IT has been a long journey for both Waratah and Southern Districts. Waratah is a powerhouse which holds a dominant winning record over the past seven years. They were defeated in the 2016/2017 season but now are looking for back to back premierships as they head into Saturday. The Crocs, on the other hand, will be making their first Grand Final appearance in history.
The Crocs entered the women’s competition in the 2013/2014 season but have not seen a finals series until now. After years of underwhelming seasons, the Crocs enlisted coach Tarmon Elliott to turn the team around. Elliot has delivered in spades by bringing a strong culture, new recruits, and possibly their first flag. After defeating Palmerston, Southern Districts could not be more ready to face Waratah for the ultimate prize.
WARATAH V SOUTHERN DISTRICTS
Saturday, March 5 4:30pm
This match will be like a game of chess. What makes Waratah and Southern Districts different than other teams is their players have the ability to shift into different roles. This makes matchups hard to predict in this battle of tactics. Tayla Thorn was elite down back but can also play in the midfield or forward. However, considering the dangers of Amy Chittick and Lauren O’Shea, she will most likely stay in defence. She will be well supported though by Maria Moussa, who had a blinder last weekend with the most defensive rebounds for Districts.
In the Warriors defence Rebecca Pryer, Isabelle Rapson, and Lisa Roberts will make it difficult for the Crocs to score. Kelsie Patterson kicked three majors last week but it could have been more if she kicked straight. Tahlia Holtze had a very quiet game last week, but the Districts will need her to have her kicking boots on to breach the Tah’s defensive wall.
The fight in the ruck contest may have Waratah at a disadvantage. Ebony Miller and Indy Sleeth might as well be tall midfielders as they cover the ground exceptionally well and are proven goal kickers. Joanna Kolodziej and Julianna Kerinaiua will have a tough fight in this contest.
As for the midfield battle, there could be as many as twelve different rovers rotating throughout the game. Lateesha Jeffrey and Bella Clarke may push up or back from the centre, but Megan Craufurd is the constant tagger that shuts down key midfielders. She may have the job on Sharona Bishop who is in fine form. Madeline Gault is similar to Craufurd but plays more of a run-with role rather than a shutdown tagger. Gault would be a perfect opponent for Jeffrey if she plays in the midfield.
Waratah has the advantage in this match as many players on their list have seen at least one premiership. Lisa Roberts and O’Shea have been in this position six times for five flags. The Crocs are a very different story, unlike their opponent, this level of competition is completely new to them having qualified for the first time. They were the underdog last week and beat the odds, and defeated Waratah in their last outing. They just need to dig in one more time and given it is the Grand Final, and anything can happen.
B: 18.Molly Cooper 6.Rebecca Pryer 19.Alicia Stanley
HB: 15.Isabelle Rapson 10.Alysha Healy 13.Lisa Roberts
C: 3.Peita Starcevic 2.Madeline Gault 23.Pippa Cox
HF: 17.Tarryn O’Hehir 4.Sue Nalder 5.Breanna Martin
F: 9.Amy Chittick 22.Lauren O’Shea 12.Sherayn Puruntatameri
R: 7.Joanna Kolodziej 28.Trish Muller 8.Sharona Bishop
Int: 29.Madeline Campbell 14.Jade De Melo 16.Julieanna Kerinaiua
24.Alexandra Harrison-Wolff 20.Amie Love 1.Angela Perkins
B: 22.Rachele Mchugh 8.Maria Moussa 28.Tess Hanna
HB:14.Tessa W 2.Tayla Thorn 6.Charles Deegan
C: 30.Donna Reed 9.Lateesha Jeffrey 25.Chelsea Pember
HF:17.Chiarah Corpos 20.Holly Engelhardt 11.Maili Clarke
F: 5.Tahlia Holtze 4.Indy Sleeth 35.Kelsey Patterson
R: 3.Ebony Miller 10.Megan Craufurd 15.Bella Clarke
Int:21.Tyler Thornton 26.Rhiannon Busch 19.Danielle Opperman
32.Nicole Paterson 1.Kimberley Mccouat 27.Samantha Hoogeveen-Hill