Tag: molly althouse

Weekend preview: 2020/21 NTFL Women’s Premier League – Round 3

ROUND 3 of the 2020/21 NTFL Women’s Premier League season will see all four matches played on Saturday once more, with bottom of the ladder Tracy Village set to sit out with the bye this round. Nightcliff and Pint still remain undefeated at the top of the ladder after solid starts to the season, while this round will be headlined by a 2019/20 grand final rematch between Southern Districts and Waratah with both sides sitting towards the lower end of the ladder after two rounds.

St Mary’s vs. Darwin Buffettes
Saturday, October 17

Darwin Buffettes may have only played the one match for the season so far but well and truly exploded out of the blocks last week, compared to St Mary’s who showcased impressive form in Round 1 but could not consolidate on a huge third quarter fight back and eventually went down in a close affair with Pint. With so many quality players across the field and both teams seemingly in solid form heading into this match, expect the Saints to explode out of the blocks and the Buffs to use their flurry of forward targets to apply plenty of scoreboard pressure. Machaelia Roberts and Zoe Anderson fired on all cylinders last round for Darwin, booting four goals apiece, while both Michaela Long and Ash Melnikas have been handy goalkickers for the Saints. Melnikas and Megan Williamson have been named among the best in both matches for the Saints, while Molly Althouse impressed for the Buffs last round.

Southern Districts vs. Waratah
Saturday, October 17

Southern Districts need a win this week in the grand final rematch to restore some of their 2019/20 dignity after a rough start to the season, going down by 48 points in Round 1 and 49 points in Round 2. While the Crocs are by no means lacking options up forward, they have seemed to lack that forward push and volume up forward, and this could be the side’s best chance to do so against Waratah with the Warriors also coming in off the back of a loss in Round 2 and a default victory in Round 1 – although the default came when the side was ahead. Just two players have hit the scoreboard more than once for Waratah, with usual suspect Jenna Singh and newbie Caitlin Couch kicking two apiece over the first two matches, while Danica Pedersen and Eliza Straford have been solid across the ground. For Districts, Megan Crauford is a solid target. 

Pint vs. Palmerston Magpies
Saturday, October 17

Palmerston will head into this round renewed after the bye, but come in against an improved Pint outfit that sits in second on the ladder with two wins from two. Pint has proved it has a heap of firepower and while an excellent first round victory showcased the side’s winning ability, it was a low-scoring victory in Round 2 that makes this battle so interesting given the side’s ability to outlast under pressure. Look for Amy Chittick and Jasmyn Hewitt inside 50 when it comes to Pint with both players able to hit the scoreboard, while Jacinta Reid, Rebecca Pryer and Cassie Henderson have had solid starts to the season. For the Magpies, fans will hope that Cassie Ormsby can return to the fray after a first round high hit that saw the match finish at half time. Meanwhile, Tabitha May is always a force to be reckoned with.

Wanderers vs. Nightcliff
Saturday, October 17

The lone match between two Round 2 winners, Nightcliff will come into this battle with plenty of confidence given they sit atop the ladder with a significant percentage boost ahead of Pint in second. Meanwhile, Wanderers have one win on the board which came in Round 2 and the significant margin in that match will see the side certainly take it up to Nightcliff. Expect an intriguing matchup here, with the top four goalkickers in the competition likely to take the field in this battle. That being said, three of the four are from Nightcliff who are arguably the team to beat at the moment given their firepower up forward and multitude of options inside forward 50. Emma-Lou Wolsey (eight goals), Mickayla Ward (five goals) and Darcy Elliston (four) have proved to be constant and consistent goalkickers out the front, sitting first, third and fourth on the leading goalkicker tally at this stage, with second spot taken by Wanderers’ Kaitlyn Armstrong who is just one goal behind Wolsey on seven. Just two players across the two teams have been named in the best twice – showcasing the calibre of talent across the two teams – with Ward (Nightcliff) and Djimila Totham (Wanderers) those players.

2020/21 NTFL Women’s Premier League weekly wrap – Round 2

ROUND 2 of NTFL Women’s Premier League saw a huge super Saturday of matches, with all four games producing some solid performances and three matches finishing in blown out scorelines. Nightcliff and Pint continued their winning ways to sit 2-0 apiece at the top of the ladder, while Southern Districts and Tracy Village are the cellar dwellers and Palmerston Magpies had a bye. 

Nightcliff 8.6 (54) defeated Waratah 3.11 (29)

An excellent start bode well for Nightcliff, latching onto their early momentum and building throughout thanks to Waratah’s inaccuracy in front of goal. While Nightcliff failed to score in the final term, an excellent four-goal third quarter allowed the Tigers to run away with the solid 25-point victory, staving off every attempt from the Warriors. Nightcliff’s Emma-Lou Wolsey proved she was more than capable of holding down the front-end once more with three more goals added to her tally, and was assisted by Mickayla Ward and Jacqueline Anyon-Smith who booted two majors apiece. For Waratah, Jenna Singh, Lisa Roberts and Jordan Smyth found the big sticks, with the latter named in the best among Eliza Straford and Isabella Rapson-Staropoli.

Tracy Village 1.3 (9) defeated by Wanderers 10.11 (71)

It was a great return from the Wanderers after last week’s effort, this week putting 71 points on the board to run away with an excellent 62-point win against the Razorbacks who had a couple of issues getting a score on the board once more. That being said, Tracy Village did not let up throughout and were only beaten well in the first and final quarters where they allowed the Wanderers to boot four apiece. For Tracy Village, Indianna Hughes booted the lone goal in the final quarter and was named among the bests alongside Kiri Marschall, Kaitlin Battel and Sarah Wilson – who was back in the best this week after last round. For the Wanderers, Kaitlyn Armstrong was just about unstoppable out the front with five goals on the board, aided by Aleesha Hobbs and Tasheena Rankine who booted two apiece and Georgia Halkitis and Djimila Totham who were named in the best.

Pint 4.4 (28) defeated St Mary’s 2.5 (17)

It was a low-scoring thriller between Pint and St Mary’s, with the former gaining the early ascendancy and the latter fighting back well in the third to draw even on 15 points apiece at the final change. While both sides contested hard in the final term, it was Pint who were able to not only capitalise on their forward 50 entries but also pull away, eventually running away with the 11-point victory. Jasmyn Hewitt booted two for Pint, joined by Amy Chittick and Cara Evans while Kati Streader and Cassie Henderson were both named in the best. For the Saints, Danielle Ponter and Madison Harris booted a goal apiece – both in the second half – while Tesharna Maher and Ash Melnikas were named among the best in the low-scoring matchup.

Darwin Buffettes 11.5 (71) defeated Southern Districts 3.4 (22)

Darwin Buffettes started their season with a quality win over the reigning premiers, obliterating the Crocs by 49 points with a 30-point final quarter effort getting the job done. The Crocs were outplayed for much of the game, unable to compete with the feisty Buffettes outfit and having little opportunity to put scores on the board. Machaelia Roberts was a huge target as ever up forward for the Buffs and was a force to be reckoned with alongside Zoe Anderson, booting four goals apiece and providing multiple options. Roberts was named best on ground for her efforts whilst Molly Althouse was also solid for the victors, and three individuals put a goal on the board for the winners.

Picture: Aaron Black/AFLNT Media

Ponter claims impressive win in NT All-Stars match

DOMINIQUE Carbone celebrated her 19th birthday in style with an impressive performance that helped Team Ponter record a 28-point victory over Team Hewett in humid conditions for the Northern Territory AFL Women’s All-Star game on Friday night. The over-ager won plenty of the ball and was prolific throughout the four quarters, and clearly one of the best on ground. Top-age forward Ashanti Bush deserved that honour, looking ever dangerous, booting a goal and almost having a few more as the inaccurate Ponter dominated for most of the contest to record an inaccurate, but effective 5.11 (41) to 2.1 (13) win.

The age of talent on display was a real mix from mature-age players who have already tasted AFL Women’s football in Jasmyn Hewett – who captained the team named after her – to the 15-year-old Maria Rioli who certainly caught the eye as a future Richmond father-daughter selection. But it was the work of Bush, Carbone and the classy Janet Baird who caught the eye, as well as future stars Grace Whittaker and Annabel Kievet who are in the Under 16s and Under 15s respectively.

For Hewett, it was the work of middle-age talent Georgia Johnson alongside Morgan Johnston who provided good dash from the back half and through the midfield. Hewett did all she could with some contested ball-winning ability in each third of the ground. Along with the experienced AFL Women’s talent, Freda Puruntatameri showed why she earned an AFL Women’s Draft Combine invitation, kicking a second quarter goal and then going into defence and showing class.

Aside from the first half of the opening term where Team Hewett had a number of attacking players, it was predominantly Team Ponter, with a broken tackle by Katie Streader at half-forward helping lead to a Baird goal on the fun despite the best efforts of Hewett in defence. It was the only major of the term, with Kyanne Campbell kicking a behind for Hewett not long after, but missed a set shot, as did Hewett, who could have edged the margin closer than the seven points at quarter time.

Carbone was ever prolific and soon it was Kievet who added to the lead in the opening minute when she was awarded a free kick and an opposition player ran straight through the mark. On the back of a 50m penalty she made no mistake and put it straight through, and then Sarah Ingram made it two majors for the term. Johnston had a highlight passage of play five minutes in by dancing around not one, not two but three opponents and kicking forward, while Johnson continually mopped up in defence. Soon the hard work on defence resulted in a goal for Hewett as Puruntatameri intercepted a ball at half-forward, sold some candy and sidestepped an opponent to kick her side’s first major on the run.

Whittaker was really stepping up through the midfield with some great athleticism, with her and Kievet trying to break the game open. The experience of Hewett and former Western Bulldogs VFL Women’s captain Mickayla Ward was telling in the back half, stemming the flow and reducing the scoreboard impact for Ponter.

The game was all but put to bed early in the third with back-to-back goals to Team Ponter as Bush took a strong mark out in front, then after missing a target, ran hard forward, roved the pack and kicked it to the square where Molly Althouse did the rest on the line. After an assist, Bush went it alone, read the ball of the bounce perfectly inside 50, running goalside, took it cleanly and put it home. Another chance by the exciting top-ager just missed to the right in what could have been a huge performance from her. While Hewett was unable to score in the term, Ponter missed a number of opportunities after kicking 2.0 to start the term, then kicking 0.6 for the rest of it.

Nonetheless, Ponter was all but home with a 33-point lead at the final break. Baird’s class in patches was telling and with the work of Whittaker and Carbone still have an influence, Ponter was able to hold on despite just kicking the one behind in the final term. J’Noemi Anderson – sister of North Melbourne’s Jed – showed class with a clever spin and kick forward early in the last, but it was Campbell who kicked the easiest of goals off the back of great work from Kaitey Whittaker who got it goalside for her teammate.

Just one behind was scored in the last 10 minutes of the game, but the likes of Johnston and Ward in defence, and Hewett across the ground was important. Team Ponter had plenty of winners across the field, with Bella Clarke another one who had a couple of opportunities playing forward, unfortunately dropping a mark a split second before the siren and as she went to play on and snap for goal in the forward pocket, the siren sounded. In the end, Team Ponter had got up, 5.11 (41) to 2.1 (13) in a showcase of the Northern Territory’s best talent.

TEAM PONTER 1.2 | 3.4 | 5.10 | 5.11 (41)
TEAM HEWETT 0.1 | 1.1 | 1.1 | 2.1 (13)

GOALS:

Ponter: J. Baird, A. Kievet, S. Ingram, M. Althouse, A. Bush.
Hewett: F. Puruntatameri, K. Campbell.

ADC BEST:

Ponter: A. Bush, D. Carbone, J. Baird, G. Whittaker, A. Kievet
Hewett: M. Johnston, G. Johnson, J. Hewett, F. Puruntatameri, M. Ward

Picture credit: AFL Photos

SANFL Women’s Round 4 review: Eagles take home maiden win as Roosters claim outright top

IT has been a long time coming, but it was finally celebration time for Woodville-West Torrens Eagles who celebrated their first win in the club’s history, 14 games into its inauguration. So many times the Eagles have come close, but they got the job done with an impressive second half to down Glenelg by 25 points. In other results, North Adelaide went outright top with a four-point win over South Adelaide, Sturt made it back-to-back wins with victory over Central District, and West Adelaide and Norwood played out the season’s first draw.

WWT EAGLES 1.1 | 2.2 | 4.2 | 7.3 (45)
GLENELG 2.0 | 3.2 | 3.2 | 3.2 (20)

GOALS:

WWT: N. Collie 3, K. Lee 3, S. Walker.
Glenelg: M. Althouse, L. Kenny, M. Speechley.

HIGH DISPOSALS:

WWT: R. Metcalfe 15
Glenelg: T. Kohn 18

After so many close games and near misses, there was finally cause for celebration at Woodville-West Torrens after the Eagles produced a second half to remember and run out 25-point winners over Glenelg on Friday night. The Eagles trailed by as much as 13 points five minutes into the second term, but then took total control of the match to boot the final 6.2 of the game and enjoy a comfortable maiden victory in the SANFL Women’s.

The Tigers were missing a number of starters from the game due to Adelaide Crows’ selection and injury or unavailability, but still looked good early in the match, booting two first quarter goals – Molly Althouse and Lauren Kenny – to counter the Kiana Lee major early in the term. When Melinda Speechley converted the Tigers’ third just 39 seconds into the second term and a behind to Althouse shortly followed, the visitors were up by 13 points. Little did they know that a wave of Eagles goals would follow. Rhiannon Metcalfe added a behind in the sixth minute – the first Eagles’ score since Lee’s major seven minutes into the first term – and then Lee had her second not long after to cut the half-time deficit to just six points. Two minutes into the second half and Stephanie Walker had levelled the scores and 10 minutes later, Lee’s third snag had the winless side a goal up at the break. Still only narrowly ahead, the fans were still nervous. Enter Nicole Collie who took the game by the scruff of the neck and booted three consecutive goals every five minutes in the last quarter to help her side to a 7.3 (45) to 3.2 (20) win.

Not known as a high possession side, the Eagles had 30 less touches and seven less marks, but their reputation as the number one tackling side continued with another remarkable effort of 92 tackles to 74. Woodville-West Torrens also dominated the hitouts 43-28, though the Tigers made more opportunities with clearances (30-24) and had an extra inside 50 (21-20). It was once again the Eagles’ defence that held up in the tough times, recording 16 rebounds to 14, but more importantly, finding a way to score from limited opportunities in what was really a battle between the arcs.

Metcalfe had a team-high 15 disposals, 26 hitouts, four clearances and four inside 50s in the win, a huge reason for her side’s ruck work dominance. Up forward, it was Lee (12 disposals, five marks – one contested, three tackles, two inside 50s and three goals) that did the damage early, while Collie made the most of just five disposals to take four marks – one contested – and boot three majors. Also among the best were Chloe Forby (11 disposals, seven tackles, five clearances and five inside 50s) and Walker (11 disposals, three tackles). For the Tigers, Tessa Kohn continued her brilliant form with 18 disposals, seven clearances, five tackles, three inside 50s, two marks and two rebounds in the loss, teaming well with Lucy Armitage (13 disposals, seven clearances, and 10 tackles) through midfield. Tasja Batzavalis made a welcome return with three inside 50s to go with 12 touches, four marks – two contested – and three tackles, while Tess Morcom tried hard in defence with a team-high three rebounds to go with nine touches and five tackles. Soriah Moon had great experience against Metcalfe, still managing 17 hitouts as well as five clearances to accompany seven disposals.

CENTRAL DISTRICT 0.0 | 1.2 | 1.2 | 2.3 (15)
STURT 2.1 | 3.1 | 4.2 | 4.2 (26)

GOALS:

Central: K. Rosenzweig 2.
Sturt: G. Bevan, L, Firth, Z. Prowse, G. Swan.

HIGH DISPOSALS:

Central: S. Smith 15
Sturt: Z. Prowse 23

Sturt has won back-to-back matches to move into fourth spot on the SANFL Women’s ladder, downing Central District by 11 points. The result handed the Bulldogs their third consecutive loss, and with the Eagles’ win, fell back to last spot on the table. The Double Blues booted three first half goals to lead throughout the contest, and despite Central drying up the scoring in the second half, could not make up the difference as they fell short of a second victory this season, losing 4.2 (26) to 2.3 (15).

Sturt had the perfect start to the match with Louise Firth converting a major for the visitors just 44 seconds into the match, and then Georgia Swan made it two midway through the quarter to help her side to a 13-point lead at the break, keeping the opposition scoreless to quarter time. Georgia Madigan got the Bulldogs on the board in the opening 30 seconds of the second term, albeit with a behind, before Georgia Bevan converted a third major for the Double Blues in the seventh minute for Sturt to stretch the lead out to a straight three goals. Katelyn Rosenzweig continued her good work in front of goal to use her strength and goal sense to kick one as the term was winding down, and by the main break, Central District trailed by 11 points. The scoring dried up in the second half, but Zoe Prowse made it count in the dying moments of the third quarter with her first of the contest, as the teenager was best on ground in the win. Rosenzweig continued to press hard and booted her second major midway through the final term, but ultimately her efforts would not be enough as the home team fell short.

Central had a different approach to its last couple of weeks, winning the disposal count for the first time this season, whilst also laying 29 more tackles than their opponents. Sturt led the marks (31-20) and dominated the hitouts (32-11) helping its strong midfield to get on top in the clearances (29-23). Central managed to keep the ball out of its defensive 50 a fair bit by winning the inside 50s, 23-16, but the Double Blues’ defence was up to the task with 20 rebounds to 11 in the match.

Prowse was the standout player on the ground for the Double Blues with 23 disposals, four marks, 20 hitouts, 10 clearances, two inside 50s and two rebounds making her presence felt. Bevan was also prominent in the midfield group, recording 14 disposals, two marks, three tackles, four clearances and two rebounds, while co-captain Maya Rigter had the nine touches, five tackles and four clearances. Elsie Dawes (eight disposals, four tackles, four clearances and two inside 50s), Jo-Anna Baltais (10 touches, eight tackles and two rebounds) and Isobel Kuiper (10 disposals, eight tackles and two rebounds) were also among the best for the winners.

For the Bulldogs, Shelby Smith amassed a team-high 15 disposals, as well as 10 tackles, three clearances and four inside 50s, while Lauren Breguet was strong through the middle with 12 disposals, seven tackles and four clearances. Up forward Rosenzweig was hard to contain, booting 2.1 from 10 disposals, four marks (three contested), four tackles and two inside 50s, while Alicia Butler (14 disposals, six tackles) and Laitiah Huynh (14 disposals, four tackles) also showed fierce defensive pressure in the loss.

WEST ADELAIDE 0.2 | 2.3 | 3.5 | 3.5 (23)
NORWOOD 0.0 | 1.2 | 1.2 | 3.5 (23)

GOALS:

West: M. Elsegood 2, K. Culhane.
Norwood: M. Breed, A. Gould, S. Hiscock.

HIGH DISPOSALS:

West: R. Martin 20, M. Newman 18, R. Killian 17, K. Culhane 15
Norwood: M. Zander 22, M. Breed 17, L. Cutting 15

West Adelaide has maintained third sport on the SANFL Women’s table, while Norwood keeps its premiership hopes alive after the pair drew in an exciting Saturday evening contest. In a low-scoring affair, the Bloods looked to have the Redlegs covered at the final break, but a 2.3 to 0.0 final quarter resulted in the visitors drawing level by the final siren.

Neither team could register a goal in the opening term, with West Adelaide scoring a couple of behinds through Melanie Elsegood and Helen Maidment. Norwood then had its chances go begging on the other side of quarter time with back-to-back behinds, before the Bloods made the most of their chances midway through the term. Kasia Culhane had an impact coming back into the team with a good goal, followed by Elsegood making good on a chance five minutes later. Mattea Breed missed a chance early in the term but then saluted near half-time to bring the deficit back to seven points. Elsegood added more pressure to the Redlegs in the third term with an early goal with a couple of behinds either side of the major at opposite ends of the quarter going begging. The main positive for the Bloods was the fact Norwood had not scored since Breed’s late goal in the second term. That would change in the final term as Norwood charged home from a 15-point deficit, as Ashlee Gould and Shai Hiscock converted chances with the latter’s coming with just a few minutes on the clock to level the scores and moments after a flying snap from Breed that bent a little too much. Despite both team’s efforts in the final few minutes – West Adelaide doing the bulk of the attacking – neither could find a winning score and the match fittingly finished as a draw.

Statistically the sides were evenly matched across the board with the Bloods having just six more disposals and two more marks, though Norwood controlled the centre square with 10 more hitouts (22-12) and three more clearances (17-14), while West Adelaide had a lot more chances inside 50 (30-20). The Redlegs defence stepped up however, rebounding 27 times to the Bloods’ 16, while West Adelaide’s tackling pressure was a feature of its game with 65 tackles to 51.

Rachelle Martin was arguably best on ground with 20 disposals, three marks, nine tackles and five clearances, working as the dominant clearance midfielder on the Westies’ side. Madison Newman returned to the team and almost pinpointed a crucial pass inside 50 late, finishing with 18 disposals, four marks (one contested), four inside 50s and four rebounds, while Culhane’s inclusion yielded 15 touches, five marks – two contested – five tackles, five inside 50s and a goal. Abbie Ballard (14 touches, six tackles, two clearances), Kate Walsh (13 disposals, two marks, 12 hitouts, three clearances, two inside 50s and two tackles) and Keeley Kustermann (12 disposals, three rebounds) were solid too.

Matilda Zander was a natural ball-winner once again, amassing 22 touches, three marks – one contested – seven tackles, two clearances and three inside 50s, while Breed was arguably the top player on the Redlegs’ team with 17 disposals, four marks – three contested – four tackles, five clearances, two inside 50s and three rebounds, as well as 1.2. Leah Cutting took control in the ruck and had 15 disposals, four marks, 21 hitouts, six tackles, two clearances and four inside 50s, while Michele Reid (13 disposals, five rebounds) and Rebekka McMahon (eight disposals, five rebounds) held up in defence. Jade Halfpenny was equally strong in the air with three contested marks from her five total, also picking up 13 disposals, three tackles, two clearances and three inside 50s.

SOUTH ADELAIDE 3.1 | 3.1 | 3.2 | 3.3 (21)
NORTH ADELAIDE 0.0 | 3.0 | 3.0 | 4.1 (25)

GOALS:

South: J. Kirk 2, N. Campbell.
North: K. Barltrop 2, C. Castle, H. Ewings.

HIGH DISPOSALS:

South: C. Barry 23, N. Campbell 22, C. Cavouras 21, I. Tahau 16
North: L. Daniel 18, L. Gauci 18, K. Pope 17, K. Harvey 15

North Adelaide has remained as the sole undefeated side in the SANFL Women’s competition after a late goal to Kelly Barltrop sealed a four-point win over reigning premiers, South Adelaide. In a grand final rematch, last year’s leading goalkicker might have been the hero, but after a slow start and conceding the first three goals of the match, the Roosters kept the Panthers to just two behinds for the rest of the contest as they booted 4.1 themselves during the 4.1 (25) to 3.3 (21) victory.

Early on it was seemingly like it could be a one-sided contest as Nicole Campbell booted a goal midway through the term, and by quarter time, consistent goalkicker and last week’s dominant scorer, Jess Kirk had 2.1 to her name with goals in the ninth and 14th minutes of the quarter. Without a score on the board and trailing by 19 points at the break, North Adelaide fans wanted a response from their faithful – watching from home of course – and it was Cristie Castle who gave it to them with an early goal to break the deadlock. Barltrop soon chipped in with her first goal since Round 1, while Rising Star talent, Hannah Ewings joined the party for the Roosters to be back within a point by the main break having kicked three goals in six minutes. Neither team could elicit a major in the third term, with young gun, Teah Charlton missing a chance at the sixth minute mark of the third quarter, and the next score came a good 20 minutes later when Ashleigh Woodland also added a behind to her name. When Courtney Barry scored a behind for the Panthers at the 14-minute mark of the final term, they held a two-point lead meaning the Roosters would need a major to win. In a remarkable play for a side that had not scored a goal since midway through the second term, the team went end-to-end and while each of the players managed to hit targets, it was Katelyn Pope‘s daring move to take on an opponent, get the extra five metres and deliver the ball quickly enough into Barltrop to not have a third player come over and spoil. Last year’s leading goalkicker turned around and kicked towards goal seemingly between having a shot and passing to a one-on-one and whilst a hand flew up and Panthers defenders appealed for a touched ball, the goal was given the all-clear and the Roosters held on for a remarkable win.

Both these teams love to use the ball and they clocked over 200 disposals each, though the Roosters had 40 marks to 26, while the Panthers still applied plenty of tackling pressure (78-64). South Adelaide won the clearances (28-21) and dominated the inside 50s (31-16) despite losing the hitouts (29-25). Credit must be given to North Adelaide’s defence that held up well with 26 rebounds to 13, surviving the wave of Panther attacks.

The Roosters shared the ball around with Lauren Gauci clocking up the most touches with 19, as well as four tackles and three rebounds, as Lauren Daniel (18 disposals, four marks, three tackles, three clearances and three rebounds) and Pope (17 disposals, four tackles, three clearances, three inside 50s and four rebounds) both got back to help the back six. Kristi Harvey was unstoppable at full-back, a complete brick wall with 15 disposals, eight marks – two contested – six tackles and eight clearances, while Bek Rasheed stood tall in the ruck with 21 hitouts from 11 touches and five tackles. Woodland was not as dominant as past weeks, but still managed 14 disposals, eight tackles and three clearances, while Castle booted a goal from 13 disposals, three marks, three tackles, two clearances and two inside 50s.

South Adelaide had a number of prominent ball winners as Barry led the midfield with 23 disposals, two marks, five tackles, eight clearances and three inside 50s, alongside Czenya Cavouras (21 disposals, 12 tackles, seven clearances and five inside 50s). Campbell was also a prominent ball winner in there with 23 disposals, two marks, nine tackles, three clearances and five inside 50s, as Indy Tahau laid double-figure tackles too with 10, to go with 17 hitouts, 16 disposals and two inside 50s. Jaslynne Smith was the standout defender for the Panthers, having a remarkable eight of her team’s 13 rebounds as well as 11 touches and five marks. Kirk again made the most of her chances with 2.1 from just four disposals, but she laid five tackles too.

SANFL Women’s Round 4 preview: Top of the table clash beckons

AFTER the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s players enjoyed a long weekend off, they return to action tonight and tomorrow night with a couple of double headers played at X Convenience Oval and Flinders University Stadium. The final game of the round is predicted to be the best of the lot with the top two sides, South Adelaide and North Adelaide doing battle, whilst West Adelaide looks to keep breathing space inside the top three when the Bloods take on fifth placed Norwood. In the games tonight, Woodville-West Torrens hopes to open its account against fourth placed Glenelg who found form last round, whilst one of Central District or Sturt will grab their second win of the season in the other game.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS vs. GLENELG
Friday, March 13, 6.30pm
X Convenience Oval

Woodville-West Torrens is still waiting for its maiden SANFL Women’s competition win after pushing reigning premiers, South Adelaide all the way in Round 1, almost having it against Norwood in Round 2, and then getting narrowly beaten by Sturt in Round 3. For Glenelg, its season did not look great early, going down to North Adelaide in the opening round by 24 points, then getting smashed by West Adelaide to the tune of 40 points in the second week. Last week the Tigers turned it around with a smashing of their own to gain back some vital percentage points thanks to a 50-point win over Central District. The win catapulted last year’s fourth placed team into that position and put the Tigers’ season back on track. Now they take on a side that has been so good for long stints of games, but just failed to close it out when it counts.

The Eagles are renowned as the competition’s premier tackling team. Whilst it does mean that often they are second to the ball – ranked seventh for disposals and fifth for disposal differential, they are miles ahead of any other team when it comes to defensive pressure. The Eagles have laid a whopping 237 tackles in just three games – 51 more than their nearest rival. They have a plus 69 in the statistic, and that is an area that Glenelg will have to be wary of, though the Tigers also rank strongly with a plus 26 (second) and 182 total for third overall.

Glenelg’s strength comes in its ruck craft with a competition high 90 and plus 44 in hitouts and hitouts differential respectively. The Eagles have a struggled a tad in that area, ranked sixth for differential, whilst both teams have similar clearance numbers. Often the Eagles defence has to stand up under immense pressure with a minus 30 in inside 50s, ranked seventh in the comp, though Glenelg is only marginally better ranked fifth with a plus seven. Despite losing two games, Glenelg’s rebounding numbers are the equal worst in the comp at 46, with a seventh rank of differential at minute 10. The Eagles are the top side in both areas, with 84 and plus 26 respectively.

Both sides have been forced to make a number of changes to the Round 3 line-ups, with Caitlin Gould the huge out from the Tigers as she was recalled for Adelaide AFL Women’s duty. Along with Chelsea Packer and Sam Franson who are both injured, the Tigers are understrength for the clash, and are missing a number of quality players from the 22. To try and fill the quality lost in the side are Molly Althouse, Molly Affolter and Tasja Batzavalis, with Althouse not playing since Round 1, and the other two recalled after missing Round 2. A player who has been in some ripping form this year is Tessa Kohn, who will look to control the midfield, averaging 12 disposals, 4.7 tackles, 4.3 clearances and 2.3 inside 50s so far this season on the inside. Alongside her is the tackling machine in Lucy Armitage who has laid a whopping 7.3 tackles to go with her 9.3 disposals (86 per cent efficiency). The Tigers coaching staff have also shuffled the magnets with midfielder-defender, Madisyn Freeman named in the forward pocket to try and potentially fill the void left by Franson.

The home team has also been forced to make a number of changes with Georgia Taylor missing through a knee injury and Mikayla Cavallaro suffering concussion, whilst three other changes have been made. Jaida Tabb – sister of Eagles and Adelaide AFL Women’s Jaimi is set to make her debut after just missing out last week, whilst Charlotte Dolan achieves the same milestone in the game. A crucial recall is Adelaide’s Rhiannon Metcalfe who will proved an important presence in the ruck against a Tigers outfit renowned for its stoppage work. Jaimi Tabb (12.3 disposals, 6.7 tackles, 6.7 tackles and 1.0 goals) has been thrown into the midfield after three goals playing out of full-forward last week, joined in there by fellow teenager, Teagan Usher (7.0 disposals, 4.3 tackles, 2.3 clearances). With Tesharna Maher (11.3 disposals, 4.7 rebounds) in defence and Kiana Lee (9.7 disposals, 3.7 marks and 1.3 goals) up in attack, the Eagles’ youth is what drives the team each week and sooner or later the scales will tip and they will close out a game.

Based on what we will witness, it will be a fierce tackling game with two sides who are not renowned for getting a heap of ball inside 50, but Glenelg will need to make the most of its opportunities if it is to capitalise on its ruck dominance. The Eagles’ defence and defensive pressure are rated the best in the league for a reason, and you cannot fault them in that regard. Woodville-West Torrens players just need to hold their nerves during crucial moments, because they could well have been 2-1 or even 3-0 to start the season, though you feel a win is not too far away.

CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. STURT
Friday, March 13, 8.15pm
X Convenience Oval

The second game of tonight’s double header pits home side, Central District up against Sturt in a battle of seventh against sixth respectively. The Bulldogs started the season with a groundbreaking four-point win over last year’s minor premiers Norwood for the first time. Since then though, they lost to North Adelaide by 54 points, and Glenelg by 50 in what has been a rough couple of weeks in Rounds 2 and 3. They have had a week off to reassess and this game could be a real chance for the Bulldogs to get back on the winners board with Sturt having a similar season, but in reverse. The Double Blues finally grinded out a win by eight points over a plucky Woodville-West Torrens outfit last week, which came after back-to-back losses of 21 (West Adelaide) and 34 points (South Adelaide), but more concerning was the fact the Double Blues had only kicked 3.6 in those games combined. They turned that around last week with 5.6 in the game, and will be hoping to take advantage in this contest. Central District has only scored 2.5 combined in the past two weeks themselves, so the Bulldogs might look to a similar inspiration to bounce back with some more scoring.

Central District’s defence is ranked second in the competition, with 75 total rebounds, and a differential of plus 23, just three behind the leaders in that stat, Woodville-West Torrens. Whilst it might seem obvious the bottom two sides have the highest differential (with sixth placed Sturt third but a bit behind with plus three), they have managed to rebound 76 per cent of the opposition’s inside 50s. The Bulldogs are not a high possession side though, ranked eighth in total disposals and differential, kicking and handballing differentials, clearances, and hitouts and inside 50s total and differential. But it is hard to read into that too early in the season, though they won in Round 1 with these stats in the red. The Bulldogs are a kick-first side with a 3.26 ratio between kicks to handballs (more than three kicks to every handball), whilst their opposition has run at a ratio of 2.1. Their defence is their strength, so that is where they can look to rebound from and counter against Sturt in this game.

The Double Blues have a few more areas where they lead the league, with marks differential (plus 67) and total hitouts (80), which shows that they like to get first hands on it and also play more of a simplified game by hitting targets more so than running and gunning it. Their 2.4 kick-to-handball ratio is higher than the league average, but despite their hitouts dominance, they have not been able to translate that into clearance numbers, ranked eighth in the league with a differential of minus 27. They also only have one more inside 50 than their opponent coming into this game, though with 28 more on differentials. Their matches so far have largely been played between the arcs compared to the Bulldogs, with 131 times going inside 50 at either end of the ground compared to Central District’s 197. They win a bit more of the ball, but again are ranked seventh for disposal differential, so these are two sides that are not huge possession sides, but try and make the most of their opportunities going forward.

With the return of the rebranded National Basketball League (NBL)1 Central, Sturt will be without ruck Stephanie Ratliff, whilst Jaimee Wittervan will play her other sport of touch football this weekend. Lane Trenorden is the other forced out for the Double Blues, missing due to illness, whilst six players have been named in an extended interchange situation. Olivia McEvoy, Kiera Mueller and Louise Firth could make their debuts in the match, while Hannah Dreckow and Cherie Bamford join Elsie Dawes as other ins for the side. The strength of the Double Blues was their hitouts, though it is hard to deny the impact of co-captains, Georgia Bevan and Maya Rigter this season. Bevan has averaged a team-high 19.3 disposals, 2.7 marks, 7.3 tackles, 2.7 clearances, 2.3 inside 50s and 2.3 rebounds, while Rigter has put up numbers of 14.7 disposals, 4.0 marks, 8.0 tackles and 2.3 clearances. Right alongside them in the best and fairest contention would have to be 17-year-old Hannah Prenzler who has been a rock in defence, averaging 12.3 disposals (at 81 per cent efficiency), 5.7 marks, 2.3 tackles and 2.3 rebounds from her three games this season. Fellow youngster, Zoe Prowse might have a bigger role in the ruck now Ratliff is out of the side, averaging 10.7 disposals, 2.7 marks and 10.3 hitouts per game thus far.

Central is lucky enough to not have to make any forced changes, instead adding four players to its side with an extended bench ahead of tonight’s big clash. Keely Cannizzaro returns after a couple of weeks out and slots straight into centre half-back, while Ella Mickan (wing), Tess Gerhardy (back pocket) and Hannah Pavlovich (interchange) are the others to come into the team. The focal point up forward is undoubtedly Katelyn Rosenzweig who after booting four goals a game in the win over Norwood, has only managed the two since. She has booted six of the Bulldogs’ seven goals in season 2020, so the home side must find more options to goal if they are to be a threat of kicking a winning score. With Sturt having some strong defenders, the likes of Shannon Murphy (full-forward) and Georgia Madigan (forward pocket) could be targets to add scoreboard pressure. Demi Sonneman (14.7 disposals, 5.0 rebounds) is enjoying a really strong season in the back 50, teaming up well with Kimberley Fry (10 disposals, 3.7 rebounds) and making it difficult for opposition teams to control the airways. Through the midfield, Shelby Smith (14.7 disposals, 43.7 marks, 3.7 clearances, 3.7 tackles, 2.0 inside 50s and 2.0 rebounds) is the one to watch out for as she has been finding her fair share of the ball for the Bulldogs on the inside.

The Bulldogs have put out a really stable side for the next round match, not panicking with changes and backing in their squad. The Double Blues have lost a number of players through various circumstances and that could assist the Bulldogs in bouncing back with a win. In saying that, last round Sturt looked very impressive in its victory over Woodville-West Torrens and if it can replicate its form, then the Double Blues deserve favouritism. With more avenues to goal, the Bulldogs will be a bigger threat and if they can execute that, then watch out.

WEST ADELAIDE vs. NORWOOD
Saturday, March 14, 5.30pm
Flinders University Stadium

Opening up a massive double header at Flinders University Stadium which features four of the top five teams is a clash between third and fifth on the SANFL Women’s ladder. West Adelaide is coming off its first loss of the season, going down to North Adelaide by 21 points last week after accounting for Glenelg (40 points) the week before, and Sturt (21) in Round 1. They head into this match hoping to bounce back, and remain a win clear of the Redlegs inside the top three. Norwood started its season off with a four-point win over Central District in Round 1, before bouncing back with a thrilling last-minute win over Woodville West Torrens by a point in Round 2, then suffering defeat again, this time by 30 points to South Adelaide.

Statistically speaking, West Adelaide is the number one clearance team in the competition. Racking up 77 clearances – nine more than the Bloods’ nearest rival – and 26 more than their opponents across the first three weeks, it is an area that they can really take advantage of here. Unfortunately the stoppage dominance has not always led to inside 50 numbers, ranked sixth overall in that area, and when it does go back the other way, the Bloods are equal lowest in terms of overall rebounds. In many other areas they are middle of the road and not too bad, though they are very much a handball-happy side with a 1.87 kick-to-handball ratio, and are ranked fourth overall for disposals.

One ahead of them in ball-winning numbers is the Redlegs who are ranked third in the competition for total disposals, though in their loss to South Adelaide had 63 less touches despite clocking up 201 disposals themselves. One of Norwood’s top strengths is its marking ability, having clunked the second most marks in the competition (141) and marking differential (plus 57). They also lead the league in clearance differential (plus 32) and pump the ball inside 50 more often than any other team (93) with a healthy plus 18 in that stat differential. Their areas of improvement are defensive ones, with Norwood’s tackling differential (minus 68) and rebounding differential (minus 26) the two key areas where they rank eighth in the competition for.

Looking to the teams and West Adelaide has made three changes, with Nicole Hooper missing the game due to injury, while Tara McDermott and Marie Martino are also listed as outs. Coming into the team is clever forward, Kasia Culhane to boost the attacking stocks, as well as Taylor Hand and Ashlea James. What makes the West Adelaide midfield so deep is the top-end talent of Abbie Ballard (19.7 disposals, 2.3 marks, 3.3 tackles, 4.7 clearance and 3.0 inside 50s) and Rachelle Martin (17.3 disposals, 6.3 tackles, 5.0 clearances and 2.3 inside 50s), while Zoe Greer (11.0 disposals, 6.3 tackles and 3.7 clearances) adds to that talent with all three making life difficult for opposition onballers. Up forward, Melanie Elsegood is a strong target coming out of full-forward with multiple goals in all three goals, while Zoe Venning is just 16, but has been good rotating up the ground for 18.3 disposals, 4.3 marks, 2.3 tackles, 2.7 clearances and 2.0 inside 50s. Throw in Keeley Kustermann (13.7 disposals, 2.0 marks, 2.0 tackles and 3.7 rebounds) off half-back alongside the reliable Helen Maidment and Lauren Rodato and West Adelaide’s defence can be as stringent as its forward line can be potent.

Norwood has been forced to make three changes to its Round 3 side, with Alison Ferrall missing the game due to a wedding, and Rhiannon Busch and Rosette Zeralla both out of the team as well. Kate Fenton is among three changes coming into the Redlegs’ side as they eye off a potential top four spot with a Glenelg loss. While they might be 1-2 from a win-loss perspective, Norwood has some serious top-end talent that has just taken a hit due to the quality of last year’s team which saw players drafted into the AFL Women’s competition. Leading the way for Norwood is Leah Cutting who has been sensational in the ruck and a key reason why the Redlegs are ranked second in the competition for hitout differential. The combination of Matilda Zander (17.7 disposals, 5.0 marks, 3.0 tackles and 3.0 inside 50s) – who has recently signed with Collingwood VFL Women’s side – and Bella Smith (8.3 disposals, 3.3 marks and 3.3 inside 50s) through the midfield has been a strong one in the absence of players such as Najwa Allen, Hannah Dunn and Ebony O’Dea who all left to chase their dreams at the elite level. Veteran, Jo Hill continues to be a source of scoring for the Redlegs, booting six goals from three games and will look for that to continue in this game, while versatile utility Mattea Breed (16.0 disposals, 2.0 marks, 2.7 tackles, 3.3 clearances, 4.0 inside 50s) has been able to play across all three lines.

The game itself is a hard one to predict, but given West Adelaide’s consistent form – only being overrun by a premiership contender in North Adelaide last week – and Norwood’s inconsistent form, the Bloods start as favourites in the game. Added to the fact the Redlegs have lost a few key players in the game, expect the Bloods to try and dominate the midfield and give their forwards first opportunity at scoring going inside 50.

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
Saturday, March 14, 7.15pm
Flinders University Stadium

The top of the table clash is the most anticipated match of the SANFL Women’s season thus far, with the second placed South Adelaide hosting the top ranked North Adelaide. In what is also a replay of last year’s SANFL Women’s Grand Final, the Panthers and Roosters have overcome some serious outs from the off-season to still lead the pack in the 2020 competition. In Round 1, the Panthers survived a scare against Woodville-West Torrens to win by four points, then got their groove going after that with a 34-point triumph over Sturt and a five-goal victory over Norwood. The Roosters have had a flawless start to the season with a 24-point win over Glenelg in the opening week of the season, then dominated Central District by 54 and clocked up a 21-point win over West Adelaide in another top of the table clash just last week.

Statistically, both these teams are the clear standouts throughout the season, ranked in the top two in most areas. Starting with the Panthers, they are ranked first for disposal, kick and handball differential, and second for disposals, kicks, tackles and clearances. They do not have too many Achilles heels in the side, though despite having the second most tackles, are actually minus four in that differential, ranked sixth overall. It has helped them prepare for fierce defensive pressure from their opposition and being able to withstand it, something that will help the reigning premiers along the way. In terms of inside 50s they rank third, and also rank third for rebounds, with the Panthers more than capable to defend and attack between and inside the arcs. They are ranked fifth in hitout differential, but it has not stopped them being a premier clearance side.

North Adelaide has its fair share of elite qualities, proving that sheer weight of numbers can overwhelm opposition sides. They ranked first in disposals, kicks and marks in a simple, yet effective possession-style game. With a slight deficiency in tackling (134 total, plus five differential ranked eighth and fourth respectively), it is hard not to have one given their ridiculous amount of the ball they collect each week. They will need to improve their hitouts and clearance work, ranked in the bottom three sides for both, with their real strength coming in their inside 50s. The Roosters have pumped the ball inside 89 times (ranked second in the competition) and have a plus 26 in that statistic, eight more than their nearest rival, and nine more than the Panthers. The Roosters are ranked lower in their rebounds, with an equal fifth and sixth ranked respectively for total and differential in the stat. North Adelaide can take advantage with its keepings-off style and dominating play through a kick-mark-inside 50 gameplan, whilst the Panthers will look to handball their way down the field with speed, often straight out of the stoppages.

The home side has been forced to make at least four chances to its winning combination which could play a role in the game. Montana McKinnon got her chance for the Crows last week during the bye and has retained her spot after a strong debut which is great news, but not so much for the Panthers who will miss her presence around the ground. Also out due to work and unavailability are Lucy Northcott and Sophie Flanagan-Sjoberg, while Kelli Nijhuis suffered a knee injury and will miss. A procession of players return to the line-up with seven players named on an extended bench. Those named straight into the side are 17-year-old Brooklyn Kraft who replaces McKinnon in the ruck for Kraft’s first game of 2020 after four last year, and 16-year-old Lauren Clifton who slots into centre half-back after missing the last two games. Much of the talk around South Adelaide has been its impressive youngsters with Teah Charlton averaging a massive 21.3 disposals, 5.3 tackles, 3.7 clearances and 4.3 inside 50s per game, having really picked up in the past two weeks in particular. Indy Tahau is another who has not been overawed averaging 14.7 disposals, 2.7 marks, 2.3 tackles, 4.0 clearances and 2.3 inside 50s – ranked equal fourth in contested marks having taken five already this year. Somehow flying under the radar is South Adelaide’s midfield of Czenya Cavouras (18.3 disposals, 6.7 tackles and 4.3 clearances), Tahlia Meyer (16.7 disposals, 2.0 marks, 2.7 tackles, 2.7 inside 50s) and Samantha Pratt (11 disposals, 2.7 marks, 5.3 tackles and 3.0 rebounds) – the latter of whom has been named onball after playing a key role in defence last week.

North’s team selection by comparison is relatively stable with just one player added to the line-up on an extended bench with none yet to come out of the side. Charlea Taylor could potentially make her debut for the red and whites in what is the Roosters’ biggest game of the season. It is hard to fault too much with North Adelaide’s performance this year and many of these players will have fire in the belly after losing to the Panthers in last year’s decider. A win here might not make up for the grand final loss, but it will give them confidence going forward they can stand up in big games against quality opposition. The North Adelaide forward line is an embarrassment of riches, with last year’s leading goalkicker Kelly Barltrop yet to dominate but expected to let loose sometime soon, while the likes of Cristie Castle (18.3 disposals, 5.3 marks and 2.0 inside 50s), Hannah Ewings (12.7 disposals, 3.7 marks, 4.0 tackles and 4.0 inside 50s) and Katelyn Pope (14.0 disposals, 5.5 inside 50s, 2.5 tackles) all troubling opposition defenders, with the latter two roaming up the ground and pumping the ball inside 50 on multiple occasions. The star of the club, if not competition this year so far is Ashleigh Woodland who has been dominating on all fronts on her way to an average of 16.7 disposals, 4.7 marks, 2.7 tackles. 2.3 inside 50s and since going forward, has booted seven goals from an average of 20.5 disposals. Also through the midfield is Leah Tynan (14.3 disposals at 91 per cent efficiency, 3.7 tackles, 3.0 clearances and 2.3 inside 50s) and Lauren Daniel (18.0 disposals, 3.7 marks, 3.7 tackles, 3.3 clearances and 2.0 inside 50s), whilst Amber Ward, Kristi Harvey and Lauren Gauci all sure up the defence to give the Roosters a consistent effort across the ground and ensure the opposition team struggles to kick high scores.

The big difference between the teams is the styles that they adopt and while they both are miles ahead of the rest of the competition in terms of disposals, the Panthers look for the quick handball at a competition-low kick-to-handball ratio of 1.3, compared to North Adelaide’s 1.7, which is still below the competition average, but is considerably higher than their opponents. Given North’s strength going inside, if the Roosters can break even in the clearances, then it gives them a huge advantage over their Southern rivals. If the Panthers get on top in the middle, and can find space around the ground, then it gives their chances a huge boost of coming out on top. An absolute ripping contest awaits.

SANFL Women’s preview: Round 2 – Bulldogs and Roosters lock claws in standalone Saturday game

AT least one team will suffer its first loss in Round 2, while another will get on the board with its first win in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition, as a blockbuster Friday night is planned across two venues. The undefeated clash between Central District and North Adelaide then takes place on Saturday morning in what could be a blockbuster match.

WEST ADELAIDE vs. GLENELG
Friday, February 21, 6.30pm
Hisense Stadium

Opening up the second round of the SANFL Women’s is a clash between two sides with differing results from the opening round of action. Glenelg went down to North Adelaide by 24 points at X Convenience Oval on the back of conceding six consecutive goals, while West Adelaide ran out 21-point winners over Sturt in the game immediately after that contest. Looking across both games, Glenelg had the much higher efficiency, running at 73 per cent in a match that was higher skilled against the Roosters, while the Westies had a 61 per cent efficiency against Sturt, but got the job done. The Tigers dominated the hitouts (+8) and clearances (+7) but lost the inside 50s (-2) and booted 2.10 for the match in a disappointing effort in front of goal. Had it been 10.2 instead, the Tigers win by 16 points. The Bloods were well beaten in the hitouts (-13) but completely dismantled Sturt in the clearances (+15) and inside 50s (+11), while also laying more tackles (+10). One area the Bloods would want to improve on from Round 1 was the opposition’s uncontested ball movement, with Sturt taking 46 marks to 20. What the Round 1 matches tell us is that Glenelg need to make more of its chances inside 50, and limit the influence of West Adelaide’s superb onball division, which included Abbie Ballard – who led the league in disposals with 27 – and Rachelle Martin who both form a damaging contested-ball duo. Glenelg should get first hands to the ball at stoppages with Soriah Moon playing well on debut, and recording more hitouts than the entire West Adelaide side. But with Ballard and Martin combining for 14 hitouts – and ruck Kate Walsh even recording four, it is a tough midfield to combat. Glenelg will rely on the likes of Madisyn Freeman to push up the grounds at times, winning an equal team-high four clearances last week, and if the likes of Sam Franson (two behinds) and Molly Althouse (four marks, two contested) can start to have an impact up forward, then they will be a damaging forward six to combat. Keely Kustermann looked settled last week and covers a lot of ground, while Lauren Rodato is a consistent player in defence for the Bloods. Up forward, Kasia Culhane and Melanie Elsegood both scored multiple goals, and Elsegood could have had a real day out if she put through a few more of her five chances (2.3). West Adelaide will start favourites in this clash due to the onball and forward talent, but Glenelg’s loss last week was not as bad as it might appear on the surface, and it is about taking chances in Round 2.

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. STURT
Friday, February 21, 7pm
Flinders University Stadium

These two teams also come into this clash with different results from Round 1, but both sides would know they can improve on their output from those respective matches. South Adelaide pulled off the great escape against Woodville-West Torrens, while Sturt suffered a disappointing defeat at the hands of West Adelaide. In that game, the double Blues were well beaten around the contest with the clearances (-15) and the inside 50s (-11) going the way of the Bloods. This all came despite Sturt winning almost double West Adelaide’s hitouts (+13). The area where Sturt impressed was in its outside ball as the Double Blues took 26 more marks (more than double) and had a solid 68 per cent disposal efficiency, playing a kick-first gamestyle. South Adelaide plays a possession-style brand of football, racking up 33 more disposals than the Eagles in Round 1, nullifying the opposition’s ability to get ball to boot with a low kick-to-handball ratio. The Panthers are great at shutting down the outside run, with the Eagles only taking 18 marks to South Adelaide’s 37, while the Panthers also won the hitouts (+4), clearances (+9) and inside 50s (+6). Despite all this going the reigning premiers way, they won by just four points, and it was the defensive pressure of the Eagles that forced them to overuse the ball, and also the visitors’ inaccuracy that helped the Panthers get home. South Adelaide is an incredible side and it will be expected to put out a similar effort against Sturt in shutting down the outside run and making more chances in front of goal. With Montana McKinnon potentially heading back to AFL Women’s after being named in the extend squad, Sturt will have a advantage in the ruck, and the Double Blues’ defensive setup is quite solid, but they cannot afford to be beaten out of the middle again. Stephanie Ratliff and Zoe Prowse were impressive in the ruck last week, with the mobile Prowse also doing her part around the stoppages. Georgia Bevan and Maya Rigter (five combined clearances last week) will have to step up again in this contest, with South Adelaide having the likes of Indy Tahau (eight clearances), Czenya Cavouras (six) and Teah Charlton (four) all standing out as a dominant trio in there. Rachel Dunstan and Hannah Prenzler were able to work hard defensively, with Prenzler picking up two rebounds and seven marks against the Bloods to hold up in the defensive 50. Along with Alysha Healy and Aajiah Jerico, it will be important for the visiting side to hold up back there and drive the ball forward against an unpredictable forward line. South gets a lot of goals out of its midfield, and once it wins the ball, it is hard to stop it being locked in the Panthers’ forward half. Expect South Adelaide to come out firing, with so much depth in its side, but if Sturt can make more of its ruck dominance, then the Double Blues can try and up the tempo and play keepings-off.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS vs. NORWOOD
Friday, February 21, 8.15pm
Hisense Stadium

Yet to have a win in their short history, Woodville-West Torrens Eagles would be seeing this Friday night clash as a real chance to breakthrough and record a ‘W’. The Eagles came agonisingly close to causing a boilover against reigning premiers South Adelaide on the road, and now take on a Norwood side still finding its feet after so much change in the off-season. With a brand new midfield brigade, the Redlegs still looked solid, but will be better for the run during the loss against Central District last week. Norwood had an extra scoring shot than the Bulldogs, and played their traditional possession style game with 33 more disposals and 30 more marks – including seven more contested – but were not able to capitalise on their inside 50 entries (+7). The Central defence was able to pick-off the attacking forays with eight more rebounds and 16 more tackles. Norwood’s ruck, Leah Cutting is the best in the business and dominated the Bulldogs with 21 more hitouts and that helped the Redlegs win three more clearances too – an area that could further improve considering that ruck work dominance. The Eagles will have seen the pressure that Central applied to the Redlegs and bring much of the same, laying 14 more tackles than the Panthers, and three more rebounds. They will need to make more of their opportunities count as well, booting just three goals from nine scoring chances in Round 1, and you cannot afford to do that every week. The Eagles are not a huge disposal-winning team, but instead have that shared brand of football where everyone plays their role and it seemed to be effective for the most part against a highly-credentialed Panthers side last week. Youngster, Tesharna Maher recorded six rebounds in the loss last round, while Allison Evans had three as the pair patrolled the backline. In the middle, Teagan Usher had a team-high four clearances, but the Eagles will need to muster up more of those by sharking the opposition ruck. The tackling pressure is something that the Eagles had no problems bringing, with Evans and Sophie Zuill both laying eight, and Adele Gibson having a team-high four inside 50s. Kiana Lee was quiet on the scoreboard last week but will be better for the run, taking three contested marks and signalling her intent in the air. In the absence of a number of midfielders who made the step up to AFL Women’s this season, Matilda Zander picked up a game-high 20 touches against the Bulldogs last week, well aided by Alison Ferrall (15) and Lindsay Bigg (14). Mattea Breed was also important in that midfield group with three clearances and four inside 50s, while Jo Hill made the most of her chances up forward with two goals. Sophie Armitstead was the leading clearance worker, and while the Redlegs midfield is still developing, they have the talent to make more opportunities from Cutting’s dominance. Norwood have the runs on the board over past years, but the Eagles arguably looked more impressive last week. It will be an absolute blinder of a game.

CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
Saturday, February 22, 11.30am
X Convenience Oval

The only game in Round 2 that features two Round 1 winners is between the sides that finished second and second last, in 2019. A much improved Central District team outlasted last year’s minor premiers Norwood in a nice little upset to start 2020, while North Adelaide booted six consecutive goals to run out four-goal winners over Glenelg and now sit top of the table. In that win, the Roosters actually had five less disposals and seven less tackles, but were so efficient with their scoring accuracy, capitalising on more chances than the Tigers’ 2.10. North lost both the hitouts (-8) and clearances (-7) but rebounded well to win the inside 50 count (+2) and overall were a more efficient side going forward. They will need to continue that throughout the season, because as impressive as the win was, the Roosters can still improve further. The Bulldogs also had less disposals for greater efficiency which makes this an intriguing match. Central had 33 less touches than Norwood in the win last round, and were beaten on the outside with 30 less marks. But the Bulldogs made more of their chances inside 50 and tackled their way to victory (+16). They were smashed in the ruck (-21) and lost the clearances (-3) and inside-50 (-7) counts, but the Bulldogs defence held firm under the attacks with eight more rebounds. The Bulldogs will not be afraid to make it a contested game, with Shelby Smith (20 touches, five clearances and three tackles) leading the way in Round 1, while Jaymee-Lee Sonneman and Lauren Smith both had the three clearances. Demi Sonneman, Kimberley Fry and Abbey Scheer were reliable in defence with a combined 12 clearances, and then Katelyn Rosenzweig was the dominant force up forward with four goals from five scoring chances and seven disposals. North Adelaide has its own goal-scoring machine in Kelly Barltrop, with last year’s leading goalkicker booting two goals in the Round 1 win to start her season off on the right note, while Cristie Castle was sensational across the ground with 17 touches, six marks (three contested), five clearances, four inside 50s and a goal. Hannah Ewings won the Breakthrough Player for Round 1 after the 16-year-old won 12 disposals and four marks, and also booted a goal on debut. Kristi Harvey will likely have the tough job of containing Rosenzweig in the match, while the likes of Lauren Daniel and Amber Ward provide the offensive run out of the back half. North Adelaide have the experience in big games and go in deserving favourites, but the Bulldogs look to have built on last season and will be up for the fight.