NORTH Adelaide has exorcised any lingering demons that haunted the playing group in its previous two finals series, after holding on in a titanic struggle against minor premiers Norwood. The Redlegs have been a source of pain for the Roosters over the past two years, defeating them in the 2017 South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s decider, before sending them packing in the Preliminary Final last year. Twelve months on and the Roosters had to do it tough, but survived in a 2.6 (18) to 1.10 (16) armwrestle. While the Roosters are used to using their firepower to overwhelm teams, they had to do it with a low-scoring struggle, but did it well to move through into the 2019 decider. It was more than remarkable considering the Redlegs won the hitouts (32-17), clearances (29-18) and inside 50s (35-18) but struggled with accuracy which ultimately cost them.
Neither team could score in the opening term as the minor premiers applied plenty of forward pressure, booting four behinds to just one behind in the opening term. The game opened up immediately in the second term with Matilda Zander putting one through the big sticks just 43 seconds into the quarter, before three minutes later Paige Allan responded for the Roosters. A couple of behinds each later and the Redlegs still held a narrow three-point advantage. Norwood continued to pepper the goals after the main break, booting three behinds, but it was competition leading goalkicker Kelly Barltrop who found the opening and slammed it home after two behinds, to give the underdogs the first – and what would be only goal of the second half. Leading by only a point at the final break, Allen and Erica Greet both missed chances in the opening seven minutes to add to the Roosters’ lead, but Norwood could not apply any scoreboard pressure, and when Rhiannon Busch missed the only scoring shot in the final term for Norwood, the Roosters had held on by two points in a low-scoring nail-biter.
Amber Ward stood up gallantly in defence for North Adelaide, starring with 23 disposals and eight rebounds, while Olivia Gallio was also good with 14 disposals, three rebounds and two clearances. Kathryn Reynolds laid six tackles to go with her 14 disposals, while Erica Greet was the other main ball winner with 13 touches, four marks, two tackles, two inside 50s and two rebounds. The usual ball winners were kept quiet, but the Roosters found a way to win against a Norwood side that was missing its biggest ball winner, Najwa Allen. In her absence, Hannah Dunn put out her usual performance with 26 disposals, nine clearances, six tackles and four marks, while Sally Riley was also busy around the stoppages with 22 disposals, five clearances and four tackles, as was Michele Reid (18 disposals, five clearances, four inside 50s and three rebounds. Now Norwood are left ruing what might have been for the second year running, while North Adelaide must find a way to topple reigning premiers South Adelaide and make it a remarkable nine wins on the trot.
NORTH ADELAIDE 0.1 1.3 2.4 2.6 (18)
NORWOOD 0.4 1.6 1.9 1.10 (16)
North: Kelly Barltrop, Paige Allan
Norwood: Matilda Zander
North: Amber Ward 23
Norwood: Hannah Dunn 26, Sally Riley 22, Tahlia Meyer 19, Michele Reid 18, Monique Hollick 17, Sophie Armitstead 16, Leah Cutting 15