Tag: sarah wright

2021 SANFL Women’s Round 11 preview: Final chance for Bloods, Roosters and Bulldogs to grab finals spot

THREE teams will fight it out for the last finals spot in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition as West Adelaide holds fourth position at this stage, but both North Adelaide and Central District could take it with either side winning and the other results going their way in Round 11.

NORWOOD vs. WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS
Saturday, May 15 @ 11:00am
ACH Group Stadium

Norwood and Woodville-West Torrens are at opposite ends of the table and will open the round without a great deal of ladder permutations. North Adelaide are expected to take care of Sturt, which allows the Eagles a chance at avoiding the wooden spoon for the second consecutive year. They will need to step up from last week’s heavy loss to Glenelg, whilst the Redlegs have proven to be the benchmark team this season. They do not have anything other than form and momentum to play for heading into the last round, having already secured top spot and the minor premiership. Youngsters Lana Schwerdt and Sarah Branford have replaced Sachi Syme and Ella Murison in Norwood’s 22, whilst the Eagles have been forced to make at least three chances with Adelaide AFLW talent Renee Forth, and Lakeesha Pickett both unavailable, and Panagiota Pipinis missing due to a shin injury, Alicia McNeill could be in line for a debut in the final round, named in the side amongst five inclusions, which features Georgia Taylor and Audrey Holt. The Eagles will need to try and quell Norwood’s dominant midfield, with the likes of Sophie Armitstead, Jade Halfpenny, Jess Macolino and Elisha Gallagher among the names that roll through there. With Leah Cutting likely to have a field day given her form and size advantage over Amie Blanden, the Eagles will hope to use Blanden like another midfielder at ground level, with Jaida Tabb and Shineah Goody named onball showing the future of the side, whilst Jamie Parish and Charlotte Dolan have also been in impressive form for the visitors.

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. WEST ADELAIDE
Saturday, May 15 @ 12:30pm
Flinders University Stadium

In the match of the weekend, third placed South Adelaide hosts West Adelaide in a battle where the result will either mean they likely face off again in the first week of finals, or the Panthers have a grand final rematch with North Adelaide. South Adelaide has secured its 2021 SANFL Women’s finals spot thanks to a win last week, with the Panthers’ percentage too great for the Roosters to chase down. South Adelaide would slip to fourth if the Bloods get up in this contest, but a win would see them hosting an elimination final. If they win, and North Adelaide lose then it opens the door for Central District to upset Glenelg and book its first finals spot, but the Dogs loom as outsiders at this point. In terms of the team chances, AFL Women’s talent Hannah Munyard misses out this week, with St Kilda’s Tahlia Meyer returning to the side along with State Academy member Sarah Wright, and Caitlin Ross. West Adelaide has some crucial inclusions as well, with State Academy member Keeley Kustermann returning from injury sustained at the championships, coming into the side with the likes of Louella McCarthy and Georgie Gray for an extended team. Charlie Scutchings was injured early last week and is out of the side, with Georgie Pater also the other confirmed out. South has earned the right to be favourite in this game, with the form of AFL Women’s returnees Teah Charlton and Jordann Hickey, along with Montana McKinnon and Lisa Whiteley. Add in the continued development of teenagers Gypsy Schirmer, Tahlita Buethke and Jorja Hooper, and consistency of Nicole Campbell, and the Panthers have the complete squad. West has plenty of talent itself, with the AFL Women’s contingent of Ailish Considine, Sarah Dargan and Chelsea Biddell leading the way. Lauren Young continues to have an outstanding debut season for the Bloods, with Zoe Venning and Kustermann other youngsters who can have a huge impact on the match, and Sharni Whiting being the brick wall in defence.

STURT vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
Saturday, May 15 @ 12:45pm
Unley Oval

Whilst Sturt cannot secure a finals spot this year, the Double Blues can certainly play party pooper to a North Adelaide team which needs a win to retake fourth position on the table. The Double Blues have proved they are more than capable of kicking a big score this season, though will be tested against the most experienced defence in the league. The Roosters missed an opportunity to lock up fourth place last week, and now will be at the mercy of South Adelaide if they are to book a finals spot. They need the Panthers to beat West Adelaide, and then knock off Sturt on the road in order to leap up to fourth on the table. A loss automatically knocks them out of the running, and an upset win to Central District would see the reigning premiers slip to sixth on the table as well. Sturt have recalled three players for the clash, with dangerous forward Nicole Baker named as an in alongside Millie McCarthy and Lucy Griffith, while Abby Pengelly is the sole out at this stage. Unfortunately for the Roosters, they have had to make a couple of forced changes due to injury. Julia Clark suffered concussion in the second term of the Roosters’ loss last weekend and will miss this game, as will Jaime Norup who injured her shoulder in the same match. Coming into the side are a couple of bookends in Kelly Barltrop and Talia Radan who are important talls, whilst another State Academy member in Kate Case comes into the side after missing last week. North Adelaide should get up in this game given the Roosters have a defence that not only features Radan, but Amber Ward and Kristi Harvey are intercept machines, and the talent and run of Poppy Waterford, with the tough Jaimi Tabb and Amelie Borg. Lauren Gauci has also been a crucial inclusion to the side, whilst Ashleigh Woodland remains a difficult player to quell up forward. For the Double Blues, the midfield could try and match it with the Roosters, with Alisha Gepp, Jaimee Wittervan and Isobel Kuiper roving to Jess Good who are all in good form. Zoe Prowse has managed to get up for this game, and will rejoin fellow State Academy members Alex Ballard and Georgia Swan inside 50, while Kiera Mueller was superb off half-back last week.

GLENELG vs. CENTRAL DISTRICT
Saturday, May 15 @ 12:45pm
ACH Group Stadium

The final game of the round pits second placed Glenelg up against a Central District side needing a lot of luck to secure a finals berth. The Bulldogs could grab fourth, but not only need to win, but need South Adelaide to beat West Adelaide – certainly possible – but also Sturt to upset North Adelaide – a lot less likely – in order to be playing next week. Madison Lane was stretchered off last week and will miss this game, with the likes of Chantel Reynolds, Paige Allan, Nicola Biagi and Taryn Wills named in an extended Central team. Shae Partington and Airlie Schirmer are out of the Bays’ side, and into it come Molly Affolter, Lucy Armitage and Sarah Goodwin among five chances to the side. The Bulldogs can beat anyone on their day, and with Isabelle Starmer having a good season in the ruck, and the likes of captain Shelby Smith, Caitlen Teague and Chloe Scheer impressing through the midfield, they have the core for an upset. Laitiah Huynh and Lauren Breguet are exciting young forwards, whilst Katelyn Rosenzweig with Reynolds form a great duo inside 50. The Bays have proven to hold the strongest clearance side in the business, with Ebony Marinoff returning last week with a best on ground performance, and she teamed up well with the likes of Tessa Kohn, Ellie Kellock and Jessica Bates. Brooke Tonon was superb off half-back, with Caitlin Gould and Sam Franson dangerous forwards. Overall the Glenelg side has quite strong depth, though the direct and exciting play of the Bulldogs always gives them a shot at the win.

Picture credit: SANFL / Cory Sutton

2021 Academy Watch: SANFL Women’s Round 9

THE finals of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition are not far away, and there was plenty to like about the up-and-coming talent in the state over Round 9 of the competition. We cast our eye over the players across the four games, with each note the individual opinion of the writer.

NORWOOD vs. SOUTH ADELAIDE

By: Peter Williams

Norwood:

#15 Alana Lishmund

Had arguably her best game of the year against South Adelaide, finding her fair share of the ball and providing some fierce defensive pressure around the ground. The majority of her touches were found in the back half of the ground as she worked hard behind the ball to spread, and try and create some movement going forward. While sometimes her decision making was inconsistent, she would back up with some repeat efforts at stoppages and remain focused with her intent. She took a good contested mark inside forward 50 in the second half between two defenders and set up a goal assists with a quick, clean, well-timed handball, having finished off the game in the front half of the ground.

#22 Jade Halfpenny

Another really solid four-quarter performance playing primarily up forward and pushing up the ground. She had an early chance in the first term with a nice sidestep but it just missed, though she laid a great tackle shortly after to force a turnover inside 50 and lead to a score. She took a number of good marks in the second term both in front of the ball on the lead, and intercepting on the wing, as well as providing plenty of defensive pressure to force the opposition to rush handballs in close. In the final term, Halfpenny showed great closing speed to force a spill and get the handball to a teammate, but they could not get boot to ball, tried to do it herself but was tackled. Aside from a couple of passes, the majority of Halfpenny’s deliveries by hand or foot were generally on target.

#30 Sarah Branford

Despite only having a handful of touches, Branford still showed plenty of defensive pressure on the ball carrier, winning a free kick in the first term for going in hard then kicked inside 50, whilst quickly kicking it from a stoppage at the top of 50 to go deep. Late in the first term, Branford produced a strong smother to keep the ball at half-forward, and whilst she did not win a heap of it after that, still remained active in the game. Unfortunately overran an attempt to spoil which led to her opponent taking off and nailing a pass inside 50 which led to a goal, but her intent was right, reading the play well.

South:

#1 Tahlita Buethke

The speedster played through the midfield, rotating between onball and the wing, starting right at the first stoppages. She might not have won much of it to start with, but then started to collect the touches later in the first term, with a number of handballs and a kick going inside 50. She positioned herself well at the stoppages to get herself in ball-winning positions. Her third quarter featured a number of touches around the ground, including coming off a wing to scoop a ball up, then intercepting a quick kick out of the opposition’s defensive 50 to send the ball back inside 20m from goal. Laying a number of good tackles throughout the game, she won a free kick for her efforts, and had an eye-catching charge out of the middle going forward.

#5 Sarah Wright

Not a huge game, but still had a few nice moments. She was clean off the deck and applied some great defensive pressure and put her body on the line when required. Her best piece of play came in the second term when she intercepted out of defence and put it deep on the wing to a running teammate, which a few minutes later was followed by a good mark at half-back and delivery to the defensive side of the wing.

#36 Gypsy Schirmer

The AFL Women’s Academy member played out of defence again to try and create some run from the back half, and she certainly did that from time to time. Her first half was more productive than her second, first getting involved with a mark at half-back, taking the player on and giving it off by hand to move it quickly. Her hands at ground level were really good, and she pushed up the ground when required, also laying a couple of strong tackles on fellow State Academy members. Not as prolific as she has been in the front half of the ground, Schirmer certainly showcased her versatility behind the ball.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS vs. STURT

By: Liam Badkin

Eagles:

#8 Charlotte Dolan

Spent time forward of the ball as opposed to onball, and used her talents to affect the game in other ways. Had only five kicks, but rarely wasted them and her pressure in the forward half proved crucial in the Eagles attacking plays, highlighted by her three tackles. A quiet day statistically but still had her moments.

#25 Jamie Parish

Spending more time in defence than previous weeks with Amie Blanden shouldering the ruck duties, Parish was the key rebounding weapon in the Eagles’ arsenal. Finished with a game-high five rebound 50’s as she generated run out of a backline that was constantly under the pump. Not all of the kicks hit the target, but she did not have much to kick to up the field. Finishing with 10 disposals with all of them being kicks, Parish did not waste time over-handballing, and got the ball on her boot straight away, a move that got the backline out of a tight spot on multiple occasions. Already known as a player who can play in all three lines, her defensive stocks just went through the roof after solid play in this match.

Sturt:

#3 Georgia Swan

A typically solid game from Swan, who finished with seven disposals but influenced the play greatly whenever she was near it. Missed a shot on goal in the third quarter that would have added to her day, but continued to find herself around the play and was damaging when she got her hands on the ball.

#19 Alex Ballard

Had a day out as she slotted three nice goals to prove key in her side’s strong victory. Her hands were as strong as ever as she brought down six marks, on a day where defenders simply had no answer for her. Kicked two goals in the second quarter when Sturt really started to take over the game, and proved reliable at finishing the hard work of her teammates with straight kicking. Easily her best game of the year and will be looking to take her form into next week.

#20 Hannah Prenzler

Continued last week’s form of moving further up the ground to impact the play, and reaped the rewards as she kicked her first goal of the year in the final quarter where she floated forward and found space. The Academy prospect has been adaptable this season, and will be pleased with her game as she continues to adjust to the new role.

#30 Zoe Prowse

Another fantastic performance from the talented utility who continues to adapt to wherever the team needs her. Sharing ruck duties with Jess Good, Prowse was excellent whenever she was required to take hit outs, finishing with 14 for the day as a back-up. She also displayed her excellent ability to find the ball and use it with class. She ended the day with 14 disposals and a whopping seven inside 50’s. Her five tackles demonstrated her willingness to do the dirty work in the contest and finished the day as one of her side’s best.

NORTH ADELAIDE vs. GLENELG

By: Liam Badkin

North:

#38 Kate Case

A quiet day statistically, finishing with just the one touch, but had more of an influence on the play than that. Constantly harassing Glenelg players whenever she was around the ball, her effort is more accurately represented by those who watch her do the little things.

#33 Julia Clark

Despite having less of the ball than last week, her effort remained the same as she used her eye catching aerobic capabilities to push hard up and down the wing to provide an option for her teammates. Her six disposals were hard earned and she often deserves more of the ball than she gets, but continues to fulfil her role for her side.

#43 Amelie Borg

Once again popping up in the backline, Borg worked tirelessly all day to make sure her opponent found no easy path to the ball, as she nullified the impact of whoever she was opposed to. She consistently pressured the ball carrier and harassed opponents all day. Finding the ball six times herself was just the cherry on top. A nice game.

Glenelg:

#7 Brooke Tonon

Found plenty of the ball along the wing, finishing with 11 disposals in yet another game where her hard running nature was fully on display. She worked tirelessly along the wing as she left opponents in her dust on multiple occasions. North Adelaide’s players struggled to keep up with Tonon’s remarkable work rate, which has consistently delivered for her and her teammates so far this season.

#12 Tamsyn Morriss

The defender once again did the majority of her work deep in the backline as she thwarted plenty of North Adelaide attacks with her ability to read the play and put herself in clever positions. Her work when the ball was on the deck in Glenelg’s defensive 50 was great, as she worked her way to five disposals and a pair of crucial rebound 50’s to clear the backline.

WEST ADELAIDE vs. CENTRAL DISTRICT

By: Peter Williams

West:

#3 Abbie Ballard

Her second game back from a long-term injury, Ballard played at half-forward and did what you would expect of her – apply fierce defensive pressure and use her potent left foot to advantage – throughout the game. She won a free kick early and kept attacking it hard at the contest, producing a perfectly waited kick in the second term after leading out and marking at the top of 50. She won the ball as far back as half-back midway through the term and whilst she had a quieter second half, had shown enough to be productive in the match.

#7 Scarlett Griffiths

If you are going to have a one-kick game, then Griffiths certainly made the most of it, with her sole kick in the second term coming via a free kick in the forward pocket after running onto the ground. She converted the set shot from 25m out and handed her side a vital six points.

#9 Zoe Venning

Won her fair share of the ball and cracked in hard as you would come to expect, predominantly playing off a half-forward flank. Whilst she did not hit the scoreboard, she worked hard up the ground, took a good mark early in the game, and won a couple of free kicks for her intent. She did get pinged for holding the ball early in the third term, but her ability to stand up in tackles and apply defensive pressure was terrific.

#30 Lauren Young

Once again got to the right positions and found plenty of it whether it was in defence, midfield or attack, predominantly rolling through the midfield. She showcased her thumping kick to clear the danger zone on a number of occasions, and took some strong intercept marks, as well as ones on long leads. She showed great courage in the third term by taking a huge grab going back with the flight and copping contact from behind, and then was able to get forward and have a couple of chances inside 50. Her set shots in the second and third term respectively just drifted or were rushed across the line, but she set up a great chance to Melanie Elsegood on the lead with a nice deep kick.

Central:

#28 Lauren Breguet

Spending time in the middle as well as up forward, Breguet provided some great running out of midfield early in the match to kick inside 50, then got on the end of one late in the first term with a set shot from 20m out and a perfectly weighted kick for a goal from a tight angle. She had a quiet second term before stepping it up in the third, with plenty of involvements around the footy, including some fierce tackling in midfield, and a good handball under pressure at ground level earning er a free kick. She used the ball well by foot from the free kick, and earned another free kick for a high tackle at half-forward.

#40 Madison Lane

Had a particularly lively middle two quarters, but still remained involved throughout, Lane took some good intercept marks and drove the ball out of defence. Often trying to settle the team down, her kicks were generally high-impact with the exception of one turnover at the top of defensive 50 in the second term. She had a clean pickup off the deck midway through the third term, and whilst her kick was smothered, she won it back at half-back and kicked safely to the wing.

#41 Laitiah Huynh

Had some lively moments in the game with a some quiet patches, but some eye-catching efforts. She had a massive effort in the second term bursting out of the middle to run forward and kick to Katelyn Rosenzweig’s advantage for a goal 15 seconds into the second term. Midway through the quarter she intercepted a would-be handball with a clever tap mid-air to keep the ball tracking forward. In the fourth term, she took a good mark on the wing, played on and kicked to half-forward well to showcase her aggressive ball movement, then tried to have a shot on goal by sidestepping an opponent six minutes into the quarter but was unluckily dragged down.

Picture credit: Peter Swan / SANFL

Reserves wrap: 2021 VFL Women’s – Round 7

THE Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s returned for Round 7 on the weekend, with six fixtures split evenly across Saturday and Sunday. With the 2021 AFL Women’s season run and done, top flight players are now filing through the state league system at a greater rate, strengthening the eight aligned teams. We take you through how some of the standouts performed over the weekend in our Reserves Wrap.

>> Results: VFLW Round 7 wrap

Collingwood’s unblemished run rolled on as the Magpies accounted for Southern Saints for their seventh win of the year. Key forward Bella Smith was best afield for the victors, booting a game-high three goals having gained valuable senior experience in 2021. Another returning player, Maddie Shevlin notched 25 disposals, as twin talls Abbey Green (two goals) and Abbi Moloney (one) both hit the scoreboard in black and white.

First year Saints midfielder Alice Burke was easily the most prolific ball winner on the day, finishing with 35 disposals in arguably her best effort to date – at any level. Fellow youngster Molly McDonald (19 disposals, five marks) featured among the votes with Jacqui Vogt (14 disposals, eight tackles, one goal), as Poppy Kelly fared well in the ruck to win 30 hitouts.

While Hawthorn boasted some former AFLW talent of its own, the standalone was up against it as Casey fielded a strong crop of senior players in a 13-point win. Ruck prospect Maggie Caris looks primed to crack a senior berth next season having continued her terrific year in the twos, with another 11 disposals and 22 hitouts. Megan Fitzsimon and Mietta Kendall also featured, contributing 12 touches apiece, as Isabella Simmons booted a goal and Irishwoman Lauren Magee returned to the fold in handy form.

Geelong was another side to blood plenty of youth through its VFLW-aligned lineup, with senior players among the best afield in the Cats’ win over North Melbourne. Dynamic tall forward Olivia Barber booted an equal game-high three goals, as Laura Gardiner topped the disposal charts with 27. Sophie Van De Heuvel had it 22 times to join the aforementioned pair in Geelong’s votes, while Georgie Rankin (18 disposals, seven tackles) and Darcy Moloney (14 disposals, one goal) played their parts.

At the opposite end of the ground to Barber, first year ‘Roo Brooke Brown also snared three majors in another promising display. She was joined by Sarah Wright and Amy Smith in the side, with both finishing on 13 disposals in serviceable outings. Wright also got her hands dirty with nine tackles.

The Western Bulldogs snapped a long losing streak on Sunday, defeating Darebin Falcons with a side loaded up on elite level players. A bunch of them got among the goals too; Danielle Marshall led the way with three, while Gemma Lagioia and usual defender Eleanor Brown both snared two. Angelica Gogos (23 disposals, one goal) was named best afield in the win, while Amelia Van Oosterwijck was also among the productive brigade of senior stars to do damage in red, white, and blue.

In the round’s final game, Port Melbourne snuck home against Carlton to keep its perfect record in tact, with imposing Richmond forward Sabrina Frederick (two goals) leading the attack. For the Blues, Paige Trudgeon was awarded full votes for her 12 disposals and seven tackles, as Maddy Guerin led her side’s disposal count with 21, and Charlotte Hammans also earned votes. Among the other senior Blues to feature, Serena Gibbs took on some ruck duties with 11 hitouts to go with her 10 touches.

2021 SANFL Women’s Round 7 preview: Forced changes see teams shuffle magnets

FIVE rounds remain in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition, with the sides still without the majority of the State Academy members and AFL Women’s talent given the week’s 2021 AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships, and the fact that Adelaide is one win away from another elite level premiership.

NORWOOD vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
Friday, April 16 @ 6:15pm
Coopers Stadium

Norwood will of course be without its two State Academy representatives in Melbourne, with Alana Lishmund and Jade Halfpenny out of the side, along with Mattea Breed and Shai Hiscock, for another huge clash against North Adelaide. The Redlegs managed to topple the then-undefeated Roosters after a 15-game winning streak from the reigning premiers, and will be looking for much of the say once again, with another State Academy member in Jess Williams coming in, alongside ex-Rooster Gabrielle Gormlie. North Adelaide will be without Amelie Borg, Kate Case, Lauren Daniel, Jorja Eldridge and Julia Clark for State Representatives duties for South Australia, while Elaine Grigg ran out for the Medleys. The Roosters will be further understrength without Lauren Daniel (unavailable) and Cristie Castle (ankle) making it a total of seven forced changes. Coming into the side are a couple of AFL Women’s talents in Rhiannon Metcalfe and West Coast’s Katelyn Pope who returns from the elite level following the end of the Eagles’ season. Remy Grant is also set to make her debut coming from SMOSH West Lakes. Expect Norwood to be the favourites given the Roosters outs, though they still have a strong spine which includes Talia Radan, Kristi Harvey and Kelly Barltrop and cannot be underrated, though Leah Cutting and youngsters Sarah Branford and Tesharna Maher are exciting talents.

GLENELG vs. CENTRAL DISTRICT
Friday, April 16 @ 7:00pm
ACH Group Stadium

Central District will travel to face Glenelg in the other clash tonight, with the three forced changes due to State Academy representation in Laitiah Huynh, Lauren Breguet and Madison Lane. Into the team comes the experienced Nicole Mark, along with Ella Mickan, Aisha Thomas and Emma Keys. They will look to build on their massive win over North Adelaide prior to the weekend off, and will look to take advantage of a heavily understrength Glenelg outfit. The Bays will be missing Brooke Tonon and Tamsyn Morriss after their State Academy duties, but will also be without Piper Window, Emma Swanson, Kimberley Fry, Ellen Fauser and Molly Affolter in a raft of seven forced changes. Among those Bays named returning to the side are Anja Bancevic, Sarah Goodwin, Taylah Scapens and Sarah Wilton who have all made their way into the starting 18. The Bays will look to the consistency of Ellie Kellock, Jessica Bates and Sam Franson in order to overcome a strong Central outfit which includes a potent forward line of Katelyn Rosenzweig and Chantel Reynolds, as well as a consistent hard midfield of Shelby Smith, Lauren Smith and Caitlen Teague, and a defence that backs itself on transition. The Bulldogs will look to rack up another win here, in what will be an important game before AFL Women’s talents start filtering back into the league.

WWT EAGLES vs. SOUTH ADELAIDE
Saturday, April 17 @ 10:00am
Maughan Thiem Kia Oval

Both Woodville-West Torrens Eagles and South Adelaide will be missing some incredible talent in Round 7, as the sides make a combined 14 changes for the must-win clash for both sides. The Eagles will look to bounce back after the loss to Norwood last week following their three-game winning streak, whilst the Panthers will eye off getting their season back on track in the second half of the 2021 competition. The Eagles will host the game, but will be without AFL Women’s listed players in Jess Sedunary and Renee Forth, whilst young guns Charlotte Dolan and Jamie Parish, and the injured Kiley Green will all be unavailable. Coming into the side are three potential Eagles debutants in Samantha Hoogeveen-Hill, Cheryllee Waters and Nikita McRostie, alongside players such as Georgia Taylor and Mikayla Cavallaro. The Panthers have an exodus out of the team due to a mixture of reasons, as Hannah Muunyard, Lisa Whiteley and Montana McKinnon are all out for Crows duties, while Gypsy Schirmer, Tahlita Buethke and Lauren Clifton miss due to the State Academy, and Jess Kirk is among more outs. The Panthers have named 11 inclusions to an extended bench, with both Renee and Soriah Moon, Amy Gore and Emily Brockhurst among those ins. They still have a strong midfield in Czenya Cavouras, Nicole Campbell and youngster Sarah Wright, but will be up against it taking on an Eagles side whose youth has stepped up this year, such as Shineah Goody and Astrid Gooley.

STURT vs. WEST ADELAIDE
Saturday, April 17 @ 12:45pm
Unley Oval

West Adelaide have welcomed a massive inclusion for the remainder of the season in Richmond AFL Women’s player Sarah Dargan who has come straight in to make her SANFL Women’s debut. Her much needed experience – alongside some other debutants in Jess Chyer, Beth Sigley and Grace McNicol will be much welcomed by the Bloods who will be without a ton of top-end talent. AFLW-listed Ailish Considine, Madison Newman and Chelsea Biddell will miss the game, as well the State Academy members of Keeley Kustermann, Zoe Venning and Lauren Young, with Olivia Smith, Zoe Greer and Melanie Elsegood also forced changes for Round 7. For Sturt, the Double Blues they have the four straight forced chances with the quartet of State Academy members including co-captains Hannah Prenzler and Georgia Swan, as well as Alex Ballard and Zoe Prowse. Sarah Wallace will make her debut in the side, with Sarah Wallace coming straight into the forward line. She is joined by an extended bench that also includes Kiera Mueller, Aajiah Jericho and Casey Fraser, whilst the in-form midfield of Jess Good, Alisha Gepp, Jaimee Wittervan and Isobel Kuiper remains intact. They will provide stiff opposition for the Westies, who will look to the likes of Sharnie Whiting, Kasia Culhane and Louella McCarthy for experience, with Dargan having a huge role in the midfield.

Picture credit: Cory Sutton / SANFL

2021 Academy Watch: SANFL Women’s Round 6

THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s action featuring the stat’s top young talent returned in Round 6, and we took a look at the State Academy players once again in what was their last preparation ahead of the first AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships match against Western Australia next Sunday. All notes are the opinion of the individual writer.

GLENELG vs. STURT

By: Phoebe Doyle

Glenelg:

#7 Brooke Tonon

A quieter game compared to past weeks for the smooth-moving Glenelg product with 10 disposals, six kicks, four handballs and one mark. However it was a lower-disposal game and Tonon still provided some highlights with her hard running and ability to cover the ground well on the open spaces of the Adelaide Oval.

#12 Tamsyn Morriss

Morriss was fairly quiet during this match, with only five disposals and one mark overall. She did demonstrate some classy defence in the first quarter, but as the ball spent more time in Glenelg’s attack she did not get the chance to show as much of it.

Sturt:

#3 Georgia Swan

Swan was an ever-presence against Glenelg, finishing with the 10 touches and three marks – one contested – as well as two inside 50s. She had a chance at goal in the first quarter from 45 metres out but just fell short. She sat off for a bit at the start of the second quarter, ran straight into it when coming back on to replace an injury, getting a hand on the ball not even a minute after coming on.

#19 Alex Ballard

Putting on the defensive pressure in the first quarter, Ballard came out even stronger in the second quarter, with a nice passage of play leading to a mark and subsequent goal to bring her scoring accuracy to 100 per cent. Despite the goal, Ballard had just the six touches, but laid four tackles to provide some great defensive pressure on the ball carrier.

#20 Hannah Prenzler

Prenzler was prominently in the background throughout the game. The State Academy prospect had an impressive game, finishing with 11 disposals, three marks and a game-high seven rebound 50s. She mopped up in defence time and time again, and with two thirds of her disposals resulting in rebound 50s, it showed how much she was a help in moving the ball along and decongesting play.

#30 Zoe Prowse

Prowse did not necessarily dominate passages of play as she has in the past, but was certainly a help in the background. The talented ruck was able to rest from the ruck duties with Jess Good taking the brunt of it, with Prowse having a quieter game but still clunking a couple of contested marks showing off her aerial ability.

 

CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. NORTH ADELAIDE

By: Peter Williams

Central District:

#28 Lauren Breguet

Played a really solid game returning to the SANFL Women’s after missing matches due to concussion and the State Academy game. Leading out from the forward 50, Breguet showed off her trademark strong hands, and then used the ball well by foot on a number of occasions. Breguet’s second efforts were noticeable, when she did turn over a a ball in the first term, but worked hard to intercept the next ball closer to goal. She showed her second efforts again in the third term when she was knocked off it at half-forward, but backed up with a strong tackle to force a turnover and win the ball back for her side. Midway through the final term, Breguet read the ball well at top speed after almost being intercepted, grabbed it cleanly off hands and running in to kick a goal and cap off the performance.

#40 Madison Lane

Not having to do much in the first term with the Bulldogs controlling the ball up the other end, Lane worked into the game when required. She could not quite pull down a mark midway through the second term when it bounced off her chest, but she had a clean pick up before being tackled and locked it up. She laid a fierce tackle late in the term to force a rushed kick, and showed high-level effort and defensive mindset with a lunging tackle at half-back and then an attempted smother immediately after. In the third term, Lane after kicking outside of the boot and out of bounds, she ran hard in defence to receive the ball off the next play and produce a lovely kick out of the defensive 50.

#41 Laitiah Huynh

Huynh had a couple of noticeable plays throughout the match using the ball well when she needed to. Not racking up as much of the ball as past games, Huynh still showed a clean pair of heels on a number of occasions, such as when she turned Kristi Harvey inside out to get goalside close to the line and put it to a dangerous position and set up a goal to Paige Allen. She had a flying snap in the third term which went high and towards a teammate in the goalsquare, then set up a goal to Breguet by marking free at the top of 50 and kick inboard which whilst not perfect, was effective off hands to her teammate to run into goal.

North Adelaide:

#33 Julia Clark

Had a busy start early in the match, starting on a wing and then working hard through to half-back. Whilst she could not quite take the ball cleanly at half-back, she worked hard to quickly gather and give off the quick hands. She won a couple of free kicks – one for going in hard and another through the last touch rule – and produced neat chips with those kicks. Overall a quieter game, but took a couple of good grabs.

#38 Kate Case

Had a crack throughout the game and whilst she was not overly prominent or afforded the time and space that the running talent would like, she mopped up in the back half a number of times. She had a nice play in the final term when she did find space, drawing an opponent then releasing by hand to a teammate at half-forward after going for a bit of a run.

#43 Amelie Borg

The most prominent of the Roosters’ State Academy members, the bottom-age talent worked hard in defence with Kristi Harvey. Showing composure deep in the back 50, Borg mopped up under pressure and was able to clear the ball from congestion with a couple of quick kicks to get it free. She saved a certain goal near the goalsquare with a great tackle 15 minutes into the third term to force a behind, then had a nice one-on-one in the final term with a clean pickup and spin kick forward for distance. Made a couple of errors by foot, but overall did not panic when under pressure.

#47 Jorja Eldridge

Rotated between defence and rolling through the ruck, Eldridge laid a strong tackle early in the game to lock it up at a stoppage, then showed good second efforts at ground level when in the ruck. She made a couple of mistakes when trying to break through a tackle in defence in the third term and was dispossessed for a free kick, and then turned over a ball from deep defence near the top of 50. To her credit, she worked hard up the ground to win the ball in a contest on the wing and then handball to a teammate whilst Eldridge was under pressure, to keep it moving in congestion. She also took a strong grab in the middle and kicked to half-forward midway through the quarter.

 

WWT EAGLES vs. NORWOOD

By: Peter Williams

Eagles:

#8 Charlotte Dolan

Her numbers were down in the match, but Dolan’s intensity at the football was still high, having a number of plays where she attacked the hard ball. She cracked in with some fierce tackles and won plenty of contested possessions, but could not free herself from the stoppage. She won a free kick for going in hard in the second term and kicked to half-forward, often using the ball in transition from space going forward, though was under pressure most of the time.

#25 Jamie Parish

Played up forward this week and did not get to see a lot of it, but Parish did have her first main impact in the second term, leading out from the attacking 50, marking, then spinning and quickly moving it on inside the forward 50. She applied good pressure around the ball carrier and was sighted in defence late in the game offering herself as an option at half-back, but could not quite pull down the mark under pressure, through she did track it.

Norwood:

#15 Alana Lishmund

Had her moments around the ground but like many players did not have a lot of space within which to move the ball. She won it at half-back midway through the second term and kicked forward but the unlucky bounce saw an Eagles defender intercept. She kept working hard throughout the match, and had a nice clearance for her troubles.

#22 Jade Halfpenny

Her form of 2021 continued with a solid first three quarters up forward and an outstanding last quarter in the midfield. The versatile tall had a kick off the ground in the opening 20 seconds of the game, but it went to the right for a behind. Later on in the term she took an intercept mark at half-forward and hit a target inside 50. On a number of occasions she would win the contested ball but be immediately tackled, but in the third term she showed great hands under pressure early to get the ball out to Lana Schwerdt for a snap on goal. The final term saw Halfpenny thrown into the midfield and she immediately had an impact where she won the majority of her disposals for the day. She had a few inside 50s and driving balls going to the danger spots, keeping the ball moving quickly in transition. One kick set up a Mattea Breed goal, and then next stoppage she shrugged off a tackle and kicked long again showing her confidence. She took a great intercept mark on the forward side of the win in the 12th minute, then worked hard to help out in the back half, winning the ball at half0back and chipping into the true centre half-back position.

 

WEST ADELAIDE vs. SOUTH ADELAIDE

By: Michael Alvaro

West Adelaide:

#8 Keeley Kustermann

Stationed in her usual defensive post, Kustermann was resolute as ever and decisive on the ball. She competed well each time her name was called upon and dug in with repeat efforts to help push the ball out of West Adelaide’s defensive 50. One benefit of her competitiveness was a knack of earning free kicks in important areas to help relieve pressure. With ball in hand, Kustermann’s kicking was clean and she made really good decisions when looking further afield. She looks natural when going by foot and plays the percentages well.

#9 Zoe Venning

Venning spent a good amount of time up forward during this outing, but still managed to contribute some handy work around the stoppages and congested areas. She popped up with nice movement at an early contest and would often look to move the ball on quickly by hand when pressured, while also applying solid pressure herself. A couple of key one-on-one wins highlighted Venning’s day; the first was a big holding the ball tackle in term one, and the second was a ground ball win at half-forward which ended in a goal assist.

#30 Lauren Young

Again outstanding in the red and black, Young proved a constant in midfield and later capped off her game with promising work up forward. While she was caught and went to ground on a few occasions when fighting for loose balls, Young’s best traits came to the fore aerially with terrific marks at either end of the ground. She set up well across half-forward to help lock the ball in Westies’ attacking arc and even got back to take a relieving grab deep in defence. Her judgement of the ball in flight was sound, and you cannot fault her willingness to compete on all levels. Young’s kick penetration was another key feature of her game, which was iced fittingly by a final term goal – earned through a holding the ball tackle.

South Adelaide:

#1 Tahlita Buethke

A real ‘moments’ kind of player, Buethke was one of South’s better midfielders on the day and showed flashes of her scintillating best. Her speed away from the contest made for eye-catching centre breaks, with her athleticism also translating to some courageous aerial acts. Buethke often flew back or across to contest high balls, but was also quick to follow up at ground level – showing clean hands at both levels. Her natural game is exciting, with her first instinct nearly always seeing her take off quickly to then boot the Panthers forward. Her kicking at speed could do with some refining, and Buethke found herself caught a couple of times on the run during term two – though a hair malfunction may have distracted her on the second instance.

#5 Sarah Wright

Wright was relatively quiet throughout the game, but worked hard in defence during the early stages to help South Adelaide find a way forward. Her decision making and execution by foot was pretty sound, and she got to showcase a bit of run-and-carry as the game wore on with clean gathers at speed and take-on attempts. A desperate dive to force a rushed behind in the first quarter was among Wright’s best moments for the day.

#36 Gypsy Schirmer

Another who popped up in flashes, Schirmer worked high up the ground to provide an outlet option from defence and showed clean hands when called upon. She did some nice work on the outer with attacking runs and played a hand in one of South’s best end-to-end passages during the third term. On that occasion, Schirmer got into space and moved the ball on quickly to hit a target by foot inside 50. She found herself in the wars during term four as she looked to help out in defence, but seemed to come away unscathed.

#41 Lauren Clifton

Clifton’s run-and-carry was a real feature of her game, with good timing on handball receives allowing for productive play on the outside. She was not afraid to cut inboard or take on opponents ahead of her, backing her speed and then looking to deliver forward by foot. Clifton’s execution at full tilt was not always perfect, but relatively effective under good pressure from Westies. She bookended her outing well and showed nice signs overall.

2021 SANFL Women’s Round 5 preview: Changes galore with State Academy players out

THERE was carnage in a good way at the selection table for the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s teams, as their most talented youth prospects departed to represent their state at the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships on Sunday.

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
Friday, March 26 @ 7:00pm
Flinders University Stadium

The second grand final rematch of the 2020 SANFL Women’s finale has the two sides with very different lineups to last year’s decider. On top of the host of players returning or entering the AFL Women’s competition, both teams have plenty of State Academy members who are out for their clash with Western Australia. South Adelaide lose Gypsy Schirmer, Tahlita Buethke and Lauren Clifton to the match, with North’s Kate Case, Julia Clark, Jorja Eldridge and Amelie Borg also out of the game. Both teams receive some talented reinforcements with Lisa Whiteley, Madison Bennett and Tiffany Copley among the ins for the Panthers, while Kelly Barltrop and Lauren Daniel join four new players – including former Panther Emogen Johnson – in their starting side.

The Roosters defence still has the twin talls in Kristi Harvey and Talia Radan, as well as Erin Sundstrom, whilst Jaimi Tabb played her best game of the season last week, and will match it with the likes of Czenya Cavouras and Nicole Campbell in there. Montana McKinnon is in red-hot form and will be tipped to continue that against the Roosters, as the forward duo of Jorja Hooper and Jess Kirk will be looking to apply more scoreboard pressure in this one. North Adelaide would be confident of bouncing back, though the Panthers still have a really strong midfield – including State Academy emergency Sarah Wright – and could take control there.

STURT vs. WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS EAGLES
Saturday, March 27 @ 10.40am
X Convenience Oval

Kicking off a double-header at X Convenience Oval, the 1-3 Sturt take on the in-form Woodville-West Torrens Eagles in what could make history for the visitors. The Eagles only won two games in their second season last year – after going winless in year one – and could be eyeing off a remarkable third straight victory if they can topple the last placed Sturt. They will need to do it without a host of talents including State Academy members Charlotte Dolan and Jamie Parish, as well as Zahn Anthony and Stephanie Walker. Sturt have even more outs due to the Academy game, with the Double Blues’ football factory of Alex Ballard, Georgia Swan, Hannah Prenzler and star ruck Zoe Prowse all out of the team, as well as captain Maya Rigter with a knee injury.

It will give plenty a players a chance to step up, with the likes of Sarah Wallace and Millie McCarthy new faces. Ella Vitucci is the sole new face to the Eagles’ outfit, though Renee Forth returns for some extra experience, as does young gun Jaida Tabb from injury. Jess Good will need to step up again in her second game, taking on another secondary ruck for her side in Amie Blanden. Both have great talent and will thrive on the opportunity, whilst the likes of Alisha Gepp and Shineah Goody will go head-to-head in an awesome young battle through the middle. Jess Sedunary and Forth add that AFL Women’s experience for the Eagles, while Sturt will have to shuffle around the backline and hope the midfield of Isobel Kuiper and Elsie Dawes can control the tempo.

CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. WEST ADELAIDE
Saturday, March 27 @ 12:25pm
X Convenience Oval

West Adelaide will look to snap a two-game losing streak when it comes up against Central District on a three-game losing streak of its own. The Dogs are back at home, and in a tight competition are still only two wins off the top two. They will want to convert their almost-wins into victories however, making two confirmed changes with Laitiah Huynh and Madison Lane off to represent South Australia. The home team has named an extended bench with the likes of Emma Keys and Caitlin Wendland making their way into the side. The Bloods have lost four of their stars due to the Academy game and AFL Women’s, with Keeley Kustermann, Lauren Young and Zoe Venning all out of West Adelaide’s team, while Chelsea Biddell steps up to the Crows again. Bethany Sigley is in line to potentially make her debut, whilst Ailish Considine could replace Biddell as that experienced forward.

The Bulldogs will remain relatively stable to past weeks despite their two young talents out of the side, as captain Shelby Smith is in red-hot form with Caitlen Teague and Lauren Smith also having great games in past weeks. Up forward Katelyn Rosenzweig did not miss a beat after what looked like a bad injury two weeks ago, but turned up and impressed last round. Demi Sonneman has been a reliable force down back and will be important to limiting West’s scoring chances, with Kasia Culhane down there and Sharnie Whiting thrown forward as a target. Bec Owen and Zoe Greer make a strong midfield with Louella McCarthy and ruck Kate Walsh, in what will be a fascinating clash of midfields.

NORWOOD vs. GLENELG
Saturday, March 27 @ 12.30pm
Coopers Stadium

The new top of the table Redlegs will host an up-and-down Glenelg which now sits at 2-2 and only one win off the top two places. The Bays had a fantastic come-from-behind win over West Adelaide last week, whilst Norwood’s victory over North Adelaide handed them top spot. The Redlegs will be without young guns, Alana Lishmund and Jade Halfpenny who miss due to the Academy game, as well as Elizabeth Drake who is out due to a quad injury. Into the side comes Tesharna Maher alongside a couple of Morphettville Park and ex-Glenelg talents in Cammie Williams and Celestine Dona to make their debuts in the game. Rori Perryman could be a debutant for the Bays, coming into the side with Rachel Aistrope, Rhiley Ritchie, Milli Gentle and Sheridan Howell. They replace Academy players Brooke Tonon and Tamsyn Morriss, as well as Dayna Cox (Adelaide AFL Women’s) and Lucy Earl (injured).

Both sides still have very strong sides despite the omissions, with Mattea Breed named in the ruck with Leah Cutting at centre half-forward. Jess Macolino and Lana Schwerdt – the most recent Breakthrough Player of the Week – are in good form, whilst Ella Murison slotted two goals last week. Also in good form are the likes of Sam Franson, Emily Bates and Ellie Kellock in the yellow and black, whilst Piper Window has been consistent through the season and developing well, while Molly Affolter provides the height through the ruck and up forward. Norwood will be favourites in the game, but it should be a tight contest.

Picture credit: SANFL / Cory Sutton

2021 AFLW U19 Championships state preview: South Australia

IN the first of our 2021 AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships state preview, we take a look at South Australia, a team that has plenty of talent across the board and is growing stronger by the year. The Croweaters have developed such a talent program that squeezing a list down to just 30 players – let alone the finalised 24 by the first bounce of the championships – has meant that South Australia will go it alone as a state in 2021. For the first time at the championships, South Australia will no longer form the Central Allies and instead join Western Australia and Queensland as a standalone state team, alongside the two Victorian sides in Country and Metro, and the newly combined Allies side which has accommodated Northern Territory to join the Eastern Allies duo of NSW/ACT and Tasmania.

2021 SOUTH AUSTRALIA AFLW U19 CHAMPIONSHIPS SQUAD:

#1 Laitiah Huynh (Central District)
#2 Sarah Branford (Norwood)
#3 Kate Case (North Adelaide)
#4 Madison Lane (Central District)
#5 Lauren Breguet (Central District)
#6 Gypsy Schirmer (South Adelaide)
#7 Brooke Tonon (Glenelg)
#8 Charlotte Dolan (WWT Eagles)
#9 Tahlita Buethke (South Adelaide)
#10 Zoe Prowse (Sturt)
#11 Zoe Venning (West Adelaide)
#12 Tamsyn Morriss (Glenelg)
#13 Hannah Ewings (North Adelaide)
#14 Amelie Borg (North Adelaide)
#15 Alana Lishmund (Norwood)
#16 Georgia Swan (Sturt)
#17 Scarlett Griffiths (West Adelaide)
#18 Jess Williams (Norwood)
#19 Alex Ballard (Sturt)
#20 Hannah Prenzler (Sturt)
#21 Lauren Clifton (South Adelaide)
#22 Tamika May (West Adelaide)
#23 Julia Clark (North Adelaide)
#24 Keeley Kustermann (West Adelaide)
#25 Jamie Parish (WWT Eagles)
#26 Sarah Wright (South Adelaide)
#27 Jorja Eldridge (North Adelaide)
#28 Jade Halfpenny (Norwood)
#29 Brooklyn Kraft (WWT Eagles)
#30 Lauren Young (West Adelaide)

QUICK SUMMARY:

South Australia has plenty of talent across the board, which has been steadily growing over the past few years. The make-up of the initial squad of 30, features 11 players who are in their top-age year (2002-born turning 19-year-olds), 15 players in their first draft-eligible year (2003-born turning 18-year-olds), three bottom-age players (2004-born turning 17-year-olds) and remarkably, one exceptional 15-year-old in West Adelaide’s Lauren Young. South Australia will cut its list down to 24 by the end of the week, but a number of cuts priors – as well as recent changes – have been guided by injury, such as Abbie Ballard, Abbey Hardwick and Jaida Tabb who were all viewed as developing talents to don the state guernsey. Recent injuries to Hannah Ewings and Brooklyn Kraft are also a concern with the championships rapidly approaching.

FIXTURES:

R1 vs. Western Australia (March 28 @ Flinders University Stadium)
R2 vs. Queensland (April 12 @ Metricon Stadium)
R3 vs. Allies (April 15 @ Metricon Stadium)

FIVE TO WATCH: (2003-BORN)

Zoe Prowse (Sturt)

The 177cm ruck is the fourth tallest player in the squad, and will carry the ruck load at the championships. With fellow ruck Kraft under an injury cloud, Prowse will have the responsibility of the state in the role, but it will be something she can easily handle. What stands out about Prowse is not just her athletic leap, but also her ground level work and speed around the ground. Having played more as a midfielder when another ruck is available for the Double Blues, Prowse highlights her versatility across the ground. Her second efforts at ground level – such as tackling opponents after making the tap is something that really stands outs, and the AFL Women’s Academy member is no doubt going to cause some worries for opposition rucks with her follow-up work.

Gypsy Schirmer (South Adelaide)

The other AFL Women’s Academy member who was included in the Academy this year, Schirmer’s athletic traits – in particular her speed – are off the charts. She can go from zero to 100 in the blink of an eye, applying plenty of defensive pressure around the ground. Having plied her trade as a forward in her bottom-age year, Schirmer’s highlight-reel worthy marks and goals were soon accompanied by some fierce running and work rate on a wing in 2021. She still rotates between the two positions, and expect her to do so at the championships. She has a high footy IQ which she uses to create opportunities out of nothing, and at 178cm – and a lack of talls in the side – she could easily slot in as a key forward if required, then roll into the midfield and add that touch of speed and class.

Zoe Venning (West Adelaide)

Already one of the standout inside midfielders, Venning has an even bigger role crashing and bashing with Ewings out due to her ankle injury. The midfielder-forward won a Breakthrough Player nomination in Round 2 for the SANFL Women’s, and has enjoyed a really consistent season after showing promising signs in her bottom-age year. Whilst always looking to improve her skill, Venning has no fear and will throw herself at the contest and win the hard ball to shovel out to teammates. Like any good midfielder, Venning knows her way around goals too, and can play off half-forward or even rest at full-forward as a leading target. She is someone expected to have a real impact around the ball against the other states.

Madison Lane (Central)

The Bulldogs talent started her SANFL Women’s career as a forward and has transitioned into a rebounding defender, looking a natural back there with her slick skills and clean hands. She reads the ball well in flight and moves well, playing taller than her 162cm might suggest. She captained South Australia at Under 16s level, so has the state experience under her belt, and will be one of a number of talented rebounding defenders in the squad. With a high priority placed on hitting targets coming out of defence, expect Lane to be a player teammates look to get the ball in the hands of regularly.

Brooke Tonon (Glenelg)

Enjoying a purple patch at the perfect time leading into the championships, the speedy wing is finding plenty of the ball at League level. After making her debut last year for the Bays, Tonon has gone from playing deep at either end, to a certified midfielder, using her run and carry to advantage. She possesses a long kick and has a neat sidestep that she uses to evade opponents. Having notched up 20 touches on the weekend, she has no problems finding the ball, and she will be a player used in transition for her speed. Still lightly-built, Tonon attacks the contest hard and lays some fierce tackles.

OTHERS:

Georgia Swan is a pressure forward with elite endurance and a work rate to be enviable of that will work over opposition defender, whilst the likes of Alana Lishmund, Kate Case, Lauren Breguet and Lauren Clifton are all easily among the more consistent contributors for their League side. From a top-age perspective, the two most in-form players at SANFL Women’s level are Jade Halfpenny and Laitiah Huynh who will feature in the front half, while Alex Ballard and Hannah Prenzler are anticipated to do the same up the other end.

SQUAD STRENGTHS:

  • Defensive pressure
  • Speed
  • Rebounding defenders
  • Skill

South Australia will be an undoubtedly exciting unit, with the Croweaters’ defensive pressure, rebounding abilities and general skill across the board among the strengths of the side in comparison to other states. It will be exciting to see the likes of Huynh and Swan up forward roving the ball and creating some slick chances for their teammates, whilst up the other end, South Australia has an abundance of rebounding defender. Lane, Prenzler, Ballard, Lauren Clifton, Jamie Parish, Keeley Kustermann, Charlotte Dolan and Tamsyn Morriss can all play that role if required, with the likelihood through the the versatile Ballard and Dolan will play through the midfield, and Parish capable of even going forward. In terms of skill, Lane and Huynh have been using the ball terrifically of late, Morriss is known for her pinpoint passes, and Prenzler and Kustermann are also amongst the most balanced players running around.

In terms of areas where South Australia might struggle, height is definitely a question mark, with a number of midfielders – such as Young and Schirmer – more likely to play key position roles at times. With Kraft’s injury it leaves Prowse as the dedicated ruck – and what a number one ruck to have – which will mean Jorja Eldridge who returned to the SANFL Women’s last weekend, will step up as the second ruck role at 173cm. Halfpenny is traditional a key forward and will likely stay there given this conundrum, but did have an impressive game through the midfield on the weekend.

LAST WORD:

South Australia will be an exciting team to watch, there is no doubt about that. They have plenty of footy IQ, defensive pressure and skill, with an abundance of defenders likely to cause headaches for opposition states. If they had a full-strength side – no injuries – to pick from, then the team would be even stronger, but the depth of the state is very good, and all eyes will be on the youngest player at the carnival – Young – who has already made waves at League level.

Picture credit: On The Ball Media

2021 Academy Watch: SANFL Women’s Round 4

IT was a tight round of South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s action in Round 4, and we took a look at the State Academy players once again in what was their last preparation ahead of the first AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships match against Western Australia next Sunday. All notes are the opinion of the individual writer.

WWT EAGLES vs. CENTRAL DISTRICT

By: Peter Willams

Eagles:

#8 Charlotte Dolan

Attacked the contest hard throughout the four quarters and is always heavily involved with the umpires both ways; receiving free kicks for getting to the ball first and being tackled high, then going overzealous with a tackle herself and giving one away. You know exactly where to find her – at the bottom of a pack, on top of an opponent or ready to receive the ball in close. Throughout the match she showed good strength to run the ball in transition and drove the ball inside 50 on a number of occasions, having a purple patch early in the fourth term, as well as showing clean hands at ground level.

#25 Jamie Parish

Winning the ball at both half-forward and half-back, showed off her versatility which will come in handy at the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships. She had strong hands to clunk grabs around the ground and is quick to dispose of the ball, such as when she was close to the boundary line on the wing, five minutes into the third team.

Central:

#40 Madison Lane

Having a great season in 2021, the rebounding defender has found her niche in defence with clean hands, good footy IQ and clean kicking out of the back half. She did have a moment to forget when giving away a 50m penalty for not handing the ball back sooner in the second term resulting an opposition goal, but otherwise had a superb performance. Time and time again she would mop up for her side, show a clean pair of heels, pick up the ball at full speed and deliver to a free teammate at half-back or down the wing. She put up a four-quarter performance and was one of the Bulldogs’ best on the day.

#41 Laitiah Huynh

The small forward might not have had the impact she has in past weeks, but kept working hard throughout the four quarters. Huynh had a few almost-moments with an almost-grab at half-forward early in the match, then burst out of a pack inside 50 but was run down. Throw in a terribly unlucky bounce early in the fourth term, and the luck was not on her side. However in saying that, her defensive pressure all day was still red-hot and she had a good final term with quick hands and tracking an opponent at half-forward to force a turnover. Another highlight came late in the first term when an opponent attempted to fend her off but she denied that and locked up the ball in a tackle.

 

WEST ADELAIDE vs. GLENELG

By: Peter Williams

West Adelaide:

#8 Keeley Kustermann

Played an aggressive running game off half-back and along the wing with quick disposal and using her lovely long kicking to advantage. Possessing a penetrating kick and great balance on either side, Kustermann routinely beat her opponent to the ball and would either win, or nullify the contest. The bottom-age talent was utilised kicking out of defence, and then in the third term had a number of long kicks from the top of 50 deep to the danger zone to try and create scoring opportunities in the second half.

#9 Zoe Venning

Stringing together a really good 2021 season, Venning was once again very prominent for the Bloods throughout four quarters. A fierce inside midfielder who has the capacity to spread to the outside and get it forward, she packs a punch by throwing herself at the hard ball and shovelling it out to teammates. She won a free kick late in the first term, and with no one on the mark ran to 55m out and delivered perfectly to Lauren Young inside 50 for a goal. She read the ball well in flight 11 minutes into the second term and read it off hands well midway through the third to snap inside 50 off a stoppage, as some of her other highlights for the match.

#30 Lauren Young

After dominating in the air in defence in Round 1 – whilst still playing as a midfielder – and then racking up big numbers through the middle the last two weeks, it was only natural for the 179cm 15-year-old to go forward and slot three majors to desperately try and haul her side over the line. Still roaming through the middle and just finding the right spots in the forward 50, she kicked two goals in six minutes in the opening term with a strong mark and set shot 20m out, then a free kick 15m out to give her team a perfect start. Just as Glenelg was getting on top with momentum, Young bobbed up again with another contested mark four minutes into the final term to put the Bloods back in front by six points. She also had her fair share of touches around the ground and would pump it out of defensive 50 throughout the match too.

Glenelg:

#7 Brooke Tonon

Has really developed into a consistent midfielder running on the outside and accumulating the ball with ease. While at times she can rush, when she knows she has the time and space, she can take the game on, break it open and gain some serious meterage. Her sidestepping and ability to get out of trouble is a treat, and despite being lightly-built compared to some opponents, just lays fierce tackles. As versatile as they come, able to play in all thirds of the ground.

#12 Tamsyn Morriss

Had another solid outing with her consistent foot skills and reading of the play on show. She worked hard on the last line, and provided defensive pressure such as a big tackle on Chelsea Biddell early in the match to force a stoppage, and then a potential match-winning effort on the goal-line to go back at speed, cleanly grab the ball before it bounced through and kicked clear.

 

NORWOOD vs. NORTH ADELAIDE

By: Peter Williams

Norwood:

#15 Alana Lishmund

Quickly got involved in the contest with a kick out of midfield 35 seconds into the game, and then dropped back to help out the defence with a nice kick to half-back. In the second term she did well in a one-on-one contested at half-forward to force the ball to ground, then laid a big dumping tackle early in the final term. She showed her strength midway through the fourth quarter by wrestling the ball out of an opponents’ grasp and got her boot to ball.

#22 Jade Halfpenny

The versatile forward found herself inside the centre square at the start of each quarter and spent substantial time up the ground around the stoppages. Despite being known for her forward leading and strength overhead, Halfpenny was just as influential around the ball and took to it with ease, having played in the midfield before, but this was an increased role. She was able to utilise her speed and athleticism in the first term, bursting out of the stoppages and kicking inside 50. Whilst she was still able to go forward and have an impact, there were a number of highlights to point out throughout the match. Her best was her goal in the fifth minute where she competed against two defenders, smothered an opponent, kept tracking it and ran into an open goal to seal the deal for the Redlegs. She also did well 10 minutes into the third term where she shrugged off a would-be tackler, spun out and was tackled again but got her hands free well to the outnumber. Usually a player whose impact is far greater than her stats, her Round 4 performance was no different.

North Adelaide:

#33 Julia Clark

Had a really impressive game, arguably her best of the season, and maybe SANFL Women’s career. She still brought the heat with her tackling pressure, but it was her work rate and ability to push up and down the ground and win more of the ball than previous matches, whilst showing composure under pressure which all stood out. Clark always puts her head over the ball and tries to run in space to create some movement in transition, and whilst she will always be tough to beat one-on-one, Clark showed her offensive traits to match her defensive ones.

#38 Kate Case

A quieter game for the smooth mover who still worked around the ground but could just not quite get into the action. Had a couple of important touches and in the 15th minute of the final term went up for a mark, could not quite bring it down but showed good recovery to handball to a teammate.

#47 Jorja Eldridge

Returning to the Roosters side for her first game in 2021, Eldridge played in close and helped chop out in the ruck. She was undersized at the ruck stoppages, but is able to use her strength to move her opponent, whilst her second efforts – which included a tackle at ground level after losing the tap – was what helped provide a “fourth midfielder” there. She showed good defensive pressure and laid some strong tackles, as well as quick hands at ground level.

 

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. STURT

By: Liam Badkin

South Adelaide:

#1 Tahlita Buethke

Had a strong game and particularly strong last quarter. Took two intercept marks in the final term when Sturt was trying to create some run out of its backline. Put her head over the ball in multiple contests and was rewarded for doing so.

#5 Sarah Wright

Played her role well throughout all four quarters. She was reliable by foot whenever she had the ball and would be pleased with her three rebound 50’s as she created some run for her teammates.

#36 Gypsy Schimer

Did not have too much of the ball, but did not need to as she was damaging whenever she got it. Used her pace brilliantly out of the backline and seemed to be always creating for her team. Absolutely crunching an opponent during a bump in the last quarter proved a particular highlight.

#41 Lauren Clifton

A quiet day but had her moments. Found herself involved in play even when she did not have the ball in her hands.

Sturt:

#3 Georgia Swan

Had an absolute field day, racking up a season-best 20 disposals. She was electric around the stoppages and took excellent marks in the air. Used her explosiveness to hurt the opposition and create opportunities for her teammates. Did her work on the defensive end too, laying four tackles for the day.

#19 Alex Ballard

Was fantastic in the defensive half, using the ball well and taking a game-high seven marks to go with her 13 disposals. Constantly tried to create for Sturt in the last term, even though the ball was constantly being sent back in. Took on her opponent on the mark on multiple occasions in some exciting passages.

#20 Hannah Prenzler

Was crucial in driving the ball out of Sturt’s backline, finishing with an equal game-high five rebound 50’s from her ten disposals. Consistently found herself in space and worked well in tandem with her backline teammates to rebound the ball out of defence.

#30 Zoe Prowse

Faced a tough task against Montana McKinnon, and did not get her usual amount of hitouts, but was exceptional at ground level. Finished with 10 disposals and four clearances as she tormented her opponents with her follow up work after the ruck contest. Spent time as an on-baller and was explosive out of the stoppages.

 

Picture credit: SANFL / Peter Swan

SANFL Women’s Round 4 wrap: Redlegs topple Roosters as Panthers and Eagles grab back-to-back wins

NORWOOD has grabbed top spot on the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s ladder with a victory over previous leader North Adelaide, whilst South Adelaide entered the top four thanks to their second consecutive win.

WWT EAGLES 1.0 | 2.1 | 3.1 | 4.1 (25)
CENTRAL DISTRICT 1.1 | 1.2 | 2.3 | 2.4 (16)

GOALS:

Eagles: J. Sedunary 2, K. Lee, S. Walker.
Central: K. Rosenzweig, C. Reynolds.

DC BEST:

Eagles: J. Sedunary, S. Goody. N. Holmes, S. Walker, A. Falkenberg
Central: S. Smith, I. Stamer, A. James, D. Sonneman, M. Lane

Booting four of the last five goals of the game, Woodville-West Torrens Eagles exacted revenge on the team that beat them in Round 1, knocking off Central District by nine points on Friday night. The Eagles booted 4.1 (25) to 2.4 (16) in the game, making the most of their scoring chances despite one less than their opposition, and handed the Bulldogs their third consecutive loss in the process. Jess Sedunary was the star, booting two goals in her return since breaking her leg last year, whilst for the second consecutive week, Kiana Lee booted the sealer. Regular scorers Katelyn Rosenzweig and Chantel Reynolds hit the scoreboard for the Dogs, but it would not be enough.

In a low-possession game, the Dogs had 10 more touches (199-189), with the visitors dominating the clearances (28-13) off the back of hitout control (23-17). Despite this, they could not make inroads going forward, with the Eagles controlling the inside 50 count (31-22), whilst the Dogs defence largely held up with rebound 50s (27-20), though the Eagles still fought through for the victory.

Sedunary finished with an impressive 14 disposals, three marks – two contested – four tackles, two clearances, three inside 50s and two goals upon return, while Stephanie Walker slotted a goal from 14 disposals, three marks, four tackles, three inside 50s and two rebound 50s. Shineah Goody was again impressive, as the youngster had 13 touches, five marks, five tackles and four inside 50s, while Natasha Holmes (14 disposals, six tackles) and Anastasia Falkenberg (13 disposals, four tackles and three rebound 50s) were also productive.

For the Bulldogs, Shelby Smith could well have been the best player on the ground, racking up 21 disposals, six marks, six tackles five clearances and five inside 50s to lead from the front, whilst Caitlen Teague (15 disposals, three marks) and Madison Lane (14 disposals, six rebound 50s) again found plenty of the footy. Isabelle Starmer stood out in the ruck with 15 hitouts, four clearances and five tackles to go with 13 touches, while Demi Sonneman (11 disposals, three tackles, three marks and four rebound 50s) and Lauren Smith (14 disposals, five tackles) were strong.

Both teams face off at X Convenience Oval in a double-header at X Convenience Oval next Saturday, with the Eagles taking on Sturt at 10.40am, before the Bulldogs host West Adelaide from 12.25pm.

 

WEST ADELAIDE 2.1 | 2.2 | 2.3 | 3.4 (22)
GLENELG 0.0 | 1.2 | 2.4 | 4.4 (28)

GOALS:

West: L. Young 3.
Glenelg: E. Kellock 2, C. Swanson, C. Packer.

DC BEST:

West: L. Young, Z. Venning, K. Culhane, C. Biddell, K. Kustermann
Glenelg: E. Kellock, M. Girvan, J. Bates, B. Tonon, D. Cox

Glenelg has bounced back from consecutive losses with a six-point win over West Adelaide, handing the Bloods back-to-back losses in the process. In a hard-fought match, Glenelg overcame a huge effort from 15-year-old Lauren Young – who booted three goals – to kick the last two goals of the match and win by a goal after trailing by as much as six points, seven minutes into the final term. In the end, two goals from Ellie Kellock in an impressive effort was enough to overcome the Bloods and ensure both teams went to 2-2 for the season after the 4.4 (28) to 3.4 (22) win.

Glenelg won 35 more disposals (185-150), and also restricted West’s outside game, with the Bloods having just 19 marks to the Bays’ 32, whilst the visitors also notched up 72 tackles to 54. West Adelaide was stronger around the stoppages with 30 clearances to 25, also winning the inside 50 count (27-24), but the Bays stood strong in defence with 24 rebound 50s to 17.

Kellock slotted two majors from 12 disposals, four clearances and two inside 50s in a strong effort across four quarters, though she was far from alone. Jessica Bates continued her red-hot 2021 form with 13 disposals, five marks, nine tackles, three clearances and five rebound 50s, while Brooke Tonon (14 disposals, three marks, three tackles and four rebound 50s) and Caitlyn Swanson (eight disposals, three marks, three tackles and three inside 50s) had an impact. Meara Girvan (11 disposals, 18 hitouts) and Molly Affolter (six disposals, 18 hitouts) both tag-teamed in the ruck, while Dayna Cox returned to the side to have 12 disposals, three marks, five tackles and three rebound 50s.

Young was a standout performer yet again, with the leading disposal winner racking up 17 touches again, but clunking four marks – two contested – three tackles, four inside 50s, two rebound 50s and slotting the three goals. Fellow State Academy members Zoe Venning (15 disposals, two marks, six tackles, three clearances and three inside 50s) and Keeley Kustermann (eight disposals, seven tackles, two inside 50s and four rebound 50s) also stood out, while Chelsea Biddell (10 disposals, 21 hitouts, four tackles) was imposing in the ruck returning to state level, and Kasia Culhane (11 disposals, four tackles and six clearances) also prominent in the middle.

Glenelg take on Norwood at Coopers Stadium next Saturday, while the Bloods take on Central District on the same day at X Convenience Oval.

 

NORWOOD 1.0 | 2.0 | 4.0 | 5.0 (30)
NORTH ADELAIDE 0.1 | 0.1 | 1.1 | 1.2 (8)

GOALS:

Norwood: E. Murison 2, M. Breed, J. Halfpenny, J. Macolino.
North: T. Thorn.

DC BEST:

Norwood: L. Cutting, E. Murison, M. Johnston, E. Clark, L. Schwerdt
North: J. Tabb, K. Harvey, E. Greet, J. Clark, T. Thorn

Norwood has ended North Adelaide’s winning streak at three, with a 22-point victory in the Saturday Round 4 contest between the sides. The Redlegs just could not miss – literally – booting five straight goals on their way to a 5.0 (30) to 1.2 (8) victory, containing the Roosters to just one goal and three scoring shots in the match. Ella Murison was the sole multiple goalkicker with two, as athletic forwards Mattea Breed and Jade Halfpenny slotted majors, as did midfielder Jess Macolino, while Tayla Thorn kicked North’s sole major of the game.

Norwood had 30 more disposals (218-188), and 20 more marks (43-23), whilst North Adelaide applied good pressure throughout the match with 85 tackles to 61. Around the ball, Norwood had the advantage, dominating the hitouts 42-15 thanks to Leah Cutting, whilst taking control in the clearances (30-24) and inside 50s (26-21), with North marginally head in rebound 50s (21-18).

Cutting was best on ground with 17 disposals, six marks – one contested – 26 hitouts, nine tackles, two clearances, five inside 50s and two rebound 50s in the win, aiding the likes of Macolino (12 disposals, four inside 50s and two clearances), Emma Clark (13 disposals, seven tackles, four clearances and three inside 50s), Lana Schwerdt (13 disposals, four tackles and three clearances) and Sophie Armitstead (15 disposals, four tackles and three clearances) at the stoppages. Murison’s two goals came alongside 13 disposals, three marks, three tackles, three inside 50s and two rebound 50s, while Halfpenny helped herself to 10 touches, four tackles and three inside 50s as well as a goal.

North’s two standouts were midfielder Jaimi Tabb who was a wrecking ball around the stoppages thanks to 18 disposals, four marks – three contested – 10 tackles, five clearances and five inside 50s – and full-back Kristi Harvey (18 disposals, three marks, six tackles and five rebound 50s) who were both sensational. Julia Clark stepped up for 14 touches, two marks, four tackles, two clearances and two rebound 50s, while Erica Greet (15 disposals, five inside 50s) and Chelsea Farr (13 disposals, five tackles and three inside 50s) were also busy in the loss.

In Round 5, Norwood hosts Glenelg at Coopers Stadium on Saturday, while North Adelaide takes on South Adelaide in the second grand final rematch of the season under lights at Flinders University Stadium from 7pm.

 

SOUTH ADELAIDE 2.1 | 2.2 | 2.4 | 3.7 (25)
STURT 0.0 | 1.1 | 1.2 | 2.2 (14)

GOALS:

South: J. Kirk, J. Hooper, H. Munyard.
Sturt: C. Forby, K. Harris.

DC BEST:

South: H. Munyard, C. Cavouras, M. McKinnon, J. Kirk, B. Wedding
Sturt: J. Wittervan, G. Swan, A. Ballard, K. Harris, H. Prenzler

South Adelaide have strung back-to-back wins together in 2021, defeating Sturt to move to 2-2 for the season despite kicking just the one goal in the second half. In what was a titanic struggle of two teams with strong defences, the Panthers got up in a thrilling 3.7 (25) to 2.2 (14) victory, with a couple of Adelaide AFL Women’s talents standing up. The Panthers were quick out of the blocks with two goals in 11 minutes to race out to a 13-point lead at quarter time. Sturt worked back into the game and even moved to within two points just 25 seconds into the final term courtesy of a goal to Kate Harris, but a response from Jess Kirk – and a couple of chances after that from the goalsneak – ended the game with an 11-point win to the home team.

Despite the loss, Sturt led the disposals (205-179), marks (51-44) and clearances (22-18), though South Adelaide clunked 16 contested marks to seven in a remarkable show of strength. The Panthers also laid 51 tackles to 39, and marginally led the hitouts (21-19) and rebound 50s (23-20), with the inside 50s practically even (26-25 in Sturt’s favour).

Hannah Munyard returned to South Adelaide for her first game of the year and immediately threw her hand up for a recall to the Crows’ AFL Women’s side, racking up 20 disposals, as well as two marks, five tackles, four clearances, three inside 50s, two rebound 50s and a goal. Czenya Cavouras was just as prominent around the stoppages, crashing and bashing her way to 17 touches, seven tackles and six clearances, whilst Montana McKinnon‘s ripping season continued with four contested marks – of six total marks – as well as 16 hitouts, 11 disposals and four inside 50s. Nicole Campbell (13 disposals, three inside 50s) won her fair share of the ball, whilst youngsters Sarah Wright (13 disposals, two inside 50s and three rebound 50s) and Tahlita Buethke (12 disposals, three marks, two clearances and three inside 50s) were also impressive.

Georgia Swan‘s rising form capped off in the game with a massive 20 touches, a clear season-best for the State Academy member, also taking five marks – one contested – laying four tackles and having four inside 50s. Jaimee Wittervan was crucial around the stoppages with 13 disposals, seven clearances, four inside 50s, three marks and three tackles, while Alex Ballard had 14 disposals, seven marks and three rebound 50s. Also busy in defence was Hannah Prenzler (10 disposals, five marks – one contested – and five rebound 50s), while Alisha Gepp (15 disposals, two marks, two tackles and two clearances) and Harris (14 disposals, three marks and three inside 50s) were also among the better Sturt players on the day.

South Adelaide will have a chance to topple North Adelaide in the first game of Round 5 at Flinders University on Friday night, while Sturt will take on Woodville-West Torrens Eagles at X Convenience Oval on Saturday morning.

2021 SANFL Women’s Round 4 preview: Crucial ladder-defining games for mid-table teams

ROUND 4 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s season kicks off tonight with two games across the weekend featuring teams on one win from three games, while Norwood have the chance to knock top of the table North Adelaide off its unbeaten perch.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS vs. CENTRAL DISTRICT
Friday, March 19 @ 6.30pm
Hisense Stadium

In the first rematch of the season, Woodville-West Torrens Eagles take on Central District under lights at Hisense Stadium tonight. The Eagles are coming in off their first win of the season following their hard-fought slog in the wet against Glenelg, whilst Central District has not won since the Round 1 victory over the Eagles, but were in control for most of the game in their last two narrow losses to Sturt and South Adelaide which were both under a kick. The Bulldogs have been terrific starters this season and will look to do so again when they take on the Eagles, whilst their opponents will be aware that if they can be close enough at half-time they can finish strongly like they did against the Bays last week.

The Eagles do have a couple of forced outs with youngster Brooklyn Kraft missing due to a knee injury, and Renee Forth called up to Adelaide’s AFL Women’s program. They have regained some AFL Women’s experience however, with Jess Sedunary among a host of inclusions on an extended bench. Central has just the one confirmed out with Alicia Butler out, though key midfield Lauren Smith returns alongside a number of inclusions for the Dogs as they hope to go 2-0 against the Eagles this season.

To do so Central will need to put scores on the board throughout the four quarters, and key forward Katelyn Rosenzweig has been named which is fantastic to see after an injury late in the loss to South Adelaide last week. Chantel Reynolds and Laitiah Huynh have found ways to apply scoreboard pressure this season, while Shelby Smith was sensational last week in the middle. She is well supported by Lauren Smith and Caitlen Teague who form a really strong onball group, whilst the defensive trio of Madison Lane, Gemma Doughty and Demi Sonneman provide great run out of the back 50.

The Eagles have to shuffle the magnets around with the loss of Kraft, as Amie Blanden – who took over ruck duties last week – will start there again, as Under 16s talent Shineah Goody will team up with reigning best and fairest winner Jovanka Zecevic at the stoppages. Anastasia Falkenberg and Natasha Holmes have put together some consistent performances this season, while South Australian State Academy members, Charlotte Dolan and Jamie Parish will provide some run for the Eagles. Kiana Lee has been named at centre half-back but as she showed last week, can go forward and kick a crucial goal.

Central District would be favoured to back up their Round 1 win over the Eagles, it will just be a case of making the most of their forward 50 entries, whilst for the Eagles, it is about winning the midfield battle.

WEST ADELAIDE vs. GLENELG
Friday, March 19 @ 8.15pm
Hisense Stadium

In the second match at Hisense Arena, the real home team in West Adelaide will host Glenelg in an important game for both sides. The Bloods will welcome back some of their AFL Women’s talent they lost from last week’s game when they went down to North Adelaide. The Bays will also bring some big names back into the side as they look to arrest a two-game losing streak they have suffered at the hands of North Adelaide and Woodville-West Torrens the last two rounds. West have the firepower up forward, but the Tigers have also been capable of kicking a big score when not slugging it out in the wet.

West Adelaide will welcome back Madison Newman and Chelsea Biddell to the fold with their AFL Women’s experience crucial, though Louella McCarthy is another key player to be named amongst the ins having kicked two late goals in the win a fortnight ago. The Bays will see a ton of players return with at last five players out of the Round 3 team, including Ellen Fauser, whilst the likes of AFL Women’s Dayna Cox, and goal-scoring threat Sam Franson are back in for the big game. Grace Duffy is another inclusion for the Bays who has proven to provide some high and work in the forward half.

With the West forward line looking bulked up again, it will the likes of Biddell and Newman who have the capacity of putting scores on the board, while Zoe Venning has rotated well between half-forward and onball this season. Lauren Young has been a revelation in her debut season at just 15-years-old, and the likes of Bec Owen and Zoe Greer will rove to Kate Walsh who could take advantage in the ruck. State Academy member Tamsyn Morriss has been thrown in the midfield for this game alongside 15-year-old Piper Window who has made a promising start to her SANFL Women’s career. Ellie Kellock provides that experience in the middle, while Madisyn Freeman and Brooke Tonon are named on the wings to provide some extra run forward.

West Adelaide will be favourites here with plenty of quality coming back, but the Bays have their own talent returning, which makes this a great contest at night.

NORWOOD vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
Saturday, March 20 @ 11.00am
Cooper Stadium

Kicking off Saturday’s action, Norwood will have the next crack at trying to end the unbeaten North Adelaide’s run which went to three games last week, but realistically the Roosters have not lost since the 2019 SANFL Women’s Grand Final. The Redlegs have won the past two games and are building some good form, though they did have a scare against Sturt in Round 3, so will want to pick it up here and put in a good performance. The Roosters controlled most of the player after an early goal to the Bloods last week, and will be without a couple of stars so will eye off others stepping up in their place.

Isabel Martin will miss the Redlegs’ Round 4 clash after injuring her ankle, joining State Academy member Sarah Branford, and defender Kate Fenton among the outs for the clash. Norwood does regain the services of Alana Lishmund who returns from suspension. The Roosters on the other hand have suffered some big outs with young gun Hannah Ewings out with the ankle injury she sustained in the second quarter of North Adelaide’s Round 3 win over West Adelaide, while key forward Kelly Barltrop will be unavailable for the clash.

The Redlegs will need to capitalise on the midfield and get the ball forward to allow the likes of athletic talls Mattea Breed and Jade Halfpenny to get plenty of looks inside 50. Lana Schwerdt won the Ellen Maple Medal in the win against Sturt last week and will be keen to back up that performance here, whilst the experience of Jess Macolino, Sophie Armitstead and Elisha Gallagher will help add some composure around the ground. The Redlegs were lucky not to concede a late goal last week, and will be wary of what the Roosters can do.

North Adelaide has a near-impenetrable defence with key posts, Kristi Harvey and Talia Radan providing the strength and smarts to not allow any easy goals. Alana Baker comes into the side and slots straight onto half-back with the running Kate Case, while Case’s State Academy teammate Julia Clark has been thrown in the midfield alongside the in-form Leah Tynan and Cristie Castle. Jaimi Tabb has been named at full-forward to provide some strength down there, whilst Brianna Arthur and Kathryn Reynolds are also among the dangerous forwards inside 50.

North Adelaide should be good enough to go to 4-0, but with the talent out, Norwood has a huge opportunity to cause an upset in this game, particularly in front of home fans.

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. STURT
Saturday, March 20 @ 5.30pm
Flinders University Stadium

‘The final game of the round is an evening game between South Adelaide and Sturt down at Flinders University Stadium. The Panthers finally got on the board last week – albeit just – with a narrow win over Central District. The game against Sturt could be another thriller, with the Double Blues also having plenty of young, developing players running around and are 1-2, though could easily have been 2-1 with a couple of missed opportunities last in the game against the Panthers last week. The winner of this game moves to 2-2 and remains in touch with the top couple of teams.

The Panthers will welcome into the side Amy Gore and Katie Whish – the latter in line for a debut – amongst others including Sheena Peters, Alannah Rochow and Georgia Pennifold, whilst Madison Bennett, Tess Brockhurst and Amy Huxtable are out. The Double Blues have lost youngster Tiah Hough to a hand injury, whilst Allani Dawes, Molly Fletcher and Jessica Good have been named in an extended team, with Good another potential debutant in the game.

Good could well have a baptism of fire, with the tall named in the ruck to face AFL Women’s ruck Montana McKinnon. The South Adelaide ruck has been in terrific form this season, and with the experience of Czenya Cavouras and Nicole Campbell in there, the Panthers have the advantage. However the fact Zoe Prowse is just rolling around as a midfielder means the Double Blues have that Plan B ready to go, with the best two young rucks in South Australia likely to cross paths on multiple occasions. Sturt duo Alisha Gepp and Isobel Kuiper are younger than their opponents, but will certainly attack the contest hard, whilst Tahlita Buethke and Sarah Wright are other State Academy members hoping to impress through the midfield.

In defence for the Double Blues, Alex Ballard, Hannah Prenzler and Lauren Clifton are a trio of State Academy members who provide skill and drive out of the back 50, going up against the likes of Gypsy Schirmer, Jess Kirk and Sophia Flanagan-Sjoberg who have all been in great form themselves. Jorja Hooper has acquitted herself successfully in her debut season as a key forward, with the Under 16s talent showing her strength in the air and around goal, while Jaslynne Smith and Georgia Swan are among the other young talents running around for their respective teams in the match.

This game could go either way, with South likely to be favourite given their extra experience, but the Sturt defence has done well yet again to start the season, which makes it a fascinating contest.

 

Picture credit: SANFL / Cory Sutton