Tag: rachel dunstan

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

DISPOSALS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

DISPOSALS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

HIGH DISPOSALS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

HIGH DISPOSALS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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: Woodville-West Torrens

IN our final South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s team preview, we take a look at Woodville-West Torrens Eagles, a side that finished its inaugural season without a win, but showed great spirit throughout and seemed to gel more as the season went on.

 

2019 BY THE NUMBERS:

Position: 8th
Wins: 0
Losses: 10
For: 227
Against: 542
Percentage: 41.9%

 

2020 CHANGES

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

IN: Ali Evans (West Adelaide), Rebecca Catterall (Central District), Nicole Collie (North Adelaide).
OUT: Jaimi Tabb (Adelaide AFLW), Tash Farrier (Ice Hockey), Hannah Scholar (West Adelaide), Taylor Hand (West Adelaide), Jo Baltias (Sturt), Rachel Dunstan (Sturt), Aajiah Jericho (Sturt).

 

FIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH

Kiana Lee

Missed out on being drafted last year, but the 18-year-old showed in patches that she has what it takes to keep pushing and deserved a place in the Central Allies side at the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships. Lee returns to the Eagles line-up having booted nine goals from 10 games in a team that struggled to put scores on the board last year. She will again be a key target inside the arc so expect her to cause some headaches with an extra year of experience under her belt.

Stephanie Walker

A member of the leadership group having stepped back from the inaugural captaincy last year, Walker was one of the Eagles’ most consistent players last season. She played 10 games and averaged 15.3 disposals and 2.8 rebounds, working hard to push back and help her defenders, all while running at 75 per cent disposal efficiency. She will again be one the team turns to this season, though the former AFL Women’s player has been touted for a role change in 2020, to provide more support in attack

Jaimi Tabb

Despite the fact Tabb will likely play plenty of games for the Crows given her form last year – getting better as the season went on – if she does manage to come back and play it is impossible not to have her on this list. She went from strength to strength in 2019, winning the ball on a string and then continuing that form into the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships. Loves the contested side of football but can also outrun her opponents on the outside, always wearing them down.

Caitlin Sampson

A key player through the ruck, Sampson provided first hands to her teammates in the role, playing the first seven games of the season and showing some promising signs in her first year in the competition. She averaged six touches and 14 hitouts per game, ranking fifth overall in the stat. Still raw and developing, Samson will have benefited from 2019, and with some fresh faces around, she could be important against a host of talented talls in the competition this year.

Jovanka Zecevic

The 21-year-old was a permanent fixture out of defence, averaging 11.1 disposals and 2.7 rebounds per game. She played nine of a possible 10 games, and had a purple patch mid-season where she racked up 17, 16 and 18 disposals consecutively – against the top three teams. In the same period, she averaged almost five rebounds per game, standing up under severe heat, and with Walker playing more of a forward role, she will be the one to turn to when it comes to settling down the back six.

FIXTURE

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

Woodville-West Torrens has a mixed bag when it comes to double-up games, facing last year’s minor premiers Norwood, finalists Glenelg and bottom three side Sturt, twice. It is a tough start to the season with the reigning premiers and Redlegs up in the first fortnight, but the goal for the Eagles this season will be to breakthrough for that first win and then build from there.

SANFL Women’s 2020 team preview: Sturt

IN the next of our South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s team previews, we take a look at Sturt, a team that was not always the most consistent side last year finishing in the bottom three, but has welcomed a host of players to its line-up this year that should bolster its depth and potential on the field.

2019 BY THE NUMBERS:

Position: 6th
Wins: 2
Losses: 8
For: 239
Against: 409
Percentage: 58.4%

2020 CHANGES

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

IN: Jo Baltias (Woodville-West Torrens), Rachel Dunstan (Woodville-West Torrens), Aajiah Jericho (Woodville-West Torrens), Louise Firth (Scotch Old Collegians), Ally Ladas (soccer), Stephanie Ratliff (basketball).
OUT: Lilla Berry (Overseas), Della Griffith (netball/athletics).

 

FIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH

Georgia Bevan

The standout performer last season for the Double Blues winning the 2019 club best and fairest, Bevan will again lead the side in 2020 alongside with Maya Rigter who came runner-up and showed enormous promise as a teenager last year. Bevan averaged 16.2 disposals, 2.3 marks, 2.7 rebounds, 2.0 inside 50s, 5.3 tackles and 5.3 clearances to be the key onballer who ran up and down the ground all day long to ensure she supported both the back six and forward six. She had three games with 20 or more disposals and only one game under 12 touches as a ray of consistency all day long. Her best game arguably came in the last round where she had 21 touches, four marks – two contested – nine clearances, six tackles, two inside 50s and three rebounds, though she had a number of ripping games including leading her side to a huge win over the Eagles with an 11-tackle, seven-clearance performance.

Maya Rigter

Only 19-years-old, the 169cm midfielder is a tackling machine. She can play inside or outside and has the versatility to do all the team things, or go in and win the ball herself and feed it to teammates. In season 2019, Rigter averaged a whopping 7.5 tackles per game, as well as almost three inside 50s, and 2.1 clearances. She might be young, but she was picked to co-captain the side this year – after being in the leadership group last year – along with Bevan, so expect her to take it up another notch yet again. She used the ball well last season despite often winning the ball under pressure, so is a real key player in the Double Blues’ jumper.

Hannah Dreckow

Unlike a lot of the others in this group, Dreckow is an experienced veteran at 37-years-old. She finished third overall in hitouts last year and proved that she can still compete with the best talls in the game. Her tap work around the stoppages will be invaluable to her young midfield brigade, and will provide that extra experience when needed to spur her team on when they are down. With a strong midfield core, Dreckow will be able to work closely with them and build on her season last year where she averaged about 10 disposals and 14.6 hitouts per game.

Caitlyn Swanson

The 25-year-old played all 10 games last season and while she rotated around a number of positions both inside and outside, her purple patch in the middle of the season where she went inside yielded some good results. In a four week block from Rounds 4-7, Swanson averaged 15.5 disposals, 4.0 clearances, 2.8 tackles and 2.0 marks, while booting four goals. While three of those games came against the other bottom three sides, Swanson showed that she has the capability of standing up and really having an impact through the midfield – as she co-captained the side last year – and that Sturt’s onball brigade could be its biggest strength in 2020 alongside the likes of Bevan and Rigter.

Zoe Prowse

One of a number of future South Australian stars, Prowse is only 16-years-old and in her bottom-age year which means she is still 18 months away from being draft eligible. Last season despite her age she managed seven games and did not look out of place averaging 6.9 touches, and 2.7 tackles per game. She is still a raw talent and has areas to work on, but she showed when donning the state jumper in the Under 16s that she has talent, winning best on ground for South Australia against Vic Country, and was invited into the AFL Women’s National Academy. Could be a big improver in 2020.

FIXTURE

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

Sturt has to face West Adelaide and North Adelaide twice, while also taking on last year’s wooden spooners in Woodville-West Torrens Eagles a couple of times. If the Double Blues can improve to win against some of the other mid-table teams then they should be fighting for a higher position in 2020, with their list largely untouched compared to other clubs, giving them greater continuity heading into the next year.

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

DISPOSALS:

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

DISPOSALS:

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

DISPOSALS:

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

DISPOSALS:

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

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

Weekend preview: SANFL Women’s – Round 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend preview: SANFL Women’s – Round 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend wash-up: SANFL Women’s – Round 3

IN the third round of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition, Glenelg and Norwood remained unbeaten, while Central District picked up its first win of the season and South Adelaide bounced back with a victory.

GLENELG 3.1 | 4.2 | 5.3 | 7.6 (48)
NORTH ADELAIDE 2.1 | 4.2 | 5.3 | 5.3 (33)

GOALS:

Glenelg: Madisyn Freeman 2, Hannah Crump, Tamsyn Morriss, Lucy Armitage, Samantha Franson.
North: Kelly Barltrop 2, Lauren Daniel, Nadia von Bertouch, Paige Allan.

DISPOSALS:

Glenelg: Chelsea Packer 16
North: Amber Ward 15

In the opening game of the round, last year’s wooden spooners, Glenelg showed the opening two rounds were far from a fluke, knocking off preliminary finalist, North Adelaide in a 15-point win at City Mazda Stadium. In a high-scoring opening term, Norwood got on the board first courtesy of a goal from Lauren Daniel, before three consecutive goals to Glenelg had them hit the front by 12 points. Roosters’ leading goalkicker, Kelly Barltrop scored one more before quarter time to cut the deficit to six points, before Paige Allan leveled the score just two minutes into the second term. Madisyn Freeman booted her second of the contest shortly before Barltrop nailed her second and both sides were level at the main break. A goal each in the third term could still not split them, before Glenelg’s Rebecca Steer and Hannah Crump both made opportunities count in the last term to record an impressive win. Chelsea Packer was the highest ball winner for the Tigers, racking up 16 touches, four rebounds and two tackles, while Jordan Bardley (five inside 50s) and Lucy Bellinger (six tackles) both had 12 disposals. For North, Amber Ward had 15 disposals and four rebounds in the loss, while Nadia Von Bertouch laid five tackles from 14 disposals and booted a goal. Leah Tynan played an important role with seven tackles from 10 disposals and three inside 50s, while Adrienne Davis recorded four inside 50s as well as 14 touches. Next round after a bye, Glenelg hopes to make it four on the trot when they take on West Adelaide, while North Adelaide takes on reigning premiers, South Adelaide.

CENTRAL DISTRICT | 2.1 | 5.1 | 8.5 | 10.6 (66)
WWT EAGLES 1.1 | 2.6 | 2.8 | 5.8 (38)

GOALS:

Central: Katelyn Rosenzweig 3, Isabella Wilson, Chantel Reynolds 2, Abbey Scheer, Amy Fisher.
Eagles: Sarah Perkins 2, Kiana Lee, Stephanie Walker, Rachel Dunstan.

DISPOSALS:

Central: Abbey Scheer, Danielle Stewart 13
Eagles: Stephanie Walker 18, Jaimi Tabb 15, Kiana Lee, Sarah Perkins

Central District gained the early bragging rights between the league’s two newst sides, running out 28-point winners over Woodville-West Torrens. Both sides headed into the game with two consecutive losses under their belts, but it was the Eagles who struck first blood. A goal to Kiana Lee resulted in the visitors taking an early lead, before Bulldogs Isabella Wilson and Katelyn Rosenzweig booted goals before the first break to lead by six points. The Eagles missed a number of opportunities in the second term and Central District made them pay, with Tara McDermott, Sarah Perkins and Kiana Lee (the latter two twice) all missing opportunities. Wilson and Rosenzweig both scored majors, as did Chantel Reynolds, while Perkins kicked the Eagles’ only goal of the term to trail by 13 points at the main break. Central District went on with it after the half, as Amy Fisher, Reynolds and Rosenzweig all capitalised, though they also missed a number of opportunities in the scorching heat, but took a 33-point lead into the final break. Goals to Rachel Dunstan and Perkins early in the fourth quarter cut the deficit to 22, but Abbey Scheer snuffed out any chance of a comeback with an important goal as the Bulldogs ran out comfortable winners. The Bulldogs shared the ball around with no-one dominating possession as Scheer and Danielle Stewart both recorded 13 touches. Stewart also had four inside 50s, three rebounds and five tackles, while Gemma Doughty was strong in defence with five rebounds. Alicia Butler laid a team-high seven tackles from her nine disposals. Stephanie Walker was the Eagles’ highest ball winner with 18 disposals, seven inside 50s and two rebounds, while Jaimi Tabb was prolific again with 15 disposals, five inside 50s and five tackles. Lee and Perkins were the key targets but missed some opportunities, booting 3.5 between them. After the bye, Central District hosts the winless Sturt in a chance to go back-to-back wins, while Woodville-West Torrens faces premiership favourites Norwood.

NORWOOD 1.2 | 2.5 | 3.6 | 5.7 (37)
STURT 2.0 | 3.0 | 3.2 | 3.5 (23)

GOALS:

Norwood: Emma Clark, Jo Hill, Monique Hollick, Najwah Allen, Kate Fenton.
Sturt: Sophie Hoyle, Lauren Lovell, Lane Trenorden.

DISPOSALS:

Norwood: Sophie Armitstead 19, Monique Hollick 18
Sturt: Hannah Prenzler 14

Norwood did what many expected the Redlegs to do, but not without a fight. The undefeated side took on the winless Double Blues, but found themselves 12 points down early following goals from Sophie Hoyle and Lane Trenorden. Jo Hill booted a late major for the Redlegs to cut the deficit to four points at the first break, then Monique Hollick made it count midway through the second term. Lauren Lovell booted on on the edge of half-time for the Double Blues to hit the front, but only by a point at the main break. The second half belonged to Norwood as the Double Blues could only boot five behinds as Kate Fenton, Emma Clark and Najwa Allen all converted opportunities to run over the top of Sturt and remain undefeated from three rebounds. Sophie Armitstead had 19 disposals, nine tackles, four inside 50s and two rebounds, while Hollick was busy with 17 touches, six tackles, four inside 50s and a goal. Leah Cutting was dominant once again in the ruck with the former basketballer amassing 28 hitouts and six tackles from nine disposals, while Alison Ferrall and Rhiannon Busch were vital in the back half with a combined seven rebounds. For Sturt, Hannah Prenzler recorded a team-high 14 disposals as well as two inside 50s, four rebounds and four tackles, while Alex Ballard and Lucy Griffith both had 13 touches. After next round’s bye, Norwood hosts the winless Eagles, while Sturt hopes to break its winless drought against Central District.

SOUTH ADELAIDE 3.1 | 4.2 | 5.4 | 7.6 (48)
WEST ADELAIDE 1.1 | 2.2 | 4.2 | 5.2 (32)

GOALS:

South: Indy Tahou 2, Teah Charlton, Danielle Goding, Hannah Munyard, Madison Bennett.
West: Chelsea Biddell 2, Melanie Elsegood, Emma Smith, Zoe Venning.

DISPOSALS:

South: Czenya Cavouras 29, Teah Charlton, Nikki Gore 19, Samantha Pratt 15
West: Abbie Ballard 18, Rebecca Owen 16

In the final game of the round, reigning premiers South Adelaide showed their class with a 16-point win over West Adelaide. The Bloods headed into the game undefeated having knocked over the two new clubs of the competition, and leading goalkicker, Chelsea Biddell booted the opening goal of the game to give the visitors some hope. Indy Tahau, Madison Bennett and Mykala Walker-Murphy all booted goals heading into the first break to take a 12-point advantage into quarter time. Melanie Elsegood was quick to get West Adelaide back on the board early in the second term, but Danielle Goding scored in the dying minutes to re-extend the lead back to two goals. By the final break West Adelaide showed they were up for the fight thanks to goals to Emma Smith and Zoe Venning to draw within eight points at three quarter time. When Biddell booted the first goal of the fourth quarter to give the Bloods hope, the reigning premiers found an answer in Hannah Munyard and Indy Tahau who both found the big sticks and resulted in the Panthers recording a solid victory over much improved opposition. Panthers big ball winner, Czenya Cavouras had 10 more touches than anyone else in the competition on Friday, racking up 29 disposals as well as 10 tackles and five inside 50s. Teah Charlton (19 disposals, three tackles and two inside 50s) and Nikki Gore (19 disposals, six tackles and three inside 50s) were also productive, while Montana McKinnon continued her good season in her top-age year with 23 hitouts from 14 disposals, seven marks (a massive five contested), two tackles and two inside 50s. Abbie Ballard was the top disposal winner for the Bloods with 18, also recording six tackles and three inside 50s, while Rebecca Owen (16 disposals, four marks, four tackles, two inside 50s and three rebounds) and Madison Newman (13 disposals, two tackles, three inside 50s and four rebounds) were also impressive despite the loss. After the bye, South Adelaide takes on the Roosters, while West Adelaide hosts the undefeated Glenelg.

Weekend preview: SANFL Women’s – Round 2

THE second round of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s takes place tonight with a grand final replay highlighting an exciting round of action.

NORTH ADELAIDE vs. STURT
Friday, February 22, 6.30pm
Coopers Stadium

The opening game of the round sees two losing sides from Round 1 face off to try and get their first win on the board. Both sides have made minimal changes, with Rooster, Gabrielle Gormlie coming in for her first game, replacing Sharni Tansell. For Sturt, Nicole Baker is a welcome inclusion back into the Double Blues’ side, as is Jessie Keech, while Casey Fraser is out with a broken hand, joining Della Griffith on the sidelines. Last week, Roosters captain Nadia Von Bertouch was a leader on-field with 15 disposals, four marks and eight tackles, while defender Amber Ward was efficient with 17 disposals and nine rebounds. Both sides will be keen to put more scores on the board with North booting 1.5 and the Double Blues 2.2. Izzy Kuiper was the highest disposal winner for Sturt with 15 touches and four tackles, while Alexandra Ballard, Georgia Bevan and Maya Rigter all recorded 12 disposals.

WEST ADELAIDE vs. WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS
Friday, February 22, 7.30pm
City Mazda Stadium

West Adelaide hosts Woodville-West Torrens in a bid to make it two wins in a row for the Bloods, while the Eagles are hoping to snare an inaugural win. West Adelaide have just the one confirmed out – Lauren Rodata (concussion) – while bringing in three players with Jacalyn Pickering, Alice Gee and Mary Smith all named. The Eagles have rolled the dice with six players coming into the side and five outs. Madeline Dufek is the sole forced change with a knee injury, while Shae Pacifico-Hart, Taylor Hand and Courtney Jonson are also out of the side. Among the ins are Adelaide AFL Women’s forward, Sarah Perkins and South Australian Under-18 vice-captain, Rachel Dunstan. Madison Newman (26 disposals, four marks, six inside 50s and six rebounds) had a day out for the Bloods in Round 1, while Rachelle Martin laid a massive nine tackles to go with her 23 touches, four rebounds and a goal. Leah Swain was dominant in the ruck with 24 hitouts, as was Caitlin Sampson who recorded 19 for the Eagles. Jaimi Tabb and Georgia Taylor were equally as crucial for Woodville-West Torrens, notching up 17 disposals each, with Tabb going inside 50 five times, and Taylor rebounding the ball nine times. Kiana Lee was the sole beneficiary up forward with the Eagles’ two goals.

CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. GLENELG
Friday, February 22, 7.30pm
X Convenience Oval

Last year’s wooden spooners got their season off to the best possible start last week with a 35-point win over Woodville-West Torrens, while Central District fell to West Adelaide by 20 points. Lucy Bellinger racked up 23 disposals, 10 marks (two contested), five tackles, four inside 50s and two goals in a best on ground performance against the Bulldogs, while Ellen Fauser and Samantha Franson both picked up 15 disposals and kicked a goal. Central District have named two ins to their side with Kimberly Fry named on the half-back flanks and Shalee O’Brien brought onto an extended bench. Jayme-Lee Sonneman recorded 16 disposals, three marks, three tackles, three inside 50s and three rebounds, while Danielle Stewart (15 disposals, two marks and eight tackles) and Katelyn Rosenzweig (12 disposals, two contested marks ad three tackles) were also crucial in the loss. This week Rosenzweig was named at full-back with the Crows AFL Women’s forward looking likely to play in a new role tonight.

NORWOOD vs. SOUTH ADELAIDE
Friday, February 22, 8.15pm
Coopers Stadium

Two impressive winners from Round 1 were last year’s grand finalists and they face off in Round 2 in what should be considered the match of the round. The Redlegs have made just two changes to the side that triumphed in Round 1 and will be keen to back it up against the high-scoring Panthers outfit. Adelaide AFL Women’s young gun Nicky Gore was the big ball winner last week, racking up 19 disposals, five marks (two contested) and laying 10 tackles but will not take the field in this game. She was the sole out for the Panthers with Emily Woods, Natalie Gibbs and debutant, Emily Brockhurst named in the extended side. Hannah Munyard and Nicole Campbell also shared in 19 disposals, with the former booting a goal. Teah Charlton was lively up forward for the Panthers, creating havoc on her way to three goals. For Norwood, Hannah Dunn had a league-high 29 disposals in Round 1, while also recording four marks and five inside 50s. Najwah Allen booted the Redlegs’ two goals, while Monique Hollick continued where she left off last season with 12 touches and seven inside 50s.

Weekend preview: SANFL Women’s – Round 1

THE opening round of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Statewide Super Women’s League is completed tomorrow with four games across two double headers. Two new sides – Central District and Woodville-West Torrens are making their league debuts, while reigning premiers South Adelaide begin its campaign to go back-to-back.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS vs. GLENELG
Friday, February 15, 5.20pm
Flinders University Stadium

The opening game of Round 1 for the 2019 season sees last year’s wooden spooners taking on one of the new sides of the competition. Woodville-West Torrens will hope to kick off their SANFL Women’s League campaign with a win against Glenelg, who have won four games from their 16 matches played. With plenty of changes at the Tigers, and a number of experienced players departing the club, Glenelg will hope the likes of Morphettville Park duo, Chelsea Packer and Ellen Fauser can step up and help new coach, Jason Fairall gain an early win for season 2019. The Tigers won three of their first four games in 2017, but have won just one game since March, 2017 which was a five-point victory over West Adelaide. With the two new teams up first, the Tigers hope to start their 2019 campaign like they did in 2017. Tigers’ captain, Cass Hartley, vice-captain Elle Hellock, Sheridan Howell and Bonnie Wells are the only four players on the list who played all 10 games last season. Last year’s leading goal kicker, Lexia Edwards retired and the visitors will hope to find a new target in attack this season. The Eagles are harder to gauge given they are a brand new team to the competition, but coach Tess Baxter has brought in some seriously talented youth, which means one can expect they will have plenty of run in their legs. Jaimi Tabb – who booted five goals for West Adelaide last season – and Rachel Dunstan have both headed to the Eagles, while former GWS GIANT, Stephanie Walker looms as the key player in the side. Add in Kiana Lee and the young Eagles will challenge plenty of teams.

NORWOOD vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
Friday, February 15, 6.00pm
City Mazda Stadium

Two of the original SANFL Women’s League sides, Norwood and North Adelaide clash for the seventh time in the clubs’ histories, with Norwood holding a 4-2 win-loss record against the Roosters. The Redlegs have a premiership in the bank having defeated their Round 1 opponents in the inaugural grand final, before going down to South Adelaide last year. Norwood have bade farewell to a number of players who have left to play AFL Women’s or VFL Women’s competitions. They need to find a way to replace GWS GIANT, Ebony O’Dea who was drafted last season, however Monique Hollick and Rhiannon Busch – who combined for 293 possessions in season 2018 – will be looking to start off strongly this season. The Redlegs’ lowest score in their history came against North Adelaide last year when Norwood failed to score, but two other wins – including the preliminary final victory – meant they ended the year with a positive win-loss ratio. For North Adelaide, the loss of former captain, Jess Edwards, young ball winner, Esther Boles and Adelaide AFL Women’s players, Katelyn Rosenzweig and Chloe Scheer who were both rezoned, means like the Redlegs, the Roosters will have a vastly different line-up. With GWS GIANT, Britt Perry also out for most of the season, the Roosters will look to assistant coach Emma Sampson who has returned to the playing field, as well as a host of players stepping up to the league. Paige Allan, Kelly Baltrop, Lauren Daniel, Sarah Ellis, Nadia Von Bertouch and Amber Ward all played every game last season and provide some consistency across the field.

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. STURT
Friday, February 15, 7.00pm
Flinders University Stadium

The Round 1 clash between South Adelaide and Sturt is the third time the two teams have clashed, with the Panthers emerging victorious on both previous occasions. Both new teams to last year’s competition, South Adelaide triumphed in Round 2 by 46 points and Round 8 by a thumping 86 points, en-route to the 2018 premiership. Sturt used the third last game of its season to turn the form around, upsetting eventual grand finalists, Norwood by six points, then backing it up with a win over wooden spooners, Glenelg by 16. The Panthers have a number of talented young players who have the potential to cause damage to their opposition, including top-age Under-18 South Australian ruck, Montana McKinnon, and Under 18 representatives from last season, bottom-ager Teah Charlton, now top-ager Hannah Munyard, and Madison Bennett and Jaslynne Smith. Elysse Haussen was one of the more prominent ball winners for the Panthers last season, averaging 15.3 possessions per game, third behind the departed Nikki Gore (19.5) and Czenya Cauvorous (17.3). For Sturt, they have regained Georgia Bevan for the full season after the Crows’ AFL Women’s player averaged 16.8 disposals last season from four games. Once the AFL Women’s season is over, the return of Jess Foley will be handy having averaged 18 touches from her nine games for the Double Blues. Sturt’s test will be finding targets up forward, with Becchara Palmer heading interstate leaving Shae Gundlach as the sole leading goal kicker from last season, having booted four majors. South Adelaide will head into this game as strong favourites, but it will be interesting to see how they shape up.

WEST ADELAIDE vs. CENTRAL DISTRICT
Friday, February 15, 7.45pm
City Mazda Stadium

In the final game of the round, West Adelaide hosts Central District in the Bulldogs’ first ever SANFL Women’s League game. Last season the Bloods finished just outside the top three, and will be keen to get an early win over the newcomers to the competition. They have some seriously talented young players at the Westies, with Rachelle Martin impressing for South Australia at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships last year, and proving herself to be a ball magnet in this competition, averaging 18 disposals from her 10 games. With older sister Hannah drafted by the Crows, Rachelle will be keen to put in another great season and follow in her footsteps down the track. Abbie Ballard is another player to watch out for as the bottom-ager has shown plenty of talent in her career at the level, and could take her game to the next step ahead of the 2019 AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships. Add in top-ager, Maddi Newman and a couple of basketball recruits in Leah Swain and Alice Gee, and the Westies have some potentially untapped talent. Looking at the Bulldogs’ list, no doubt the club will be carefully monitoring Adelaide’s AFL Women’s team selection since securing Chloe Scheer and Katelyn Rosenzweig from North Adelaide. While Scheer is now seemingly a lock inside Adelaide’s best 22, Rosenzweig is yet to be selected, although many expect a debut not too far away. Last year’s leading goal kicker in the competition would be a huge target inside 50 for the Bulldogs. Former netballer, Nicola Biagi has been named as captain and is a testament to her impact off the field over the pre-season for her to lead the club in 2019. While how Central District performs is a bit of an unknown, they did win a couple of practice games over the summer giving them hope they can match it with the sites this season.