Tag: rachael killian

SANFL Women’s Finals preview: Preliminary Final – South Adelaide vs. West Adelaide

TWO teams with contrasting finals records face off in the 2020 South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s preliminary final tomorrow, as reigning back-to-back premiers South Adelaide take on finals newbies, West Adelaide. The Panthers have a decorated finals history, coming from second last season to win their second consecutive title, knocking off minor premiers Norwood, and third placed North Adelaide along the way. West Adelaide is in unchartered territory. Having never made a SANFL Women’s finals series prior to 2020, the Bloods are here to make waves and they certainly did that in the semi-final with a stunning victory over Norwood to turn around a run of form that included back-to-back losses.

Interestingly enough, West Adelaide lost to Norwood in Round 9 of the season, and then beat them in the first week of finals, just two weeks later. In an eerily similar coincidental matchup, the Bloods lost to South Adelaide in Round 10 of the season, and tomorrow’s match is two weeks since then. Could the Bloods cause an upset and send the Panthers out in straight sets like South Adelaide did to the Redlegs 12 months earlier? It is possible, but the Panthers are a side that are hard to beat. Even against North Adelaide, it genuinely took four quarter to shake off the Panthers, and the Roosters have had their opponents on ice by half-time more often than not. The defence of South Adelaide is elite, and nearly all the midfielders can play forward and hit the scoreboard, which is something the West Adelaide defence must be wary of. Up the other end, West Adelaide is more than capable of kicking a big score, but inaccuracy has hurt the Bloods in the second half of the season, so they will need to back up from last week and continue that run of goalkicking form against South here if they are to win.

YOUNG TALENT:

Anyone interested in the future stars of the AFL Womens – both current young guns on lists and future ones – then this game is perfect. South Adelaide’s Teah Charlton and Indy Tahau are the two top-age members of the AFL Women’s National Academy, and they are not hard to spot because they often have the footy in their hands. Charlton is a ball-winner who can play anywhere on the field, but when she has space in front of her, or an ability to jump, then she is as damaging as they come. Tahau is similar, she has some additional height, but incredible athleticism for her size, and she is not afraid to take the game on. A strong contested mark, Tahau can set plays up or be on the end of it, and quite often the two find each other in passages down the field. Speaking of close bonds, you do not need to look much further than recent draftees, Nikki Gore and Hannah Munyard taken in the past two drafts. Munyard will now join Gore at West Lakes after a season at the Bulldogs, and the pair have a habit of linking up, with similar speed and hardness around the ball and on the outside. Gore will tend to play more inside, while Munyard is let loose on a wing or inside 50, and her form of the past few weeks has been as good as anyone’s.

Looking at the youth of West Adelaide, and current Crow Madison Newman is one of the elite players of the competition. Her penetrating kick can carry 50m with ease and it is not far-fetched to say she is the best long-range kick in the competition. Still only a teenager and only one season into her AFL Women’s career, she has a bright future ahead of her. The potential for her to lineup on fellow South Australian representative, Munyard could be exciting in many ways with both competitive beasts on the field despite being friends off it. On the other half-back flank is a player who still has a couple of years left in the system, but Keeley Kustermann would be one of the brightest stars for the 2022 draft when looking ahead. Having a nice balance of offensive and defensive traits, as well as footy smarts and composure, she is already shaping up to be a terrific player in years to come. West Adelaide also have in-and-under midfielder Abbie Ballard, and future star Zoe Venning who both roll through the midfield or up forward. They are often amongst their best players and along with Emma Smith who was impressive last week, do well across that half-forward line.

AFL WOMENS STARS

Anyone tuning in for the first time to the competition will know a few familiar faces from AFL Women’s, with Stevie-Lee Thompson the most known of the Crows players having won the AFLW leading goalkicker in 2019. She will line-up for West Adelaide and spends a lot of time through the midfield, but as she showed last week, went forward and kicked 3.2 to be the match winner. Newman and versatile utility Chelsea Biddell are also in the red and black, with the latter playing forward as the team’s leading goalkicker in 2020. A couple of players who have thrown on a Crows jumper before are 2017 AFLW premiership player Rachael Killian, and train-on player Rachelle Martin. The Two Westies are important players, with Martin tipped to win the club best and fairest such is her consistency throughout the year. To give you a taste, she racked up 25 touches, three marks, 10 tackles, six clearances and booted a goal last week. Killian was quieter, but still provided a contest and has been known to hit cleanly between the big sticks. South Adelaide has even more AFLW listed players, with Gore and Munyard already mentioned, but GIANT-cum-Crow Lisa Whiteley playing a superb role in defence, while Nicole Campbell is another Crows midfielder who stands out at SANFL Women’s level. Cheyenne Hammond is crucial player adding extra class and runs around for Gold Coast in the AFL Women’s, while Czenya Cavouras was in the same boat as Martin in 2020, signed as a train-on player for the Crows. Meanwhile young ruck and last year’s first round selection Montana McKinnon stands tall through the middle for the Panthers.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Turning the clock back to the two meetings between the sides this season, South Adelaide has got up in both, with the Round 7 match ending up a forgettable one when it came to goalkicking as the Panthers kicked 3.11 (29) to win against the Bloods’ 1.8 (14), as Charlton booted two goals to be the difference between the sides, while Thompson and Kustermann were impressive for the losers. Three weeks later and only a fortnight ago, the Panthers goy up again, but only narrowly as they held on to win 4.5 (29) to 1.6 (12). The defence was key for the Panthers as Jaslynne Smith, Lauren Buchanan and Samantha Pratt were all amongst the best, while Helen Maidment stepped up for the Bloods, and Venning was good through the forward half as well.

WHAT DOES EACH SIDE DO WELL?

Both sides are very strong defensively despite being able to score freely. The Panthers are well structured enough to get numbers back in defence and help out teammates, even if that means running off an opponent, or a midfielder dropping back into the hole to provide extra assistance. They are a side that plays as a team and are really confident of their own ability to get the job done each and every week. Even when down you can never count the Panthers out, and teams cannot afford to just bomb and hope, or muck around with the ball inside 50 for too long. West Adelaide might have to push forwards higher up to open up space inside 50 and reduce congestion, then find the short targets when on the counter attack to limit the effectiveness of the Panthers back six.

West Adelaide’s half-back line is right up there with the best, and the Bloods look to get it into the hands of Kustermann, and in particular Newman. Once Newman can get her boot to it, the ball is long gone and the Westies are on the attack, so the Panthers need to find a way to quell Newman – they tended to put her under more pressure in Round 10 – to avoid easy exit out of their forward 50. The Bloods need to be able to free her up, and also keep structured, because when they have lost in the past, it is either because they tended to lose a bit of shape with their formation, or just could not kick straight. Both areas are within their control, so aside from keeping a firm formation, the Bloods have to make their chances count. Their midfield gives the forwards plenty of goalscoring opportunities, so they cannot afford to squander them.

WHO WINS?

It would be very dangerous to tip against South Adelaide given what the Panthers have achieved. On paper, the Panthers have won twice against their opponents, they are the back-to-back reigning champions and love this time of year. West Adelaide has nothing to lose as the underdogs, but when watching them, the Bloods can go one of two ways. They tend to either look like a team that could score heavily and quickly to roll over any team on their day, but then they can also tend to miss gettable opportunities and proverbially shoot themselves in the foot. If West Adelaide plays to its potential, this is going to be an absolute ripping contest. The Bloods often start fairly well, where the Panthers come home strong, but if the Westies are to cause an upset, they have to kick more than one goal on the board as they did the last couple of matches against this opposition. This match is not to be missed.

SANFL Women’s Semi-Finals review: Roosters through to grand final as Bloods win through to face Panthers

NORTH Adelaide has backed up its unbeaten South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition with an impressive eight-point victory over South Adelaide to book its place in the 2020 Grand Final. Hoping to go one better than last year, the Roosters will await the winner of the Panthers and West Adelaide, following the Bloods’ statement win over Norwood in the do-or-die semi-final.

NORTH ADELAIDE 1.0 | 2.3 | 3.4 | 3.7 (25)
SOUTH ADELAIDE 1.0 | 1.1 | 2.3 | 2.5 (17)

GOALS:

North: A. Woodland, K. Reynolds, B. Perry.
South: C. Hammond, H. Munyard.

ADC BEST:

North: A. Hatchard, K. Pope, H. Ewings, B. Arthur, C. Castle
South: T. Charlton, H. Munyard, N. Campbell, C. Hammond, J. Smith

If there was ever a prime example of a low-scoring contest being an edge-of-your-seat thriller, then North Adelaide and South Adelaide’s semi-final clash would be it. The Roosters and Panthers kicked just five goals between them, three of which came in the first half, but it was far from a scrap, with the two best teams in the SANFL Women’s going head-to-head in a high-octane battle, eventually won by the undefeated Roosters, 3.7 (25) to 2.5 (17).

Neither side was willing to give an inch early in the game, with Montana McKinnon having an early couple of touches for the Panthers through the ruck, whilst ball magnet Anne Hatchard was dominating through the middle for the Roosters. While Hatchard’s running power – such as her ability to find space and seemingly have no one able to work with her, it was also the slick ball use of Hannah Ewings straight down the throat of Ashleigh Woodland five and a half minutes into the contest. With their first inside 50, the Roosters had a goal on the board, and it would prove golden in the low-scoring contest.

An early injury from the piece of play to Samantha Pratt saw the young defender helped from the ground, but her teammates in Jaslynne Smith and Lauren Buchanan were pushing hard to keep the ball out of the danger zone. South had controlled play, but were just not getting on the end of scoring chances until late in the term when the play of the day from Cheyenne Hammond created said opportunity. A huge run-down tackle earned Hammond a free to kick forward and then Hammond pushed up as her kick hit Nicole Campbell who found Jess Kirk. While Kirk’s shot fell in the goalsquare, Hammond dove on it and was awarded a free kick, popping it home to level the scores at quarter time.

Teah Charlton had a busy opening term and would continue that in the second quarter, leading all-comers for her side with seven touches, and then 13 by the main break, but it would be no surprise to see Hatchard in front with 17. The second term saw North kick a crucial goal after pressing for the majority of the contest, as Kathryn Reynolds got on the end of a chain of handballs thanks to Britt Perry‘s work to draw an extra opponent and put through a running goal. Both teams had chances, as Kirk had a shot a couple of minutes likes but hit the post, before Perry missed a chance from 45m out to the right.

The work of both half-back lines was telling in the low-scoring scrap that was quite entertaining thus far and the game on the line. South showed why they were well and truly in the hunt with a great piece of play from young gun Indy Tahau off half-back. The AFL Women’s Academy member got the ball forward and it ended in the hands of Hannah Munyard who used the body well in a marking contest and kicked truly from the goalsquare.

Katelyn Pope was using her speed to advantage for the Roosters, having a big start to the second half, but it was South that was piling on the pressure and realistically should have added an extra goal or two with the Panthers’ forward half domination. Gypsy Schirmer had a couple of chances close to goal, including a tough snap from the boundary with the outside of the boot but it just bounced the wrong side of the post. Both Hammond and Campbell were big influences on the game through the middle, but it was Hatchard and Ewings who really shone, as the latter again had a great kick inside 50 and with four and a half minutes left in the third term, Perry kicked a terrific goal from a spin out of trouble to snap and bounce home after a favourable kick in from Mollie McKendrick.

The stage was set for a terrific last term, and once again this game proved that you do not need goals to be flowing for it to be tense. In fact, neither team kicked a goal, but there was still end-to-end football at times, and plenty of individual plays of brilliance. Tahau and Munyard were continually involved in attacking transitions, while Hatchard and Ewings were always busy. Smith won a good free in defence on Reynolds which had a been a good battle on the day, while a huge tackle on Czenya Cavouras from Ash Woodland and Charlotte Taylor saw the latter come off second best and helped from the field.

South almost had a huge major late in the term when Nikki Gore ran down the usually-elusive Ewings, which saw South play on and get it forward with a quick kick from Charlton heading towards goal but was about to sail home but touched on the line. Most of the last couple of minutes South continued to drive it forward, with Schirmer almost taking a grab on the goal line but the Roosters defence rushed it through. It was a game of almosts for South, as North Adelaide held on, and Perry had the last kick of the game from 40m out, missing, but making it an eight-point victory and her side booked its spot in the 2020 SANFL Women’s Grand Final.

NORWOOD 0.1 | 0.2 | 1.2 | 2.3 (15)
WEST ADELAIDE 2.0 | 3.2 | 7.3 | 9.4 (58)

GOALS:

Norwood: M. Zander, A. Lishmund.
West: S. Thompson 3, C. Biddell 2, N. Hooper 2, R. Martin, A. Ballard.

ADC BEST:

Norwood: N. Allen, R. Busch, L. Cutting, C. Tsoumbris, K. Fenton
West: R. Martin, M. Newman, S. Thompson, Z. Venning, C. Biddell, E. Smith

West Adelaide won its first ever final and in the process delivered Norwood its fourth consecutive finals loss in the SANFL Women’s competition, saluting by 43 points in the do-or-die semi-finals clash. The Bloods tackling pressure was enormous and they had the numbers on the inside and outside to back up their defensive work, restricting Norwood to just one goal in three quarters as they piled on seven of the first eight majors and finished off with a 9.4 (58) to 2.3 (15) victory.

The first term started with ruck Leah Cutting and 2019 league best and fairest Najwa Allen winning a number of crucial touches to lock the ball inside 50. Madison Newman and Rachelle Martin were working hard in the defensive half of the ground as Abbie Ballard was burrowing in to lay a game-high six tackles in the first term. Despite Norwood having the early ascendancy, once West Adelaide got it forward, the Bloods locked it inside their own forward 50, and after a couple of opportunities, earned a free kick straight in front of goal to Chelsea Biddell. The key position utility made no mistake 20m out and handed her side the early lead.

Norwood tried to answer off the next stoppage by getting it down to Matilda Zander at half-forward but a smart intercepting by Bloods’ captain Lauren Rodato sent the ball back up the field. Not long after, Zander had a great chance running into the open goal but shanked the kick – something both sides would have a tendency of doing throughout the game. In fact, three minutes later, Nicole Hooper sprayed it out on the full herself following a quick snap. But a second chance less than a minute later came via another free kick in front of goal and once against West made no mistake to go 11 points up at the first break.

The Redlegs came out fiercely to try and attack from the get-go in the second term, but a quick shot hits the behind post and yet again Newman was there to mop up. The tenacity of the Bloods was obvious as their pressure went to another level and created a scoring opportunity through Kasia Culhane and then Stevie-Lee Thompson bu the shot just missed. Emma Smith was having a big influence at half-forward, driving the ball in, and Zoe Venning was winning plenty of the ball, but had very little space at times. In the end, the pressure of the Bloods resulted in a third goal, and a second to Biddell who marked strong overhead and converted off a slight angle.

West had a few more chances in the term, but the work of Cassie Tsoumbris coming off half-back, and Cutting through the middle, as well as Allan working hard around the ground, avoided the Redlegs being further down at the half. Rhiannon Busch was also winning plenty of the football with 11 kicks to the main break, only behind Allen for her side, while Neman and Martin led all-comers for disposals at half-time.

The third term is often referred to as the premiership quarter, and while it might not have been a premiership, it is where the game was won. West Adelaide progressed through to a preliminary final with four goals to one off the back of some terrific play. Venning and Thompson were quite often involved, but for the first one it was Biddell who found Rachael Killian inside 50. The kick drifted to the right, but Biddell marked it on the line and rather than go for the snap from the tight angle spotted Martin straight in front of goal 20m out, found her and her teammate rewarded her with a perfect set shot goal. When Ballard crumbed the ball off the pack a couple of minutes later, the lead was out to 31 points and the Bloods fans were sniffing their first ever finals win.

Refusing to give up, the ball raced down the other end off the next stoppage and went from Allen to Zander tight in the pocket. This time the number one made no mistake from the set shot with a perfectly weighted kick that sailed through from 20m and there was a slight pulse. It was soon be put to bed though as the next stoppage also resulted in a goal – to West Adelaide. Straight out of the middle it hit Hooper leading out, and following her clunking mark, nailed the set shot and the lead surpassed five goals. The game was all but sealed and delivered with Keeley Kusterman drifting forward and hitting up Thompson who dropped the mark, but recovered well to quickly snap with the outside of the boot not far from the siren with West leading by 37 points.

Needing a miracle and early goals, Norwood had a hail Mary in the form of Alana Lishmund who won a free kick 90 seconds into the game and kicked truly to put the margin back to 31. Another behind a few minutes later made it a square 30 points, but that was as close as it got with the West Adelaide defence and whole ground pressure overwhelming. Smith was superb, as was Newman, while Ballard and Martin’s tackling pressure all over the field was immense.

It led the way for a couple of Thompson goals late in the piece as Norwood looked to switch inside the defensive 50 and the dangerous pass inside was picked off by Thompson. Moments later, a Zoe Greer tackle in defensive 50 led to an end-to-end play with Thompson out-bodying her opponent and kicking from metres out. Even Newman got in on the party, swung forward late, but her set shot was just touched on the line. It mattered little though as the Bloods got up 9.4 (58) to 2.3 (15) on the back of a superb tackling effort.

SANFL Women’s Finals preview: Semi-Finals – Fans treated to double header at Thebarton

FINALS fever is in the air and the four best teams remain in the race for the 2020 South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition. Last year’s grand finalists North Adelaide and South Adelaide do battle in the first game at Thebarton Oval for automatic entry into the grand final, before Norwood and West Adelaide face off to remain in the hunt and head into a preliminary final next week.

NORTH ADELAIDE vs. SOUTH ADELAIDE
Sunday, August 9, 10.30am at Thebarton Oval

It is the clash that many SANFL Women’s fans have been waiting for, the two best teams in the competition going head-to-head at full strength and with so much talent across the field. North Adelaide Roosters, led by Krissie Steen naturally hold favouritism as they are yet to drop a game in 2020. The last time the Roosters looked vulnerable was way back in Round 4 of this season when South Adelaide pushed them for four quarters in an absolute thriller. The four-point margin in favour of the visiting side ultimately determined which order the top sides would finish, as neither side lost another game. South Adelaide might not have been blowing teams off the part to the extent that Roosters have, but Rick Watts has his charges primed for a third consecutive flag knowing the pressure of favouritism is off.

These two teams faced off in the decider last year, where South took control after quarter time and just kept the Roosters at arms-length to get up 4.7 (31) to 1.3 (9). It is expected the scores on the weekend will be much higher with some seriously talented forward lines. In saying that, both teams have remarkable back six’s, so it will not be easy to score against. The aspect about this matchup that people are most intrigued about is that they have not faced off again since their AFL Women’s talents returned.

This arguably gives the Roosters a boost given they have welcomed in arguably the competition’s best player – given she was a club best and fairest winner and All-Australian at the elite level – in Anne Hatchard, as well as reliable and recently retired, Talia Radan, and the dangerous forward in Britt Perry. South Adelaide has added Crows’ teenage ruck Montana McKinnon – who also played games prior to the break while she was waiting to crack into the Crows team – as well as speedster Hannah Munyard, and defender Lisa Whiteley. Both represented Western Bulldogs and GWS GIANTS in 2019, and both have since headed home and will represent the tri-colours next season.

In terms of in-form players from the last two matchups, it is hard to look past South tall, Indy Tahau. Winning the Best on Ground medal in the 2019 SANFL Women’s Grand Final, she booted two goals from 20 touches, and then back it up with a strong 16-disposal, 17-hitout and 10-tackle game earlier this year. Adelaide train-on talent Czenya Cavouras will be a welcome return for the Panthers after missing a couple of games to injury, she is averaging the 21.5 disposals, 3.5 clearances, 4.5 inside 50s and 7.0 tackles. The third Panther to highlight is Teah Charlton who booted a crucial goal in the grand final last year, having 18 touches, four marks and five tackles, before a quieter outing earlier this season with 12 touches, four marks and six tackles.

North Adelaide has changed so much since last year’s grand final with one of the Roosters’ best in Kendall Howell named back in the side this week. She gathered 19 touches and six rebounds in last year’s decider, and had 12 touches and five marks in the 2020 victory over South. Lauren Daniel has been an experienced campaigner who has performed in both matches, picking up 15 disposals, four tackles and three inside 50s in the grand final, and then 18 touches, four marks, three tackles, three clearances and three rebounds earlier this year. Then there is Amber Ward who had eight rebounds from 16 touches and three marks last year, and it was Kristi Harvey this year who won the game with her work in defence racking up 15 disposals, eight marks – two contested, six tackles and eight rebounds.

Fast forward to this matchup today and the Roosters have been in ominous form, only conceding one goal in the past three weeks – not a typo – as they have completely powered past sides, albeit three of the bottom four sides. North Adelaide have booted 33.37 (235) to 1.8 (14) in that time with a percentage of 943. The Roosters are usually accurate but had a down day last round in terms of accuracy with 7.17, but that was as much credit to Central District’s defence as it was to North’s missed chances. In the two matches prior to those three thumpings, the Roosters defeated Glenelg by 18 points, and Norwood by 45 in strong performances.

South Adelaide has had a weird fixture to end the season, playing twice against each of West Adelaide and Central District, as well as Glenelg. The Bloods have provided a great measuring stick against the Panthers, with South getting up by 18 points in Round 7, and and 12 points last round. The trick with South Adelaide is that the Panthers just find a way to get it done. No matter what the score, the Panthers are the best at adapting to a style of playing and then beating the opposition with that style. They might not have belted teams in the last month, but they have beaten quality opposition off the back of terrific defence.

The most exciting area of the ground to watch will be North Adelaide’s forward line up against South Adelaide’s defence, with the likes of Ash Woodland – fresh off another four-goal haul – alongside Cristie Castle, Daniel, Perry and speedster Katelyn Pope going head-to-head with the reliable trio of Jaslynne Smith, Lauren Buchanan and Samantha Pratt, and then no doubt Whiteley and Roosters’ Kelly Barltrop will also be ones who have a bearing on the result of the game.

Up the other end, Ward and Harvey have the best one-two intercept marking and rebounding punch of any side in the competition, but what makes South so good is creating space inside 50 and letting the smaller forwards go to work. Jess Kirk returns and was leading the competition goalkicking prior to injury, while Munyard has kicked multiple goals on occasions, and Madison Bennett is always dangerous at ground level. Tahau and Charlton are South Australia’s top two top-age prospects this year as the pair are in the AFL Women’s National Academy. Radan and Lauren Gauci can provide some good intercepting and run and carry respectively back there, and they will have their work cut out for them.

In the midfield, McKinnon will be keen to impress in her second game back from injury against Bek Rasheed who has been one of the most consistent surprise packets this season since coming to the club. Hatchard leads the Roosters’ onball brigade, but the likes of Leah Tynan and Hannah Ewings will go head-to-head against Nicole Campbell and Tahlia Meyer, with Nikki Gore and Pope providing the dash through the middle, It is likely the team that not only wins the midfield, but has the most effective inside 50 entries will be the winner. Both these teams are capable of locking down the hatches and defending well, while they also know how to score quickly.

If you had to pick a team, North Adelaide is hard to look past given its strength and unbeaten nature, but the general feeling is, if the Roosters are to lose, it will likely be against the Panthers. A grand final spot on the line, this is set to be a ripper.

NORTH

F: Daniel, Castle, Woodland
HF: Pope, McKendrick, Perry
C: Greet, Hatchard, Case
HB: Gauci, Ward, Sundstrom
B: Clark, Harvey, Radan
R: Rasheed, Tynan, Ewings
INT: Arthur, Barltrop, Gallio, Howell, Reynolds, Taylor, Woodards

IN: Hatchard, Howell, Pope

SOUTH

F: Bennett, Kirk, Munyard
HF: Tahau, Cavouras, Schirmer
C: Hammond, Campbell, Charlton
HB: Copley, Pratt, Buchanan
B: Haylock, Smith, Northcott
R: McKinnon, Meyer, Whiteley
INT: Gore, Wedding, Flanagan-Sjoberg, Gibbs, Clifton, Pennifold, Ross

IN: Gore, Kirk, Cavouras, Bennett
OUT: Rothwell, Peters

 

NORWOOD vs. WEST ADELAIDE
Sunday, August 9, 12.20pm at Thebarton Oval

The loser of the first game will have the best opportunity to scout its next opponent when Norwood tackles West Adelaide in the second game. Unlike the North Adelaide-South Adelaide clash, there is no turning back for the loser with the defeated team out of contention this year. These teams have played twice this year, and both have been thrillers with Norwood getting the job back in Round 9 with an 11-point win over West Adelaide, while neither team could be split in Round 4 when they headed home with a draw prior to the extended break.

For most of the season, West Adelaide had held third spot on the table, going toe-for-toe with the top two sides, but two losses against them kept them in third. The draw and then loss with Norwood saw the Panthers drop back to fourth in the final round as the Redlegs enjoyed a huge win over a depleted Glenelg, while the Bloods went down in a fight against South Adelaide. In their most recent encounter back in Round 9, it was only a final term burst that saw Norwood create separation and celebrate a 4.9 (33) to 3.4 (22) victory.

The Redlegs almost kicked themselves out of it with seven straight behinds, before midfield dynamo Matilda Zander put through a crucial snap out of congestion. West Adelaide immediately trimmed back the deficit to under a kick through the great work of AFL Women’s teammates, Stevie-Lee Thompson and Chelsea Biddell, but it was loose checking on the defensive goal line that ultimately cost the Bloods third spot. With a free kick near the behind post, Tessa Hankinson was brought back on a sharp angle, but her opponent opted to stand on the goal line leaving the mark unguarded and Hankinson ran in to kick a goal from a couple of metres out, bettering the angle and helping her team to victory.

It was not the first time that Norwood had escaped ill-fated mis-kicking in front of goal. A week earlier, they kicked a frustrating 2.8, in what was a strange match. The Redlegs booted the first goal of the contest, then eight consecutive behinds against a Sturt side that refused to give in. It took until Kate Fenton‘s after-the-siren goal to give the visitors another major, and it levelled the scores and ensured the fourth placed team walked away with some points. A week later they knocked off the Bloods, and then took apart Glenelg in a strong performance.

West Adelaide did enough against Central District back in Round 8 to win by 22 points as Madison Newman and Thompson were dominant, booting four goals to zero in the middle two quarters to guarantee a win. The loss to Norwood cost them third spot, but they would have been pleased by the effort against South Adelaide early. They looked on from the first bounce, but could not sustain it across four quarters as quick goals to the Panthers was the difference.

Looking at this match, the battle of the midfields is absolutely crucial. Rachelle Martin had 21 touches and five clearances against the Redlegs in the Round 4 draw, and Norwood must find a way to try and stop her if they are to win. But she is far from alone in that onball brigade with the young talents of Abbie Ballard, Zoe Venning and Olivia Smith running around, with Mattea Breed a taller option who could play at either end or through the middle. Leah Cutting is one of the league’s best rucks so expect her to have a say on the contest as she leads a strong midfield group in Adelaide AFL Women’s talent and last year’s SANFL Women’s best and fairest, Najwa Allen, as well as Zander, Jess Macolino and Sophie Armitstead in there. The entire midfield is not afraid to get its hands dirty and win the contested ball.

Both these sides have some seriously underrated players in the competition, with Jade Halfpenny able to play at either end, as could Bella Smith who has been relishing the intercept marking role at centre half-back. The Norwood defence is strong, with Armitstead able to drop back there, and the likes of Rhiannon Busch mopping up everything that comes her way. The West Adelaide forward line is one of the most damaging when up and firing, with Biddell a key target, and Rachael Killian filling the role of Melanie Elsegood perfectly. Throw in midfielder Isabel Martin who can hit the scoreboard, along with Kasia Culhane, Thompson and Venning who both float down there, and the Bloods have a formidable group.

Up the other end, Norwood has Breed and captain Alison Ferrall as the targets to watch for, with Breed able to fly and Ferrall powerful on the lead. The latter returns for this game, and with Fenton a known goalkicker, and Zander and Allen both able to rest forward, the Redlegs have a versatile front six. The Bloods half-back line of young guns, Newman and Keeley Kustermann, as well as captain Lauren Rodato is the best in the business, but as Helen Maidment showed last week, she is more than capable of playing high half-back with Rodato dropping back deeper.

Both these sides have some incredible talent which showcases what they are capable of on their day. They can match it with the best sides, but they can also struggle against the lower sides at times. The team that plays its most on-brand game will win this, which by Round 8 looked certain to be West Adelaide, but the last two weeks have shown that Norwood probably deserve to be favourites. West have struggled through the midfield of late, and the Bloods have to win that to take home the points, while Norwood have to be smart with the inside 50s to stop the elite half-back line of the Bloods taking easy intercept marks.

NORWOOD

F: Smith, Bigg, Gould
HF: Tsoumbris, Zander, Macolino
C: Hiscock, Busch, Ferrall
HB: Avery, Cutting, Fenton
B: Allen, Breed, Armitstead
R: Halfpenny, Sporn, Gallagher
INT: Lishmund, Martin, Samuel, Hankinson, Rochow, Zerella, Barisic

IN: Ferrall, Lishmund, Martin, Tsoumbris, Samuel, Barasic
OUT: Karamoshos, Murison

WEST

F: Ballard, Scholar, Scutchings
HF: Kustermann, Biddell, Venning
C: Culhane, Rodato, O. Smith
HB: Newman, Thompson, Martin
B: Maidment, Killian, Doupis
R: Walsh, James, Greer
INT: E. Smith, Mason, Gray, Davis, Hooper, Harfield

IN: Scholar, Gray, Doupis, Hooper
OUT: Hardwick, Griffiths

SANFL Women’s Round 10 review: Eagles avoid spoon as Norwood heads into finals with big win

WOODVILLE-West Torrens Eagles have avoided the 2020 South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s wooden spoon after a last-round win against Sturt helped them leap into seventh on the table. Three of the top four sides all had wins heading into the post-season series, with South Adelaide accounting for its western rivals, while both North Adelaide and Norwood accumulated big victories.

WEST ADELAIDE 1.1 | 1.4 | 1.4 | 1.6 (12)
SOUTH ADELAIDE 2.3 | 2.4 | 4.4 | 4.5 (29)

GOALS:

West: R. Killian.
South: T. Charlton, C. Hammond, I. Tahau, G. Schirmer.

ADC BEST:

West: H. Maidment, A. Ballard, Z. Venning, S. Thompson, C. Biddell
South: J. Smith, N. Campbell, T. Meyer, L. Buchanan, S. Pratt

In what has become a typical South Adelaide performance, the reigning premiers played a consistent four-quarter effort to defeat third placed West Adelaide in what could be a finals clash at some point over the next few weeks. The Panthers capitalised with the breeze, slotting two goals in both the first and third quarters, and denying the Bloods a major when West Adelaide had the breeze. In what was a really strong defensive performance, South Adelaide kept its opponent to just six behinds after conceding what would be the only Bloods goal, in the opening minute of the match.

West Adelaide was quick out of the blocks to try and turn its poor form from last week around as Rachael Killian kicked the first major of the game after just 40 seconds. It came about after a couple of good touches from Stevie-Lee Thompson out of the middle and Abbie Ballard at half-forward. Unfortunately for the Bloods, that was where the first term dominance stopped.

South relentlessly attacked for the most part of the remainder of the term, adding a couple of goals in the opening term. After a couple of chances, including an Indy Tahau set shot, and a Hannah Munyard snap, it was Tahlia Meyer who set up an attacking play through an intercept mark on the wing that got things happening. The quick ball movement for the Panthers ended up in the hands of young gun Teah Charlton who easily converted from 30m out straight in front to put her team in front.

Four minutes later, Munyard was involved by marking uncontested inside 50, then waited for the running Cheyenne Hammond to cross her path to give her off the handball and she slotted the goal on the move. Down by nine points and the momentum with South, West began to attack more down the ground, with Zoe Venning and Keeley Kustermann pushing up and causing headaches for the opposition. Charlie Scutchings had a quick snap but it missed to the right.

The second term the Westies had a bit more of a breeze advantage and took complete control of the term, but neither side could really capitalise in front of goal. Kasia Culhane had the best opportunity 20m out straight in front off a free kick but she shanked it and the ball was knocked through for a behind in the square. By half-time the Panthers held onto a straight-kick lead, 2.4 to 1.4. Jaslynne Smith and Lauren Buchanan had been superb in defence, Nicole Campbell was busy through the midfield and Charlton always threatening. For the Westies, Abby Hardwick also had a chance to capitalise but was dragged down, while Helen Maidment and Chelsea Biddell were keeping a high line.

South won the game in the third term, taking its chances with the breeze, booting a couple of important goals to create separation and a three-goal lead at the last chance. As much as West tried, they could not have a meaningful deep chance, with the Panthers’ defence up to the task through Buchanan, Lucy Northcott and Samantha Pratt – who laid a terrific tackle on Thompson inside 50.

Instead it was youngster Tahau who launched a ripping bomb from 50m after a lookaway handball over the top from a teammate and her shot bounced home with some help from Charlton in the goalsquare. Five minutes later, Gypsy Schirmer created something out of nothing with a snap on the outside of the boot to break up what had a been a bit of an arm-wrestle. The term was highlighted by Montana McKinnon‘s return and starting to get into it with a couple of crucial intercept marks, whilst Thompson was desperately trying to create something for the losing side with her speed but could not quite finish it off.

The last term mirrored the second with neither team able to score despite the Bloods having the bulk of the forward half possession. Thompson won a free kick from 50m out and kicked towards a one-on-one in the square, but cleared the packed and went out. Brianna Wedding and Pratt racked up some important touches, while the likes of Smith and Buchanan continued to work hard.

Schirmer had a chance of her own for the Panthers but just fell short and while Maidment led a really strong defensive unit, it would be South’s work with the breeze that proved the difference, as West booted six straight behind since the goal in the opening minute, and South booted all four remaining majors for the match. Munyard, Campbell and Charlton were all superb in the front half, while the collective of the back six was equally impressive.

 

NORWOOD 4.0 | 6.4 | 9.8 | 9.9 (63)
GLENELG 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.1 | 1.1 (7)

GOALS:

Norwood: K. Fenton 3, M. Zander, N. Allen, J. Davies, L. Bigg, S. Armistead, M. Breed.
Glenelg: C. Gould.

ADC BEST:

Norwood: S. Armitstead, N. Allen, M. Zander, M. Breed, J. Macolino
Glenelg: D. Varnhagen, L. Armitage, M. Freeman, C. Gould, T. Kohn

Norwood has grabbed third spot on the SANFL Women’s ladder with a dominant 56-point win over Glenelg at Coopers Stadium. The Redlegs knew coming into the match they would face West Adelaide in a do-or-die semi-final, but finished off the way they wanted to with a commanding performance in front of home fans.

Norwood produced a dominant first half at Coopers Stadium where the Redlegs hardly gave Glenelg a chance. Piling on six goals to zero in the opening half and not allowing the Tigers to even register a score, the home team was in fine form. Kate Fenton booted two of those majors, with the zippy Matilda Zander also adding a goal in the opening term with a snap three minutes into the contest. Both Zander and Sophie Armitstead had big opening quarters in the match, while Mattea Breed and Leah Cutting were also controlling play around the ground.

For Glenelg, Lucy Armitage was trying hard, and Madisyn Freeman looking to create some run, but the Redlegs midfield took control against an onball division missing both Ebony Marinoff and Eloise Jones. Fenton kicked her couple of goals with one coming off a step and then another after some great team play, before Fenton got one in the dying moments for the last kick of the quarter to put her side four goals up at the first change.

The second term belonged to Norwood, controlling the play from the first whistle, and whilst Glenelg had some inside 50s, and even spent some time locked in there early in the term, the Bays could not get on the board. Tessa Kohn and Deni Varnhagen had some nice moments kicking forward, but the work of Zander, Armitstead and Najwa Allen – who by her standards had a quiet first term – had now popped up and was winning a truckload of the ball. It was Allen who broke the goal drought in the first half of the term with an important major, and then Cutting had a great tap down to Jade Davies a couple of minutes later for Norwood to capitalise again.

Sensing the game was slipping away, the Bays tried to steal back some of the momentum, but the defensive efforts of Armitstead and Shai Hiscock – who laid a great tackle in the back 50 – made it hard for the Tigers. Brooke Tonon, Sam Franson and Lauren Kenny had their moments in the term as well, with Tonon having a shot after the siren. Unfortunately for the teenager she was practically in the third row of the grandstand and with the siren blown, she had to keep her line and the banana kick cannoned into the behind post. At half-time, the scores read 6.4 (40) to 0.0 (0).

If the game was not done and dusted by the main break, then Norwood definitely put an exclamation mark on the performance in the third term, with three more goals, two of them coming in the last five minutes of the term. Glenelg started well with an early couple of chances but could only muster up one behind, whilst Norwood absorbed the pressure of the opening five minutes then dominated after that, and Glenelg was on the back foot.

There were a lot of rushed kicks out of the back 50 from the Tigers as they desperately held on, and eventually a quick kick off the line by the Bays was marked by Lindsay Bigg midway through the term and she delivered with her set shot just getting past Soriah Moon on the line. Bigg had a second chance minutes later with a set shot from 25m on a bit of an angle but it started left and never went back. By that point, the Redlegs had booted 1.4, but later goals to Armitstead – off a terrific low dart from Allen – and Breed – who ran into an open goal in the last few minutes – handed the home team a 61-point lead at the break. Cutting had the chance to extend that just before the siren, but her 45m distance fell short and was spoiled away on the siren.

The last term was a real dour affair, with Glenelg actually having the bulk of the play. But much like the opening three terms, the Bays could not capitalise on their chances, with the only major coming in the last two minutes when Caitlin Gould took a strong mark and converted the set shot for Glenelg’s last major of the season. The Bays went down by 56 points, and while they miss out on finals this year, at least finished by outscoring the Redlegs in the final term. Norwood had a number of chances going forward, but only kicked the one behind, not that it mattered in the 9.9 (63) to 1.1 (7) victory.

NORTH ADELAIDE 2.4 | 3.8 | 4.14 | 7.17 (59)
CENTRAL DISTRICT 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 1.0 (6)

GOALS:

North: A. Woodland 4, B. Perry 2, C. Taylor.
Central: R. Richardson.

ADC BEST:

North: A. Woodland, K. Harvey, B. Perry, H. Ewings, C. Taylor
Central: M. Lane, D. Sonneman, N. Biagi, L. Huynh, S. Murphy

In rounding out the 2020 season, North Adelaide finished the year with a 10-0 win-loss record thanks to a 53-point win over Central District. Despite the score, the Roosters were not afforded their usual freedom at times with the Bulldogs’ pressure right up there. North Adelaide also missed a lot of chances the Roosters would normally nail, and made it a closer game, but to restrict the top team to four goals in three quarters was regardless a great effort by Central.

With North Adelaide having already secured the minor premiership, the Roosters just had an unbeaten season on the line, whilst Central District was hoping to finish its year on a high after a promising second half to 2020. Whilst North always looked like winning, there were large patches where the Bulldogs matched it with the Roosters, giving Central positives heading into the 2021 season.

A couple of early behinds to North might have been ominous, but the Bulldogs defence, led by Nicola Biagi and Demi Sonneman held up well. Biagi had a couple of really good moments from intercept marks to shepherding her teammates, whilst Sonneman provided the drive off half-back. Kelly Barltrop was looking dangerous one-on-one inside 50, taking a couple of marks but instead giving off to a leading Charlotte Taylor in the 11th minute of the term for the Roosters to break what had been a real struggle in the opening 10 minutes.

They almost had another when Cristie Castle‘s bouncing ball headed towards goal to bounce over the head of the Central defender for Mollie McKendrick to snap at the top of the goalsquare. Unfortunately her snap skewed off the side of the boot for a behind, and then when in an almost identical situation moments later, put it through. Unfortunately for the red and white, the goal would not count as Central was awarded a free kick and ran it out of defence. North would put a second goal on the board however, as Ash Woodland marked 30m out straight in front after finding space and slotted the goal for a 16-point lead.

If one could not see the scoreboard, nor know anything about the competition prior to the match, you would assume these two sides were evenly matched. The Bulldogs were really taking it up to the Roosters, and had it not being for a clumsy late bump on Woodland, Central was poised to avoid conceding a goal to the minor premiers. Unfortunately the free was paid and with loose players forward of the ball, Britt Perry marked straight in front and with the last kick of the goal put through a breakthough major.

The goal was the first after four straight behinds for the Roosters, as Central’s Shelby Smith, Latiah Huynh and Sonneman had been ultra-impressive through the term. If they had not conceded the goal, it would have been the first time since March 14 that North had not kicked a goal in a quarter. But nonetheless, Central had held the usually high-powered scoring machine to just 3.8 in the first half, and whilst they had failed to score themselves, the Bulldogs had their own chances inside 50, but just could not finish off. Heading into half-time, Central would have been confident given their first half play.

The third term was one that could have blown the margin well out of proportion for the Roosters, but a remarkable six straight behinds from the minor premiers only marginally increased the difference between the sides. Yet again the Bulldogs could not score, but had done so well defensively to force misses from their usually-accurate opposition. It was not until an inside 50 and a favourable bounce for the Roosters saw Castle the beneficiary and Madison Lane the unlucky Central defender, as Castle handballed to Woodland to kick her second major of the contest with just two minutes remaining in the term.

The Roosters had a chance for back-to-back goals when Lauren Daniel took on Sonneman at half-forward and kicked to a one-on-one by Lane was up to the task and forced a stoppage. When the siren sounded moments later, North led 4.14 (38) to 0.0 (0) and realistically if the shots had been on target it could have been an ugly scoreline, but it was also credit to the Bulldogs’ defensive pressure to force mistakes.

The flood gates opened a bit more in the final term as the Roosters booted three final quarter goals as they finished the game with a remarkable 24 scoring shots to one. Perry slotted a her second goal four minutes into the quarter which was the quickest start for North in a term thus far. In a relieving effort, Renae Richardson was on the end of a nice end-to-end play from Central as Katelyn Rosenzweig hit up her teammate in the goalsquare and Richardson booted her third goal in two weeks to ensure the Bulldogs went out with a goal on the board.

Woodville-West Torrens came in and kicked a couple of goals to end the term, both on the run with one just strolling into goal, whilst another was a clever snap in the last few minutes. Whilst Woodland’s four-goal haul was superb, and Perry was terrific with her two majors and setting up numerous scoring opportunities, Kristi Harvey was one of the best on with her intercept ability, while Ewings and Daniel were others who stood out. for the Bulldogs, Lane was strong one-on-one, while Sonneman and Biagi were great in the back six, and Huynh and Allan consistent throughout. Zoe Perry was another Bulldogs player who laid a couple of big tackles and showed great signs in the final game of the year. In the end, North Adelaide saluted 7.17 (59) to 1.0 (6)

 

STURT 1.2 | 1.2 | 2.4 | 2.4 (16)
WWT EAGLES 0.3 | 1.8 | 1.8 | 3.13 (31)

GOALS: 

Sturt: H. Prenzler, J. Wittervan.
WWT: C. Forby 2, K. Lee.

ADC BEST:

Sturt: Z. Prowse, H. Prenzler, T. Hough, I. Kuiper, T. Prenzler
WWT: C. Forby, K. Lee, A. Falkenberg, C. Dolan, R. Forth

Woodville-West Torrens has avoided the 2020 SANFL Women’s wooden spoon after a last round victory against Sturt at Peter Motley Oval. It was the Eagles’ second win for both the season and in the club’s history after beating Glenelg back in Round 4 just prior to the break. By winning, the Eagles sentenced Central District to last place by percentage, and showed they are on the improve after a winless 2019 inaugural season.

The match was a scrappy affair and not alway accurate, as the Eagles booted 3.13 (31) to 2.4 (16), taking until the final term to really stamp the authority on the game with a couple of crucial majors in the last 10 minutes guaranteeing them the win. Sturt had led at both quarter time and three quarter time in a seesawing contest, and while the Double Blues managed to have greater accuracy, had far less time in their forward half – albeit from a third term dominance – and therefore were unable to come away with the win.

Sturt started the match in fine form with Hannah Prenzler booting the opening goal just 64 seconds into the match. It would be the only major for the first term as the teams combined for five straight behinds to head into quarter time, 1.2 (8) to 0.3 (3) in favour of the home side. Charlotte Dolan was providing good run early for the eagles, while Jovanka Zecevic, Amie Blanden and Anastasia Falkenberg were all getting their hands on the ball in the opening quarter. Sturt had more than its fair share of opportunities, with one shot hitting the post from a metre out, and then another shot – when Isobel Kuiper and Alex Ballard combined – falling short in the last couple of minutes. Co-captain Georgia Bevan had the last shot of the match but it was off-line for a behind to make it a five-point ball game.

Just two minutes into the second term and Chloe Forby – who had been solid to that point – took a flying shot from outside 50 and somehow there was no one in the goalsquare and it bounced home for a long-range beauty. It handed the Eagles the lead early in the quarter, and they dominated possession, scoring five consecutive behinds to end the first half. Realistically, the Eagles should have been in front by even more than that six behinds, as Forby, Bronwyn Davey and Kiana Lee all had chances to add more majors to the board.

The pressure from Sturt’s defence had to be commended though, with the likes of Taylor Prenzler and JoAnna Baltais settling things down deep in the back 50. Dolan and Forby were among the best Eagles, while Tesharna Maher provided great run off half-back and Zoe Prowse was dominating from the ruck to around the ground.

Unlike the opening half, Sturt took full control of the third term, keeping it in the forward half for the majority of the contest, and holding the Eagles scoreless in the term. It was enough for Jaimee Wittervan‘s goal – a mark and set shot 20m out – to be the turning point and put the Double Blues in front at the final change. Lee was trying hard on the last line, while Jamie Parish was impressing for the Eagles. Prenzler and Prowse continued their good form in the third term for the home team as Sturt as in the box seat, albeit with a narrow two-point lead.

Unfortunately for the home fans, the final term was a reverse of the third one as the Eagles took control from the opening bounce and after a couple of behinds – a rushed one and a set shot from Zecevic – the scores were all tied up. Renee Forth had been a consistent performer throughout the game and continued to apply pressure, as did Falkenberg who forced a miskick in the fifth minute and eventually a turnover. Hannah Prenzler and Tiah Hough were busy through the middle third, but the game finally had another goal when on the counter attack, a kick inside 50 had the Sturt defence outnumbered three to two. The ball hit the deck as two bodies fell, Forby picked up the ball and with the help of a Lee shepherd, booted through another.

Sealing the match four minutes later, Forby was again involved with an intercept handball and kicked deep to the goalsquare where this time the number 18 returned the favour for Lee with a good kick and last year’s club leading goalkicker did not let her down from 15m out. The two-goal term and holding the Double Blues scoreless in the quarter saw the Eagles get up, 3.13 (31) to 2.4 (16).

SANFL Women’s weekly wrap: Round 9 – Finals locked up as Norwood wins crucial match

THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s Finals Series has been determined a couple of weeks out from it commencing following the completion of Round 9. Norwood locked up the final spot in the top four by defeating West Adelaide, ensuring those teams face off in the elimination final in a couple of weeks, while North Adelaide and South Adelaide are bound for the qualifying final.

CENTRAL DISTRICT 0.1 | 2.2 | 2.4 | 2.8 (20)
SOUTH ADELAIDE 3.2 | 4.3 | 6.5 | 9.5 (59)

GOALS:

Central: R. Richardson 2.
South: H. Munyard 2, S. Peters, M. Bennett, C. Ross, T. Meyer, I. Tahau, G. Schirmer, N. Campbell.

ADC BEST: 

Central: S. Smith, S. Allan, D. Sonneman, L. Breguet, A. Butler
South: H. Munyard, G. Schirmer, L. Whiteley, T. Charlton, M. Bennett

The reigning premiers were more polished and efficient, but ignoring the final margin, this match was an entertaining battle from start to finish. South Adelaide got the chocolates by 39 points, but if Central District had just finished off the terrific work up the ground by capitalising on more chances in front of goal, this would have been a much tighter contest.

In what would be a sign of things to come for the match, Central District controlled the midfield in the opening half, yet it was the Panthers who would burst out of the blocks kicking the opening four goals of the match. Sienna Peters was the first one on the board after Gypsy Schirmer showed great burst to win the ball at speed and pump it forward for Peters to read it well off the bounce, turn and goal in the opening few minutes. The defence led by Lisa Whiteley and Lauren Buchanan was on song, and despite the inside 50s coming frequent in the opening half, they stood up, limiting the Bulldogs to just one behind in the opening term.

Hannah Munyard provided an early highlight in what would be a game to remember from the teenager, spinning out of an opponents’ grasp to take a few bounces and handball over the top to Madison Bennett in the square to pop through a second major. Both Munyard and Bennett would have chances not long after but missed, though Caitlin Ross would make the most of an errant handball out of a pack to snap around her body for a goal.

When the switched on Munyard pounced on a loose ball close to the boundary line everyone else thought was going out, the Western Bulldogs AFL Women’s player sped off, caught the defence napping and snapped it around the goal post to hand her side a four-goal lead. As frustrating as it would have been for the Central box to see the midfield controlling play but not getting scoreboard reward, they were soon able to celebrate following a neat passage of play out of the middle got to Katelyn Rosenzweig who bombed it long for birthday girl Renai Richardson to run onto and put through from point blank range.

Five minutes later Richardson made it a double after Smith handballed out of a pack at half-forward to set up a scoring chain to Richardson who marked one-on-one and converted her second major. A lot of Central’s young players were starting to have an impact, and the likes of Zoe Perry and Madison Lane were having some good moments. Now back within a manageable margin, Central was getting reward for effort. South tried to hit back late in the term, with Tahlia Meyer winning some important touches at half-forward, with a late chance to Schirmer missing leaving the half-time margin at 13 points.

The third term was where South weathered the Central storm and just pulled away for some breathing space at the final break, as the shared load in front of goal for the Panthers continued. Indy Tahau almost snapped a perfect goal out of nothing thanks to fellow AFL Women’s Academy player Teah Charlton‘s smart thinking to not take possession and punch it to Tahau 30m out from goal, but the ball was deemed touched off the boot. Instead the pair would team up again soon, this time with Charlton giving it off to Meyer who got it in the Tahau direction to snap to the square and bounce home with no interruptions. The goal came moments after Meyer had done a similar thing in play with a quick boot to ball scenario.

Allan and Smith were working hard teaming up in midfield, and it seemed a set play for a Bulldogs player to handball to the running Allan to kick deep, while Rosenzweig was marking most things that came her way. Unfortunately her usually reliable accuracy did not match her hands as she kicked multiple behinds in the match and South went 25 points up at the final break.

The floodgates opened early in the final term as South piled on three goals in eight minutes, with Schirmer, Campbell and then Munyard’s second all helping the Panthers build some good percentage coming out of the game. Indeed Munyard was superb for the Panthers in a standout best on ground performance, while the likes of Schirmer, Tahau, Whiteley and Buchanan were all strong. Central’s Smith and Allan stood out, and Rosenzweig could have had a handful had she kicked straight, though the defence of Sonneman, and cameos from Lane and Latiah Huynh around the ground were good. The Bulldogs had a number of chances in the final term but could not put it through, as South enjoyed a 39-point win.

NORWOOD 2.1 | 2.4 | 2.7 | 4.9 (33)
WEST ADELAIDE 1.1 | 2.2 | 2.3 | 3.4 (22)

GOALS:

Norwood: T. Hankinson 2, A. Lischmund, M. Zander.
West: S. Lee-Thompson, R. Killian, C. Biddell.

ADC BEST:

Norwood: J. Macolino, N. Allen, M. Zander, M. Breed, T. Hankinson
West: S. Thompson, L. Rodato, N. Davis, R. Martin, M. Newman

Norwood became the last piece in the SANFL Women’s finals series puzzle after toppling West Adelaide in a four-quarter armwrestle. The third placed Bloods were not out of the race for second heading into the game, though had secured a finals spot last week, but now will certainly play Norwood in the elimination final after the Redlegs won 4.9 (33) to 3.4 (22). It also ended any chance Glenelg had of playing finals, with the Bays playing later in the day and facing Norwood in the final round in what could have been a virtual elimination final. Instead, Norwood gained a vital advantage ahead of the two teams facing off again in a fortnight.

It is fair to say the game was not one for the highlight reel, though it was not without tension and drama as neither side would give an inch. With a total of four goals kicked in three quarters, it became more about capitalising one chances when presented with them. The first term masked what would be a low-scoring match when Redlegs captain Alison Ferrall got it to Najwa Allen in the pocket who centred it to Tessa Hankinson. She marked in the goalsquare and truly delivered from point-blank range to give her side the lead early in the game. Rachelle Martin had started strong for the Westies, while Mattea Breed was getting busy in the midfield for the Redlegs.

After not much in the way of goals for the first half of the term, it took some terrific work from half-back and a team effort for West Adelaide to rush it down and Chelsea Biddell mark at half-forward. She spotted Stevie-Lee Thompson one-on-one alone inside 50 and put it to her advantage running back with the 2019 AFL Women’s leading goalkicker making good on her chance to put it home with five and a half minutes to spare in the term. With the game neck-and-neck, a costly high tackle on Alana Lischmund 30m out from goal in the last minute proved the difference between the sides with the Redlegs forward converting and handing her team a six-point lead at the first break.

The second term was a bizarre one, and a quarter that looked to be goalless right up until the last 10 seconds of the game when Madison Newman – who had been a little errant with her usual elite kicks – found Thompson at half-forward who got it deep to Rachael Killian to run onto and put it through moments before the half-time siren to draw within two points. Whilst the scoring had been rare, there were some huge individual efforts in the quarter, with Norwood’s Jess Macolino and Breed among the top performers, while Matilda Zander and Jade Halfpenny had some nice moments with their hands in close. Lauren Rodato and Niamh Davis were rocks in the back half for the Westies however, and Thompson and Chelsea Biddell were providing the presence through the middle third of the ground.

Opening the third term, West Adelaide started a player short with Abby Hardwick running on after the Bloods realised, and caused a moment of confusion with the umpires. Once the game got going, the defences came to the fore, as neither team could capitalise. Both teams had chances, but in the end it was Norwood that extended its lead with three behinds to one. Keeley Kustermann was solid off half-back with Newman getting better and better, while ruck Kate Walsh had a big term for the Westies. Breed continued her good form in the game as Macolino went from strength to strength, and Allen and Zander continued to press hard through the middle. A contested mark by Biddell on the wing, and a couple of quick kicks on goal by Zander missed, but Norwood was looking the more damaging of the sides.

With finals on the line for Norwood, and potentially a top two spot in the works for West Adelaide, the last quarter meant a lot to both sides. Straight away Norwood took control with Allen winning the ball on the wing, taking three bounces and slicing up the defence to centre the ball into Zander 25m out on a slight angle. She tugged it to the left, which was fortuitously marked by Halfpenny close to the behind post. The youngster decided to give Zander a second shot on goal instead of trying to snap with the number one Redleg marking in space yet again. Her behind to the left marked Norwood’s seventh straight miss which could have proved costly.

West Adelaide’s defence was holding up well, but the Redlegs kept forcing it forward. Zander continued to get busier and put it to Lischmund’s advantage but her soccer off the ground hit the behind post. Moments later though, Zander managed to snap from congestion and it bounced through to give her side a crucial 11-point lead just over five minutes played. The celebrations did not last long though, because the deficit sparked the Westies into action. The next centre clearance worked its way to Thompson at half-forward who hit-up Biddell. Her subsequent free kick saw her nail a set shot goal and put the deficit back to five points. Not long after, Ferrall had a chance up the other end to extend the lead but missed.

Through the middle of the ground both Zander and Martin were applying fierce pressure, as Martin laid a couple of massive tackles to stop opponents in their tracks. In what was the most bizarre moment of the game that proved fatal to the Bloods’ chances, Hankinson won a free kick for Norwood near the behind post with four minutes left on the clock. Her set shot should have been tucked up against the line, but instead her opponent ran to stand on the line with teammates and a surprise Hankinson played on with no pressure and easily put it through from 10m out to all but seal the game. Biddell had another late chance with two minutes left on the clock but was rushed through on the line and the siren sounded not long after for the Redlegs to finally celebrate and enjoy another finals appearance with a week to spare in the regular season.

 

NORTH ADELAIDE 6.1 | 8.4 | 10.9 | 14.4 (88)
STURT 0.0 | 0.2 | 0.5 | 0.6 (6)

GOALS:

North: C. Taylor 2, K. Pope 2, E. Greet 2, A. Hatchard 2, A. Woodland 2, C. Castle, B. Perry, H. Ewings, B. Perry.
Sturt: Nil.

ADC BEST:

North: K. Pope, B. Perry, A. Woodland, A. Hatchard, H. Ewings
Sturt: Z. Prowse, G. Bevan, K. Harris, A. Jericho, T. Hough

North Adelaide has made it eight consecutive quarters without conceding a goal after a flexing 82-point thumping over Sturt to secure what was already all but secured – the minor premiership. A six-goal first term set up the huge 14.4 (88) to 0.6 (6) victory at Prospect Oval, with the game perhaps best summarised by the final goal of the match by Erica Greet. Facing a one against two battle at the top of the goalsquare in the final minute of the game, many would have forgiven the Roosters player for not going 100 per cent. But she attacked the ball carrier and not only nullified the contest, but wrestled the ball back and then dribbled it home for a major between her two opponents.

That goal was the last of 14 majors piled on by the Roosters in what was a one-sided contest from midway through the first term. Sturt had its moments, particularly in the second term when it managed to stabilise the damage, but ultimately efficiency inside defensive 50, and the slick skills of the Roosters on the counter attack was too much for the Double Blues. North Adelaide had four multiple goalkickers on the day with Greet’s second major seeing her join speedster Katelyn Pope, Adelaide best and fairest winner Anne Hatchard, and strong forward Charlotte Taylor on a couple of goals.

Britt Perry was first on the board for the Roosters two minutes in off the back of a terrific Pope play using her speed for a one-two handball chain and then getting it forward for Brianna Arthur to try and shoot. While it was smothered, Perry mopped up and kicked a nice goal. Cristie Castle and Perry were involved in a lot of scoring early, as Taylor and then Pope got their names in the goalkickers books. Despite the work of Hannah Prenzler pushing into defence, the ruck dominance of Zoe Prowse and the work horse effort of co-captain Georgia Bevan, the Double Blues could not stop the run of the Roosters. Three late goals in the term really hurt the Double Blues as Greet, Hatchard and then with one second left on the clock, Castle all kicking goals for a 37-point quarter time lead.

The game was effectively done by then, but Sturt would not give up. Though red time goals would prove a factor in the second term, with the Double Blues managing to score a couple of behinds, albeit through rushed behinds, but at least they were keeping the ball inside 50. After not conceding a goal for the first 14 minutes, Sturt watched two late majors sail home as Ewings nailed a nice set shot from 30m, then Woodland did well to beat her opponent near the boundary and get goal side to slam it home with a minute to play and open up a 50-point half-time margin.

Too many mis-kicks early in the third term by the Double Blues were preventing them from getting too far up the ground, but North Adelaide was missing most of the gifts for the last touch out of bounds rule. Five minutes into the quarter, Pope benefited off a loose ball to run onto it, burn off an opponent and finally put one through. A minute later, Taylor took a strong one-on-one mark close to goal off a deep Ewings kick and added a ninth goal to the team’s tally. Sturt had some chances with Ally Ladas‘ shot just missing, and then another attempt from the boundary also going the wrong side of the big sticks. The Double Blues had their moments, but the Roosters were too strong with Woodland and Castle getting involved, and heading into three quarter time with a 64-point advantage.

Whilst the final term could have been playing out time, Pope ensured that would not be the case with another huge run from half-back, taking a bounce, handballing off and receiving it back, then delivering it beautifully to Woodland on the lead to convert an early goal in the third minute. Prowse, Bevan and Kate Harris continued to work hard for Sturt, but the red jumpers around the contest outnumbered them and were dominating possession. Aajiah Jericho had a good last term with a crunching tackle to win a free kick and a few good marks, while Georgia Swan got into the game. Tiah Hough was another who had shown signs throughout the game, but the Roosters had winners all over the park.

The penultimate goal came from Hatchard who receiving a pass in from another last touch free, wheeled around and put through her second, in what had been another professional performance from here. The eventual 82-point margin showed just what North is capable of and look very good to go one better than last year. Crucially, the Roosters were able to throw around the magnets after quarter time with Kristi Harvey thrown forward and Hatchard even playing in a pocket for stints. There were plenty of players in the bests for the Roosters who head into the final round against Central District as they bid to go undefeated in season 2020.

 

GLENELG 2.1 | 3.2 | 7.4 | 8.5 (53)
WWT EAGLES 1.0 | 1.1 | 1.1 | 1.2 (8)

GOALS: 

Glenelg: C. Gould 3, E. Jones 2, S. Franson 2, M. Affolter.
WWT: G. Smallacombe.

ADC BEST: 

Glenelg: S. Franson, C. Gould, E. Jones, T. Kohn, L. Armitage
WWT: T. Maher, R. Forth, C. Dolan, C. Forby, N. Holmes

Despite being ruled out of a 2020 SANFL Women’s finals appearance only hours earlier, it did not stop Glenelg coming through with an impressive 45-point victory over Woodville-West Torrens Eagles in an evening game. With the second half played under lights, it was a four-goal third term by the Bays that really separated the home team from the last placed side on the day. In the end, despite some confusion with the score, Glenelg got up 8.5 (53) to Eagles’ 1.2 (8).

Caitlin Gould finished with three majors, while Eloise Jones and Sam Franson both booted two as the trio were clearly among the best on the ground for the winners. The Eagles tried to create some run through youngsters, Tesharna Maher and Charlotte Dolan, but after a promising start – where Grace Smallacombe booted the first goal five minutes into the game – it was all Glenelg, piling on eight unanswered goals for the remainder of the match, whilst restricting the Eagles to just two behinds.

The Eagles enjoyed the lead only briefly in the first term, with Franson creating something out of nothing courtesy of a strong contest by Gould putting the Bays back in front. Five minutes later they made it too when pressure through midfield from Ellie Kellock allowed quick ball movements inside 50 and a towering Molly Affolter mark close to goal. She capitalised, and the Bays were up by seven at the first break with the likes of Tessa Kohn and Lucy Armitage also busy.

Jovanka Zecevic tried to set the tone for the Eagles from the opening bounce with a big tackle and first inside 50, as Woodville-West Torrens continued to attack early in the second term. Despite the likes of Chloe Forby and Natasha Holmes doing well, and Maher continually breaking the lines, it was the composure of Madisyn Freeman and the likes of Brooke Tonon getting involved in midfield to aid the AFL Women’s talents for the home side. Midway through the term, a great kick from Franson found Jones on the lead just 15m out with a strong contested grab which she converted, while up the other end, Bronwyn Davey had a chance after a terrific tackle, but her shot missed to the right for the Eagles to trail by 13 points at half-time.

The third term belonged to the Bays as they booted four goals throughout the term, including a couple later in the quarter to Gould who stretched the margin out to an unassailable 39-point advantage by the final break. Franson again created something out of nothing with a kick off the ground two minutes into the quarter, before a touch of magic from Jones under pressure on a tight angle swung home. Gould proved a real handful for the defence, taking a couple of strong marks and converting her opportunities, while the likes of Kellock and Deni Varnhagen were being effective around the ground.

There was not too much to celebrate in the third term for the Eagles, but Dolan was proving productive through the back half of the ground, as Kiana Lee was again consistent on the last line, but struggled to get it past the half-back wall of the Tigers. Woodville-West Torrens would have a couple of early chances in the opening few minutes, but could only put through a behind, as the likes of Chloe Forby and Anastasia Falkenberg were trying to keep the ball moving. Forth tried hard all day for the visitors, but the Tigers were just too strong, as they showed in an end-to-end play for Gould to slot home her third major midway through the quarter. Holmes had a chance in the last couple of minutes to put through another for the Eagles, but it agonisingly fell short and stayed in play, as Glenelg enjoyed a comfortable win.

SANFL Women’s weekly wrap: Round 8 – Redlegs salvage draw as top three cement finals spots

FINALS is just about sorted, albeit with perhaps another chapter left in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition. With two rounds remaining, the top three sides in North Adelaide, South Adelaide and for the first time, West Adelaide will play finals, though Norwood failed to lock up a spot, but came away with a draw thanks to an after-the-siren goal to ensure they need just one win to lock up finals.

NORTH ADELAIDE 1.3 | 4.4 | 9.5 | 13.10 (88)
WWT EAGLES 0.0 | 0.2 | 0.2 | 0.2 (2)

GOALS: 

North: A. Hatchard 2, B. Arthur 2, C. Castle 2, K. Reynolds 2, K. Barltrop, L. Daniel, K. Pope, A. Woodland, B. Perry.
WWT: Nil.

ADC BEST: 

North: A. Hatchard, H. Ewings, K. Pope, L. Daniel, B. Arthur
WWT: J. Zecevic, K. Lee, T. Maher, A. Blanden, J. Parish

It was not a four quarter demolition job, but once North Adelaide Roosters got going, there was little Woodville-West Torrens Eagles could do to stop them. The ladder-leading Roosters piled on nine goals to nil in the second half to storm to an 86-point win over the cellar dwellers despite the Eagles’ best efforts by only allowing one goal in the first 10 minutes of the opening three terms combined. Unfortunately for the league’s bottom side, weight of numbers and class won out with the Roosters stamping their authority on the game in the second half and showing why they are the premiership favourites.

Despite the teams coming into the clash at opposite ends of the ladder, the first 10 minutes of the game looked like a couple of sides on even keel. The Eagles were up for the fight, whilst the Roosters were peppering away getting their structures right and working out which way best to inflict pain on the opposition. Hannah Ewings and Anne Hatchard shared in a massive first term around the ball, as Bek Rasheed dominated the ruck against smaller opponents. Jovanka Zecevic was busy for the Eagles, whilst Amie Blanden and Kiana Lee were impressive up opposite ends of the field.

The Eagles did the bulk of the attacking in the first six minutes, with the Roosters’ second inside 50 – after an initial one of the first clearance – coming six minutes into the quarter. From there though, it was a case of locking it in their forward half, and whilst the likes of Chloe Forby – who ran down Katelyn Pope before she could have a shot on goal – and Tesharna Maher were trying their best to clear the ball, a goal seemed inevitable. That came in the 10-minute mark on the counter attack by Pope who instead of blazing forward at half-forward, paused and turned laterally to kick inside. It opened up space and a series of short kicks ended with Brianna Arthur finding space 25m out straight in front which she duly converted. It was the only major of the first term, but it gave the Roosters a nine-point lead at the break with the Eagles yet to score.

North Adelaide had missed a few chances in the opening term, including a nice piece of play leading to Ashleigh Woodland having a shot but hitting the left woodwork late in the quarter. The Roosters started from the first bounce to really attack with Hatchard’s vision and hands through traffic elite, able to find Lauren Daniel who was starting to really get busy. Zecevic was working hard and Maher and Lee were among the best on the ground. Ewings was right up there with Hatchard, having multiple inside 50s and whilst the Eagles often intercepted, she just constantly looked dangerous.

Again, while the Eagles held up for 10 minutes, the Roosters finally cracked through the dam wall and this time it was a set of another elite hands in Woodland who between multiple defenders put the ball into the path of Pope who ran onto it at full speed and just got boot to ball before being run down, and it bounced home for a goal. It might have opened the floodgates, but the Eagles stepped up and showed they were not going to just hand over the premiership points. Instead, they went forward and had a couple of chances of their own through Natalia Ayesu who just missed her set shot after marking strongly one-on-one against Kristi Harvey on the lead – a terrific feat in itself – before buttering up to receive a spill and take a shot but it missed to the right. The two behinds would be the only Roosters scores of the game.

Lee was racking up the intercept marks and being a rock at full-back with the early switch to the opposite end paying dividends. Unfortunately for the Eagles defence, the counter attack was proving an issue as they struggled to get it past half-back late in the term, and North Adelaide punished them. The Roosters won the ball at half-forward and flooded numbers into the attacking 50 with free space all over, ending with Woodland marking in the square and truly from a couple of meters out. Less than two minutes later, the Roosters again used the ball well forward of centre with neat short kicks hitting up teammates, and Charlotte Taylor – who had it at half-forward – put it perfectly to Hatchard’s advantage. The Adelaide best and fairest winner read the ball in flight better than the two opponents guarding her, and she marked and goaled from 25m out to hand her team a 26-point advantage at half-time.

Coming out of half-time, the Roosters were trying to attack and really build on their first half. An early inside 50 was chopped off by Zahn Anthony well, but Amber Ward was a rock in the back half and pushing up to the wing, while Hatchard was elite in midfield. The first meaningful chance was to Kathryn Reynolds after a nice low ball in from Hatchard, but her set shot went way wide and out of bounds. Lee and Jamie Parish were standing up well in defence, but the Eagles were scrambling with some missed handballs and fumbles, and eventually the Roosters were going to make them pay. A high coach-killing ball to the back pocket floated enough for Pope to drift across and take an intercept mark and the speedster centred it to Hatchard who booted her second without a problem from 30m out straight in front.

The goal opened the flood gates a little for the Roosters as they would go on to kick four more goals for the quarter, all of which came after the 10-minute mark once again. Hatchard was often the facilitator, setting up Cristie Castle in the goalsquare, and then Reynolds was the beneficiary on the end of some scrappy but ultimately rewarding play. The Eagles had a rare inside 50 late in the term but a free against helped North clear it down the wing, and eventually both Arthur and Barltrop converted majors from free kicks for the Roosters to lead by a massive 57 points at the final break.

With the game done and dusted by the final term, the last quarter was always going to be about how much the Roosters could pile on, and how well the Eagles could limit their scoring. A minute into the term, Daniel kicked a great goal off a step and the warning bells were sounding. Ewings and Pope were sensational with their speed and movement through the middle, but the Eagles were not giving up and to their credit managed to hold firm the next five minutes. It eventually was going to be too much, with weight of numbers in the red and white jumpers as Castle again was on the end of a perfect pass from Hatchard who fended off an opponent and found her teammate in the goalsquare.

The only saving grace for the Eagles in the final term was the inaccuracy of the Roosters who could well have passed triple figures, but with a couple of rushed shots and touched balls en route to goal, they could only managed the 4.5. The third goal of the term went to Perry who found space 30m out and never looked like missing, while it was almost back-to-back goals in quick succession for the Roosters as both Arthur and Reynolds had gettable shots, but one missed and the other was crucially touched on the line by Eagles defenders. The final play of the day saw a chain of handballs inside 50 end with Reynolds who was paid a free kick against an unlucky Charlotte Dolan, with Reynolds popping through a goal with the last kick of the game moments before the siren for an impressive 86-point win.

STURT 1.1 | 1.1 | 3.2 | 3.2 (20)
NORWOOD 1.0 | 1.4 | 1.6 | 2.8 (20)

GOALS:

Sturt: N. Baker, H. Prenzler, G. Bevan.
Norwood: A. Ferrall, K. Fenton.

ADC BEST: 

Sturt: Z. Prowse, G. Bevan, A. Ballard, L. Schenscher, J. Keech
Norwood: M. Zander, B. Smith, A. Ferrall, J. Halfpenny, R. Busch

An after-the-siren goal from Kate Fenton has saved Norwood from suffering a potentially devastating loss in terms of finals ramifications, during a draw with Sturt. The Redlegs had the majority of the play throughout the contest, but could not put it through the big sticks, only converting the first and last goals of the contest in a low-scoring 2.8 (20) to 3.2 (20) draw. Indeed, full credit to Sturt who through the work of Zoe Prowse were able to hold off Norwood and put scores on the board themselves in one of the Double Blues’ best performances of the year.

The first match in the triple header had a slow start with both team’s defences making life difficult for the opposition. Norwood had the bulk of the play throughout the first half but missed a number of opportunities on goal in the second term, while the Double Blues through debutant Nicole Baker ensured they were in touch at the main break.

Matilda Zander has a busy start to the game as expected and was one of the best Redlegs on the ground, as was Bella Smith whose first term – which included several strong marks and long, piecing kicks – was simply sensational. Alison Ferrall provided her teammates with a number of opportunities, but her first was a point-blank goal from the top of the goalsquare. Najwa Allen had been a driving force in getting it forward, but Ferrall was first to the ball and rewarded with a free kick.

Sturt soon got one back through the debutant in Baker, who had a quick snap at the 10 and a half minute mark of the term that just missed. Showing the inclusion was an all-round player, Baker ran down Rhiannon Busch who had got around one would-be tackler, but not the second. The subsequent free kick needed a 45-metre attempt on goal and it not only was true, but sailed home with ease much to the celebration of Baker’s teammates and handed Sturt the lead at the first break.

The second term saw just four behinds kicked, with Norwood ruing a number of chances gone begging. Prowse was breaking up the attacking forays for the Redlegs, while Larissa Schenscher and Jessie Keech were terrific in defence. Ferrall had a couple of chances in the second but missed both, though the first long-range effort was unlucky not to go through, hitting the post on its journey. Sturt had the odd chance such as a quick snap by Georgia Bevan off her non-preferred but a cruel miss went over the head of Georgia Swan and Norwood cleared it. By half-time, Norwood’s inaccuracy had seen the Redlegs take the lead by three points.

The premiership quarter was an armwrestle for the majority of the contest until Sturt popped up with some great highlight-worthy moments. Ally Ladas had a chance to goal with a quick snap but missed to the side, and then the early driving work from the Double Blues handed Hannah Prenzler a chance. It started with a Prowse intercept at half-back who got it to Bevan, and she pumped it inside where Baker cleverly shepherded and Prenzler did the rest to hand her side a four-point lead. From then on, it was all Norwood but much like the second term, the Redlegs could not capitalise.

Jade Halfpenny and Lindsay Bigg both had a couple of chances but missed in the last five minutes. It looked as if Norwood might get an answer with their fierce attacking in the dying moments. In a shock against the momentum, it was Sturt instead that capitalised, with the ball rushed down into an open forward line and the co-captains combined with Rigter handing it off to Bevan who sailed it home with 30 seconds remaining and Sturt was out to an eight-point advantage.

The final term did not see a goal kicked in regular time as Norwood spent the bulk purely attacking, while Sturt bravely defended for the majority of the quarter. It looked for the most part that the work of Schenscher, Prowse and Keech would get the Double Blues an unlikeliest of victories, even when Sturt drew level midway through the term with a second behind. But surprisingly, neither team could score as the Double Blues kept holding it up and with 20 seconds left, the ball was at half-back for the Redlegs and the game looked surely over.

Norwood had other ideas though, but needed to be perfect. They ran the ball end to end and Ferrall put it to a two-on-one contest. The ball fell to ground after great work from the Sturt defence, but in trying to rush in and get it clear in the final second, a Double Blue threw the ball out as the siren sounded. Momentarily, Sturt players thought they had finally secured the six-point win, but to their horror, a free kick was paid to Fenton straight in front of goal. With the game on her boot, and potentially Norwood’s finals hopes depending on whether on not it sailed through, she stepped up and delivered a perfect kick through the middle for Norwood to level the match and share the points.

CENTRAL 1.1 | 1.2 | 1.2 | 3.3 (21)
WEST ADELAIDE 1.1 | 4.1 | 5.5 | 6.7 (43)

GOALS: 

Central: A. James, K. McInerney, Z. Perry.
West: R. Killian 2, S. Thompson, M. Newman, A. Hardwick. G. Gray.

ADC BEST:

Central: S. Allan, D. Sonneman, S. Smith, C. Teague, A. Butler
West: M. Newman, S. Thompson, A. Ballard, R. Martin, Z. Venning

After a spirited opening term from Central District, West Adelaide opened the floodgates with three straight goals in the second term to bolt out to a 17-point lead at half-time. The first term was as even as it came with Central up for the fight and putting the first goal on the board through Amber James before West Adelaide inclusion, Rachael Killian marked well and put one through for the Bloods. Heading into the first break, the scores were level, and while the Bulldogs had the majority of the play in the first 10 minutes, West had begun to settle and have more run in the final five minutes of the term.

The game opened up in the second quarter, with Stevie-Lee Thompson and Madison Newman doing all sorts of damage to the opposition. Newman’s lethal long boot was clearing defences and then breaking up the Bulldogs defensive zones,. Thompson was the first goal on the board after repeat stoppages saw the former AFL Women’s leading goalkicker put one through off a ruck tap 15m out. It led a procession of inside 50s for the Bloods as Chelsea Biddell moved into the ruck to have an impact and found Thompson again not long after. She hit up Newman who slotted the goal 35m out and her team was out to a 12-point lead.

A third goal in the term came through Abby Hardwick in the goalsquare after Zoe Venning got a quick kick out of a pack inside 50. The Bloods were in complete control by now despite some good work from Demi Sonneman in defence, and the fierce pressure of Katelyn Rosenzweig up forward. Shelby Smith was working hard through midfield and gave her side a chance late in the term with a rare forward venture. Rosenzweig fended off a couple of opponents, had a snap but missed to the left making the deficit 17 points at the main break.

The second half started as the first half had left off, with West Adelaide doing all the attacking. Central could not put a score on the board or have a proper inside 50 as the Bloods half-back line was sensational throughout the term. Arguably the three quarter time margin of 27 points could have been even greater, as a second goal to Killian nine minutes into the term was the only major of the quarter. It was more opportunistic in a pack than planned, and missed chances from the likes of Kasia Culhane, Thompson, Biddell and Venning when they had looks on goal resulted in the Bloods kick 1.4 for the quarter.

Credit had to be given to the Dogs defence, who through the likes of Sonneman, Smith, Gemma Doughty and Lauren Breguet, were able to stop the flow of goals. Rosenzweig was even busy in there and Sarah Allan was trying hard around the ground, but Thompson, Biddell, Rachelle Martin and especially Abbie Ballard were having a massive say on proceedings in the premiership quarter. While the Dogs had held up the Bloods from scoring, they would need a massive final term against the flow to hit back.

After an exclamation mark on the performance from a clever Georgie Gray – who capitalised on a Central turnover inside defensive 50 – West led by more than five goals and it looked like the Bloods would storm to a massive win. Yet again though, Central showed it has plenty of potential for the future, with the last two goals of the game going to Kayla McInerney and Zoe Perry. The two clever goals in play which surprised the West defence handed the Dogs some confidence heading into next week.

 

GLENELG 1.1 | 1.1 | 2.1 | 3.3 (21)
SOUTH ADELAIDE 1.1 | 3.2 | 5.2 | 6.4 (40)
 

GOALS:

Glenelg: E. Jones 2, E. Woods
South: J. Kirk 2, H. Munyard, S. Flanagan-Sjoberg, C. Cavouras, C. Hammond

ADC BEST:

Glenelg: E. Marinoff, J. Bates, C. Packer, E. Jones, E. Kellock
South: L. Whiteley, C. Cavouras, T. Charlton, H. Munyard, J. Kirk

In a scrappy first half between the sides, neither team could gain real ascendancy in the opening term. South had plenty of the play, but Glenelg was fiercely attacking as well. The entry inside 50 could have been better for both sides as Lisa Whiteley (South) and Jessica Bates (Glenelg) were picking off the inside 50s well, and setting up their teams on the counter attack. South speedster Hannah Munyard broke the deadlock early by running onto a loose ball at the back of the back deep inside the Panthers forward line and putting it through.

Midway through the term, it took a great mark from Adelaide talent, Eloise Jones who soared above the pack to clunk a great mark off a perfectly weighted kick from young gun Tessa Kohn. Jones went back from 40m out and slotted it without the goal umpire needing too much trouble, and by the quarter time siren, scores were level at 1.1 apiece. The South defence with Whiteley, Samantha Pratt and Jaslynne Smith were making life difficult for the Bays, while Soriah Moon was impressing up the other end for Glenelg playing out of full-back with Caitlin Gould in the ruck.

The second term was much of the same, except the reigning premiers punishing the Tigers for a couple of grave errors. After an armwrestle for the majority of the term – and Whiteley continuing her dominance in the defensive 50 – the Panthers got through via a free kick. Teah Charlton had a kick towards goal under pressure which was intercepted by the taller Moon against Jess Kirk, but it was deemed the teenager was pushed as she kicked and Kirk awarded the free kick 15m out from goal. The competition’s leading goalkicker made no mistake and gave South the clear lead by seven points after an earlier Charlton behind.

A second error by the Bays was one of those ‘coach killers’ where in the dying seconds, Glenelg looked to cross the defensive 50 to wind down the clock. Instead, the miskick went straight into the arms of a surprised Sophia Flanagan-Sjoberg who marked just 15m out herself. The siren sounded and she popped it home with ease handing her side a 13-point lead, off effectively two defensive 50 errors from the Bays. Whilst the deficit would have been frustrating for the home team, the Bays had stuck with the Panthers for the majority of the contest, with Ebony Marinoff working hard through midfield and Gould battling hard in the ruck.

Both teams looked up for the fight early in the second half with some big tackles and bodies flying everywhere. After a couple minutes of not much territory gain and a lot of repeat stoppages, it was Czenya Cavouras who provided the highlight with an elite pick up at full speed to charge through the opposition defence and get the good bounce for an early goal to the Panthers. Helped through with good body work by Kirk on the goal line, Cavouras made an early statement and the going looked tough for the Bays from then on.

The Tigers did get one back though through a rare perfect inside 50 thanks to Ellie Kellock. The midfielder won a free kick and looked inboard to hit up a rampaging Jones who marked out on the lead, crashing through the pack again. She turned around and converted her second goal to give the Tigers another sniff. Marinoff continued to work hard with fellow Crows AFL Women’s talent, Deni Varnhagen also winning a number of crucial touches on the outside. But Cavouras and Munyard were impressing, for the Panthers. Just as it looked like Glenelg would head into the break with a 13-point deficit, South had other ideas.

For the second consecutive quarter, the Panthers managed to muster something up out of nothing, with a neat centring kick inside 50 to find a loose Kirk who marked seconds before the siren. Yet again, South would convert a goal after the siren with Kirk’s second and the 19-point advantage suddenly looked a lot more difficult for the trailing Bays who needed a win to keep the finals dream alive.

The last term was predominantly Glenelg throwing everything at the Panthers once again, desperately trying to get across the line. But despite their work and a number of close shaves, the Bays could not quite do enough to get over the line. South’s defence held up well, and while Glenelg’s did likewise, it took until a downfield free kick to Emily Woods for the Tigers to get the first major on the board. She converted her set shot from 15 metres out to cut the deficit to 12 points with five minutes remaining.

Glenelg kept daring to dream with some fierce attacking moves, bu the work of Whiteley and Lauren Buchanan mopped everything up in the back 50. Then, the Panthers counter attacked and had their own chances. At one stage Glenelg had a chance through Varnhagen straight down the middle, but instead Cavouras chopped off the ball in defence, got it to Charlton in the middle who found Munyard out in space at half-forward. Her kick was dropped by Peters close to the boundary line, but it was locked inside the forward 50 for the time being, and eventually forced as a rushed behind with 90 seconds remaining. That behind meant the margin stood at 13 points and was near-impossible to come back from.

Instead, it was South with a remarkable final kick of the quarter for the third straight quarter where Cheyenne Hammond picked it up off the deck and snapped around her body for it to sail home moments before the siren sounded. It gave the Panthers confidence heading into next week knowing they had not just held off a fast-finishing Glenelg side, but put an exclamation mark on their performance to win by 19 points.

2020 SANFL Women’s season summary: Roosters were undefeated as every side tasted victory

WITH the COVID-19 global pandemic impacting sports across the world, the SANFL Women’s competition abruptly came to a halt after four rounds. While it is yet to be publicly confirmed if and when the season will be completed, Draft Central will take a look back at the opening four rounds, how they went down and where each team sat. From tomorrow, we will be reviewing each of the SANFL Women’s sides, starting with Central District and working our way up the ladder over the next two weeks.

Round 1

The opening round of the season signalled just how far teams could improve in 12 months with one of last year’s inaugural sides, Central District upsetting the 2019 minor premiers, Norwood by four points. The Bulldogs trailed by a point at the final break and indeed at each break, but booted two goals to one in the final term to win by four points. Katelyn Rosenzweig booted four goals in a stunning effort, as Shelby Smith topped the disposals with 20, as well as five clearances. Matilda Zander picked up 20 herself in a losing side for Norwood, while Alison Ferrall had six inside 50s from 16 disposals.

In what was almost a huge upset, Woodville-West Torrens Eagles pushed South Adelaide all the way before falling short by four points. Montana McKinnon was electric for the Panthers with 20 hitouts to fo with 17 disposals, seven marks (five contested), two tackles, four clearances, six inside 50s and two rebounds, while Czenya Cavouras and Indy Tahau combined for 35 touches and 13 clearances. For the Eagles, Jaimi Tabb was fierce across the ground with 12 disposals, seven tackles and three rebounds, while Allison Evans had a team-high 15 touches, three marks, nine tackles and three rebounds.

Meanwhile the Roosters had a comfortable 26-point win over Glenelg as Cristie Castle had 16 touches, six marks – three contested, five clearances, four inside 50s and a goal, while Kristi Harvey was a rock at full-back with five rebounds. Glenelg young guns Madisyn Freeman and Tessa Kohn were strong in midfield, combining for 26 disposals and four clearances doing all they could in a losing effort.

In the other game, West Adelaide had an imposing 21-point victory over Sturt, holding the Double Blues goalless in the opening three terms. Abbie Ballard suffered leather poisoning with 27 touches, five marks, nine clearances and three inside 50s, teaming up with Rachelle Martin (15 disposals, 11 tackles, five clearances and two inside 50s in midfield). Co-captains Georgia Bevan and Maya Rigter did their best despite the defeat, combining for 37 disposals, 12 tackles and five clearances.

Round 2

A couple of teams were sent crashing back to earth in Round 2, with North Adelaide flexing its muscles with a massive nine-goal win over Central District. Ashleigh Woodland had a best on ground performance for the Roosters, booting four goals from 20 touches, five marks and three inside 50s, while Round 1 Breakthrough Player Hannah Ewings had nine inside 50s and a goal from 17 touches. There were plenty of contributors though, as Lauren Daniel and Castle both had more than 20 touches and booted a goal each. For the Bulldogs, Demi Sonneman had 12 disposals and three rebounds, while Danielle Stewart worked hard in midfield for 12 touches and five clearances.

West Adelaide also had a big win, defeating Glenelg by 40 points when the two clashed. Martin had a game-high 21 disposals, five clearances and four inside 50s, while Zoe Greer (18 disposals, eight clearances) and Emma Smith (15 disposals, 10 tackles) were also impressive in the win. Kohn was strong once again in midfield with a team-high four clearances for the Tigers, while Chelsea Packer racked up 17 disposals, six tackles and three rebounds in the loss.

South Adelaide picked up an easy win to match the other two sides with a 43-9 triumph over Sturt. Teah Charlton looked impressive with 24 touches, three marks, six tackles, four clearances and five inside 50s, while Courtney Barry (22 disposals, nine clearances), McKinnon (15 touches, 17 hitouts and six inside 50s) and Jess Kirk (three goals) were also outstanding in victory. Bevan was consistent once again with 19 disposals and 10 tackles as Rigter picked up 12 and 12, while Hannah Prenzler impressed in defence with 15 touches, six marks and four rebounds under pressure.

In the only tight game of the round, Norwood came from behind to post a victory applying more pain to the Eagles with a solitary one-point win. Jo Hill and Kiana Lee booted three majors for their respective sides, as Mattea Breed stood out for the Redlegs with 21 touches, three marks, five tackles, four clearances and six inside 50s. Leah Cutting was also strong in the ruck, while Zander continued her strong form around the ground.For the Eagles, Tabb had another impressive game with 16 disposals, 10 tackles and six inside 50s, while Stephanie Walker (13 disposals, six tackles and four inside 50s) and Tesharna Maher (12 disposals, four rebounds) were also impressive.

Round 3

The Roosters handed West Adelaide its first loss of the season with an impressive 21-point victory to signal their premiership aspirations. Woodland continued her amazing fortnight with 22 touches, seven marks, three clearances and three goals, while Leah Tynan (18 disposals, six tackles, three clearances and four inside 50s) and Katelyn Pope (15 disposals, eight inside 50s) were among a host of Roosters who shone in the big win. Zoe Venning had a massive game for the losing side with 28 touches, six marks (two contested), four clearances, two inside 50s and three rebounds, while Keely Kustermann was electric in defence with 13 touches and seven rebounds, as Ballard and Martin worked hard in midfield.

South Adelaide set up a huge top of the table clash in Round 4 after sending home Norwood with a five-goal win. Charlton again racked up the ball with 27 touches, seven tackles and five inside 50s, while Tahlia Meyer (22 disposals, three tackles, four inside 50s and a goal) and Samantha Pratt (18 disposals, eight tackles and six rebounds) were also among the top players on the ground. For the Redlegs, Jade Halfpenny managed a team-high 19 disposals, while Zander (18 touches, nine marks – four contested – three tackles and four inside 50s) and Cutting (11 disposals, seven tackles, 19 hitouts and seven inside 50s) were strong.

In the other two games, the victors won their first games of the season with Sturt getting up in an eight-point win over the unlucky Eagles. Bevan had 19 touches, six tackles, four clearances and three inside 50s in the win, while Isobel Kuiper (18 disposals, five marks, six tackles, five clearances and two rebounds) and Zoe Prowse (14 disposals, three marks, 16 hitouts, four clearances and three inside 50s were among the best. For the Eagles, Walker had a team-high 17 disposals, nine tackles and three clearances, while Maher (12 disposals, four rebounds) and Ashlee Reid (11 disposals, five rebounds) were desperate in the back half.

Finally it was not as close in the other contest as a returning Caitlin Gould dominated the match for Glenelg to help her side run away with a 50-point victory over Central District. Gould booted 4.4 from 13 disposals, six marks – two contested – four tackles, 18 hitouts, four clearances and two inside 50s to be the clear best on ground. Lucy Armitage provided great support with a goal from 13 touches, seven tackles and four inside 50s, while Kohn had another five clearances to go with 13 disposals, five tackles and three inside 50s.For the Bulldogs, Sonneman had 19 disposals and six rebounds in another consistent effort, while Smith (14 disposals, four marks, four tackles, four clearances and four inside 50s) and Kimberley Fry (11 disposals, four rebounds) tried hard.

Round 4

In the final completed round, North Adelaide won a top of the table thriller against South Adelaide to finish the halted season on top. Lauren Gauci helped herself to 19 touches, four tackles and three rebounds, as Daniel (18 disposals, four marks, three tackles, three clearances and three rebounds), Pope (17 touches, four tackles, three clearances, three inside 50s and four rebounds) and Harvey (15 disposals, eight marks – two contested – six tackles and eight rebounds) all stood out working hard defensively and finding plenty of the ball. Courtney Barry (23 disposals, five tackles, eight clearances and three inside 50s) and Cavouras (21 disposals, 12 tackles, seven clearances, five inside 50s and a goal) were dominant in midfield, while Nicole Campbell helped herself to 23 touches, nine tackles, three clearances and five inside 50s.

The round also provided the season’s first draw with West Adelaide and Norwood splitting the points. Martin (21 disposals, nine tackles and five clearances) was the dominant midfielder for the bloods as Madison Newman returned from the AFL Women’s to have 18 disposals, four marks, four inside 50s and four rebounds. Kasia Culhane (15 disposals, five inside 50s and a goal) and Rachael Killian (17 disposals, five inside 50s) were other crucial inclusions in the 23-all draw. Zander was the highest disposal winner on the ground with 22 touches for the Redlegs, while Breed (17 disposals, four marks – three contested – five clearances, three rebounds and a goal) and Cutting (15 disposals, 22 hitouts, four marks, six tackles and four inside 50s) also impressed.

In another first, Woodville-West Torrens ensured all teams had a win on the board with an impressive 25-point victory over Glenelg. It was the Eagles’ first win in their history and they made it count with Lee and Nicole Collie both snagging three goals. Rhiannon Metcalfe returned to the side after a long-term injury with 16 disposals, 26 hitouts, four clearances and four inside 50s, while Chloe Forby was busy across the ground with 11 disposals, seven tackles, five clearances and five inside 50s. For the Tigers, Kohn won the Breakthrough Player Award for another big effort, picking up 18 touches, five tackles, seven clearances and three inside 50s, while Armitage was once again strong in midfield with 13 disposals, 10 tackles and seven clearances.

Sturt went back-to-back in its season with an 11-point win over Central District, handing the Bulldogs their third consecutive loss. Prowse was the standout on the ground with a ridiculous 23 disposals, four marks, three tackles, 20 hitouts, 10 clearances and a goal on the day. Bevan was impressive again with 14 touches, three tackles and four clearances, while Jo-Anna Baltais had 10 touches and four rebounds. Smith had a team-high 15 disposals and 10 tackles, as well as three clearances and four inside 50s, while Rosenzweig booted both goals from 13 disposals and four marks – three contested.

Summary

The season ended with North Adelaide on top of the table as the only undefeated side, two points clear of South Adelaide, who were a point ahead of West Adelaide in third. Sturt finished with a 50 per cent win-loss ratio thanks to back-to-back wins in Rounds 3 and 4, while Norwood was a point ahead of the bottom three thanks to the draw with the Bloods. The bottom three stand as Woodville-West Torrens, Glenelg and Central District after each side had wins in Rounds 4, 3 and 1 respectively, but lost their other three contests.

SANFL Women’s preview: Round 3 – Top of the table clash headlines triple header

A TOP of the table clash between North Adelaide and West Adelaide headlines the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s Round 3 this weekend as part of a triple header at Flinders University Stadium. Fellow undefeated side South Adelaide will face Norwood in the final game of the day, with Woodville-West Torrens and Sturt both searching for their first win in the middle game. To open the round, Central District will hope to add another loss to Glenelg’s season, with the Bulldogs also looking to take advantage of the top two sides going at it.

CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. GLENELG
Saturday, February 29, 11.30am
X Convenience Oval

Opening up the third round of action is fifth placed Central District taking on seventh placed Glenelg in what is a crucial game for both clubs. The Bulldogs showed in the opening round against Norwood that they have improved on their inaugural season last year, and while they were taken to town by a rampaging North Adelaide side, will have learnt plenty from that disappointing loss. Heading into this clash, the home side should start as favourites against a Glenelg side yet to make its mark in 2020. For teams battling for a finals spot, this is considered a must-win contest, and one that both clubs no doubt would have marked as a crucial game when the fixture came out. Central will likely jump into the top four with a victory despite the 54-point defeat last week, with the Redlegs who sit fourth, taking on third placed South Adelaide. For Glenelg, a third loss and the season is very quickly slipping away. Last year’s grand finalists North Adelaide had a slow start to 2019, so it is not all lost, but the Tigers need to start picking up the pace and it is worth cutting them some slack as they have played the two most in-form teams in the competition thus far.

Statistically, Glenelg is not all that bad despite the two losses, sitting second overall for hitouts differential (+24), which is area they can exploit the Bulldogs in (-25) who are ranked seventh in the category differential for this season. The Tigers are also third overall for tackles differential with +20, just behind Central (+21). The Bulldogs also have a more predominant kicking style to Glenelg’s mixed style, though the Tigers also have the lowest disposal count of any side this season (339), though the Bulldogs have the lowest differential (-111), which is understandable after last week.

The Bulldogs have lost both Danielle Stewart and Jayme-Lee Sonneman for this clash, while bringing in six players to an extended bench, including Alicia Butler who looks to slot straight into half-back having been recalled for her second game of the season, alongside 19-year-old Keely Cannizzaro. The Bulldogs’ strength this season has been their defence, with the likes of Kimberley Fry (9.5 disposals, 3.5 rebounds) and Demi Sonneman (12.5 disposals, 4.5 rebounds) holding up firmly back there. In her first season at the club, Shelby Smith has been a welcome addition with 15 disposals, 3.5 marks, 3.5 tackles, 3.5 clearances and two rebounds per game, working hard through the middle and getting back to support the defenders. Up forward, equal-leading goalkicker Katelyn Rosenzweig (five goals) showed in Round 1 which she is capable of, and while she only managed the one goal last week, is always a headache for opposition defenders. The only concern will be the fact that Rosenzweig has booted five of the club’s six goals this season, so finding more avenues to goal is key.

Looking at the Tigers, they had plenty of scoring options in Round 1, but wasted them with a 2.10 scoreline against the ladder leaders. They then were completely restricted with just 1.2 in Round 2 against the Bloods, so have technically only booted the three goals this season. Glenelg has brought in a couple of players for their debuts in Lauren Kenny and Brooke Tonon with the latter representing South Australia at Under 16s level last season and is highly touted. The only forced change is the loss of Tasja Batzavalis due to concussion, while bringing in three others, including Tess Morcom back into the middle and Jessica Searle straight to full-back. Sam Franson is the X-factor up forward, with the 20-year-old averaging 10 disposals and laying a massive 6.5 tackles per game, while in defence, Madisyn Freeman has averaging 10.5 disposals, 2.5 tackles and 3.0 clearances.

In order to win this clash, Glenelg must make the most of its chances, while Central Districts must win the midfield battle and restrict Glenelg’s chances of scoring, while getting it forward as often as possible. This should be a thrilling contest with everything on the line.

MATCH OF THE ROUND:

NORTH ADELAIDE vs. WEST ADELAIDE
Saturday, February 29, 3.45pm
Flinders University Stadium

The first match of a bumper triple header at Flinders University Stadium tomorrow pits first and second against each other in what should be the match of the round. With third placed South Adelaide onlooking ahead of its own clash, the loser knows it will likely drop to third, though it is not the end of the world given these two have established themselves as genuine contenders, albeit early in the season. North Adelaide was somewhat fortunate in the opening round to get over the line by four goals against a wayward Glenelg, making the most of its chances with 7.4 to 2.10, before ironing out any cobwebs in the second round with a nine-goal smashing of Central District. West Adelaide looked more convincing in its opening game with a 21-point victory over Sturt, before handing out a 40-point beating of the Tigers in Round 2. Realistically it should have been even more with the Bloods booting 6.12, which is something they simply cannot afford to do here. The winner places themselves in a really good position almost a third of the way through the season in what is ultimately a short season. Both these line-ups have star players and this is anticipated to be an absolute beauty.

Statistically speaking, these sides are ranked top two for disposals, and second and third respectively for disposal differential, as the Roosters have a massive +76 in the category. They love playing a possession style of game, and both are more than comfortable using a handball-style or kick-first mentality. The Roosters are also ranked third in inside 50s differentials with +16, while West Adelaide is marginally ahead with +20. Despite winning both its games comfortably, the Roosters back six deserves credit with only a -2 differential, which ranks them fifth overall. The Bloods on the other hand have just 22 rebounds for the season – the lowest of any side, with the second worst differential. In saying that, they do not allow it to get in there, with a dominant clearance game that has them miles ahead of the competition with a +28 differential in clearances, despite a surprising -29 in hitouts. In other words, the Bloods have been sharking their opposition ruck taps, and doing it so effectively. The midfield is where they can take advantage, whereas the Roosters are happy to build up from the back six and with so many scoring options inside 50, they can cause some damage to a West Adelaide defence that is yet to have a serious threat placed on it.

North Adelaide has made three three changes to its side for Round 3, welcoming in Erica Greet, Mollie McKendrick and Katelyn Pope, with Greet playing her first game of the season, basketballer McKendrick her first with the club, and Pope recalled after playing in Round 1 against Glenelg. Having already mentioned how strong the North Adelaide defence is, the Roosters will be prepared for West Adelaide to win its fair share of inside 50s off a high volume of clearances. Kristi Harvey (9.5 disposals, 2.0 marks and 4.5 rebounds) and Amber Ward (12.5 disposals, 3.0 marks, 3.5 tackles and 2.0 rebounds) have been superb as key defensive posts in the back 50, while Lauren Gauci had an outstanding game in the Roosters win over Central, picking up 21 disposals, six marks (two contested), two clearances and three rebounds in just her second career game at the level. Up forward, Kelly Barltrop is yet to really stamp her authority on the competition after her leading goalkicker award last year, but it is a positive that the Roosters have had plenty of contributors, with Ashleigh Woodland (four goals) and Kathryn Reynolds (three) both having strong starts to the year. Woodland in particular is a damaging player, averaging 14 disposals at 79 per cent efficiency, while booting 4.2 from 19 touches and five marks last week in an outstanding performance. Cristie Castle could well be leading the Roosters’ best and fairest at this stage, with the 29-year-old averaging 19 disposals, 5.5 marks, 2.5 clearances, 2.5 inside 50s, 2.0 tackles and 1.0 goals per game. It will be up to the likes of Leah Tynan (12.5 disposals, 3.0 clearances) and Lauren Daniel (18.5 disposals, 4.0 clearances) to try and quell the influence of the West Adelaide midfielders.

West Adelaide has brought in three players to an extended bench, losing Kasia Culhane to injury, which will be a blow after the forward booted three goals in the first two rounds and looked a lively forward inside 50. Into the side comes Lauren Rodato, Nicole Hooper and Rachael Killian, with Rodato recalled after playing Round 1, and Hooper and Killian playing their first matches since 2018 – if selected. Rodato has been named at centre half-back to support the work of Keeley Kustermann (14.5 disposals at 90 per cent efficiency) who has been reliable as ever in the back 50, despite the Bloods having the lowest amount of rebounds. The reason for that is the work of Rachelle Martin, Abbie Ballard and Zoe Venning who have formed a remarkable midfield trio. Martin has averaged 18 disposals, 5.0 clearances, 7.5 tackles and 3.0 inside 50s per game and while her disposal efficiency could improve (53 per cent), most of her work is done at the coalface which allows her teammates to run the ball forward. She was one of a number of players who really could have had a day out last week, booting three behinds to go with 21 touches, five clearances and four inside 50s. Ballard is leading all-comers when it comes to disposals, averaging 21 per game thanks to her 27 touches in Round 1. Like Martin, she is a contested ball winner who can spread to the outside, averaging 3.5 marks, 2.5 tackles, 5.5 clearances and 3.0 inside 50s per game. Venning – who is remarkably only 16-years-old but in her second season at West Adelaide is slightly below the others on volume, but has the highest disposal efficiency from her 15 touches, 3.5 marks, 3.0 tackles, 2.5 clearances and 2.0 inside 50s. Importantly, she also hits the scoreboard, averaging a goal a game thus far this season. Speaking of hitting the scoreboard, Melanie Elsegood is the equal leading goalkicker with five goals from her two marches, making the most of her 7.5-disposal, 2.5-mark averages.

There is a reason this is match of the round. You have the best clearance side up against the dominant scoring team which means both sides are going to be tested in ways they are yet to be tested. If the Bloods can continue to dominate the clearances, then their high volume of inside 50s will undoubtedly lead to a high score, though if North Adelaide can get on top, then they will cause all sorts of problems for the West Adelaide defence, which will have its first big test of the season in this game.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS vs. STURT
Saturday, February 29, 5.30pm
Flinders University Stadium

After a blockbuster top of the table clash, two sides looking to get on the board in season 2020 go at it from 5.30pm. Woodville-West Torrens is yet to win in the SANFL Women’s since joining the competition 12 months ago. The Eagles have come close on a number of occasions, including last week where they led by as much as 19 points against Norwood before suffering a one-point defeat due to a goal in the last minute to help the Redlegs get over the line. In Round 1, they also led South Adelaide for portions of the game, only to fall short by less than a kick, and if form is any indicator to go by, then this should be the time they break the drought. Sturt sits on the bottom of the table having booted just three goals for the season, going down to West Adelaide by 21 points in Round 1, before being handed a 34-point defeat at the hands of the Panthers last week. That could have been a lot worse given South Adelaide booted 5.13 for the game, but in short, Sturt will need to lift for this contest. Similar to the opening game of this round, both these sides would have identified at the start of the season for this game to be a must-win against an opponent it is capable of beating. The winner of this match gets back on track in season 2020, while the loser will be at least two games outside the top four and having to play catch-up which is not ideal in such a short season.

Statistically the Eagles are better off, and are far and away the standout tackling team of the competition. They have laid a whopping 166 tackles this season, with 79 and 87 respectively each round to be the number one side both weeks. Their defensive pressure is not in question, though their handball game can sometimes get them unstuck. They have the lowest kick-to-handball ratio at just 1.42, which compared to the top team in that category (Central) which has 3.3, it shows the Eagles look to move the ball quickly by hand. Depending on the execution this can be a huge advantage, but also hurt going the other way, with the Eagles also only taking the 37 marks – the lowest of any side this season – while Sturt is third overall with 90, and has the second highest differential of +40. It is clear that this game will be a battle between two different styles, with Sturt looking to get to the outside and work their way inside 50 with calculated movement, while the Eagles will use a handball-style game to get it going in quick transition. Sturt’s big deficiency is giving its forwards best chance to score with a competition-low clearance count (31) and inside 50s count (23) with the lowest differential in both stats following a -25 and -33 respectively. This is an area they will no doubt focus on for this game, while the Double Blues defence to their credit has held up with a competition-high differential of +24 in rebounds.

Woodville-West Torrens have made three confirmed changes, with the loss of Adele Gibson due to a knee injury disappointing, and former West Adelaide captain Alison Evans brought in up forward to replace her in the front half having played in the narrow Round 1 loss. They have also brought in the exciting Jaida Tabb, the 15-year-old younger sister of Eagles and AFL Womens’ player Jaimi (13.5 disposals, 7.5 tackles, 3.5 inside 50s and 2.0 rebounds), with the latter named at full-forward to try and mix up the forward half. She will team up with fellow South Australian representative at last year’s AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships, with Kiana Lee leading the way in terms of scoring for the Eagles, booting three first half goals last week after surprisingly going goalless in round 1. When up and about, Lee knows how to fly for her marks, taking a massive six contested grabs from seven marks this season. While the Eagles have the scoring options, their defenders deserve credit as well, with Jovanka Zecevic (10 disposals, 5.0 tackles) and teenagers, Tesharna Maher (11 disposals at 77 per cent efficiency, and five rebounds) and Jamie Parish (six disposals, three marks) all holding up the back six. Former Adelaide AFL Women’s ruck, Rhiannon Metcalfe played her first game last week and will be better for the run, building into the game and could try and quell the influence of Sturt’s top three ruck ranked division.

The Double Blues have tried to keep as much stability as possible and not panic despite back-to-back losses, as Hannah Dreckow is the sole out for the last placed side, bringing in 18-year-old debutant Arabella Brown, as well as Cherie Bamford and Alysha Healy. Sturt has some serious top-end talent, but it is just about bringing through the next tier of players and continuing the development of the young players running around in the Double Blue. Co-captains, Georgia Bevan (19 disposals, 2.5 marks, 8.0 tackles, 2.0 clearances, 2.0 inside 50s and 3.0 rebounds) and Maya Rigter (15 disposals, 4.5 marks, 9.0 tackles, 2.5 clearances and 2.0 rebounds) running at 82 and 87 per cent efficiency respectively have been the top two players for Sturt, while Hannah Prenzler (13.5 disposals, 6.5 marks, 3.0 tackles and 3.0 rebounds) has been one of the top defenders in a side that has tried to hold up against some fierce attacking movement of top three sides. Sturt just has to find a way to score more, with the defensive set up and midfield duo a tick, and some young talent coming through. Zoe Prowse and Isobel Kuiper are a couple of teenagers who are the next young stars for Sturt, with the 16-year-old Prowse already entrenched as a ruck who can rest forward, while 17-year-old Kuiper has been playing through the middle and averaging five tackles per game to go with her 10 touches.

This game should be a close one with Woodville-West Torrens showing greater signs so far this season, but Sturt have some of the top players who could lift the Double Blues over the line. If the Eagles can get it forward and work it well down the ground with their ball movement to unsettle the Sturt defence it will help, while the Double Blues will look to get it long and try and force the attacking defenders of the Eagles to double think their decisions out of the back 50.

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. NORWOOD
Saturday, February 29, 7.15pm
Flinders University Stadium

The final game of the round pits two SANFL Women’s heavyweights against each other with inaugural premiers, Norwood going up against recent back-to-back premiers, South Adelaide. The Panthers had the Redlegs’ measure last season, going on to win the flag from second as Norwood tumbled out in straight sets, but both these sides have changed a fair amount since last season. Based on the opening first two rounds, the Panthers have made do by winning both their games, while Norwood has struggled to adapt with a completely new midfield group. To the Redlegs credit though, they came back from 19 points down to win against Woodville-West Torrens last week, largely thanks to three goals from Jo Hill. They cannot afford to drop that far behind against South Adelaide however, though the Panthers too had to come from behind to beat the Eagles back in Round 1, before a much more comfortable win over Sturt last week.

Looking at the stats, South Adelaide is a possession-style team ranked first in both disposal (+97) and kicking (+47) differentials for season 2020 thus far. They also have the most inside 50s of any side (63) and highest differential in that stat (+28). Ranked second overall for handball differential (+50), by sheer weight of numbers they have the most handballs of any side as well, which shows they can use the ball down the field in multiple ways. The Panthers’ defence has the lowest rebound differential of any side (-19), but that comes as no surprise seeing as how often the ball has spent time up the other end of the field. In Round 1, South Adelaide had just nine rebounds against Woodville-West Torrens, but the Eagles were unable to capitalise in that game. What makes Norwood good is the Redlegs’ outside game, with the highest marking differential of any side (+47), well ahead of South Adelaide’s (+5). They also lead the way in hitouts with 30 per game (+29 differential) thanks to the work of Leah Cutting. Defensively, Norwood has been out-pressured by its opposition, with the second lowest tackle count, but more damning is the lowest tackle differential of -52. South Adelaide is the second worst with -20, but only had four less than Sturt last week, whereas in Round 1, Norwood was -17 against Central District. Both sides were well out-tackled by the number one tackling side in the Eagles.

The Panthers have been forced to make at least two changes, with Annabel Gordon and Callie Wilson (both ankle injuries) out of the game among four confirmed outs. Into the side comes six players to an extended bench, with Chloe Jacobs named to make her debut for South Adelaide. The biggest inclusion is Madison Bennett who slots straight into a front six that is already incredibly potent after the 20-year-old was recalled for Round 3. With Cutting’s dominance in the ruck, it will be a great test for young gun, Montana McKinnon to step up again and continue her wonderful form this season with the 18-year-old averaging 16.5 disposals, 4.5 marks, 3.5 clearances, 6.0 inside 50s and 2.5 tackles per game. Accumulating the ball like a midfielder, McKinnon can also go forward and provide a tall target, with top draft prospect Teah Charlton (19 disposals at 87 per cent efficiency, 5.5 tackles, 4.0 clearances and 4.0 inside 50s) also in the forward half and capable of the incredible. In the midfield, Czenya Cavouras (17.5 disposals, 6.5 tackles and 4.5 clearances) and Tahlia Meyer (15 disposals, 2.5 tackles and 2.5 inside 50s) are natural ball winners, with Indy Tahau (15 disposals, 4.5 clearances, 3.0 tackles, 2.5 inside 50s and 2.0 marks) and Elyse Haylock (18 disposals, five tackles) – who played her first game of the season last week – forming a really dangerous onball combination.

Norwood has made four chances to its winning side last week, still trying to find the right mix to build on its performance. Despite having plenty of improvement left in them, the Redlegs have been able to stabilise their season thus far with a 1-1 record. Thrown up either end, Michele Reid has been named in the forward pocket for the match, while Ella Murison comes into the back pocket. Both players are versatile, with the 38-year-old Reid playing a defensive role in the first round, and has been called up for a different spot in Round 3, while Murison was the opposite with a couple of inside 50s against the Bulldogs in Round 1, but now named deep in defence. Cutting has been a huge influence in the midfield with a competition-high 20.5 hitouts to go with 10 disposals, 3.5 marks and 6.0 tackles per game.  She has been working well with the likes of Bella Smith (10 disposals, 4.5 marks, 2.5 tackles, 4.5 inside 50s) and Matilda Zander (17.5 disposals, 4.0 marks, 3.0 tackles, 2.5 inside 50s, 2.5 rebounds and 2.0 clearances) through midfield, while Mattea Breed (17.5 disposals, 2.0 marks, 4.0 tackles, 5.0 inside 50s and 3.5 clearances) really shone in Round 2, and has been roaming up the ground at half-forward clunking some strong marks and leading the way. Sophie Armitstead (14 disposals, 3.5 clearances and 3.0 tackles) is another player who has enjoyed a solid season thus far, and it is expected once Norwood can adjust to its new line-up in season 2020, it will be a threat to any side.

South Adelaide deserve to be favourites in this clash, but Norwood has steadily improved. While the Panthers are more of a running possession side than a tackling one, they would see that defensive pressure has unsettled the Redlegs at times, though Norwood has been a dominant team in the ruck duels and also capable of kicking goals quickly. Neither side can afford to switch off during this game if they are to be triumphant.

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: West Adelaide

IN the next of our South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s team preview, we take a look at West Adelaide, a side that came agonisingly close to a finals appearance, but was pipped at the post by an Ebony Marinoff-inspired Glenelg.

2019 BY THE NUMBERS:

Position: 5th
Wins: 6
Losses: 4
For: 298
Against: 347
Percentage: 85.9%

 

2020 CHANGES

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

IN: Rachael Killian (returned/NT Thunder), Zoe Greer (Norwood), Taylor Hand (Woodville-West Torrens), Hannah Scholar (Woodville-West Torrens), Kate Walsh (SMOSH West Lakes).
OUT: Madison Newman (Adelaide AFLW), Chelsea Biddell (Adelaide AFLW), Tayla Gordon (North Adelaide), Ali Evans (Woodville-West Torrens), Leah Swain (maternity leave/Melbourne).

 

FIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH

Madison Newman / Chelsea Biddell

Similar to our South Adelaide preview, we have included both Newman and Biddell as ones to watch purely because though they departed the club for AFL Women’s, they did land at Adelaide which gives them a chance to still run out with the Bloods in the upcoming season. Newman finished top five in disposals last year and was a revelation in the back half, while Biddell was the club’s leading goalkicker. While it is hoped they can both make an impact at AFL Women’s level – especially given the Crows’ recent run with injuries – the club would love to have them back, even if it is only a few games towards the back-end of the season.

Abbie Ballard

The teenager is entering her draft year and the now top-ager will look to take over from Newman as the key talent through the midfield group with the more experienced, Rachelle Martin. Ballard showed a fierce tenacity to attack the contest and despite her size – 159cm – she won double-figure disposals on all bar one occasion to average 16.1 per game to go with her 4.1 clearances, 5.4 tackles and 2.1 inside 50s. Her final game of the season in the loss to South Adelaide saw Ballard rack up 24 touches, three marks, five tackles, six clearances and five rebounds in a superb effort leaving fans excited for what could come in 2020.

Rachael Killian

One of the bigger inclusions across the SANFL Women’s competition for 2020, the 174cm midfielder is still only 25-years-old but has premiership experience at the highest level, playing in the inaugural AFL Women’s premiership side with Adelaide. Last season she played three games with NT Thunder, where she averaged more than 10 touches per game. She should slot straight into the midfield and be that extra hand around the stoppages, not afraid to lay a tackle and then go forward and find the goals. A handy player to have running around for the Bloods.

Rachelle Martin

After an unbelievable 2018 SANFL Women’s season where she was one of the most dominant ball winners in the competition, Martin was restricted to just four games due to injury in 2020. She made them count, averaging 19.8 disposals, 6.8 tackles, three clearances, three marks and 2.3 inside 50s. She also managed to boot a goal in two of her games, and did play the last three of the season, Unfortunately it took her a few weeks to get back to her best and by then the season was over. Could stake a claim as one of the best ball-winning state players and is almost a new inclusion into last year’s side. If she stays fit will be an unbelievable talent in that on-ball brigade.

Melanie Elsegood

Finished second overall in the club goalkicking last season, slotting 10 goals in nine games for the Westies. With Biddell potentially no longer inside 50, Elsegood has free reign to be the dominant target for her club, and she has to stand up and deliver this year. Not a huge ball winner, Elsegood is someone reliable to hit the scoreboard, doing so in seven of her nine games, including a bag of three to open the season, and two goals to finish it. One who could benefit from the permanent inclusions of Martin and Killian.

FIXTURE

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

West Adelaide could be one of the more unknown quantities in the competition. The Bloods came close to finals last year, and while they have lost a number of key players, have brought in quite a few talents at the same time. If they play to their potential, the Westies could sneak into the top four and play finals. They face a tough draw however, with double-ups against reigning premiers South Adelaide – both in the last four weeks – and Norwood, as well as Sturt. Realistically need to win quite a few early to make finals a possibility, but have faith because in patches they looked impressive last season.