Marinoff, N. Gore, T. Charlton

2021 AFLW Preview: Adelaide Crows

ADELAIDE will aim to catapult itself back into premiership contention after an injury-riddled 2020 season. Head coach Matthew Clarke has made some major changes to his coaching staff, with club greats Scott Thompson and Tom Lynch joining the panel. The trio will restock Adelaide’s side with a number of returning premiership stars.

2020 RECAP
The Crows finished sixth in Conference A last year, winning just two of their six matches. Premiership players Chelsea Randall and Chloe Scheer missed the entire season with anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstructions, while Deni Varnhagen and superstar Erin Phillips only played three matches between them as they returned from their own respective knee issues. Injuries to several other players meant that the Crows were forced to blood more and more youngsters as the season progressed. Adelaide’s two wins came early in the season against St Kilda and Geelong, two sides that did not qualify for finals in 2020. Realistically, the Crows just struggled to move the ball from end to end and failed to apply enough pressure on opposition sides.

A shining light throughout 2020 was midfielder Anne Hatchard, who won their best and fairest and made the AFLW All-Australian side after averaging 25 disposals, six tackles and three inside 50s per game. Tackling machine Ebony Marinoff was effective alongside her at the clearances, but the pair did not get much help from the Crows’ wingers or forwards, particularly late in the season. Sarah Allan was the side’s other strong performer, as she led Adelaide’s defence well and was rewarded with a spot in the All-Australian side.

NEW FACES
Lively forward Jess Sedunary returns to the club after playing one season for expansion side St Kilda. Sedunary was a premiership player for the Crows in 2017 and is a proven goalkicker at senior level. Although she is coming off a broken fibula and may take some time to reach full strength, she will bring a wealth of leadership and experience to the group. Former Giant Lisa Whiteley will be an important addition to the Crows’ defence, while young winger Hannah Munyard, who has good pace and skills, provides some much-needed depth after playing three games for the Bulldogs in her debut season.

Draftees Teah Charlton, Rachelle Martin and Ash Woodland are three readymade recruits that should make an immediate impact for the club. Charlton, taken with pick four in the AFLW Draft, is a talented midfielder and half-forward from South Adelaide with goal sense, effective ball use, overhead marking ability and aggression. Expect her to be in the running for the NAB AFLW Rising Star Award. Midfielder Martin won the South Australian National Football League Women’s (SANFLW) 2020 best and fairest award (alongside Hatchard) and played a match for the Crows last year as an injury-replacement player. Flexible utility Woodland gained AFLW experience for Melbourne in 2019 before winning North Adelaide’s best and fairest award last year in a premiership side. She also won the SANFLW Leading Goalkicker award in 2020.

With Randall, Scheer, Varnhagen, Hannah Button, Rhiannon Metcalfe and Phillips all set for full seasons this year after serious injuries in 2020, they can be considered ‘new faces’ as well. On the other hand, Adelaide loses veteran Courtney Gum along with premiership players Jess Foley, Courtney Cramey and Sophie Li to retirement.

ONE TO WATCH IN 2021
Chelsea Randall is the one to watch. She is arguably the most courageous defender in AFLW and her skills, leadership and football IQ were sorely missed last year. With Randall positioned alongside Allan and Marijana Rajcic in defence, Adelaide should prove very difficult to score against.

Justine Mules is the other Crow to keep an eye on. She finished third in Adelaide’s 2020 best and fairest count after averaging 11 disposals, two tackles and two inside 50s per game. The two-time premiership player has shown continuous improvement since her debut season and looks set to have a major impact on a wing in 2021.

WHY THEY CAN WIN IT
Two words: premiership experience. With 19 premiership players on their list, the Crows have more of these than any other side in the competition. This experience will prove valuable in finals, and it is well known that the Crows’ top names are made for the biggest stage. With numerous young players rising up the ranks and some veterans nearing the end of their careers, the hunger to recapture premiership glory should be there as well.

QUESTION MARK
Adelaide’s lack of depth is their biggest question mark. This was exposed last season following injuries to their franchise players, as the young Crows struggled to hold up their end of the bargain. However, this experience could prove valuable for the inexperienced players as they should now be more comfortable competing at senior level. Additionally, the inclusions of Sedunary, Whiteley, Munyard and the draftees should help improve their depth.

FINAL WORD
A line-up that includes Randall, Marinoff, Hatchard, Phillips and Allan is a scary proposition for any opposition side. The Crows have elite talents all across the ground and should catapult back into finals contention, but it is unclear whether they are truly premiership contenders. Fremantle, North Melbourne and Carlton were the best sides in 2020 and deserve favouritism ahead of the Crows at this stage.

Much of Adelaide’s hopes depend on the fitness and agility of the seasoned players returning from injury. Their forward line was the main area that struggled last year, as they often failed to lock the ball inside their forward 50 and relied far too heavily on Stevie-Lee Thompson, Eloise Jones and Danielle Ponter. The returns of Scheer, Phillips, Sedunary and Button should help spread the workload in this area.

We we will learn more about the Crows’ premiership aspirations when their season gets underway on the 30th of January against the Demons.



For more AFLW news and analysis, follow Tom Cheesman on Twitter.

Picture: Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images

Top 5 AFLW matches to look forward to in 2021

AS the AFL Women’s (AFLW) clubs continue their preparation for the 2021 season, AFLW fans eagerly await the announcement of the fixture. The only hints provided so far came from AFL Chief Executive Officer Gil McLachlan last Friday, when he anticipated that the season will commence in early February with nine home and away rounds and three weeks of finals.

Here are the five matchups that we hope to see in the fixture when it is finally released.

1. FREMANTLE v NORTH MELBOURNE

A matchup between the two best teams of 2020 is an absolute necessity for 2021. Fremantle went undefeated in 2020 and the Kangaroos only lost once – to Melbourne in Round 1 – but we never got to see these sides face each other during the season. Among many other dream matchups on the field, the midfield battle between Jasmine Garner and Kiara Bowers would be thrilling. Had COVID-19 not forced an abrupt end to the season, we probably would have seen these two sides battle it out in the 2020 Grand Final. It would be fitting to open 2021 with the matchup that should have concluded last season.

2. ADELAIDE v CARLTON

These two sides produced one of the best matches of the 2020 season when Carlton came out on top by eight points at Richmond Oval. Led by superstars Darcy Vescio and Maddy Prespakis, the Blues were too skilful for the Crows in the second half. However, Adelaide was undermanned due to injuries, including anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears that kept premiership stars Chloe Scheer and Chelsea Randall out for the season. They will both be returning to the field in 2021 and should lead Adelaide back into finals contention. The Crows have also recruited Jess Sedunary, Hannah Munyard and Lisa Whiteley from other clubs to strengthen their stocks, while Carlton got the prized signature of former Melbourne co-captain Elise O’Dea to bolster their midfield. Both sides will look stronger on paper and it would be fascinating to watch another clash between the 2019 AFLW Grand Finalists.

3. COLLINGWOOD v NORTH MELBOURNE

A rematch of last year’s semi-final between these two sides would be a must-see affair, as it was arguably the match of the year when the Kangaroos just got over the line by two points. Britt Bonnici was brilliant on the day in a losing side, as were Jaimee Lambert and Bri Davey. These Magpies stars will be hoping to attain their club’s first finals win in 2021, and they would certainly love another opportunity to defeat the side that eliminated them in 2020. That will be easier said than done against the star-studded Kangaroos, who will be hell-bent on contending for their maiden AFLW premiership in 2021.

4. FREMANTLE v ST KILDA

These two sides played out a classic contest in 2020 when the Dockers got over the line by one point, and there is no reason why a clash between them in 2021 could not be just as good. While Fremantle have one of the best sides in the competition, St Kilda is also building strongly on the back of young stars Georgia Patrikios, Caitlin Greiser and Nicola Xenos. Despite not winning the 2020 matchup, this was when the young Saints developed the belief that they could match it with the best. They would love to go one step further and upset the Dockers in 2021.

5. CARLTON v COLLINGWOOD

The list would not be complete without arguably the biggest rivalry in AFLW, Carlton and Collingwood. Carlton has been the more successful AFLW side over the journey, but Collingwood appear to be on the way up after making their first finals appearance in 2020. Magpies defender Stacey Livingstone added plenty of spice to their rivalry following their 15-point defeat of the Blues last year when she said in an interview, “you’ve just got to stop [Tayla Harris] in the air, that’s her game. If you can do that, she’s useless.” This is the type of spirited commentary that fans love to see from players, as public sledging only adds intrigue to the competition. Let’s hope that we see more aggression and trash-talk between these two sides in 2021, as the lead-up to the match could almost be as entertaining as the contest itself.

For more AFLW news, follow Tom Cheesman on Twitter.

AFL Women’s Draft preview: Adelaide Crows & GWS GIANTS

THE AFL Women’s Draft is fast approaching and in the lead-up to the draft, we take a look at each of the AFL women’s sides in pairs and see what they might look for, and who might be available with the selections they have. Kick-starting our series are the two sides who have a monopoly on their states in Adelaide Crows and GWS GIANTS.

Adelaide Crows – South Australian pool

Draft selections: 4, 45, 48

Off-season summary:

Adelaide is in the box seat next season and should be another contender for the 2021 flag. After a 2020 season interrupted by multiple injuries, the Crows will regain two of the best players in the competition in Erin Phillips and Chelsea Randall, whilst saying goodbye to retirees, Jess Foley, Courtney Cramey, Courtney Gum and Sophie Li. Maisie Nankivell also retired to focus on her netball with the Adelaide Thunderbirds, while Nicole Campbell and Jaimi Tabb were two delistings after one season.

In return, the Crows welcomed back a trio of South Australian players with Jess Sedunary (St Kilda), Lisa Whiteley (GWS GIANTS) and Hannah Munyard (Western Bulldogs) all completing trades home. The movements left three available spots on the Crows’ list, and conveniently those picks are 4, 45 and 48.

A draft look:

When it comes to South Australia, it is hard to look past South Adelaide’s Teah Charlton as the standout player from an under-age perspective. She has a bag of tricks and is as dangerous overhead as she is at ground level, knows where the goals are and can play through the midfield or forward line, and even been tested in defence at times. Put simply, in an open draft – ignoring the zoning – she would be taken in the top 10, so expect her to be the likely first selection for the Crows.

With the two remaining picks, Charlton’s Panthers’ teammate Indy Tahau would be the next one to look at, likely to follow her teammate – and last year’s first selection and fellow Panther Montana McKinnon – into the AFL Women’s. Outside the two clear under-age standouts, over-ager defender Amber Ward is a rock in defence and could be called up for a chance at the elite level, whilst South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s leading goalkicker, Ashleigh Woodland has also earned a Draft Combine invite.

Woodland has already tasted the AFL Women’s, after the 22-year-old played four games for Melbourne in 2019 after being a free agent selection in 2018. Putting together a superb season in front of goal for the Roosters, expect Woodland to not only be on the Crows’ radar, but other clubs as well if they have not already looked into the dangerous talent. More mature-age talent that continues to shine at SANFL Women’s level includes Campbell, and train-on players Rachelle Martin and Czenya Cavouras who showed they were in the Crows’ considerations as next best post-draft.

GWS GIANTS – NSW/ACT pool

Draft selections: 9, 29, 42, 53

Off-season summary:

Greater Western Sydney (GWS) GIANTS had a relatively quiet off-season, with just three players retiring in Ellie Brush, Ingrid Nielsen and Maggie Gorham last month. The sole trade the GIANTS made welcomes Katherine Smith to the club, replacing the experience lost by Whiteley heading to the Crows. Smith had been an important player for Melbourne, and the GIANTS also picked up picks 29 and 42, whilst parting with picks 25 and 39 in the process.

With a massive 25 players re-signed to the club and only three departures, it leaves three spots for the GIANTS to select players, holding selections nine, 29 and 42 in the 2020 AFL Women’s Draft, with Pick 53 also belonging to them. Much like the Crows, the pick selections matter little given they can handpick the players who have nominated for their NSW/ACT zone.

A draft look:

The GIANTS had a fairly unpredictable draft last year with a number of surprises, including the rapidly developing Gorham from Canberra with their first pick. This year they have some more young guns through the AFL Women’s National Academy who have put their hand up and earned Draft Combine invites, but as we saw with Brenna Tarrant, players can end up in other states.

Looking at those AFL Women’s Draft Combine invites, there are five who have stood up, four of whom have been Academy members this year. Three of those Academy members have risen through the pathways together in Tarni Evans, Emily Pease and Jayde Hamilton who could all be among the consideration for the top 10 pick. Evans is a contested marking player and one who has been touted as a future star since her Under 18s days, while Pease is a running half-back-cum-midfielder, and Hamilton a contested ball-winning talent.

All three have different skillsets and then you can factor in the other two players to receive AFL Women’s National Draft Combine invites – Abby Favell and Kiara Beesley. Favell is an elite runner with strong decision making skills and a high work rate, while Beesley is a former acrobat who is running around with Southern Power and who has a great blend of strength and speed, and more than capable overhead.

Like last year, the GIANTS could end up picking a handful of local players they have been watching through the AFL Sydney and AFL Canberra competitions, but there is enough talented youth there to put their hands up to go to the next level.

Picture: Hannah Howard/SANFL

2020 SANFL Women’s Grand Final preview: North Adelaide vs. South Adelaide

TWELVE months ago – or more accurately 16 months ago given the COVID-19 pandemic postponement – South Adelaide and North Adelaide faced off in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s decider. Fast forward to 2020 and the same two sides oppose each other to determine this year’s premier in South Australia’s top women’s competition. The two best sides have made it through to the decider, and in Draft Central‘s preview, we take a look at the teams and where the game could be one, and some of the key questions coming out of it.

2020 FORM

North Adelaide come in as the clear favourites in this game simply because they are undefeated in 2020. South Adelaide are the next best side in it though, having only lost to the Roosters this year, first back in Round 4 prior to the SANFL Women’s postponement, and then a fortnight ago in the semi-final. Having backed up from that loss with an imposing win over an confident West Adelaide side, the Panthers will back themselves in to finally topple the Roosters.

The key questions

Can North Adelaide go undefeated in season 2020?

It might not be spoken about as the main aim – and nor it should be – in 2020, because at the end of the day, it does not matter how they are won, as long as they can get the job done. Eleven games in and the Roosters are yet to taste defeat, though they are likely to remember their last loss – the 2019 decider against the Panthers – and be keen to go one better this year.

Could South Adelaide achieve a three-peat?

Anything with the list the Panthers have is achievable. But they will need to rekindle their best form to get up in the match. They have the experience to follow through and get it done, but their opposition is formidable. The Panthers defence showed in the semi-final that it can contain the best of forward lines, and that effort will need to be repeated again here.

Who goes to Anne Hatchard?

There will not necessarily be a hard tag on Hatchard who has the running ability to just power away from her opponents, but Nicole Campbell did well in stints on Stevie-Lee Thompson and might be the player for the job again. Last time they met, Hatchard ran rampant and was clearly best afield, and while you cannot stop her getting her 30-odd touches a game, limiting them to non dangerous areas – ie. out of the stoppages particularly in the forward half – is a must.

Where does South Adelaide have the advantage?

The unpredictability and speed inside 50 is what sets the Panthers aside from many other teams. Jess Kirk is a leading forward and reliable in front of the big sticks, but a lot of the Panthers goals come from finding space inside 50 and lowering the eyes to hit targets from midfielders dropping back, or just by working the ball forward and creating something out of nothing. They can build from defence and run down the ground with speed.

Where does North Adelaide have the advantage?

The midfield is quite simply elite. South Adelaide’s is unbelievable, but the Roosters have the lot with Hatchard, Ash Woodland and Hannah Ewings, as well as Leah Tynan, Katelyn Pope and Erica Greet all capable of rotating through there. The South defence is well structured and back themselves one-on-one, but the Roosters have so many scoring options inside 50 and the midfielders usually pick the right option.

Line-by-line

North Adelaide defence vs. South Adelaide attack

The Roosters defence is tall compared to their opponents, with Kristi Harvey, Amber Ward and Talia Radan all capable of taking contested marks. It means the Panthers cannot afford to kick long and high inside 50. What they need is opening up space to allow one-on-ones because Kirk will struggle to be beaten on the lead, but in a one-on-one contest Harvey for example would take the chocolates. The half-forwards push up to the wings, with Indy Tahau and Gypsy Schirmer able to rotate with the likes of Teah Charlton and Cheyenne Hammond, which creates havoc with matchups. A chaos ball inside 50 while not perfect could help the Panthers at ground level, though Julia Clark and Lauren Gauci have been capable rebounders.

North Adelaide attack vs. South Adelaide defence

Up the other end, the matchups are a dream, with both sides having a number of in-between heights that could play the role of talls or smalls. Britt Perry is the one the Roosters love getting the ball too because of her reliability in front of the big sticks, while Cristie Castle continues to run all day. The pure speed of the attack such as Pope and Ewings might be a key reason why Hannah Munyard has been named in defence this week. She can match those quick players and also take the game on out of the back half, even though she is also capable of hitting the scoreboard up the other end. Woodland will spend time up forward, and like rotate with Ewings, while the South defence of Jaslynne Smith, Lisa Whiteley and Lauren Buchanan in particular is incredibly consistent.

The midfield battle

Starting in the ruck, the Panthers have a couple of young guns in Montana McKinnon and Brooklyn Kraft rotating through there. McKinnon has been getting better each week since returning from injury and capable of taking contested marks around the ground providing strong second efforts. She will be opposed to Bek Rasheed in the middle, with Kendall Howell named as backup on an extended bench. Rasheed has been terrific in her debut season for the Roosters and will need to work McKinnon hard around the ground and be offensively dangerous. The midfield has already been touches on for the Roosters, but for South, Hammond has been a really strong user of the ball, while Tahlia Meyer might be one of the best decision makers in the competition with her low darts inside 50 last week setting up so many scoring opportunities. With Elyse Haylock and Czenya Cavouras also running through there and the speed of Nikki Gore and Munyard, the South side will have no issues batting deep through the middle.

Teams

Prediction

Much like two weeks ago, it would take a brave prediction to go against the Roosters but this build up is going to special. The best team of the year against the best team of the past couple of years. Expect the game to go down to the wire and there be less than a kick between the sides by the final siren. With the Panthers likely to do all they can to restrict Hatchard, expect an Ewings or Woodland to be among the Most Valuable Player (MVP) contenders, while Tahau showed last year they are not afraid to give it to youth, and she and Charlton, along with Munyard and Gore would also be among the contenders if the Panthers get up.

Picture: SANFL/Deb Curtis