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Weekend preview: SANFL Women’s – Round 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend preview: SANFL Women’s – Round 9

THE PENULTIMATE round of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s season is here, with finals spots up for grabs as five teams fight for four spots, and wins for West Adelaide and Glenelg in particular become of the upmost importance.

NORTH ADELAIDE vs. CENTRAL DISTRICT
Friday, April 19, 4.15pm
Prospect Oval

The Roosters have been in ripping form of late and after a slow start to the year which saw North Adelaide start 1-3, last year’s minor premiers have strung four games on the trot to not only all but guarantee a finals spot, but keep the heat on second placed South Adelaide who are just one win ahead. For Central District, their finals dream was doused last week, but there is still plenty of pride in performance on the line as the Bulldogs look to leapforg Sturt into sixth place if they can muster an unlikely away win. North have brought back Melbourne AFL Women’s player Ashleigh Woodland who has returned to the half-back flank alongside Amber Ward and the duo will no doubt make it hard for the Bulldogs to score. The Roosters have lost Paige Allen to a hamstring, while winger Erica Greet also comes into the side among three changes. The Bulldogs have named an extended bench which includes Taryn Wills and Shannen Solly who return to the side, while the Bulldogs were forced to make a change with their half-back general, Gemma Doughty out of the team with a knee injury. The Bulldogs will look to Katelyn Rosenzweig up forward, while Chantelle Reynolds and Abbey Scheer are among the consistent performers thus far, while sisters, Jayme-Lee Sonneman and Demi Sonneman have been crucial cogs since coming into the club this season. For North, they have the dominant Kelly Barltrop who leads all-comers in the goalkicking and beside her is Brittany Perry and Cristie Castle who are potent in attack, while Nadia Von Bertouch has enjoyed her time at half-forward leading the troops, with Jane Altschwager dominant in the ruck and Leah Tynan consistent in midfield. With a strong line-up across the park, North should get the job done here, while Central will miss Doughty who has been an important player in their side.

WEST ADELAIDE vs. WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS
Friday, April 19, 5.15pm
City Mazda Stadium

West Adelaide hold the coveted fourth spot in the SANFL Women’s competition with Glenelg biting at the Bloods’ heels to sneak into the final four. The Bloods face the winless Woodville-West Torrens Eagles in this clash and will be keen to take the points and set up a huge final round. Youngster Jaimi Tabb has returned for the Eagles to join Kiana Lee in the forward line with the midfielder Tabb looking to add extra firepower up front. Jess Wilson also comes into the forward line amongst at least four changes for the underdog, with Annastasia Falkenberg forced out of the team due to a finger injury. The Eagles have some good developing talent in the team, but have not been able to sustain their intensity for four quarters, with blow-outs often not reflective of the effort, more lapses in play. Natalie Subelli and Natasha Farrier will hope to win the midfield battle, while Stephanie Walker and Tesharna Maher will hope to provide some good movement out of defence. Chelsea Biddell and Melanie Elsegood are a dominant key forward duo, and the likes of Ashlee Reid and Colbie Frankland could have their work cut out for them. For West Adelaide, Kasia Culhane will miss after a great 18-disposal, five-clearance game last week; she has succumbed to a shoulder injury. The big return – both literally and metaphorically – for the the home side is Leah Swain who will be an important presence in the ruck. She, along with Alexandra Mason in the forward pocket, join five potential inclusions on an extended interchange bench. Maddie Newman is the one to watch in defence, sure to rebound time and time again, while through the midfield, Rachelle Martin and Abbie Ballard lead an underrated group who can match it with most sides. West Adelaide have much more to play for and should grab the points in this one, although the Eagle could enjoy spoiling the finals party for their opponents.

GLENELG vs. STURT
Friday, April 19, 7.15pm
ACH Group Stadium

The inclusion of the round, and arguably the season by far is that of Ebony Marinoff, the Adelaide Crows’ star onballer who slots into the Glenelg midfield for her first local game in a few years. Marinoff supported the Tigers growing up and now will run out for Glenelg at home as they try and keep in touch with West Adelaide in the penultimate round. She is joined by ruck, Rhiley Ritchie and Hannah Crump in the side, while Sturt have opted for an unchanged line-up for this game. Sturt’s season unofficially came to an end last week when its hopes for finals were dashed. A win here and the Double Blues can dash those of Glenelg fans too. It will be more than a tough ask for the visitors, with Georgia Bevan, Maya Rigter and Caitlyn Swanson a strong trio onball, but coming up against Marinoff will make the Tigers hard to combat. Throw in the likes of Ellen Fauser and Charlotte Dawe and the Tigers are still solid through midfield. Glenelg is one of the teams which does not have a particular strength, rather relying on efforts across the ground with Tess Morcom and Samantha Franson making a consistent key defensive duo, Lucy Bellinger providing the firepower up forward, and Madisyn Freeman and crucial key position player, Caitlin Gould also have great seasons. All eyes will be on Marinoff given the midfielder had the most touches at AFL Women’s level in a game this season, so seeing what she could do at state level will be reminiscent of the time Nathan Buckley suited up for Williamstown and packed out the stadium – hopefully we see the same at ACH Group Stadium. The Double Blues have a strong midfield, while Alex Ballard has been a talent in defence, and Georgia Swan and Nicole Baker good in the forward half. If they can win the midfield battle while controlling Marinoff, the Double Blues are a solid chance, but like West Adelaide in the previous game, Glenelg have a lot more at stake and should grab the points.

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. NORWOOD
Saturday, April 20, 1pm
Flinders University Stadium

The final game of the round and standalone match is that of the top two sides going head-to-head in what could be a Grand Final preview. Last year’s premiers host last year’s grand finalists in what is shaping up to be a sensational clash. Both teams have taken different approaches to their team selection, with South Adelaide making at least seven changes compared to Norwood’s one confirmed change. Both have crucial players returning, with ball-winner and Adelaide Crows midfielder, Nikki Gore coming into the Panthers line-up alongside Mykala Walker-Murphy who booted a bag of four goals earlier in the season. Also returning to the Panthers are defenders Emily Brockhurst and Tiffany Copley, while Rhiannon Busch comes into the fold for Norwood, as does recently departed Crow, Sally Riley. The Panthers will be smiting at their second defeat of the season last weekend when they went down to Glenelg having defeated them a week earlier, while the Redlegs are yet to taste defeat and will look to secure top spot with a victory here. Norwood won the clash between the powerhouses in Round 1, and have had such a settled team throughout the season. Their midfield is the best in the competition, and the inclusion of Riley allows Ellen Maple Medallist Najwa Allen to play forward which is a fantastic luxury to have. Add in Matilda Zander and Hannah Priest in attack, and the defensive rebound duo of Sophie Armitstead and Monique Hollick in defence, and the Redlegs are covered at both ends. Leah Cutting provides first use to her midfielders including Busch and Hannah Dunn, but she will have to contend with the athletic, Montana McKinnon who is a terrific emerging talent. Their young and talented midfield at South Adelaide include Hannah Munyard and Teah Charlton who get forward and apply scoreboard pressure, while Czenya Cavouras, Elyse Haussen and Nicole Campbell make the Panthers have the best depth of anyone in the competition. Basically, the best top-end midfield going against the deepest midfield makes for a fascinating contest. Norwood deservedly go in as favourites for this game, while South Adelaide would have geared itself up for this match as both sides look to go deep in finals. With North Adelaide breathing down the Panthers’ necks, South will hope to get the job done and secure second spot.

Weekend preview: SANFL Women’s – Round 8

THE top four sides face off against the bottom four sides this round in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition, in a week where finals can just about be locked in. Norwood is secure, South Adelaide is all but in barring a catastrophic end to the season, and North Adelaide has a soft run home. For West Adelaide, Round 8 provides a chance to get breathing space on Glenelg, while for Sturt and Central District, there are no second chances in the final few rounds. Woodville-West Torrens is still searching for its first win and will be hoping to upset North Adelaide this weekend.

STURT vs. NORWOOD
Saturday, April 13, 11.30am
Peter Motley Oval

The top-of-the-table Norwood travel to Peter Motley Oval to take on Sturt, which experienced its best win of the season last week, running over the top of Woodville-West Torrens to keep the Double Blues faint finals hopes alive. Unfortunately for the underdogs, a loss here and it is curtains on season 2019. West Adelaide is eight points clear in fourth, and playing Central District, with a win to the Westies making it impossible for Sturt to make it if the Double Blues lose, while even if they win, they need to hope their rivals do not pick up another win. To Sturt’s credit, they have headed in keeping the same team that found winning formula, with Zoe Prowse and Lilla Berry both added to the side. For the Redlegs, they have lost three players through injury and suspension, with Rhiannon Busch (suspended), and Jane Fitzgerald and Elisha Gallagher (both injured). Into the team comes seven players on an extended interchange bench, with Jo Hill named at centre half-back, while Ellen D’Alessandro is in the back six, while Kate Fenton and Cassie Tsoumbris have been added to the midfield rotation. Norwood’s midfield is the most superior in the competition, and along with South Adelaide’s, knows how to just get the job done when down. Najwa Allen has leather poisoning most weeks, and has been named at centre half-forward in Round 8, while Hannah Dunn and Matilda Zander will be crucial rovers to Leah Cutting who is enjoying a good season. luckily for Sturt, the midfield is where the Double Blues also hold plenty of cards, with clearance gem, Georgia Bevan, Maya Rigter and Caitlyn Swanson all capable of winning the ball then going forward and creating scoring opportunities. Alex Ballard will provide run out of defence, while Monique Hollick and Sophie Armitstead will do the same for Norwood.The Redlegs are heavy favourites in this clash and it is hard to see an upset given the depth of the team across the field, but if Sturt can get a fast start, and follow up its work from the week before, anything is possible.

GLENELG vs. SOUTH ADELAIDE
Saturday, April 13, 4.15pm
ACH Group Stadium

There will be a sense of deja vu when these sides meet on Saturday evening, having played at the same venue against each other just a week earlier. In that game, South Adelaide were too good, coming away with a 28-point win over the Tigers. From last week, the Tigers have gone in adding potential goalkicking forward, Hannah Crump, and Chelsea Packer to their side, while the Panthers have welcomed back Montana McKinnon after missing due to AFL Women’s Academy duties. They have also added Stacey Huddleston to the starting 18, named in the back pocket alongside the reliable Jaslynne Smith. There is no surprise that South Adelaide will be favourites in this game, having not lost since Round 1 and looking every bit the main challenger to Norwood. The midfield of Hannah Munyard, Czenya Cavouras, Nicole Campbell and Elyse Haussen is as good as any, while McKinnon and Teah Charlton add youthful excitement inside 50. Mykala Walker-Murphy has stood up in recent weeks, and with Cheyenne Hammond patrolling the backline, the Panthers have talent across the field. Glenelg is also capable to causing an upset, but unlike the Panthers, come into the game desperate to get out of a run, having lost five games on the trot since bursting out of the blocks with three wins. Lucy Bellinger looms as the danger for the Panthers with the Tigers sharpshooter able to hit the scoreboard and set up her teammates. Ellen Fauser through the middle with Cassie Hartley will no doubt find plenty of the ball, while Tess Morcom and Sam Franson provide good strength and stability in the back half. They will need some luck, and plenty of direct football to topple the mighty Panthers who have one eye on the finals, but Glenelg’s finals hopes are fading, and a loss here would almost certainly spell the end for season 2019 after a promising start. Meanwhile a win for South Adelaide guarantees the Panthers a top two spot.

CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. WEST ADELAIDE
Saturday, April 13, 4.15pm
X Convenience Oval

While the Tigers/Panthers game has serious finals ramifications, spare a thought for the Bulldogs/Bloods match which will ultimately decide more than one team’s fate this season. If West Adelaide gets up as one would expect the Bloods to, they are all but booked into finals unless Glenelg upsets South Adelaide, and in the process, slamming the door shut on both Sturt and Central District in season 2019. West Adelaide can still grab third too as the Bloods are equal with North Adelaide on points despite a loss to them last week. Given the Roosters face the three bottom teams over the three rounds, this is simply a must-win for the Westies, who while facing the two bottom sides, also have a date with South Adelaide in the final round. But keeping it simple, a win should be enough to book a finals spot. Both sides have opted for a number of changes, and Central District brings back some serious talent with full-forward Katelyn Rosenzweig and captain Nicola Biagi back into the line-up. For the Bloods, Rachelle Martin returns and is a massive inclusion to the on-ball brigade. Chelsea Biddell was quiet last week with just seven touches and three marks, and one can expect a dominant goalscorer to not stay down for too long. She looms as a massive task for the Central District defence, while Niamh Davis could be the one tasked with restricting Rosenzweig who while inaccurate, often finds plenty of opportunities inside 50. Kimberley Fry at full-back will steady the Bulldogs, while Jayme-Lee Sonneman and Demi Sonneman were terrific last week despite the loss, as was Gemma Doughty who has been a ray of consistency off the half-back flank. For West Adelaide, Abbie Ballard will be excited to have Martin back in the midfield mix, while Maddie Newman continues to just find the ball and perform. Helen Maidment is an underrated played in the Bloods line-up, while Melanie Elsegood is also capable of finding the big sticks with a goal a game so far this season. West Adelaide are favourites, but this is expected to be the closest game of the round, so tune in to see two teams battling to keep their seasons alive.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
Saturday, April 13, 3.45pm
Maughan Thiem Oval

In the final game of the round, the struggling Eagles take on a reborn North Adelaide outfit at Maughan Thiem Oval. The Eagles are yet to win a game in their debut season, while the Roosters are starting to click into gear at the right time of the season. They looked shaky early on against the top sides, and dropped a game to Glenelg as well, but now they have their sights firmly focused on finals. While top two is realistically out of reach, another win will book their spot in the top four given their superior percentage to rivals. With the bottom three sides in the final three rounds, the Roosters could take full advantage of the draw and gather percentage and momentum heading into finals. North Adelaide has made two changes to the line-up with Alex Fittridge and AFL Women’s player, Brittany Perry returning to the line-up, while last week’s top disposal winner, Erica Greet is unavailable, as is Sarah Ellis. After spending most of the season through the midfield, captain Nadia Von Bertouch has been named at half-forward, and with Emma Sampson, Cristie Castle and of course competition leading goalkicker, Kelly Barltrop all in the forward 50, it makes the Roosters front half the most damaging in the league. Their midfield also has plenty of runs on the board with Paige Allen and Leah Tynan, while Jane Altschwager is among the best rucks in the competition, and Amber Ward is a rebounding machine at half-back. There are not too many weaknesses in the North Adelaide line-up and if you were up for backing a roughie in the competition, the Roosters are the perfect side to turn to now they are hitting their straps. Their opponents are the Eagles who have also made at least three changes, with Jaimi Tabb a notable inclusion to the side. They have had fast starts in recent times, but have struggled to go on with it, as Kiana Lee has been the key goalkicker inside 50. Georgia Taylor has been named at half-forward after starting the season in defence, while Natasha Farrier will also be hoping to provide support for Lee in the forward 50. Tesharna Maher and Jovanka Zecevic have been impressive in the back up, while a whole team effort will be required to get up in this game. North Adelaide should continue their winning ways of late, while for the Eagles, the power of breaking the winless drought is something that will keep them focused for the remainder of the season.

Weekend preview: SANFL Women’s – Round 6

WE are passing the midway point of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s season as Round 6 gets completed over the weekend. Norwood hope to continue its unbeaten streak against Glenelg, while Woodville-West Torrens is the only side without a win, and face a tough task against South Adelaide on Sunday.

 

NORWOOD vs. GLENELG
Saturday, March 30, 10.40am
Peter Motley Oval

The premiership favourites meet a side that has struggled to score in the past couple of weeks, in the first game of the round at Peter Motley Oval. For the Redlegs, they have answered every challenge thrown at them, and seem to be getting stronger as the season goes on, defeating West Adelaide by 63 points last week. Midfielder Rhiannon Busch returns to her side with Elisha Gallagher, while Sally Riley heads out of the team to prepare for Adelaide’s AFL Women’s Grand Final. The Tigers have brought in two players to the side that has not scored a goal since Round 3, with Ellen Fauser heading to centre half-back, while Milli Gentile has been named on an extended interchange bench. Since Glenelg’s third consecutive win – an impressive 15-point victory over North Adelaide – the Tigers have managed back-to-back games of just three behinds. With the Redlegs averaging 53 points per game in the past fortnight, both teams head into the game with very different form lines. Najwa Allen continued her fantastic season form last week, racking up 33 disposals to take her season average to 23.8, the league leader. Hannah Dunn has been equally as impressive finding the ball (19.6 disposals per game) with Monique Hollick not far behind (17). Norwood also has a versatile forward line without a sole dominant goalkicker given Allen (five goals) leads the team goalkicking. Glenelg’s Hannah Crump has booted four for the season but the scoring has dried up in the past two weeks. The battle within the battle will be between Norwood’s Leah Cutting and Glenelg’s Caitlin Gould who are one and two respectively in the hitout stakes, so getting first hands to the ball will be crucial. Gould also averages almost four clearances per game, the four most in the competition, just behind Redlegs’ Sophie Armitstead (4.2). Norwood will take strong favouritism into the game and look set to win its sixth straight match, while Glenelg will need to find an avenue to goal if the Tigers are to cause an upset.

STURT vs. WEST ADELAIDE
Saturday, March 30, 12.25pm
Peter Motley Oval

In the second game of the double header at Peter Motley Oval, Sturt is coming off its first win of the season, while West Adelaide sank to a disappointing defeat a the hands of the seemingly unstoppable Norwood. The Double Blues have had a rocky start to the season and their first win was an unconvinving two-point goalless win, but it was enough to get the points and now prepare for the rest of the season. Sturt has lost key player Georgia Bevan who will miss due to a wedding, while Zoe Prowse was injured last week. It will mean midfielders, Sophie Hoyle and Maya Rigter will have to shoulder more of the load in this game, while the return of Alex Ballard and Casey Fraser will sure up the defence, and Nicole Baker and Della Griffith‘s return will add some extra potency in attack. For the Bloods, they have made three changes with Kelly Whittaker returning to the side along with full-forward Megan Rich and Phoebe Edwards. West Adelaide will hope to look to Chelsea Biddell in order to get some early majors on the board, while Abbie Ballard and Maddie Newman will be crucial players in the team. Melanie Elsegood has been a rock in defence with Lauren Rodato, and the Westies defence will be keen to repel and set up forward attacks. For Sturt, they must win the midfield battle and get the ball inside 50 to create opportunities and try and get on the board if they are to go back-to-back in the wins column. West Adelaide is favourite for this clash, but Sturt will build on its confidence from last week to try and upset the Bloods here.

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. CENTRAL DISTRICT
Saturday, March 30, 4.15pm
Flinders University Stadium

Heading to the evening game, the red hot South Adelaide take on a Central District team that will be keen to get back on the winners list after losing last week following consecutive victories in Round 3 and Round 4. The Panthers have only lost to Norwood and are in fine form heading into the Round 6 clash to start incredibly warm favourites. They made light work of Central District last week with a nine-goal win after the Bulldogs got the jump of them kicking their only two goals of the game to start the game. The Panthers’ young brigade has been superb this seaon with Teah Charlton having a brilliant game last week courtesy of 24 disposals, five marks, a massive 16 tackles and three goals, while Hannah Munyard (20 disposals, five marks last week) and Montana McKinnon (equal second in hitouts so far this season) are consistently putting in strong performances. Tonia Filke is out of the Panthers side after doing her knee early last week, while four players have been added to an extended bench. The Panthers midfield is incredibly strong with Munyard, Nicole Campbell, Czenya Cavouras and Elyse Haussen able to control the midfield. Central District will be keen to get another win on the board this round, with Danielle Stewart (16 disposals per game) a key member of the side. With last year’s league leading goalkicker Katelyn Rosenzweig sitting in equal second, she will be the key to stopping the Bulldogs’ goals, while Charlton is just one behind Rosenzweig with seven majors thus far this season. Madison Bennett is one of many South Adelaide players who have got on the board this seaon, scoring three goals to be next behind Charlton. The Panthers are looking incredible at the moment and they will be a hard team to stop, and the Bulldogs will need to put on their best performance to cause an upset.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
Sunday, March 31, 4.15pm
Maughan Thiem Kia Oval

The final game of the round is the streamed game with Woodville-West Torrens taking on North Adelaide in a huge clash at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval. With Sturt’s victory last week it leaves the Eagles as the only winless side remaining this season, while North Adelaide have had an up and down season and will look to consolidate against the cellar dwelling Eagles. Kiana Lee has been a shining light up forward for Woodville-West Torrens booting five goals, while Sarah Perkins has booted six in just three games with the Eagles. Woodville-West Torrens have swung the axe with five changes, including one forced change as the injured Taylor McKay is forced out of the side. Into the team comes crucial onballer Jaimi Tabb who was sorely missed last week, while Chloe Forby slots into the forward line and Ashlee Reid at centre half-back. The Eagles have had some top individual performers this season and are showing plenty of competitiveness, although their loss to South Adelaide was disappointing after a bright first 10 minutes. They will need to start strong against the Roosters and maintain that intensity if they are to record their first win. North Adelaide has lost Rheanne Lugg given the Crows’ have an AFL Women’s Grand Final to play on the same day, while midfielders Brittany Perry and Paige Allen return to the side, as does Ashleigh Woodland who has been named at half-back. Nadia Von Bertouch has been a ray of consistency this seasonwith the captain, full-forward and competition leading goalkicker Kelly Barltrop and centre half-back Amber Ward among the top players this season. North Adelaide should come away with the points in this clash after recording a nice win over Central District last week, but the Eagles have some crucial returns and can cause headaches up forward.

Weekend preview: SANFL Women’s – Round 5

FOUR rounds down and the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition ladder is starting to take shape. Norwood remains the only undefeated team and takes on West Adelaide in what should be a terrific clash, while Central District and North Adelaide looms as another tight encounter.

STURT vs. GLENELG
Saturday, March 23, 12pm
Coopers Stadium

In the first game of a triple header at Coopers Stadium, the winless Sturt takes on Glenelg, a side seething from its first loss of the season last week. The Tigers will be keen to bounce back from the defeat at the hands of West Adelaide and regain ascendancy in the mid-table logjam. The Tigers have brought in four players to the side with ruck, Lauren Bungey and key defender, Olivia Walker-Obushak among those returning to the fold. The Double Blues have been forced to make some changes with Izzy Kuiper out due to injury, Jessie Keech out to play softball and Alexandra Ballard also omitted from the side. Into the team comes full-forward, Caroline Burgess in a bid to try and create more scoring power, and defender Brooke-Lee Chaplin. Glenelg will be the favourites in this game to bounce back from a rare los and hand Sturt its fifth consecutive defeat, however the Double Blues have been competitive across the board this season and would be edging towards a victory sooner rather than later.

NORWOOD vs. WEST ADELAIDE
Saturday, March 23, 1.45pm
Coopers Stadium

In the Game of the Week, top-of-the-table Norwood takes on fourth placed West Adelaide in a vital game for shaping the top four early in the season. The Bloods are one of three teams with a 3-1 win-loss record and victory would be crucial in getting an upperhand on their rivals. The undefeated Redlegs have made three confirmed changes, with Elisha Gallagher and Rhiannon Busch key outs as they have army duties, while Zoe Greer will miss through injury. Into the side comes forward, Tara Robertson, GWS GIANTS defender, Ebony O’Dea and Crows’ onballer Sally Riley. For the Bloods, They have brought in four players to an extended team, including full-back Jacalyn Pickering and defender Emma Smith. Norwood deservedly head in as favourites and are expected to continue their undefeated run, but the Bloods knocked off Glenelg last week in a low-scoring contest, so could have the defensive ability to restrict the Redlegs. Riley, Monique Hollick and Najwa Allen is a formidable midfield, while O’Dea and Sophie Armitstead provide good rebound out of attack. For the Westies, Abbie Ballard has been a shining light in the midfield, while Maddie Newman and Chelsea Biddell have been others to watch this season.

CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
Saturday, March 23, 3.30pm
Coopers Stadium

In the final game of the double header at Coopers Stadium, the in-form Central District faces North Adelaide. The Bulldogs have won back-to-back games against the Eagles and Double Blues and will look to make it three on the trot against North Adelaide. The Roosters have had a tough draw to start the season and are unlucky to have just one win from four games. Victory would see North Adelaide have a chance of overtaking the Bulldogs, while also keeping the bottom two at arms-length. With more of a favourable draw coming up in the future, the Roosters could get on a roll. For the Round 5 match, just the combined two changes have been made with Alex Fittridge and Elysha Willis coming into the Roosters’ line-up, while four players have been added to an extended bench for Central District. This could be the game of the round if both teams play at their best, with firepower and consistent players across the field. Katelyn Rosenzweig has been a lively point at full-forward this season, while Jessica Sedunary has serious abiloty. Abbey Scheer and Demi Sonneman have been consistent so far this season, while Jayme-Lee Sonneman has stood tall in the ruck. For North Adelaide, Amber Ward has been a rebounding machine in defence, Kelly Barltrop has been a target up forward, while Leah Tynan, Nadia Von Bertouch and Rheanne Lugg have made a formidable midfield trio. North Adelaide could be considered favourites given their experience, but the Bulldogs have the confidence after stringing two wins together and the scoring power to make it three.

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS
Saturday, March 23, 4.15pm
Flinders University Stadium

The final game of the round has reigning premiers South Adelaide coming up against a Woodville-West Torrens side that has been forced into making changes. The Panthers head into the game with a loss to Norwood the only blemish this season, having not put a foot wrong since then. The Eagles are still searching for their first win this season and team selection has not helped them. Sarah Perkins and key midfielder, Jaimi Tabb are unavailable, while Chloe Forby was suspended and Natalie Subelli forced out due to concussion. Add in the omissions of Taylor Hand and Amie Blanden and the Eagles head into the match with at least six different players to last round. Cassandra Glover will look to replace Perkins up forward, Georgia Taylor returns to the side to help out the defence as will Colbie Frankland. South Adelaide also lose a crucial player with Nikki Gore out due to AFL Women’s duties with Adelaide’s preliminary final against Geelong, while Alana Browne will miss due to a hamstring. The Panthers have brought four players into the mix, with Tonia Fielke slotting on a wing to replace Gore. The Panthers midfield might be missing Gore, but with Hannah Munyard, Czenya Cavouras, Elyse Haussen and Nicole Campbell in the team, it will make life difficult for the Eagles. Rachel Dunstan and Natasha Farrier are potential match-winners, while Kiana Lee will shoulder the load up forward and has plenty of talent. Stephanie Walker‘s work in defence is also important in this game as they look to cause an upset. Woodville-West Torrens will need to bring the heat for four quarters as the Panthers are an impressive outfit, but anything can happen on the right day.

Weekend preview: SANFL Women’s – Round 4

AFTER a week off, the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition recommences tonight for Round 4 action. The night sees a double header at X Convenience Oval, as well as 7pm games at both Flinders University Stadium and City Mazda Stadium. Two sides remain undefeated, and two are yet to get a win on the board in season 2019.

NORWOOD vs. WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS
March 15, 6.45pm
X Convenience Oval

The first of two games at X Convenience Oval pits one of the premiership favourites, Norwood against newcomers, Woodville-West Torrens. The Eagles are yet to taste victory in season 2019, having gone down to Glenelg, Sturt and fellow 2019 debutants, Central District in the opening three rounds. For the Redlegs, they have answered every challenge thrown at them, knocking off the reigning premiers, South Adelaide, as well as North Adelaide and Sturt. They will head into this game as strong favourites to make it four in a row, while the Eagles will be keen to break their winless start to the season. Norwood’s team selection includes two forced outs with Bree-Anna Liebhadt and Emma Clark both out of the side with injury, while Jiarna Zerella has also made way. Into the team comes defender, Rosette Zerella, as well as Michele Reid, Zoe Greer and Tara Robertson who have all been named on an extended bench. For the Eagles, they lose a couple of players due to concussion, as Annastasia Falkenberg and Georgia Taylor are both out of the side. Jessica Wilson will be looked upon to play Taylor’s role out of defence, as the Eagles have also named ruck Taylor McKay and winger Tesharna Maher among five inclusions for their Round 4 clash. All eyes will be on both sides’ forward lines with Sarah Perkins and Kiana Lee providing some serious firepower up front for the Eagles, while Hannah Dunn has been a ball magnet this season, and has been named at centre half-forward. The Redlegs’ rebounding power of Sophie Armitstead and Monique Hollick will also give them an advantage, while a potential head-to-head between Najwa Allen and Jaimi Tabb could be a battle in itself. Expect Norwood to get the job done, but the Eagles have shown that if they can get it forward, they are always able to cause some headaches.

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
March 15, 7pm
Flinders University Stadium

The clash of the round is set to occur at Flinders University Stadium, with last year’s minor premiers taking on the reigning premiers. The Roosters have had just the one win, but their losses have come against the two undefeated sides in Norwood and Glenelg. The Panthers’ only loss also came against the Redlegs, and they will head into the game as favourites, having pushed Norwood, and looked impressive in the other matches. The Roosters still have some really dangerous players, and their leaders will be keen to get a vital win here. South Adelaide have made three changes to their Round 3 side, with Tiffany Copley and Brianna Wedding both out due to injury. The Panthers have named an extra extended bench, bringing in five players, including forwards, Lauren Buchanan and Jess Kirk, and winger Nicole Campbell. Nikki Gore has been named on an extended bench, timing her debut with Adelaide in the AFL Women’s perfectly to coincide with a bye last week. For North, they have made three changes, as they bring back important onballer, Rheanne Lugg, as well as Cristie Castle and Kathryn Reynolds. Both sides contain some of the top players in the SANFL Women’s with South’s team brimming with young talent. From ruck/forward Montana McKinnon, to midfielders, Teah Charlton and Hannah Munyard, the Panthers have some future stars developing within the club. Czenya Cavouras tore the game apart in Round 3 and will once again be a key contributor in South’s efforts, while Madison Bennett and Jaslynne Smith are others who have gone through the Under 18s state side. For the Roosters, captain Nadia Von Bertouch has been consistent all season, and with Lugg back in the side the pair will combine with Leah Tynan through the inside, and look to set up leading goalkicker, Kelly Barltrop at full-forward. Meanwhile up the other end, Amber Ward has been a prolific rebounder this season and could be a player to set up attacking drives. South Adelaide head in as favourites, but North Adelaide are not a team to take lightly.

WEST ADELAIDE vs. GLENELG
March 15, 7pm
City Mazda Stadium

Both West Adelaide and Glenelg were undefeated heading into Round 3, but the Bloods dropped their first game of the season to South Adelaide, while the Tigers showed they were the most improved team of the competition by toppling the Roosters. In Round 4, Glenelg would look to win to keep touch with Norwood, while West Adelaide will keep its spot in the top four if it can salute in this game. The Bloods have lost ruck, Leah Swain due to work commitments, while Alana Lowery is out following a knee injury and suspension. Tekira Hoffman has been thrown into the ruck, while Phoebe Edwards returns to the side, slotting straight into full-back. Helen Maidment returns to the onball brigade, while Emma Smith and Alex Czabayski have been named on an extended bench. For the Tigers, they remain unchanged, with Olivia Walker-Obushak and Eirenn Harkness added to an extended interchange. West Adelaide’s forward targets of Chelsea Biddell and Melanie Elsegood always attract attention when going inside 50, while Lucy Bellinger and Hannah Crump have equally shown to be a handful to opposition sides. Samantha Franson will look to take advantage of the in-form Swain’s absence in the ruck, to get forward and try and hit the scoreboard. Ellen Fauser is another Tiger who has been impressive this season and will likely match-up on one of the twin towers in the Westies forward line. Abbie Ballard continues to develop for the Bloods, as does Maddie Newman, while Glenelg have a well balanced team that continues to get the job done. In this match, Glenelg will use their consistency across the field to head in as favourites, but West Adelaide are every chance of causing an upset.

CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. STURT
March 15, 8.30pm
X Convenience Oval

The second game in the double header at X Convenience Stadium sees newcomers, Central District go up against Sturt. The Bulldogs claimed their first win in Round 3 following a victory over Woodville-West Torrens, while a brave Double Blues side is still yet to taste a win, but is competitive each match. The Bulldogs have lost Isabella Wilson to suspension – a key out after the tall forward booted 2.2 from 11 disposals in the previous game. They have welcomed back Jessica Sedunary who will look to fill that void, while Karissa Searle has also been added into the forward mix. For Sturt, Nicole Baker has to miss due to work commitments, while Jess Schulz has been omitted. Key defender, Paxton Davis-Mattner comes into the side, as does forward, Brianna Burt. The game will see Sturt’s strong midfield take on a Central side that has some standout players across the ground without a dominant third in particular. Katelyn Rosenzweig looms as the X-factor up forward for the Eagles, with Abbey Scheer, Rebecca Catterall and Shalee O’Brien looking to win the ball in the midfield and get it forward. The half-back line of Gemma Doughty, Nicola Biagi and Chantelle Reynolds has been effective, while Sturt’s forward line that contains Georgia Swan and Caitlyn Swanson will need some careful watching. Izzy Kuiper, Maya Rigter and Georgia Bewvan are a challenging midfield at the best of times for any opposition and with a forward line that shares goals around, it will be an unpredictable set-up to combat. Sturt might not have won a game yet, but the Double Blues have never been out of a contest and remain firmly in contention to be a competitive outfit in season 2019. Expect them to go hard at the contest and they could almost be favourites, although Central’s efforts last week were very impressive.