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SANFL Women’s review: Round 1 – Panthers survive scare as Bulldogs topple Redlegs

IN a huge first round of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition, the reigning premiers just escaped a fierce battle against last year’s wooden spooners, while fellow bottom two side from 2019, Central District claimed a confidence-boosting win over last year’s minor premiers, Norwood.

SOUTH ADELAIDE 2.2 | 2.2 | 4.3 | 4.4 (28)
WWT EAGLES 1.0 | 3.2 | 3.2 | 3.6 (24)

GOALS:

South: L. Buchanan, J. Kirk, K. Nijhuis, C. Wilson.
Eagles: M. Cavallaro, N. Collie, J. Zecevic.

DISPOSALS:

South: C. Cavouras 20, M. McKinnon 18, I. Tahau 17, J. Smith 15
Eagles: A. Evans 15

Reigning premiers, South Adelaide survived an almighty scare from Woodville-West Torrens to post a win in its opening game of the season. Heading into the match, the Panthers were strong favourites despite so much off-season turnover with a number of players earning places on AFL Women’s lists. Montana McKinnon was available for South in this game however, while Jaimi Tabb ran out for the Eagles after missing out on Crows selection as well.

The match started relatively as expected with Lauren Buchanan and Kelli Nijhuis both booting goals, the latter of whom was on debut prompting much celebration. The celebrations did not last long though, with Nicole Collie breaking through with a major for the Eagles, before Madison Bennett missed a couple of chances on goal. In a surprise to the home fans, the Eagles showed they were well and truly up for the fight, booting two goals to zero in the second term, courtesy of Jovanka Zecevic and 21-year-old debutant, Mikayla Cavallaro. The quarter put the underdogs up by a goal at the main break, but four minutes in and the scores were level again thanks to a Jess Kirk major for the Panthers. Callie Wilson regained some breathing space for South Adelaide with a major midway through the term, and then an arm-wrestle ensured for the remainder of the contest. Neither side could find the big sticks, with five behinds in the last quarter – four to the Eagles with the breeze, and it meant they fell agonisingly short of an inaugural win and massive upset.

South Adelaide had a kick-first mentality that seemed to work, with 35 more disposals, with 65 per cent of those 204 disposals being kicks, while the Eagles had a much lower 56.7 per cent from 171 disposals. It was the outside marking ability of the Panthers that really stood out, taking 37 marks to 18, eight of which were contested. They also won the hitouts (24-20), clearances (26-17) and inside 50s (31-25), but you could not take the defensive pressure out of the contest with the Eagles winning the tackle (73-59) and rebound 50 (25-22) counts.

McKinnon was absolutely sensational and would have given the Crows’ coaching staff plenty to think about, amassing 18 disposals, 20 hitouts, seven marks (five contested), six inside 50s, two tackles and two rebounds in a clear best on ground performance. Working hard through the midfield roving the teenagers’ taps were fellow teens, Indy Tahau and Teah Charlton. The pair combined for 31 disposals, eight clearances, six inside 50s and nine marks in a combination that will no doubt be on show at the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships later in the year. Czenya Cavouras‘ ball-winning ways continued with 20 touches, 11 tackles and six clearances to be the next best after McKinnon, while Jaslynne Smith (15 disposals, seven rebounds) was superb in defence.

For the Eagles, Allison Evans had a team-high 15 touches, three marks, eight tackles, two inside 50s and three rebounds, while Sophie Zuill finished with 13 disposals, eight tackles and two clearances. Providing a hard edge along with that duo was Tabb, who finished the game with 12 disposals, two marks, seven tackles and three rebounds, but was unlucky not to boot a goal in the game, finishing with two behinds. Tesharna Maher was really prominent defending in the back half, having a team-high six rebounds to go with 10 touches and three tackles, while Adele Gibson was fluent in midfield, with four inside 50s, five tackles and 10 disposals.

In the end it was just the overall class of the Panthers and star-stuffed top dozen players that helped them get over the line against a plucky Eagles outfit. Woodville-West Torrens will be better for the run, and come up against a vulnerable Norwood next week at Hisense Stadium, while South Adelaide faces Sturt back at Flinders University Stadium again in a match they should be strong favourites for too.

NORTH ADELAIDE 1.0 | 5.4 | 6.4 | 7.4 (46)
GLENELG 1.4 | 1.4 | 2.9 | 2.10 (22)

GOALS:

North: K. Barltrop 2, C. Castle, H. Ewings, T. Gordon, K. Reynolds, L. Tynan.
Glenelg: J. Bates, J. Bradley.

DISPOSALS:

North: C. Castle 17
Glenelg: S. Franson 16

A hungry North Adelaide side desperate for redemption following last year’s SANFL Women’s Grand Final loss sent a message to the rest of the competition with a four-goal victory over an inaccurate Glenelg side. Six unanswered goals from the 12th minute of the first term through to the 12th minute of the third term handed the Roosters the win, and showed exactly why they could well be the team to beat in season 2020.

It was a mid-morning game on Saturday and Jordana Bradley was the first player to seize the moment, pouncing on a goal for the Tigers to put her side in front. For the majority of the first term, Glenelg dominated, booting 1.4 and looking like they would really build a strong lead. Unfortunately inaccuracy plagued them – as it would throughout the contest, and instead thanks to a Leah Tynan goal midway through the term, the Tigers only led by four points at the first break. Any doubts about the Roosters’ premiership credentials were soon put to bed with a massive four-goal second term, booting 4.4 to 0.0 to run away with a 24-point lead at half-time. Last year’s competition leading goalscorer, Kelly Barltrop got on the board for the first time in season 2020 with a couple of goals, while Hannah Ewings and Cristie Castle both booted majors. All three players could have had more, with Ewings missing a couple of chances and Barltrop and Castle also missing the opportunity for an additional major. With the breeze again in the third term, it was up to Glenelg to make the most of it, but four consecutive behinds in the first 10 minutes of the quarter stung deep. When Tayla Gordon converted the Roosters’ sixth consecutive goal, it was like a dagger to the heart. Jessica Bates managed to boot a drought-breaking major a minute later, but the result was decided. Kathryn Reynolds booted a fourth quarter goal – the only one from either side – to help North Adelaide record a 24-point win.

Despite the lop-sided result, it was largely the second term that decided the match, with Glenelg largely matching it with the Roosters across the statistics. The Tigers had three more disposals – and looked to utilise their kicking ability more – with a 73 per cent disposal efficiency, while laying seven more tackles (41-34). They won the hitouts (23-15) and clearances (22-15), but their decision making once inside 50 needed improvement with just two goals from 12 chances – an additional scoring shot to their opponents. The Roosters showed that despite not playing at their best and being beaten in the midfield, they were able to put away a side by four goals, and still show the damaging firepower they have at their disposal which was a feature of their game in 2019.

Castle was a real inspiration in the forward half and through midfield, winning a game-high 17 disposals and five clearances, as well as taking six marks – three contested and four inside 50s. Lauren Daniel was predictably busy around the ground with 14 disposals, five marks, two clearances and two rebounds, while Adrienne Davis had 13 touches, four marks, three tackles and a clearance. All eyes were on Bek Rasheed in the ruck, with the debutant continuing on the famous family ties – father Mick Redden is the club’s games record holder – with the red and white, having 14 hitouts in the bulk of the ruckload, while also helping herself to seven disposals, three clearances, two tackles and two inside 50s. Barltrop booted two goals, but also had three marks and two tackles, while up the other end, Kristi Harvey marked her return from Carlton’s VFL Womens’ side with nine disposals, two marks and five rebounds playing at full-back. Tynan also had a notable game, amassing 12 touches, four marks, three inside 50s, two rebounds, two clearances, two tackles and a goal.

For Glenelg, youngster Madisyn Freeman looked impressive through the midfield, buzzing around with 14 touches, two marks, four clearances, two tackles, two rebounds and one inside 50, only bettered by Sam Franson who looked fierce through the middle, racking up 16 touches, two marks, six tackles and two inside 50s in her first performance back for 2020. Lucy Earl had 13 kicks which were her total amount of disposals, spreading nicely and trying to create run with five marks and three rebounds out of the back half. Tessa Kohn was one of Glenelg’s most prominent midfielders with the debutant looking good thanks to 12 disposals, four clearances, three inside 50s and two tackles. Also making her debut and holding her own against fellow debutant Rasheed, ruck Soriah Moon had 15 hitouts to accompany 10 disposals, four tackles, two clearances and two inside 50s.

Overall it was a promising, yet not quite perfect performance for the Roosters who once they click across four quarters will be hard to stop. North Adelaide travels to X Convience Oval once again in Round 2, this time being the genuine visiting side against a Central District outfit that looked impressive in Round 1. Glenelg on the other hand takes on West Adelaide at Hisense Stadium in the first game of a double header at the ground on Friday night.

STURT 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.1 | 2.3 (15)
WEST ADELAIDE 1.1 | 2.5 | 4.6 | 5.6 (36)

GOALS:

Sturt: A. Ballard, A. Ladas.
West: K. Culhane 2, M. Elsegood 2, Z. Venning.

HIGH DISPOSALS:

Sturt: G. Bevan 19, M. Rigter 18
West: A. Ballard 27, Z. Venning 17, R. Martin 15

An absolutely inspired performance from pocket rocket, Abbie Ballard has propelled West Adelaide to an opening round win over Sturt. The Westies always looked in control, but stepped it up in the second half to boot three goals to two, restricting the Double Blues to just five scoring shots for the entire match. It was an imposing performance from the West Adelaide line-up that looked desperate to undo the wrongs of last season where the Bloods narrowly missed out on finals. Fast forward to the start of 2020, and they look ready and raring to go for a big season ahead.

The first half was largely anticlimactic for the neutral as West Adelaide completely dominated its opponent. Kasia Culhane kicked the first goal of the match six minutes into the game, before a goal early in the second term to Melanie Elsegood was the only other major in a low-scoring half of action. Elsegood had chances to add to her total with a couple of behinds either side of her goal in the first half, while West Adelaide’s fierce pressure provided plenty of forward entries, four consecutive behinds meant the Westies were not getting value for money going forward. Ally Ladas finally broke the drought for the Double Blues in the opening two minutes of the third term, albeit with a behind, before business returned to normal as Culhane and Elsegood both booted their second goals to race out to a 29-point advantage at the final break. Something clicked in Sturt to start the last term, as co-captains Maya Rigter and Georgia Bevan both had chances in the opening few minutes but missed, while Ladas broke through with her first goal, joined by Alex Ballard four minutes later. The margin was back to 15 points and there was an air of uncertainty about the result for the first time since before the game, though Zoe Venning soon put that to rest with a goal midway through the term to solidify a 5.6 (36) to 2.3 (15) victory.

West Adelaide dominated the clearances and inside 50s which was where the game was won, as the Westies doubled Sturt’s clearances (30-15) and almost doubled the inside-50 count (24-13). This came off the back of Sturt actually dominating the ruck contest (28 hitouts to 15), and taking more marks around the ground (46-20). They used the ball more efficiently with a 68 per cent record on the day, but the Double Blues could not win enough of the ball around stoppages and give their forwards enough chances in front of goal. Their effort and intensity was certainly there, but the Bloods were too strong around the clinches.

In what was not only a best on ground performance, but a Player of the Round performance, Ballard had an absolute field day out on X Convenience Oval, racking up 27 disposals, five marks – one contested – nine clearances, four tackles and three inside 50s. To put that in perspective, Sturt only had 15 clearances, six more than Ballard alone. Her partner-in-crime, Rachelle Martin looked very impressive coming back from her debut with Adelaide as the top-up injury player, amassing 15 disposals, five clearances, a game-high 11 tackles and two inside 50s to support Ballard on the inside. Venning’s late goal capped off a strong performance of 17 disposals, two marks, five tackles, three clearances and two inside 50s, while Keeley Kustermann worked hard around the ground on debut with 14 disposals, two marks, three tackles, three inside 50s and three rebounds. To go with her two goals, Culhane also had 12 touches, two marks, four tackles, two clearances and two inside 50s, while Elsegood could have had a real day out with straighter kicking, booting 2.3 from 10 disposals and two marks – one contested.

It was no surprise to see co-captains, Bevan and Rigter lead from the front. Bevan had a team-high 19 disposals, as well as two marks, six tackles, three clearances and three rebounds, while Rigter helped herself to 18 disposals, seven marks, six tackles and two clearances.  In a career-high, Rachel Dunstan‘s homecoming to Sturt – the side she had played with in 2018 before her local club Woodville-West Torrens gained a team and she moved – proved fruitful with the young talent having 11 touches, two marks and two rebounds – five more disposals than any other game last season. Teenager Zoe Prowse showed she will only continue to get better with time, having 11 touches, eight hitouts, three clearances and two inside 50s, working in tandem with ruck Stephanie Ratliff (16 hitouts).

In Round 2, both sides face off in Friday night encounters as West Adelaide returns home to Hisense Stadium where the bloods host Glenelg to try and continue their winning run, while Sturt heads to Flinders University Stadium to take on reigning back-to-back premiers, South Adelaide.

CENTRAL DISTRICT 0.1 | 1.2 | 3.3 | 5.3 (33)
NORWOOD 1.1 | 2.3 | 3.4 | 4.5 (29)

GOALS:

Central: K. Rosenzweig 4, M. Lane.
Norwood: J. Hill 2, L. Bigg, J. Halfpenny.

HIGH DISPOSALS:

Central: S. Smith 20, L. Huynh 15
Norwood: M. Zander 20, A. Ferrall 15

It is often said that the gap is closing between the best and worst sides in the competition, and that could not be more true in the SANFL Women’s considering the results in Round 1. While the winless Eagles from 2019 almost toppled the reigning premiers, last year’s second bottom side and fellow inaugural outfit, Central District defeated one of the premier sides of the past three years in Norwood. With a new coach, an almost entirely new midfield group and a high turnover of players due to the success of the Redlegs, Norwood went down to a determined Central District outfit, led by Katelyn Rosenzweig in a come-from-behind win.

Norwood was the first team on the board during the match with Jo Hill getting an early goal two minutes in which followed from an Isabel Martin behind. The visitors were already looking dangerous but the Bulldogs settled down the tempo as Rosenzweig had a chance but missed early, and a dour first term came to an end at 1.1 to 0.1. It was not long before the crowd got up and about in the second term with Madison Lane converting a major two minutes into the quarter. Lindsay Bigg soon responded for the Redlegs and both sides had multiple chances to add to their totals, but in the end it was Norwood up by seven points. What happened next was a mixture of shock and elation for the X Convenience crowd as their Bulldogs – or more accurately Rosenzweig – piled on four of the next five goals to race out to an eight-point lead five minutes into the final term. Hill had added her second goal to briefly grab back the lead midway through the second quarter, but it was not until Jade Halfpenny finally broke the drought in the ninth minute of the final term that Norwood could get back on track. But in a twist, it would not be enough for the favourites, as the Bulldogs held on despite fierce pressure to record a narrow four-point win and start their season off on the right foot.

Unsurprisingly despite a new-look group the Redlegs still played a possession brand of football with 23 more disposals (211-178) and tried to use quick handballs and run to move the ball going forward. They had a whopping 30 more marks (55-25) and were too strong in the air (7-2 contested), as well as dominating the hitouts (32-11) and inside 50s (28-21). The Bulldogs defensive unit – which was underrated last season given the high amount of inside 50s its opposition was getting – played incredibly well with 22 rebounds to 14, whilst the Bulldogs laid 54 tackles to 38. The home side also used the ball better (68-65 per cent) and were more efficiency with five goals from eight chances compared to four from nine.

While the statistics might have looked like Norwood should have been on top, Rosenzweig’s finishing ability – 4.1 from seven touches and three marks – one contested – was the difference and she will prove to be hard to stop not only each game, but for the leading goalkicker trophy overall. Shelby Smith was terrific for the Bulldogs on debut with the 28-year-old having an equal game-high 20 touches, as well as five clearances, three marks and three tackles, getting back to help the defence with three rebounds and getting forward for two inside 50s. Latiah Huynh had her share of the ball with 15 disposals, two marks, two tackles and two inside 50s, while Demi Sonneman played at a high level in defence, racking up six rebounds and 13 touches on the day. Youngster Kimberley Fry had 11 disposals, two marks, three tackles and three rebounds, while Abbey Scheer was also strong defensively with 11 touches, six tackles and three rebounds.

One of the few remaining midfielders from last season, Matilda Zander stepped up in the absence of Najwa Allen, Hannah Dunn and Ebony O’Dea, picking up an equal game-high 20 disposals, as well as six marks, four tackles, two clearances and two rebounds. Alison Ferrall had 15 disposals and six inside 50s running hard on the outside, while Lindsay Bigg and tall utility, Mattea Breed both had 14 touches and three clearances, as well as combining for seven inside 50s and five tackles. Sophie Armitstead was another consistent performer with 12 disposals, three tackles and four clearances, while Hill (11 disposals, two marks, five hitouts and three clearances) and Bella Smith (10 disposals, five marks – two contested – two tackles, six hitouts and five inside 50s) aided ruck, Leah Cutting (eight disposals, five marks, six tackles and 19 hitouts well.

Looking ahead to Round 2, Central District faces North Adelaide in a battle of the two most impressive sides from the opening round – at X Convenience Oval – while Norwood has to back up and look to knock off the Eagles at Hisense Stadium on Friday night.

2020 AFL Women’s Round 2 preview: Expansion sides to face off as inaugural sides do battle under lights tonight

ROUND 2 of the AFL Women’s is sure to bring plenty of big clashes and ignite old rivalries with Collingwood and Carlton set to do battle on Sunday while Fremantle and West Coast will take place in their inaugural Western Derby.

Friday, February 14

Western Bulldogs v. Melbourne at Whitten Oval, 7:40pm, AEDT

Taylah Melki

With one win on the board each expect a high intensity battle from the opening bounce in search of each teams’ respective second win. The Demons announced themselves to the rest of the competition last round, downing premiership favourites North Melbourne by two points and will be riding a wave of confidence heading into their Round 2 match-up. Similarly, the Dogs inflicted their fair share of pain on newcomers St Kilda with an impressive 25-point win. The Bulldogs were slick from the beginning, exploiting their oppositions’ inexperience and making them pay while the Dees fought hard to just get over the line and set up the makings of what could be a strong season.

After waiting 693 days the return of Daisy Pearce was exactly what the doctor ordered for Melbourne and their fans. The talented midfielder-turned-defender was right back in the mix, throwing her weight around and winning plenty of the pill around the contest, something that was sorely missed last season. Karen Paxman is as experienced as they come, able to sense the moment and have an impact while the likes of Elise O’Dea and Lily Mithen could prove a handful for the Dogs who lost a couple of key players during the off-season. Forward, Tegan Cunningham will be looking to have a big game after failing to trouble the scorers last round, only registering a point. But if Cunningham and Kate Hore get going the two could pose a dominant force inside forward 50, plus throw in the likes of Eden Zanker and the Dees have a lot to work with.

With Katie Brennan and Monique Conti both departing the kennel, the likes of Ellie Blackburn and Kirsty Lamb have taken their game to another level and will be hoping to have the same dominant impact as last round. Blackburn is a class act, able to read the play, apply strong tackles and consistently get involved while Hannah Scott has upped the ante. Number one draft pick Gabby Newton did not look out of place in Round 1 with her contested ball work and cleanliness, but will be keen to prove it was not a one-off with a strong showing against Melbourne. Up forward, Bonnie Toogood will have to deliver for the Dogs if they are to apply scoreboard pressure and get over the line.

Tip: Melbourne by 15.

WESTERN BULLDOGS

B: A.Gogos 36 L.Spark 11
HB: K.Herron 31 E.Gamble 14 N.Ferres 16
C: B.Hunt 21 K.Lamb 27 G.Lagioia 12
HF: G.Newton 5 B.Toogood 8 K.McLeod 6
F: E.Georgostathis 17 D.Berry 7
Foll: K.Rennie 24 E.Blackburn – C 2 A.McCarthy 15
I/C: E.Brown 9 D.Marshall 26 N.Callinan 10 H.Scott 22 A.Van Oosterwijck 28
Emerg: N.Morris-Dalton 25 H.Munyard 20

In: E.Brown, A.Van Oosterwijck
Out: I.Huntington (concussion), C.Moody (ankle)

MELBOURNE

B: L.Birch 9 M.Downie 2
HB: S.Lampard 8 S.Goldrick 23 D.Pearce – C 6
C: S.Heath 30 T.Hanks 28 C.Emonson 11
HF: K.Hore 10 E.Zanker 29 S.Scott 12
F: T.Cunningham 1 A.Newman 16
Foll: H.Cordner 21 K.Paxman 4 M.Gay 3
I/C: G.Colvin 32 C.Sherriff 18 N.McEvoy 17 A.Kemp 36 E.O’Dea 5
Emerg: B.Tarrant 20 M.Guerin 22

In: N.McEvoy
Out: M.Guerin

Saturday, February 15 

North Melbourne v. GWS GIANTS at University of Tasmania Stadium, 3:10pm AEDT

Michael Alvaro

North Melbourne will be looking to make good on a shock Round 1 loss when it hosts the GWS GIANTS in Launceston. Premiership points may soon become a premium for Scott Gowans‘ side as it looks to top a tricky Conference A, and the pre-season premiership fancies will expect to pick up their first set in this clash. But the GIANTS are one of the few sides which can match the ‘Roos for experience throughout their squad, and already ground out a win against league newcomer, Gold Coast in an opening round thriller. While North’s home ground advantage paid dividends in its inaugural season, the GIANTS were already made to endure tough conditions last time out, which should put them in good stead to tackle the often-windy Launceston afternoons. Last year’s result – which swung convincingly to the way of the ‘Roos – will also be in the back of players’ minds, but North knows it cannot take anything for granted.

The debut of Lisa Steane looms as one of the stories of the weekend, with the 24-year-old teacher surprised mid-week with news of her inclusion while working. Steane’s replacement of Ellie Brush in the side is the only change for GWS, with its strong and experienced core remaining for what should be a tough test. The midfield combination of skipper Alicia Eva and young gun Alyce Parker will again look to lead from the engine room, and their work will be cut out for them given the depth and strength of North’s midfield. The Kangaroos have made two changes as Daria Bannister (collarbone) and Bethany Lynch come out of the side for Jas Grierson and local girl, Abbey Green, whose inclusion could free up Emma King to play a more permanent key forward role. It makes the North Melbourne forward line one to behold, with a couple of capable tall targets and the likes of Daisy Bateman and Katlyn Ashmore at their feet.

Given how deep the hosts’ talent runs through midfield and around the ground, they are rightly fancied to bounce back to more typical form. The ‘Roos should also take solace in the feats of reigning premier Adelaide, as the Crows overcame a surprise first round loss in 2019 to go undefeated throughout the rest of the season. While last week’s outcome should drive North Melbourne to better results, the pressure will be on given not many would expect GWS to trouble them a whole lot. Nonetheless, the Kangaroos should fare much better in this clash against a side which looks like battling for mid-conference status, so do not be surprised if a statement is made.

NORTH MELBOURNE

B: T.Randall 16 B.Gibson 18
HB: T.Nestor 24 D.Hardiman 31 A.Gilroy 8
C: J.Trend 21 E.Kearney – C 9 A.Riddell 7
HF: S.Abbatangelo 1 K.Gillespie-Jones 5 K.Ashmore 10
F: E.King 60 D.Bateman 11
Foll: V.Saad 39 J.Garner 25 J.Bruton 35
I/C: E.King 4 S.Wright 17 J.Grierson 19 E.Gavalas 22 A.Green 26
Emerg: M.King 23 B.Lynch 20

In: J.Grierson, A.Green
Out: D.Bannister (collarbone), B.Lynch

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY

B: P.Randall 21 T.Hetherington 9
HB: R.Beeson 6 L.Stephenson 12 A.Lister 14
C: E.Bennetts 22 A.Eva – C 2 N.Barr 8
HF: H.Zreika 24 C.Staunton 13 J.Hicks 5
F: R.Privitelli 19 I.Nielsen 25
Foll: E.McKinnon 23 J.Dal Pos 7 A.Parker 3
I/C: Y.Bonner 27 L.Steane 20 J.Allan 39 A.Schmidt 11 B.Tully 36
Emerg: T.Mackrill 32 S.Halvorsen 30

In: L.Steane
Out: E.Brush (unavailable)

Tip: North Melbourne by 20 points

Gold Coast v. Richmond at Metricon Stadium, 5:10pm AEDT

Taylah Melki

Two expansion teams are set to face off in an exciting clash at Metricon Stadium, the Suns’ first home game of the season. Both teams will be looking for their inaugural AFLW win, meaning there is plenty at stake for each side. The Suns were highly competitive over the weekend, narrowly edged out by the Giants by a mere one point while the Tigers simply had no answers for the rampaging Blues. Gold Coast went down in trying conditions with rain and wind impacting their ability to handle the ball cleanly and hit the scoreboard. On the other hand, Richmond were simply outclassed – unable to combat the torrential storm that was Carlton credit to their onslaught of pressure in the forward 50. But the girls in yellow and black know how to fight, not willing to be bullied across the field and will be hoping to assert themselves on a relatively young and inexperienced Gold Coast Suns outfit.

Richmond has a plethora of star power across the footy field, none bigger than captain Katie Brennan who has showcased her ability to turn a game on its head. Brennan will have to push up through the midfield, more to give players a chop out and provide added support despite her best work being done inside forward 50 with her leading patterns and strong hands. Full forward Sabrina Frederick could prove to be a handful for the Suns given her strength around the contest and ability to gobble up anything that comes her way while the nifty Monique Conti has shown she is all class with ball in hand, able to hit a target from a mile away. Phoebe Monahan was a ball magnet last round along with Christina Bernardi. The two will have to combine once again if they are to trouble the Suns.

Despite not being top-loaded in a-list class the Suns have a wealth of young up and coming stars that can do damage anywhere on the field. Youngsters in Serene Watson and Ellie Hampson offer plenty of excitement for the Suns’ line-up which could give them that upper hand thanks to their raw talent and unpredictability. Lauren Aherns led from the front last round, recording an equal team-high 15 touches running around ragged and burrowing in hard while Jamie Stanton was strong across the ground for the Suns. Captain Leah Kaslar will have her work cut out for her up against a strong Tigers side.

Tip: Richmond by 5.

GOLD COAST

B: J.Pregelj 42 J.Hickey 4
HB: S.Virgo 22 L.Ahrens 7 S.Watson 14
C: T.Ernst 19 J.Stanton 17 C.Hammond 29
HF: P.Parker 1 K.Surman 26 L.Kaslar – C 11
F: E.Hampson 21 B.Perry 16
Foll: L.Bella 2 J.Yorston 5 H.Dunn 24
I/C: J.Hewett 20 M.Ritson 12 S.Riley 8 D.Heslop 25 K.Howarth 23
Emerg: T.Thorn 15 T.Groves-Little 3

In: E.Hampson
Out: A.Hamilton

RICHMOND

B: R.Miller 15 G.Seymour 28
HB: S.Sansonetti 18 P.Monahan 2 A.Makur Chuot 34
C: K.Jacques 10 K.Brennan – C 3 H.Burchell 9
HF: S.Frederick 14 C.Wakefield 8 T.Stahl 24
F: L.McClelland 16 C.Bernardi 6
Foll: A.Edmonds 11 M.Conti 4 A.Woodward 13
I/C: L.Tesoriero 7 L.Bailey 12 S.Molan 1 M.Brancatisano 5 G.Campbell 43
Emerg: E.Wood 17 C.Fitzgerald 26

In: G.Campbell
Out: H.Whitford (injured)

West Coast Eagles v. Fremantle Dockers at Optus Stadium 7:10pm AEDT

Peter Williams

The Western Derby is the pride of Western Australia and for the first time ever at AFL Women’s level, the two sides can continue the tradition. West Coast and Fremantle go head-to-head in a Saturday night blockbuster with both teams coming off varying form. Last week, West Coast looked strong up against Collingwood at Victoria Park, booting the first goal and holding the Magpies scoreless in the opening term, before Collingwood took control and ran away comfortable victors in the end. Fremantle on the other hand did finish the job, knocking over fellow finalist Geelong in Western Australia in an effort that saw youngster, Sabreena Duffy win Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the week with four of her side’s six goals in the win. Both in Conference B – the more competitive conference – every win is absolutely crucial and neither side will want to relent against its biggest rival.

West Coast is the new kid on the block and they showed last week that they will be competitive, it will just be for how long. Dana Hooker plays her former side this week and it will unlikely faze the star who booted the club’s inaugural – and in the end, only – goal last week with a clever snap out of the pack. She was simply sensational across the four quarters, while Emma Swanson was also impressive with the pair leading from the front as vice-captain and captain respectively. Mikayla Bowen brought her tackling pressure from the Under 18s up to the elite level, while Imahra Cameron showed she has a nice set of wheels to burst away from stoppages and cause headaches for the opposition. Add in the smooth skills of McKenzie Dowrick coming off half-back and the reliability of Chantella Perera and Talia Radan on the last line and the Eagles are strong defensively. The Eagles have made just the one change for the this game, with the club’s social media coordinator Kate Orme making her debut for the injured Ashton Hill.

The expansion side will need to be strong defensively against a forward line that has plenty of excitement and X-factor, including Roxanne Roux, who showed exactly why she was the first West Australian taken last year with her high leaping and booming kick. She is a franchise player at centre half-forward, and with fellow teenage talent Mim Strom, the Dockers have a couple of gems they can build a side around through the ruck and key forward spots. Also up forward is Duffy who was simply sensational, and Ebony Antonio, who with partner and captain Kara and tackling machine Kiara Bowers rotating inside 50, there is no shortage of scoring options. The Dockers have made two changes for the team in Round 2 with Leah Mascall and debutant Bianca Webb coming in for Steph Cain – who unfortunately did her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) – and Mia-Rae Clifford. The question this season will be around the Dockers’ defence given the young rucks have already earned their stripes, but against an Eagles side still looking to gel, they should be able to contain their yellow and blue state-based rivals. In order to win they will want to shut down Hooker and restrict the flow forward while putting plenty of pressure on the opposition defence. Given many of the Eagles have come from the Dockers, the remaining Fremantle players would love nothing more than to get one-up on them early in the season and it will likely happen.

Tip: Fremantle by 35.

WEST COAST

B: C.Perera 27 T.Radan 26
HB: B.Smith 14 S.McDonald 35 M.Dowrick 5
C: M.Collier 8 I.Cameron 19 N.Kelly 12
HF: A.Atkins 9 K.Gibson 2 M.Bowen 1
F: G.Kelly 15 D.Pisconeri 11
Foll: P.Laurie 25 D.Hooker 17 E.Swanson – C 13
I/C: T.Tester 23 C.Guard 4 H.Bullas 24 B.Devlyn 7 K.Orme 32
Emerg: E.Bonser 6 C.Davidson 33

In: K.Orme
Out: A.Hill (knee)

FREMANTLE

B: J.Cuthbertson 29 L.Pugh 32
HB: A.Stannett 24 E.Gooch 8 L.Mascall 14
C: L.Rohde 11 H.Miller 19 J.Stewart 7
HF: E.Antonio 12 R.Roux 17 S.Duffy 6
F: G.O’Sullivan 22 G.Houghton 27
Foll: M.Strom 21 K.Bowers 2 K.Antonio – C 15
I/C: K.Flood 44 B.Webb 26 P.Seth 18 K.Grieve 13 A.Sharp 1
Emerg: E.O’Driscoll 3 M.Clifford 4

In: L.Mascall, B.Webb
Out: S.Cain (knee), M.Clifford

Sunday, February 16

Geelong Cats v. Brisbane Lions at GMHBA Stadium, 1:10pm AEDT

Peter Williams

This Conference A clash on Sunday looms as one of the more intriguing contests of the weekend. The teams head into the match with differing results from Round 1, as Brisbane toppled the Crows at home while the Cats fell to a Duffy-inspired Dockers outfit in the west. Heading into the clash, Geelong will start favourites against the current conference leaders, playing at home and with more experience in the line-up. For the Lions, they have youthful excitement about them and will worry a few teams. They will not win every game in the manner they did in Round 1, but you get the feeling they will push most teams and show that they are building something special for the future.

The Cats have not had to make any major changes to its line-up that fell to the Dockers last Sunday evening, bringing in Rene Caris and Maddy Boyd to their extended squad. Last week it was the developing midfield of Olivia Purcell and Rebecca Webster, teaming with fellow 19-year-olds, Sophie Van De Heuvel and Nina Morrison, while Julia Crockett-Grills found plenty of the ball as well. They are still missing All Australian defender, Meg McDonald from their back five, but the Cats have the reliable Mel Hickey and Maddy McMahon helping youngsters Millie Brown and Denby Taylor. Geelong is growing a great culture of youth all coming through together, and with Phoebe McWilliams and Richelle Cranston bringing experience to the forward half, there is a nice balance of talent that should get the job done in this match.

Brisbane does not necessarily have the names on paper that Geelong has, but some of the players will become household names sooner rather than later. Jess Wuetschner is a big loss for the Lions, having been rested after being struck by lightning on the eve of the season. While she got through the first game, the Lions have erred on the side of caution for a game-by-game basis. Coming into the side on an extended bench are Gabby Collingwood, Jordan Zanchetta and Jade Ellenger. Of the trio, Ellenger has played just the two games and is one of a number of teenagers who are in the Lions line-up alongside recent draftees, Lily Postlethwaite and Isabel Dawes, and second year players, Nat Grider and Jesse Tawhiao-Wardlaw. Sophie Conway made a successful return from a long term knee injury last round, and along with Ally Anderson and Emily Bates providing plenty of run and hardness through the midfield. Throw in the impenetrable Kate Lutkins at centre half-back and they have enough about them to worry the Cats.

Tip: Geelong by 15.

GEELONG

B: M.Brown 19 M.McMahon 24
HB: M.Keryk 45 M.Hickey – C 18 D.Taylor 28
C: S.Van De Heuvel 27 R.Cranston 30 N.Morrison 9
HF: J.Crockett-Grills 6 M.Maguire 7 R.Garing 12
F: P.McWilliams 23 J.Ivey 5
Foll: A.O’Connor 14 R.Webster 21 O.Purcell 16
I/C: A.McDonald 3 D.Higgins 2 G.Rankin 10 R.Goring 44 G.Clarke 17 R.Caris 1 M.Boyd 26

In: R.Caris, M.Boyd
Out: None

BRISBANE

B: N.Grider 10 S.Campbell 20
HB: R.Lugg 11 K.Lutkins 13 C.Svarc 25
C: E.Zielke – C 8 B.Koenen 3 S.Webb 4
HF: L.Arnell 16 J.Tawhiao-Wardlaw 30 S.Conway 12
F: D.Davidson 14 G.Bodey 15
Foll: J.Keeffe 27 A.Anderson 18 E.Bates 1
I/C: I.Dawes 17 M.Moloney 28 G.Collingwood 7 O.O’Dwyer 9 L.Postlethwaite 6 J.Zanchetta 2 J.Ellenger 5

In: G.Collingwood, J.Zanchetta, J.Ellenger
Out: J.Wuetschner (managed)

Carlton v. Collingwood at Ikon Park, 3:10pm AEDT

Michael Alvaro

Traditional rivals and Conference B hopefuls Carlton and Collingwood are set to do battle at Ikon Park for a four time in their histories, in what promises to be a test of either sides’ true credentials. Both teams come in having feasted on competition newcomers in their opening fixtures, both running out on home turf in comfortable starts to the season. Bizarrely, last week’s season opener was an away match for Carlton, but the Blues once again hold home status against the ‘Pies in this match-up. While the extended history between these two powerhouse clubs is storied, their AFLW meetings have been much more one-sided – with Carlton taking out all three fixtures but the Magpies getting closer to a win every year. The Blues also fared much better in season 2019, embarking on a grand final run while Collingwood floundered and took out the Conference B wooden spoon. But with marked improvement already shown, Collingwood has the elite talent to take it to the Blues.

Much of the off-season talk and narrative coming in to the match surrounded ex-Carlton skipper and new Magpie, Bri Davey. Unfortunately for both neutrals and ‘Pies fans, the 2017 All Australian is set to miss this game after picking up a lower leg injury in Round 1. Davey’s sole omission opens the door for one of Kristy Stratton, Eliza Hynes, or Ebony O’Dea to enter the winning lineup, which has struggled at times to fill out depth outside of its formidable spine. With Davey out, the emphasis down back will be firmly placed on the pairing of Stacey Livingstone and Ash Brazill, while Brittany Bonnici and skipper Stephanie Chiocci will have to dig in hard to combat a powerhouse Carlton midfield. The ruck battle between Sharni Layton and Carlton’s pairing of Breann Moody and Alison Downie will also be one to watch, with Layton’s ability to provide use to her midfielders potentially key to shutting down a usually dominant Carlton engine room.

Twins Sarah and Jess Hosking will take the field together for the first time this year in navy blue, as the latter slots in on the wing while Jess Edwards and Abbie McKay help make up an extended bench. The Carlton core of Madison Prespakis, co-captain Katie Loynes, Grace Egan, and Georgia Gee remains, while the forward targets of Tayla Harris, Darcy Vescio, and Nicola Stevens should also work to stretch the aerial capabilities of Collingwood’s back five. Round 1 Rising Star nominee Lucy McEvoy is also primed to back up an eye-catching debut performance as part of the midfield-forward rotation, only adding to the hardness of Carlton’s overall unit. The only potential concern for the Blues may come down back as Jayde Van Dyk exits the side through injury, but the half back line of Kerryn Harrington, Lauren Brazzale, and popular mature-age draftee Vaomua Laloifi has already proven solid and will have to be as much against the likes of Chloe Molloy and Sarah Dargan. While this fixture has been somewhat of a mismatch in previous years, the increasing number of intriguing match-ups on across the field suggests this one should be a corker, with the Pies looking to elevate their game against the better-established Blues.

CARLTON

B: G.Pound 6 C.Wilson 20
HB: K.Harrington – C 9 V.Laloifi 8 L.Brazzale 12
C: C.Dalton 15 G.Gee 19 J.Hosking 11
HF: N.Stevens 21 T.Harris 7 L.McEvoy 13
F: A.Downie 30 J.Doonan 26
Foll: B.Moody 16 G.Egan 1 M.Prespakis 4
I/C: S.Hosking 10 N.Plane 32 B.Walker 14 K.Loynes 2 D.Vescio 3 J.Edwards 25 A.McKay 5

In: J.Hosking, J.Edwards, A.McKay
Out: J.Van Dyk (injured)

COLLINGWOOD

B: A.Porter 9 S.Livingstone 12
HB: L.Butler 23 A.Brazill 10 E.Fowler 15
C: S.Rowe 7 B.Bonnici 8 S.Chiocci – C 17
HF: C.Molloy 2 S.D’Arcy 4 S.Dargan 46
F: M.Cann 25 J.Allen 6
Foll: S.Layton 1 A.Sheridan 14 J.Lambert 13
I/C: S.Casey 22 K.Stratton 41 S.Alexander 24 J.Membrey 21 M.Shevlin 35 E.Hynes 11 E.O’Dea 50

In: K.Stratton, E.Hynes, E.O’Dea
Out: B.Davey (shin)

Adelaide Crows v. St Kilda at Hisense Stadium, 5:10pm AEDT

Peter Williams

This is expected to be an exciting show of talent for the future, with one side having been there and done it all – twice – while the other is still looking to find its feet in the new league as part of the expansion. A wounded Adelaide Crows side welcomes back some troops for the Round 2 clash against St Kilda with this match considered a must-win contest for the reigning premiers. The Crows were well beaten by a hungry Brisbane Lions side in Queensland, showing how tight the competition has become. Not even a record-breaking disposal count from Anne Hatchard (35) was enough to help the Crows get up in Round 1, and they will want to get a win on the board before the top sides in their conference get too far away. The benefit for the Crows was that fellow premiership contender, North Melbourne also lost, while last year’s finalist Geelong went down too. For the Saints, there are no expectations on their season with such a young list, but being competitive is the bare minimum expected, and after a nervous first quarter last week, the Saints settled and seemed to match it with the Western Bulldogs for large parts of the second half.

The Crows are still missing a host of names heading into this game led by Erin Phillips and Chelsea Randall – the latter of whom will play no further part in the season – but have brought in a couple of debutants in Caitlin Gould and Montana McKinnon. Gould hails from Glenelg and provides a tall presence up either end, while McKinnon is a dual All-Australian at Under 18s level, and could genuinely start ruck if they required her to. Expect her to spend time as a forward however, a role she played in South Adelaide’s premiership side, while rotating through the ruck and providing some strong contested marking ability around the ground. Ebony Marinoff, Hatchard and SANFL Women’s best and fairest winner Najwa Allen form a strong onball brigade and with former MVP, Courtney Gum in the team up forward alongside Danielle Ponter and Stevie-Lee Thompson, they still have the firepower to get the job done. Sophie Li has also come into the side for the Crows, as the only omission was Rachelle Martin – a top-up player who was brought on due to Adelaide’s expansive injury list.

The Saints have made three confirmed changes, with South Australian Nadia Von Bertouch – missing a return to the state where she captained North Adelaide last season – while Kelly O’Neill and Emma Mackie have been omitted. Coming into the side is a mix of youth and experience with former Collingwood talent, Darcy Guttridge and ex-North Melbourne players Alison Drennan and Courteney Munn named in the extended side. Also in to potentially make their debuts are ruck, Poppy Kelly and tall utility, Isabella Shannon who continue the trend of youth at the club. Georgia Patrikios starred in Round 1 with a Rising Star nomination, and expect her to show just as much excitement out on Hisense Stadium. Teaming up with the likes of Molly McDonald, Nicola Xenos and Tarni White, the youth of the Saints will come good in time. They still have experience on the list, with former Crow Jess Sedunary set to make her return to the AFL Women’s having kicked one of the Saints’ two goals last week. While the Saints have plenty to like, expect the Crows to do enough to win in a tight one, even with a few still out. They are desperate, hungry and at home, so a win is non-negotiable when it comes to their premiership aspirations.

ADELAIDE

B: D.Cox 31 C.Biddell 12
HB: A.Foley 3 S.Allan 39 M.Rajcic 32
C: S.Li 19 E.Marinoff 10 J.Mules 23
HF: E.Jones 2 C.Gum 5 R.Forth 27
F: D.Ponter 15 S.Thompson 14
Foll: J.Foley – C 24 A.Hatchard 33 N.Allen 8
I/C: C.Gould 1 A.Considine 16 M.Newman 17 N.Campbell 20 N.Gore 7 M.McKinnon 21 J.Tabb 28

In: S.Li, C.Gould, M.McKinnon
Out: R.Martin (ineligible)

ST KILDA

B: T.White 29 C.Fitzpatrick 24
HB: H.Priest 14 C.Phillips 35 T.Lucas-Rodd 18
C: D.Guttridge 5 J.Sedunary 10 M.McDonald 1
HF: N.Exon 15 K.McCarthy 9 C.Greiser 17
F: K.Shierlaw 12 G.Patrikios 21
Foll: R.Watt – C 7 O.Vesely 23 R.Dillon 25
I/C: I.Shannon 11 A.Brown 2 C.Munn 13 N.Xenos 27 C.Whitfort 4 A.Drennan 8 P.Kelly 16

In: D.Guttridge, I.Shannon, C.Munn, A.Drennan, P.Kelly
Out: K.O’Neill, N.Von Bertouch (knee), E.Mackie

ROUND 2 TIPS: [Total tips in brackets]

Michael Alvaro [5]: Melbourne / North Melbourne / Richmond / Fremantle / Geelong / Carlton / Adelaide
Taylah Melki [5]: Melbourne / North Melbourne / Richmond / Fremantle / Brisbane / Collingwood / Adelaide
Sophie Taylor [4]: Melbourne / North Melbourne / Richmond / Fremantle / Brisbane / Carlton / Adelaide
Peter Williams [4]: Melbourne / North Melbourne / Richmond / Fremantle / Geelong / Carlton / Adelaide

SANFL Women’s preview: Round 1 – Triple header on Saturday the highlight

AFTER a long wait, the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition has returned with the eight sides battling it out for a chance at the title. Six of the eight teams have lost players to the AFL Women’s competition, with Norwood and South Adelaide the hardest hit. The Panthers begin their premiership defence against last year’s wooden spooners at home, while a triple header greets the remaining six teams at X Convenience Oval on Saturday.

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS
Friday, February 14, 7pm
Flinders University Stadium

The standalone game on Friday night sees the opposite ends of the ladder from last season face off. South Adelaide will be able to unfurl its 2019 premiership flag – possibly alongside its 2018 one – as it welcomes 2019 wooden spooners Woodville-West Torrens to Flinders University Stadium. Last season this match might have been considered a no-brainer, and considering the occasion, the Panthers will head in as heavy favourites. However the Eagles will be better prepared in 2020 than 12 months ago, so it will be fascinating to see how they fare this season.

To make the match balance more towards the equilibrium is the fact the Panthers have lost a number of quality players to the AFL Women’s competition. Montana McKinnon and Nicole Campbell were both drafted to Adelaide and could still play games at state level, though with their talent and the Crows’ injury crisis, it will not always be the case. Hannah Munyard was picked up by the Western Bulldogs, while Cheyenne Hammond has already donned the red and gold up in the Sunshine State for the SUNS, so neither will feather this year for the reigning premiers. Aside from the four exits, six others have departed the club, meaning the turnover will see a very different line-up in 2020. Three former Panthers have returned to the club with Louella McCarthy (St Kilda VFLW), Lucy Northcott (knee) and Nicole Mark (maternity leave) all coming in, as well Tahlia Meyer crossing from rivals Norwood.

The Eagles have also lost a number of players, predominantly to SANFL Women’s rivals with Hannah Scholar and Taylor Hand heading to the Bloods, Jo Baltias, Rachel Dunstan and Aajiah Jerico to Sturt. The two biggest losses could be Natasha Farrier heading to ice hockey, and AFL Women’s Under-18 All Australian member Jaimi Tabb drafted to the Crows. She has already made her debut at AFL Women’s level, but could feature at some point depending on the Crows’ selection. Three players have joined the Eagles, with Rebecca Catterall coming over from Central District, Ali Evans from West Adelaide and Nicole Collie from North Adelaide which should provide some fresh faces on the field.

Both McKinnon and Campbell have been named in the Crows’ side for Round 2, with the Panthers unveiling as many nine new players named in the extended side. The Eagles also have plenty of fresh faces, with seven players coming in, while Tabb has been named in the center, though is also named in the Crows’ side on the extended bench. The young forward line duo of Kiana Lee and Teagan Usher will be one to watch, while up the other end, Teah Charlton is South Australia’s top Under-18 talent and will be one who can break a game open and with the likes of Czenya Cavouras and Indy Tahau in the midfield, expect the Panthers to be a bit too strong.

NORTH ADELAIDE vs. GLENELG
Saturday, February 15, 10.40am
X Convenience Oval

Opening up the first of a triple header at X Convenience Oval are two finalists from last year going head-to-head in what is predicted to be the match of the round. Both these sides have lost talent to the AFL Women’s so will look to their depth in order to provide the same impact at SANFL Women’s level. The Roosters went all the way to the SANFL Women’s Grand Final last season before falling to the Panthers – knocking out an Ebony Marinoff-inspired Tigers’ outfit on the way through to the deciding match. Glenelg looked down and out with a few weeks remaining in the season, but found the will to not give in, winning the last few matches and qualifying for fourth spot by pipping West Adelaide at the post.

In 2020, the Tigers will be without a couple of talls in Caitlin Gould and Lucy Bellinger, both of whom provided good presence around the ground and an ability to hit the scoreboard. With Brooke Trevena and Ellen Fauser also unavailable due to maternity leave, the Tigers will be short a few of the players that really them reach the post-season series. South Adelaide duo, Emily Woods and Grace Duffy will provide some great insight from the back-to-back premiers and earn more game time in the yellow and black, while Rachel Aistrope and Jessica Bates are two players who have come into the side after impressing at lower levels. They showed last season they have the defensive structures to keep sides to low scores, and if they can continue that blueprint into this season it will hold them in good stead.

For the Roosters, they have also been hit hard by their success with two of their best players heading up to the elite level and will not feature at this level again in 2020. Nadia Von Bertouch – who unfortunately did her knee on debut for St Kilda and will miss the season – was a natural leader, captaining the side to the grand final, while Brittany Perry has already had an influence for the SUNS up there. The Roosters have lost further experience with the retirements of Jane Altschwager and Emma Sampson, while Elysha Willis has turned her attention to her netball. A big including for the side will be the return of Kristi Harvey who impressed in her time at Carlton VFLW, joining the likes of Panther Mollie McKendrick, Blood Taylor Gordon and Redleg Stana Zecevic and Northern Territory’s Elise Fenna making the trip down.

The Roosters have opted for Harvey to hold down full-back in this match, with last year’s leading goalkicker, Kelly Barltrop the other bookend. She is hard to stop when on song, and with Cristie Castle, Ashleigh Woodland and Amber Ward rounding out the spine, the Roosters are predicted to be very strong again. Of all the players to run out in the red and white, it would be hard for anyone to beat 38-year-old Bek Rasheed‘s story. The daughter of club great and games record holder Mick Redden, Rasheed will make her debut at the club as starting ruck with the 42 guernsey that her father wore over his 379 games. Looking over Glenelg’s Round 1 side, youngster Madisyn Freeman will be a key talent coming off half-back, joining forces with Lucy Armitage in defence, while Sam Franson up the other end could apply some scoreboard pressure. Despite the departures, North still seems like a genuine contender so will start as favourite here.

STURT vs. WEST ADELAIDE
Saturday, February 15, 12.25pm
X Convenience Oval

Last year’s fifth and sixth go at it in the second game at X Convenience Oval with the Double Blues taking on the Bloods. West Adelaide came agonisingly close to finals in 2019 but were narrowly shafted in the final round as the Tigers leapt up and claimed fourth. Sturt on the other hand showed signs early in the season – including a low-scoring win over Glenelg – but were ultimately not able to roll anyone else other than the two expansion sides in other matches. Of all sides heading into the new season, Sturt has been relatively untouched in terms of departures, while the Bloods also have a number of additions likely to strengthen its squad to make a run at the finals in 2020.

Sturt only has two confirmed departures from last season, with Lilla Berry and Della Griffith travelling overseas and focusing on other sports respectively. The Double Blues were one of only two sides – with Central District – not to lose a player to the AFL Women’s competition through the draft. They have managed to pick up some of the Eagles’ depth in Baltias, Dunstan and Jerico, while finding a couple of X-factors in cross-coders, Ally Ladas (soccer) and Stephanie Ratliff (basketball). Louise Firth makes the step up to the SANFL Women’s from Scotch Old Collegians, and then there’s an extra year of development into the Double Blues’ youngsters such as Zoe Prowse. Based on the changes to the list, the experience gained and the inclusions, Sturt could move up in the right direction with a number of its rivals losing quality players over the off-season.

For the Westies, Madison Newman and Chelsea Biddell were both drafted into the AFL Women’s in last year’s draft and will only be available when not running around with the Crows. Much like the other draftees, based on Adelaide’s lengthy injury list and the fact that some like Newman had outstanding debuts, you cannot expect them to always be available for state league level. Evans is one of three others to depart the club with Gordon heading north and the experienced Leah Swain off due to maternity leave. Coming into the team is a couple of Eagles in Hand and Scholar, as well as Norwood’s Zoe Greer and returning from NT Thunder, Rachael Killian. Her experience from the VFL Women’s competition will be important and expect her to player a crucial role. Kate Walsh is the other addition to the side, coming up from SMOSH West Lakes to try her hand at the top level in South Australia.

Five players will make their debuts in the Double Blues, while former Eagle Dunstan has been named in the back pocket. The midfield combination of Georgia Bevan and Maya Rigter will make it challenging for the opposition, while Alex Ballard and Lucy Griffith have been named on opposing wings. They take on Greer, youngster Abbie Ballard and Rachelle Martin onball, with the latter of whom has one of the more interesting footballing stories already this year. She got the chance to represent the Crows at the elite level in Round 1 due to the mounting injury toll, and no doubt that experience will hold her in good stead here. West Adelaide will likely be favourite for the depth across the ground such as full-forward Melanie Elsegood who can help kick a winning score, but this is predicted to be the best game of the round.

CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. NORWOOD
Saturday, February 15, 2.10pm
X Convenience Oval

The game fans at X Convenience Oval will be waiting for is the return to the SANFL Women’s competition of Central District. The only side playing at its home ground during the triple header, the Bulldogs will hope to improve on their seventh placed finish in 2019 with a tough challenge up first. The Redlegs have been one of the most successful teams in the SANFL Women’s era, having won a flag then finishing runner-up and claiming the minor premiership last year before a semi-final exit. They always find a way to be there at the pointy end of the season, though 2020 will provide a new challenge given the amount of departures – including a change of coach – as talent breeds talent.

From the Bulldogs’ perspective, just Catterall (Woodville-West Torrens) and Courtney Jensen (work) have departed the club, with a quartet of relatively unknown quantities coming into the club from the next tier down in South Australian football. Abbie Thomas, Shelby Smith, Madison Kalleske and Hannah Bevington have opted to don the red, white and blue for season 2020 and while they might not have SANFL Women’s experience, the Bulldogs are growing a good young list to compete over the next few seasons.

Norwood on the other hand, has had a high turnover of players due to its successful few years, led by last year’s league best and fairest winner, Najwa Allen drafted by the Crows. Hannah Dunn has already made her debut for Gold Coast SUNS, as has Hannah Priest at St Kilda, while Ebony O’Dea joined former coach Steve Symonds at Collingwood through the AFL Women’s Draft. These departures coupled with the fact Monique Hollick has headed overseas for work, Jane Fitzgerald has retired and a trio of others have left in search of an increased role means the Redlegs will be a very different looking outfit in 2020. Chloe Meyer has joined the club from the Simon Black Academy, while Georgia Avery and Shanae Walker are another couple of inclusions to try and replace those out of the side.

The Bulldogs will head into the new season confident they can cause an upset against a new-look Norwood side. With Katelyn Rosenzweig up forward, the Sonneman sisters (Demi and Jayme-Lee) down back with Kimberley Fry, they will likely benefit from last year’s experience. For the Redlegs, they still have talent all across the park, but the midfield is largely different to its dominant one from last season, with Elisha Gallagher, young star Bella Smith and Michele Reid now replacing Allen, Dunn and O’Dea. Sophie Armistead will help hold down defence with Jo Hill to try and contain the dangerous Bulldogs’ forwards. This is an intriguing game because the Redlegs have the depth from last season to still compete, but it will almost be like being a brand new side again, while Central has remained relatively the same which should excite fans going forward.

SANFL Women’s 2020 team preview: Norwood

IN the next of our South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s team preview, we take a look at Norwood, one of the most successful teams over the past three seasons, winning a flag and then coming close in the past two years. They lost a heap of talent to AFL Women’s lists – including coach Steve Symonds – and will be looking to their next tier of players to continue the success of the club.

 

2019 BY THE NUMBERS:

Position: 1st (eliminated in Preliminary Final)
Wins: 9
Losses: 1
For: 439
Against: 166
Percentage: 264.5%

 

2020 CHANGES

(as per Zak Milbank’s article on the SANFL site)

IN: Chloe Meyer (Simon Black Academy), Georgia Avery (Keilor), Shanae Walker.
OUT: Najwa Allen (Adelaide AFLW), Hannah Dunn (Gold Coast AFLW), Hannah Priest (St Kilda AFLW), Ebony O’Dea (Collingwood AFLW), Tahlia Meyer (South Adelaide), Stana Zecevic (North Adelaide), Zoe Greer (West Adelaide), Jane Fitzgerald (retired/coaching).

 

FIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH

Monique Hollick

Will be vital to the club’s experience given the departures over the off-season. The 30-year-old midfielder averaged 16.4 disposals, 6.7 marks and 4.4 inside 50s per game, showing just how valuable she was on the outside. With a largely inside brigade last season, Hollick will have to work with some fresh faces through the midfield to provide the same run and carry for Norwood.

Leah Cutting

The barometer of the team in terms of her defensive pressure, Cutting was fierce in 2019, laying a massive 85 tackles during the SANFL Women’s season at an average of 7.1 per game. She was not a huge ball winner, but stepped up in the final three weeks of the season, averaging 14.7 disposals per game, which was impressive as a ruck, averaging 21 hitouts per game, and 25.3 in the final three weeks. She will be a handful for any opposition ruck during the season, and with a largely new midfield group, she has a huge role from an experience point of view.

Sophie Armistead

Named vice-captain this year after a consistent season in 2019, the 25-year-old was often underrated compared to some of the other names through the midfield, but it was her inside work that allowed others to move the ball in transition. Armistead averaged 13.8 disposals, 4.6 tackles and 3.7 clearances per game, only dropping below 10 touches on one occasion during the season.

Jo Hill

Led the club goalkicking last year with 10 majors from nine games, finishing equal third overall in the league prior to the finals. After going scoreless in her first two games, Hill booted majors in seven of her next eight games, including a haul of four against Central District in the final round. With the team sharing the goals around last season, Hill is just one of many who benefit from the team success.

NAJWA ALLEN

Last year’s league best and fairest was a revelation in her first season at the club since crossing from New South Wales. She was drafted by Adelaide in the AFL Women’s Draft and that would have relieved a lot of Norwood officials knowing she might be available on occasions. The 25-year-old averaged 25.4 disposals per game at 73 per cent efficiency, only dropping below 20 touches once. She also averaged 3.2 clearances, 2.7 tackles, 3.3 inside 50s and 1.9 rebounds in the 2019 season.

 

FIXTURE

1 vs. Central District
2 vs. WWT Eagles
3 vs. South Adelaide
4 vs. West Adelaide
5 vs. Central District
6 vs. WWT Eagles
7 vs. North Adelaide
8 vs. Sturt
9 vs. West Adelaide
10 vs. Glenelg

Norwood has drawn a massively favouring draw based on last season, playing all non-finalists in the double-up games, including matches against bottom two sides, Central District and Woodville West Torrens. South Adelaide in Round 3 will be a challenge, as will the Round 4 clash against West Adelaide with the Bloods and Tigers in the final fortnight of the season. Norwood might have lost a lot of talent, but the depth from last season is still there, so expect others to stand up and be thereabouts in 2020.

2019/20 AFLW off-season review: Adelaide

REIGNING premier Adelaide is a deserving favourite of chasing its third AFL Women’s flag in four years after keeping together an already impressive list, and adding a host of young and experienced stars to its roster. There were plenty of tears when two-time Most Valuable Player (MVP) Erin Phillips went down with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in the 2019 AFL Women’s Grand Final, and just as many recently when Chelsea Randall suffered the same injury that has now ruled her out of the 2020 season.

But through some shrewd recruiting, the Crows picked up the only other MVP winner in the AFL Women’s short history, with former GWS GIANTS’ star Courtney Gum returning back to South Australia after retiring, then opting to give the elite level another crack. Along with Gum, Montana McKinnon will provide the immediate relief for the loss of Jess Allan who headed to the GIANTS due to work, while Jess Sedunary was the only other player to leave for another club, joining St Kilda. Rheanne Lugg and Sally Riley both found second homes through free agency, while Jenna McCormick retired to focus on her international soccer career. Joining the club along with McKinnon through the draft were 2019 Under-18 All Australians, Jaimi Tabb and Madison Newman, while versatile talls, Caitlin Gould and Chelsea Biddell add some much needed depth to the Crows – especially now Randall has gone down. The other two recruits were South Adelaide ball winner, Nicole Campbell, and the best South Australian women’s player in the state league in Najwa Allen who crossed to the state for the 2019 season and showed just how talented she is through the midfield.

OFF-SEASON CHANGES:

IN: Montana McKinnon, Nicole Campbell, Courtney Gum (South Adelaide), Najwa Allen (Norwood), Jaimi Tabb (WWT Eagles), Caitlin Gould (Glenelg), Madison Newman, Chelsea Biddell (West Adelaide)
OUT: Jess Sedunary (St Kilda), Jess Allan (GWS GIANTS), Rheanne Lugg, Sally Riley, Katelyn Rosenzweig, Sarah Perkins (delisted), Jenna McCormick (retired)

2020 TEAM LIST:

Sarah Allan
Najwa Allen
Chelsea Biddell
Nicole Campbell
Dayna Cox
Courtney Cramey
Angela Foley
Jessica Foley
Renee Forth
Nikki Gore
Caitlin Gould
Courtney Gum
Anne Hatchard
Eloise Jones
Sophie Li
Ebony Marinoff
Montana McKinnon
Rhiannon Metcalfe
Justine Mules
Madison Newman
Erin Phillips
Danielle Ponter
Marijana Rajcic
Chloe Scheer
Jaimi Tabb
Stevie-Lee Thompson
Deni Varnhagen
Ruth Wallace

Rookie: Ailish Considine
Inactive list: Hannah Martin (ACL), Chelsea Randall (ACL), Maisie Nankivell (netball)

POTENTIAL 2020 SIDE:

B: Dayna Cox – Sarah Allen – Justine Mules
HB: Courtney Cramey – Marijana Rajcic – Angela Foley
C: Courtney Gum
HF: Danielle Ponter – Chloe Scheer – Erin Phillips
F: Eloise Jones – Stevie-Lee Thompson – Deni Varnhagen
R: Jessica Foley – Anne Hatchard – Ebony Marinoff
INT: Renee Forth – Najwa Allen – Ailish Considine* – Courtney Cramey – Montana McKinnon
EMG: Jaimi Tabb – Rhiannon Metcalfe – Sophie Li

DEPTH: Chelsea Biddell, Nicole Campbell, Nikki Gore, Caitlin Gould, Madison Newman, Ruth Wallace, Hannah Martin*, Chelsea Randall*

*ACL injuries

It is clear the Crows have enviable depth on their roster with a ridiculous amount of talent that is hard to squeeze into the side. Adelaide might opt to begin blooding more young players in season 2020, as the likes of Courtney Cramey, Rhiannon Metcalfe, Sophie Li and even Phillips come towards the twilight of their careers. The huge question will be whether or not Phillips can return in time for the start of the season, but if not, you can be sure she will run out at some stage such is the elite professionalism and determination of the athlete.

Expect names such as McKinnon and Allen to push for a Round 1 spot, with Gum the other obvious choice if fit. The loss of Randall is huge, meaning Marijana Rajcic might have to play taller, or they opt for a team defence. Caitlin Gould could also slot in there, but is likely to take time to adapt to the level, with Newman, Tabb and Nikki Gore others one can expect to feature at some stage. The Crows have plenty of ‘Plan Bs’ with Biddell a readymade key forward option, much like Campbell in midfield, and then there’s the ruck experience of Metcalfe just waiting in the wings. From the dominant midfield to the firepower up forward, this side is every chance to go back-to-back and no-one will be surprised if the super-human athlete in Phillips makes it back for an early return.

Weekend wash-up: SANFL Women’s Preliminary Final

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)

GOALS:

North: Kelly Barltrop, Paige Allan
Norwood: Matilda Zander

DISPOSALS:

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

SANFL Women’s preview: Preliminary Final

AFTER South Adelaide upset Norwood for the second time in a month, the Redlegs were forced to lick their wounds and head into a preliminary final against the red-hot North Adelaide. For the second consecutive year the Redlegs face the Roosters for a spot in the decider, after North Adelaide got home against a determined Glenelg outfit last week. With the game the only one on show in the league this week, expect it to be a huge contest with plenty of fans from both sides.

NORWOOD vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
Friday, May 17, 7pm
Coopers Stadium

Norwood has been the dominant team this year finishing minor premiers, while North Adelaide is in the hottest form of every side, winning the past seven games since being 1-3 following four rounds. At that stage they had played the top three sides – and eventual other top four sides – but much like they did against Glenelg last week, will be keen to seek revenge on Norwood in this do-or-die final. Fans have to go all the way back to Round 1 to see these teams going at it, clashing under lights at City Mazda Stadium in a low-scoring contest that eventually went the way of the Redlegs. They led for most of the game, before North Adelaide conjured up its first goal in the third term to hit the front, before two final-quarter goals handed Norwood the 2.10 (22) to 1.5 (11) victory. Norwood dominated the statistics with 65 more disposals, 12 more inside 50s and six more clearances, while it was North Adelaide that won the ruck duel, 24-14 in the hitouts, as well as the tackle count, 73-55. Hannah Dunn was the top ball winner with 29 disposals, four marks, five inside 50s and two clearances, while Najwa Allen impacted up forward with two goals from 20 disposals. Rhiannon Busch was a key in defence with five rebounds, while Monique Hollick got the ball moving in the forward half with seven inside 50s. For the Roosters, Amber Ward announced herself as a defender to watch this season, racking up nine inside 50s from 17 disposals, while Roosters captain Nadia Von Bertouch was strong with 15 disposals, four marks, six clearances and eight tackles.

Looking ahead to the big preliminary final, Allen and Dunn are the two leading disposal winners in the competition, and the only two to surpass the 200-disposal mark. Von Bertouch needs 30 to reach that feat, but is sixth just behind Hollick as the major ball winners in the competition. Since Jane Altschwager had her measure in the opening game, Leah Cutting has become the most consistent ruck in the competition, averaging more than 20 hitouts per game, while Altschwager still averages 14.1 per game and is ranked fourth overall. North Adelaide’s key defensive weapon is Amber Ward, who has recorded 4.2 rebounds per game, and in a team that scores heavily, is the only player in the top seven whose team remains in premiership contention. With contested marking expert Emma Sampson, goal machine Kelly Barltrop and Altschwager rotating through the forward line, North Adelaide has plenty of tall targets to kick to. It will be up to the likes of returning full-back Alison Ferrall, Jo Hill and Sophie Armitstead to not only slow the attacking movement of the Roosters, but create their own going forward.

The Norwood midfield is its strength, and while they do not have a dominant goal kicker like Barltrop (averaging 2.6 goals per game), the likes of Hill and Hollick have combined for 19 goals this season, two per game combined on average. Around the stoppages, Leah Tynan is the top ranked player for the Roosters, averaging 3.8 per game, while Allen is another dominant stoppage expert. With Armitstead able to push into the midfield – and has extracted the ball 41 times from a stoppage – both sides have their fair share of clearance players. This game is likely to come down to whether or not North Adelaide is allowed free flowing movement because they have a midfield – Brittany Perry, Kat Reynolds, Lauren Daniel and more – who can match it with the all-powerful Norwood group, but if they can use the ball well and rebound off half-back through Ward and give the likes of Barltop, Sampson and Cristie Castle first opportunity, then they have more firepower in attack. Norwood will look to control the ball and get it forward to an unpredictable forward line, where Busch, Matilda Zander and Erika Sporn are likely to create opportunities in front of goal. They must be sensible with their defensive work, but also back themselves in to win the midfield and get the ball inside 50.

This game is the best team of the season against the most in-form side. The best offensive side against the most consistent across the board. Norwood by six points in an absolute classic.

NORWOOD

B: (5) Cassie Tsoumbris, (19) Alison Ferrall, (35) Jessica Macolino
HB: (36) Sophie Armitstead, (25) Jo Hill, (16) Ashlee Gould
C: (18) Hannah Priest, (8) Hannah Dunn, (17) Tahlia Meyer
HF: (24) Kate Fenton, (29) Jane Fitzgerald, (1) Matilda Zander
F: (28) Rhiannon Busch, (26) Erika Sporn, (14) Michele Reid
R: (21) Leah Cutting, (2) Monique Hollick, (15) Sally Riley
INT: (12) Elisha Gallagher, (23) Matilda van Riel, (32) Rosette Zerella, (4) Zoe Greer, (6) Najwa Allen, (33) Lindsay Bigg, (30) Bella Smith

IN: Alison Ferrall, Rosette Zerella, Matilda van Riel

NORTH ADELAIDE

B: (14) Olivia Gallio, (7) Jess Eichner, (31) Nicole Collie
HB: (17) Sarah Ellis, (24) Amber Ward, (30) Kendall Howell
C: (25) Erica Greet, (9) Lauren Daniel, (10) Paige Allan
HF: (8) Nadia Von Bertouch, (29) Emma Sampson, (6) Adrienne Davies
F: (1) Cristie Castle, (15) Kelly Barltrop, (4) Leah Tynan
R: (12) Jane Altschwager, (3) Kat Reynolds, (19) Brittany Perry
INT: (33) Julia Clark, (2) Alex Fitridge, (34) Danielle Nunns, (20) Elysha Willis

IN: Nil.

Weekend wash-up: SANFL Women’s – Semi-finals

THE reigning premiers are back in the decider after a 13-point win over minor premiers, Norwood – South Adelaide’s second win over the Redlegs in three rounds – while North Adelaide breathed a sigh of relief, coming back from a four-point final break deficit against Glenelg to ensure their premiership dream remains alive.

NORTH ADELAIDE 2.0 | 2.1 | 2.1 | 4.1 (25)
GLENELG 0.3 | 2.5 | 2.5 | 3.5 (23)

GOALS:

North: Kelly Barltrop 2, Brittany Perry, Leah Tynan.
Glenelg: Ellen Fauser, Melinda Speechley, Tasja Batzavalis.

DISPOSALS:

North: Lauren Daniel 17
Glenelg: Ebony Marinoff 38, Cass Hartley 17, Samantha Franson 16, Caitlin Gould, Ellie Kellock, Chelsea Packer 15.

A herculean effort from Ebony Marinoff and Glenelg was not enough for the Tigers to cause an upset win over North Adelaide in the do-or-die semi-final on Friday. The underdogs conceded the first two goals of the game with Leah Tynan and Kelly Barltrop getting the Roosters on top in the first term, before majors to Ellen Fauser and Melinda Speechley saw the Tigers hit the front at half-time by four points. The third quarter was a titanic struggle with neither side able to score such was the intensity and defensive pressure, and the Rooster fans were feeling nervous still down at the final break having scored one behind since quarter time. Luckily their fears were put to bed early in the fourth with Brittany Perry putting her side in front, before Barltrop booted her second a couple of minutes later to five them an eight-point lead. Tasja Batzavalis picked a good time for her first league goal in the tenth minute and the margin was back to two points. Unfortunately for the Tigers despite their best efforts they were not able to breakthrough and the Roosters breathed a sigh of relief knowing the next two weeks were going to be tough. North Adelaide shared the ball around in the win, with Lauren Daniel amassing a team-high 17 disposals, as well as two marks, two clearances, two inside 50s and four tackles. Amber Ward won 14 touches, laid five tackles and had two rebounds, while Perry worked hard between the arcs with four clearances, four rebounds and three inside 50s, while laying six tackles and having 13 disposals. Barltrop made the most of her opportunities with two goals from six disposals. The clear standout player on the ground to no-one’s surprise was Marinoff, who broke her own league disposal record for a third consecutive week, amassing 38 disposals, taking nine marks (two contested), eight clearances, five inside 50s, four rebounds and laying nine tackles. Cassie Hartley also had 17 touches, while Samantha Franson was fierce around the stoppages with 16 touches, four clearances, three inside 50s and a game-high 12 tackles. Caitlin Gould was busy in the ruck with 24 hitouts, three clearances, seven inside 50s and five tackles as well as 15 disposals. It was a promising season for Glenelg but the Tigers now bow out, while the Roosters face Norwood next week for a spot in the decider.

SOUTH ADELAIDE 2.1 | 4.2 | 4.2 | 5.4 (34)
NORWOOD 0.2 | 1.2 | 3.3 | 3.3 (21)

GOALS:

South: Teah Charlton 2, Tamara Page, Jessica Kirk, Tiffany Copley.
Norwood: Kate Fenton 2, Matilda Zander.

DISPOSALS:

South: Nicole Campbell 16, Nikki Gore
Norwood: Najwa Allen 20, Hannah Dunn 18, Hannah Priest 17, Sally Riley 15

It was the game talked up as the biggest of the weekend, but South Adelaide almost put the result to bed in the first half, piling on four unanswered goals – including two to Teah Charlton – to lead by as much as 24 points late in the second term. Matilda Zander gave the minor premiers a glimpse of hope in the dying minutes of the second term with the Redlegs’ first goal, before Norwood looked to have found its groove in the third, with Kate Fenton slotting two majors. The Redlegs had drawn within five points at the final break and looked to have the momentum running into the last quarter, but it was only South Adelaide who managed to get on the board, with Tiffany Copley booting the winning goal midway through the quarter as the Panthers ended up winning by 13 points in a more comfortable fashion than predicted. Nicole Campbell and Nikki Gore both had 15 disposals in the win, while combining for eight clearances, 14 tackles, four inside 50s and four rebounds, while Sarah Wright was busy in defence with four rebounds to go with her 14 disposals and three tackles. Hannah Munyard had 13 disposals, while Czenya Cavouras was down on her usual numbers like most of her teammates, but still laid eight tackles. For Norwood, Najwa Allen still managed 20 disposals in the loss, while taking three marks, having three inside 50s and laying three tackles. The usual suspects were all at the top of the disposal tallies with Hannah Dunn (18 touches, five marks, six tackles, three clearances, three rebounds), Hannah Priest (17 disposals, four marks, six tackles and two rebounds) and Sally Riley (15 disposals, two marks, three clearances and three tackles) all important. Leah Cutting was once again strong in the ruck with a game-high 19 hitouts as well as 14 disposals, two marks, four clearances and four tackles. It was a disappointing result for the minor premiers who have had a terrific season but dropped two of their past three games, both to the same opponent. Now the Redlegs must prepare for a preliminary final against North Adelaide who escaped Glenelg’s clutches in order to book a rematch with the Panthers in the 2019 decider and try and reverse the result of last year’s grand final.

SANFL Women’s weekend preview: Semi-finals

FINALS fever is in the air in South Australia as the South Australia National Football League (SANFL) Women’s finals series commences tonight in a double-header at Coopers Stadium. Three of the four sides were in last year’s finals series, with Glenelg bundling West Adelaide out in the final round to ensure a fresh face made it to the final month of competition. The Tigers won the wooden spoon last year and will take on the high-scoring North Adelaide outfit, while minor premiers Norwood were the clear best team all year, only dropping one game – but that was to their opponents South Adelaide.

NORTH ADELAIDE vs. GLENELG
Friday, May 10, 6pm
Coopers Stadium

The do-or-die clash between North Adelaide and Glenelg has the relentless scoring team up against the underdogs whose wildcard – that of Adelaide star Ebony Marinoff – is the best of any team. She joined the Tigers in the penultimate round and has led them to two victories, lifting the confidence of the team heading into the clash. It is hard to weigh up how much she can do against a top three side with so much depth, but making it to the finals was the first box ticked. Now she and her teammates will have to compete with the likes of Kat Reynolds, Brittany Perry, Lauren Daniel and Paige Allan in the midfield, while Amber Ward will patrol the backline with ease. The one aspect the Tigers will have over the Roosters is the Round 2 victory where they won a see-sawing contest 7.6 (48) to 5.3 (33). Since then, the Roosters have dropped just one match and won six on the trot, and have looked every bit the premiership contender. In that win, Chelsea Packer picked up 16 disposals, while Lucy Bellinger and Jordana Bradley both had the 12, while Madisyn Freeman booted two majors. Ward was terrific out of defence with 15 touches and four rebounds, while Adrienne Davies and Nadia Von Bertouch had 14 disposals each and laid seven tackles between them. Dominant goalkicker, Kelly Barltrop booted two goals in the match from limited opportunities, amassing just the five disposals. In this game, expect Samantha Franson to head to her, while Ward will take the dangerous Bellinger who can play anywhere on the field.

Key players:

Kelly Barltrop (North Adelaide)

Barltrop has booted 12 more goals than any other player in the SANFL Women’s competition and looms as a make-or break player in the side. While the Roosters do have others who can hit the scoreboard, Barltrop is averaging 2.6 goals per game, a remarkable effort and is a key cog in the Roosters’ machine. Franson will have her work cut out for her in defence, but it will likely be double-teaming and third efforts that will slow her impact if they manage to at all.

Ebony Marinoff (Glenelg)

There is no more dominant player in the competition than Marinoff who has played the two games and racked up 35 and 36 disposals respectively. She holds the record for the two highest individual disposal efforts in the competition, but is also damaging defensively, carrying over her tackling prowess from the AFLW to the SANFLW, laying 15 tackles. Throw in a casual 9.5 clearances, 8.5 inside 50s and 143.5 Dream Team Points per game and it is a no brainer that she is the player North Adelaide must nullify in the midfield.

NORTH

B: (14) Olivia Gallio, (7) Jess Eichner, (31) Nicole Collie
HB: (17) Sarah Ellis, (24) Amber Ward, (30) Kendall Howell
C: (25) Erica Greet, (9) Lauren Daniel, (10) Paige Allan
HF: (8) Nadia Von Bertouch, (29) Emma Sampson, (6) Adrienne Davies
F: (1) Cristie Castle, (15) Kelly Barltrop, (4) Leah Tynan
R: (12) Jane Altschwager, (3) Kat Reynolds, (19) Brittany Perry
INT: (33) Julia Clark, (2) Alex Fitridge, (34) Danielle Nunns, (20) Elysha Willis

IN: Julia Clark, Alex Fitridge, Elysha Willis
OUT: Bonnie Felsbourg, Gabrielle Gormlie, Tyra Pix

GLENELG

B: (15) Caitlin Gould, (1) Samantha Franson, (2) Madisyn Freeman
HB: (8) Ellie Kellock, (7) Tess Morcom, (10) Jordana Bradley
C: (13) Brooke Trevena, (19) Lucy Earl, (21) Melinda Speechley
HF: (11) Tasja Batzavalis, (18) Lucy Bellinger, (5) Cassie Hartley
F: (12) Tamsyn Morriss, (6) Chelsea Packer, (28) Rhiley Ritchie
R: (24) Ellen Fauser, (17) Ebony Marinoff, (3) Charlotte Dawe
INT: (30) Lauren Bungey, (34) Hannah Crump, (14) Lucy Armitage, (4) Laura Isaac, (22) Sheridan Howell, (9) Bonnie Wells

IN: Hannah Crump, Laura Isaac

Final word:

North Adelaide deserve to win the game after an outstanding season that realistically had it not been for a sluggish start could have netted them a top two spot. For as good as Norwood and South Adelaide have been, when it comes to scoring, North Adelaide have done it consistently and it will take a mighty effort for Glenelg to restrict them. In saying that, Marinoff will give her forwards at least nine chances inside 50 and have a couple herself, so if the Tigers can make the most of their opportunities this is anyone’s game. North Adelaide by 15 points.

 

NORWOOD vs. SOUTH ADELAIDE
Friday, May 10, 7.45pm
Coopers Stadium

The other semi-final pits the two best sides of the season against one another for a spot in the decider. Last year South Adelaide triumphed over Norwood in the Grand Final after finishing top of the table, while this year it is the other way around, with the Redlegs gaining the vital pole position heading into finals. The Panthers are the only side making a forced change heading into the post-season series with Maddison Bennett out with a hamstring injury. She is a crucial loss for the Panthers, rebounding and creating run out of defence. Otherwise both sides have named extended benches to keep their opposition guessing, with the sole on-field inclusion being South Adelaide’s Jess Kirk named at half-forward. These two powerhouses have met twice throughout the season, with South Adelaide defeating Norwood – the Redlegs’ only defeat of the season – in Round 9 by seven points. The pair faced off in Round 2 as well, which saw Norwood take home the chocolates with a 12-point victory. Unsurprisingly, Najwa Allen has been the top ball winner across the two games, picking up 24 disposals in each match, and averaging six marks, 3.5 clearances, 3.5 inside 50s, three tackles and one goal per game. Hannah Dunn also has 37 disposals across her two games, as well as averaging six tackles per match. For South Adelaide, Czenya Cavouras has been the major ball winner, averaging 20.5 disposals, as well as 7.5 tackles, while Teah Charlton was the Panthers’ best in their win over the Redlegs as only inaccuracy (five behinds) stopped her from having a massive day out as she had 12 touches and laid 14 disposals with terrific forward pressure. Heading into this match, the likes of Charlton, Hannah Munyard, Nicole Campbell, Cavouras and Elyse Haussen go head-to-head with Allen, Dunn, Sally Riley and Monique Hollick as the best two midfielders go to-for-toe. What makes these teams so damaging is not having a dominant goalkicker and instead sharing the load making them unpredictable inside 50.

Key players:

Najwa Allen (Norwood)

No surprises her for Norwood’s top player. While a number of the Redlegs are so crucial to the team, Allen has time and time again being named best on ground and will be a real leader for them in the midfield or when she plays forward. In nine games she is averaging 26 disposals at 74 per cent efficiency, while also having 5.2 marks, 3.4 clearances, 3.3 inside 50s, 2.7 tackles and 2.1 rebounds. With the exception of her Round 3 game where she had just 13 disposals against Sturt, Allen has amassed at least 20 touches in every game – having three matches greater than 30.

Montana McKinnon (South Adelaide)

There is a long list of key players you could name in this line-up for a key player, but I’ve opted with McKinnon – not only because she is a terrific young prospect, but the fact if she can win her head-to-head ruck battle against Leah Cutting, it will got a long way to winning the match. Cutting is the number one ruck in the league, averaging 20.8 disposals and also laying 7.7 tackles. If McKinnon can get on top of her, being able to drift forward and make her accountable, she can try and not only nullify Cutting’s influence, but have an influence on the game herself. She averages three more touches and three more marks than her direct opponent, and will look to get around the ground and help her side get the important win.

NORWOOD

B: (5) Cassie Tsoumbris, (30) Bella Smith, (35) Jessica Macolino
HB: (36) Sophie Armitstead, (25) Jo Hill, (16) Ashlee Gould
C: (18) Hannah Priest, (8) Hannah Dunn, (17) Tahlia Meyer
HF: (24) Kate Fenton, (6) Najwa Allen, (1) Matilda Zander
F: (28) Rhiannon Busch, (26) Erika Sporn, (29) Jane Fitzgerald
R: (21) Leah Cutting, (2) Monique Hollick, (15) Sally Riley
INT: (12) Elisha Gallagher, (33) Lindsay Bigg, (14) Michele Reid, (4) Zoe Greer, (3) Jiarna Zerella, (32) Rosette Zerella, (39) Ella Murison

IN: Jiarna Zerella, Rosette Zerella, Ella Murison

SOUTH

B: (22) Samantha Pratt, (35) Jaslynne Smith, (44) Elke Jarvis
HB: (41) Indy Tahau, (29) Cheyenne Hammond, (39) Emily Brockhurst
C: (25) Teah Charlton, (6) Hannah Munyard, (9) Nicole Campbell
HF: (2) Nikki Gore, (14) Tiffany Copley, (7) Jess Kirk
F: (33) Brooklyn Kraft, (40) Sarah Wright, (45) Emogen Johnson
R: (19) Montana McKinnon, (11) Czenya Cavouras, (8) Elyse Haussen
INT: (1) Emily Woods, (5) Mykala Walker-Murphy, (20) Tamara Page, (21) Alana Browne, (30) Emma Gryczewski, (34) Nat Gibbs

IN: Emily Woods, Jess Kirk, Alana Browne, Nat Gibbs
OUT: Madison Bennett (hamstring), Airlie Schirmer

Final word:

Norwood will be keen to stamp its authority on the game in what is a coin toss of a result. They looked to have let loose last week on Central District after losing to the Panthers and will look to exact revenge here. South Adelaide have the key to beating them with a midfield to match them one-on-one, but there is a reason the Redlegs finished on top of the table. This has all the makings of an absolute epic contest, and the tip will be Norwood by a point, but do not be surprised if this goes into extra time.

Weekend wash-up: SANFL Women’s – Round 10

THE four favourites all triumphed on the weekend in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) meaning the four remaining sides in the premiership race come into the first week of finals in form. Norwood and North Adelaide both made resounding statements over their bottom three opponents, while Glenelg snatched fourth spot with a win over Woodville-West Torrens as West Adelaide slipped at the final hurdle against an impressive South Adelaide side.

NORTH ADELAIDE 1.3 | 4.6 | 7.9 | 9.11 (65)
STURT 0.1 | 0.2 | 2.2 | 2.5 (17)

GOALS:

North: Kelly Barltrop 3, Leah Tynan 2, Nadia von Bertouch, Erica Greet, Kathryn Reynolds, Brittany Perry.
Sturt: Sophie Hoyle, Kate Harris.

DISPOSALS:

North: Nadia Von Bertouch 26, Lauren Daniel 20, Kathryn Reynolds 19, Brittany Perry 16
Sturt: Georgia Bevan 21, Maya Rigter 17

North Adelaide locked up third spot with an impressive win over Sturt, holding the Double Blues goalless in the opening half and final term as they piled on 20 scoring shots throughout the game in the 9.11 (65) to 2.5 (17) victory. Kathryn Reynolds opened the Roosters’ account in the opening term with the only goal of the quarter, and by the seventh minute of the second term, Kelly Barltrop and Brittany Perry each had a goal to their name and the Roosters were 20 points up. Barltrop kicked her second just before half-time to open the lead up to 28 points, and soon Leah Tynan and Nadia Von Bertouch joined the party and the Roosters had all but sealed the game five minutes into the third term with a seven-goal advantage. Sturt finally got on the board through Sophie Hoyle and Kate Harris, but a second major to Tynan meant North Adelaide were well and truly home and hosed. Barltrop and Erica Greet finished off the game strongly with goals as the Roosters stormed to a 48-point victory in the final round of the season. The captain Von Bertouch led from the front with a game-high 26 disposals, six marks, three clearances, three tackles and two inside 50s, while Lauren Daniel had 20 touches, five marks, three tackles and four inside 50s. Reynolds (19 disposals, five clearances, three tackles) and Perry (16 disposals, seven tackles) were other Roosters who stood tall in the win. For Sturt, Georgia Bevan (21 disposals, four marks, nine clearances, two inside 50s, three rebounds and six tackles) was the best, while it was no surprise to see Maya Rigter (17 disposals, four marks and 10 tackles) and Caitlyn Swanson (14 disposals, four marls, four inside 50s and two rebounds) also among the Double Blues’ best. For the losers it is season over, while for North Adelaide the result means a semi-final battle with fourth placed Glenelg next week.

NORWOOD 4.0 | 7.2 | 8.5 | 12.9 (81)
CENTRAL DISTRICT 0.0 | 0.0 | 2.1 | 2.1 (13)

GOALS:

Norwood: Jo Hill 4, Leah Cutting 2, Lindsay Bigg, Monique Hollick, Erika Sporn, Michele Reid, Thalia Meyer, Jane Fitzgerald.
Central: Katelyn Rosenzweig, Jayme-Lee Sonneman.

DISPOSALS:

Norwood: Najwa Allen 29, Sophie Armitstead, Monique Hollick 20, Hannah Dunn 18, Leah Cutting, Sally Riley 15.
Central: Demi Sonneman 19

After having their perfect season interrupted last week, Norwood was always going to come out firing in the final game of the season, regardless of the fact the Redlegs had sown up top spot and the minor premiership heading into finals. After losing to South Adelaide in its only defeat of the season, Norwood showed no signs of letting up against bottom two side, Central District, piling on seven goals to zero in the opening half, before keeping the foot down in a massive 21 scoring shots to three victory. Aside from the opening eight minutes of the third term when Katelyn Rosenzweig and Jayme-Lee Sonneman hit the scoreboard, it was all Norwood as they could not miss early, and then just put the Bulldogs to the sword in a commanding message to the rest of the competition. Jo Hill and Leah Cutting both booted two majors in the opening term, and by full-time, Hill had four on the board, and the Redlegs were doing it easy in their best performance of the season, and the competition’s highest score for the year in the 12.9 (81) to 2.1 (13) victory. Najwa Allen‘s sensational season continued with another 29 disposals, nine marks, five clearances, six inside 50s and three tackles in a best-on-ground performance, while Hill’s four majors were accompanied by four marks and six hitouts. Cutting was by far the dominant ruck on the ground with 32 hitouts and 15 disposals, while getting it done at ground level, laying 12 tackles. Sophie Armitstead (20 disposals, nine clearances and three inside 50s) and Monique Hollick (20 disposals, 13 marks – two contested – nine inside 50s and a goal) were others who stood tall in the huge win. For Central District, Demi Sonneman stood up with 19 disposals, five marks, four rebounds and four tackles, while sister Jayme-Lee battled hard despite being beaten in the ruck, having the 13 hitouts and laying seven tackles as well as having 12 touches and four clearances. Kimberley Fry (13 disposals, eight tackles) and inclusion Laitiah Huynh (12 disposals, three clearances) were others who had an impact for the losing side.

SOUTH ADELAIDE 0.4 | 1.6 | 4.7 | 6.7 (43)
WEST ADELAIDE 0.1 | 3.1 | 3.2 | 4.3 (27)

GOALS:

South: Madison Bennett 2, Elyse Haussen, Hannah Munyard, Indy Tahau, Mykala Walker-Murphy.
West: Melanie Elsegood 2, Mary Smith, Rachelle Martin.

DISPOSALS:

South: Nikki Gore 20, Nicole Campbell, Indy Tahau 17, Czenya Cavouras, Hannah Munyard 16, Teah Charlton 14.
West: Abbie Ballard, Rachelle Martin 24, Madison Newman 22, Rebecca Owen 18, Emma Smith 16.

It was far from easy, but second placed South Adelaide finally shook off their West counterparts to secure second spot and a double chance, while bundling the Westies out of the finals race. Neither side could find its range in the opening quarter, and South Adelaide looked good when Elyse Haussen slotted through the first major of the game five minutes into the second term. But that was followed by three consecutive West Adelaide goals as the visiting fans began to believe they could topple the favourites. Mary Smith, Melanie Elsegood and Rachelle Martin had all booted goals in that second term and the Bloods found themselves seven points ahead at the main break despite three less scoring shots. Unfortunately for the visitors, it was all South Adelaide from there, as they piled on five consecutive majors in the second half, with Madison Bennett booting two, before Elsegood could slot her second late in the game. While it cut the deficit to 16 points, by that stage the game was done and dusted and West Adelaide’s finals hopes dashed. Nikki Gore led the way for the Panthers with 20 disposals, four marks, four inside 50s and four tackles, while Indy Tahau was huge in the air, taking three contested marks as well as her six uncontested marks, while racking up 17 disposals, eight hitouts and three inside 50s. Nicole Campbell, Czenya Cavouras and Hannah Munyard again performed strongly through the midfield as they have all season, amssing at least 16 disposals each, and combining for 18 tackles and 11 inside 50s. For West Adelaide, Martin was impressive with 24 disposals, eight marks and eight tackles, while Abbie Ballard had an equal game-high 24 disposals, with three marks, six clearances, five rebounds and five tackles. Madison Newman had six rebounds ato go with her 22 disposals and seven marks, while Rebecca Owen had 18 touches, seven marks and two tackles in the loss. South Adelaide now faces Norwood next week for a spot in the 2019 decider, while West Adelaide will have a long break to reset and prepare for the 2020 season.

GLENELG 3.2 | 4.6 | 6.9 | 7.9 (51)
WWT EAGLES 1.0 | 1.0 | 2.0 | 5.2 (32)

GOALS:

Glenelg: Lucy Armitage 2, Samantha Franson, Ebony Marinoff, Lucy Bellinger, Ellen Fauser, Bonnie Wells.
Eagles: Kiana Lee 2, Rachel Dunstan, Chloe Forby, Jovanka Zecevic.

DISPOSALS:

Glenelg: Ebony Marinoff 36, Ellen Fauser 19, Caitlin Gould 16, Samantha Franson, Brooke Trevena 15.
Eagles: Kiana Lee, Stephanie Walker 14, Jaimi Tabb 13.

Another massive performance from Adelaide Crows star, Ebony Marinoff has led Glenelg to its first finals series on the back of a 19-point win over winless Woodville-West Torrens. The Eagles were destined for the wooden spoon regardless of the Round 10 result, but the Tigers needed the win to guarantee finals action after receiving the wooden spoon last year. After Chloe Forby booted the opening goal of the game, it was all Glenelg as Ellen Fauser, Lucy Bellinger and Marinoff all slotted first quarter goals for a 14-point quarter time lead. The Eagles managed to restrict the Tigers’ scoring in the second term as Bonnie Wells converted the only major of the game, but the visitors could not score themselves, as Glenelg headed to half-time with a 24-point lead. Lucy Armitage booted two majors in the third term either side of Kiana Lee‘s first for the Eagles, and handed the Tigers what would have expected to be an unassailable 33-point lead at the final break. Lee and Jovanka Zecevic gave the Tigers something to think about, before Samantha Franson settled the nerves for the home side with her first major, while Rachel Dunstan booted a late consolation goal for the losing side. Marinoff was unbelievable throughout with a sensational 36 disposals – breaking her own personal game record in the competition from last week, while amassing eight marks, nine clearances, 10 inside 50s, nine tackles and booting 1.2. Fauser had the next most for the Tigers with 19 touches, five marks – two contested – as well as seven inside 50s and a goal. Caitlin Gould was dominant in the ruck with 22 hitouts, 16 disposals and six clearances, while Franson had the 15 touches, five marks and nine tackles. For the Eagles, Lee had 14 disposals and seven marks – three contested – to go with her two goals, while Stephanie Walker finished with 14 disposals, three marks, three rebounds and three clearances. Jaimi Tabb (13 disposals, four marks, three clearances, three rebounds and seven tackles) was also prolific for the visitors in defeat. Next week the Tigers face off against the raging North Adelaide side to keep their premiership dream alive, while the Eagles will be disappointed they could not win a game in their inaugural season, but will take solace from the fact Glenelg were wooden spooners 12 months ago and are now entering finals.