Tag: south adelaide womens

South Adelaide looks to the future in 2021

SOUTH Adelaide have been the most successful team in the short history of the SANFL Women’s League. After winning the 2018 and 2019 premierships, they made the grand final again in 2020, but fell just short against North Adelaide.

Due to the departures of multiple star players and premiership coach Rick Watts, it will be much tougher for the Panthers to return to the big stage in 2021. However, rather than dwelling on their losses, South Adelaide executives have turned their attention towards the future of the club. This process started in the offseason by hiring new Senior Women’s Coach Andrew Brockhurst.

A former 131-game player for South Adelaide’s SANFL side and 38-game player for Fitzroy, Brockhurst said that although he has a reasonably limited coaching background at senior level, he has been involved with multiple women’s amateur sides in recent seasons.

“I’ve spent the last few years involved in the women’s program,” he said. “I spent a year out at Christies Beach coaching with their senior group, then coached Flagstaff Hill senior women last year in the Southern Football League. Then the role at South Adelaide popped up, which was unexpected, and I felt confident enough to apply.”

Despite some early interruptions due to South Australia’s COVID-19 restrictions (brought on by the Parafield cluster), Brockhurst is pleased with how his first preseason at the helm has gone.

“Preseason has been good, a little bit fragmented like most people’s preseasons, but since the beginning of December our season’s been right on track,” he said. “We usually run a really important six-week program prior to our actual preseason starting [that] helps girls with the mechanics of kicking the football. We lost most of that, so we had to adapt our program into our preseason and the girls actually ended up training an extra night all the way through until the end of January to make sure we fit all that in.”

In addition to the skills initiative, Brockhurst has prioritised improving his side’s speed of ball movement and adjusting his recruits to the frenetic pace of SANFLW football.

“We have a number of new girls in our squad this year, so getting them used to the pace of the game and ensuring that we’re trying to move the ball as quickly as we can have been major focuses for us,” he said. “We’re pretty controlled coming out of our backline generally, so we’re worried that the speed coming out of there is letting us down a bit. We’re just trying to speed that pace up and move the ball quicker into our forward line. We back our forwards being quite strong one-on-one, so the quicker we can get it there the better.”

The Panthers lost Teah Charlton, Indy Tahau and Tahlia Meyer to AFLW clubs over the offseason. Brockhurst knows these players are incredibly talented and will be difficult to replace.

“[Those three] are hard to replace overnight, that takes time,” Brockhurst said. “We certainly have some young girls coming along that will be stars within their own right, but that will take a little bit of time for some of those to settle in.”

Brockhurst was optimistic about his new recruits, especially those coming from other SANFLW clubs.

“We have some good ins to our squad; Soriah Moon coming from Glenelg will fit nicely into our program, and Alannah Rochow from Norwood will also play a major part for us this season,” he said.

Brockhurst also said that his younger players have impressed him over the summer.

Gypsy Schirmer has been a standout throughout preseason for us,” he said. “Lauren Clifton is moving really well and Sarah Wright, who’s coming back from an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) last year, is back into it full swing. We’re looking forward to Sarah finding her way again early on in the season and having another good year for us.”

While regular improvement is the Panthers’ number one focus, Brockhurst said he would not put a ceiling on what his side can achieve this season.

“We will continue to focus mainly on the development of our players,” he said. “Our other aim every single week, as it would be for the every other club, is to win every game that we play in. As for where that ends at the end of season, we will see what happens. But we will be giving 110 per cent to try and compete and be successful in every game we play.”

South Adelaide’s season gets underway on Friday night when they take on the Roosters in a highly-anticipated grand final rematch at Coopers Stadium.

Picture credit: Nick Hook Photography

For more SANFL Women’s news and analysis, follow Tom Cheesman on Twitter.

SANFL Women’s season review: South Adelaide

SOUTH Adelaide is the next team up in our South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s season review series as we look at the eight sides in reverse ladder order and how their 2020 seasons went down.

Position: 2nd
Wins: 10
Losses: 3
Draws: 0

2020 IN A NUTSHELL

The back-to-back premiers showed that despite losing a heap of talent to the AFL Women’s over the summer, they were able to grind out wins early in the season, then continually get the job done when those players returned post-break. Rick Watts‘ side just found a way week-in, week-out, and even in their losses to North Adelaide, were never blown away and just a touch outclassed on the day. Nonetheless, the Panthers showed they have some seriously good young talent coming through which completed the AFL Women’s experience.

AFL WOMEN’S ALL-STARS GAME REPRESENTATIVES:

Nicole Campbell

A reliable ball-winning midfielder who was among the bests most weeks, being a real beacon through the midfield and teaming up with a number of AFL Women’s talents and leading the younger players when there was less experience out on the field.

Lauren Clifford

Still a year to go in her junior footy, Clifford showed during the All-Stars game what she is capable of. Still yet to turn 17 until December, the middle-age prospect was able to provide some quick ball movement and slick skills when zeroing in on goal.

Jess Kirk

Playing out of full-forward and leading the league’s goalkicking until her injury late in the season, Kirk was a reliable set shot and great with her positioning. She never needed a lot of touches to have an impact, making the most of her few disposals, often hitting the scoreboard with each one.

Brooklyn Kraft

A raw and developing ruck/forward, Kraft continued to develop in season 2020, and showed that she could fill the role more permanently in 2021. At 182cm, the top-age talent is a late 2002-birth which usually suggests a later development and with her improving marking and set shot routine, Kraft can fill a role in the forward line as well.

Gypsy Schirmer

Stood out coming into the side this year as an athletic forward who could also push up the ground. Her closing speed and her leap were among her good traits, and she even kicked a number of impressive goals, often from tight angles. Schirmer, like Clifton, has another year of development until she is draft-eligible.

Czenya Cavouras

An Adelaide Crows train-on player, it was easy to see why Cavouras was picked because she is one player that you know what to expect of each and every week. Even if she is not winning heaps of the ball – though that is a rarity – she is applying fierce defensive pressure and doing all the right things to assist teammates around the stoppages.

Tahlita Buethke

An athletic mid who managed to play most of her debut season in 2020, Buethke could play as an inside or outside midfielder and showed some terrific traits. Highly competitive, Buethke looks like a late bloomer and is one to watch for the future.

Tahlia Meyer

One of the most underrated players in the competition, Meyer does not always have the big numbers that other midfielders have, but when she is up and about, her precision kicking and decision making is unbelievable. Her ball use going inside 50 is often served on a platter for her forwards, and she can also play multiple roles around the ground.

Rayne Rivalland

Another young middle-age talent who has come through the strong Panthers system developing as a defender who can also be thrown forward. Rivalland showed she is capable of reading the ball well in flight and taking the game on when required and will be a player to keep an eye on next season in the League.

Teah Charlton

One of the most gifted South Australian players to come through the state, Charlton is just about the complete player. The top-age talent is a super competitive player, elite athlete, and ability to take mark of the year and goal of the year – probably off the same play – and then just do the unbelievable time and time again. No doubt the Panthers would love her in their side next year, but the tri-colours of the next level beckon.

Indy Tahau

Similar to Charlton, Tahau is just a naturally gifted player. For a taller athlete, Tahau possesses great athleticism, and an ability to run down opponents or sidestep them with ease. She is so strong above her head as a contested marking specialist, and makes the right decisions with ball-in-hand. Both Tahau and Charlton were unavailable for the All-Stars match, but as Tahau showed in the 2019 SANFL Women’s Grand Final – winning the best on ground medal – she can stand up on the big stage.

OTHERS WHO STOOD OUT:

  • Hannah Munyard
  • Nikki Gore
  • Lisa Whiteley
  • Lauren Buchanan
  • Samantha Pratt
  • Jaslynne Smith

Honestly South’s side was that good – much like North Adelaide’s outfit – that you could have a list of the whole side. Montana McKinnon is one who was not able to play a full season due to injury, but the return of Hannah Munyard, Nikki Gore and Lisa Whiteley to the team from their respective AFL Women’s sides was vital. Whilst they represented three different AFLW teams in 2020, they will all represent the Crows in 2021. Others who shone were defenders, Lauren Buchanan, Samantha Pratt and Jaslynne Smith who continually provided drive out of defence.

Summary

South Adelaide might not have backed up their premierships of the past two seasons, but the Panthers were littered with stars, and no doubt a large majority are currently or will run around at the next level. They were deserving grand finalists, and aside from when playing North Adelaide, found a way to win even when they were down and on the ropes.

Picture: SANFL/Hannah Howard

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

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

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

YOUNG TALENT:

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

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

AFL WOMENS STARS

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

HEAD-TO-HEAD

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

WHAT DOES EACH SIDE DO WELL?

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

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

WHO WINS?

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

Panthers go back-to-back in 22-point premiership victory

SOUTH Adelaide has gone back-to-back in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition, following a 22-point win over North Adelaide Roosters in challenging conditions, which included three goals in red time across the quarters. The victory is a historic one for the club, with it being the first time South Adelaide had overcome North Adelaide in a senior league final. Indy Tahau was named best on ground for her two-goal haul in the low-scoring affair, while also picking up 20 disposals, five tackles, six inside 50s, three hitouts, one clearance and one rebound in the win.

Tamara Page booted the only goal of the first term late in the quarter as two of the more prolific scoring teams were putting in strong defensive efforts. The Panthers nudged ahead but the second term was the complete opposite early as Tahau took just 36 seconds to get on the board and hand them a 12-point lead. That advantage was cut to five by the time Lauren Daniel hit the scoreboard. A couple of behinds in favour of the Panthers, and then a second Tahau goal in the dying minutes meant the Panthers headed into the main break with a handy 15-point lead. The third quarter saw chances by Kathryn Reynolds and Leah Tynan go begging, as the Roosters desperately tried to hold on to the premiership dream, forcing a couple of rushed behinds before Teah Charlton broke through with a third red-time goal for the favourites and the margin was 21 points. Charlton missed a chance in the opening three minutes to ice the game, but with North Adelaide only managing a behind through Paige Allan midway through the term, the Panthers fans would head home happy, securing their second consecutive premiership in the SANFL Women’s competition.

Across the board the disposals were fairly evenly split between the teams, but it was very much an attack-versus-defence game with a whopping differential of 43 inside 50s to 21 in favour of the victors. Remarkably, the Roosters were able to rebound the ball 39 times, and also dominated the clearances, 25-16 against such a strong Panthers midfield. South Adelaide won the hitouts 21-18, and marks 30-23, but otherwise the teams were evenly matched around the ground. Czenya Cavouras had a team-high 22 disposals, two marks, five tackles, four clearances and five inside 50s, while Charlton not only booted a goal, but also helped herself to 18 touches, four marks, five tackles and three inside 50s. Nikki Gore (16 disposals, 10 tackles, three clearances and two inside 50s) was huge defensively, while Hannah Munyard again played well with 14 disposals, two tackles, three inside 50s and two rebounds. Montana McKinnon was the number one ruck with 18 hitouts, 11 touches and a massive four contested marks of her six total marks, while also laying four tackles, having four inside 50s and three rebounds. For the Roosters, Nadia Von Bertouch had a game-high 23 disposals, as well as two marks, two tackles, three clearances, two inside 50s and three rebounds, while Kendall Howell and Amber Ward were superb in defence. Howell had 19 disposals and six rebounds, while Ward finished the game with 16 disposals, three marks, eight rebounds and five tackles. Sarah Ellis was also prominent with 16 disposals, two marks, two tackles and two rebounds, while Adrienne Davis was important at stoppages, picking up five clearances to go with her 14 disposals, two marks, three tackles and three rebounds. While the loss was disappointing for North Adelaide, South Adelaide was the better team on the day and dominated the time in forward half which ultimately was the difference between the sides.

SOUTH ADELAIDE 1.0 | 3.3 | 4.5 | 4.7 (31)
NORTH ADELAIDE 0.0 | 1.0 | 1.2 | 1.3 (9)

GOALS:

South: Indy Tahau 2, Teah Charlton, Tamara Page.
North: Lauren Daniel.

DISPOSALS:

South: Czenya Cavouras 22, Indy Tahau 20, Teah Charlton 18, Nikki Gore 16
North: Nadia Von Bertouch 23, Kendall Howell 19, Sarah Ellis 16, Amber Ward 16, Lauren Daniel 15, Brittany Perry 15

Best on Ground: Indy Tahau (South Adelaide)

SANFL Women’s Grand Final preview: South Adelaide vs. North Adelaide

TEN rounds and two weeks of finals down has our last two teams standing in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition. For one team, history will be made as either the South Adelaide Panthers or North Adelaide Roosters will be crowned 2019 premiers. There are a number of historic moments that will be made on Sunday, with history between the Men’s League sides pointing to North Adelaide – a South Adelaide side has never beaten a North Adelaide side in a final, going down on all seven occasions – while the men’s first flag came against South Adelaide back in 1900. However, fast forward to 2019 and the signs point to South Adelaide having knocked off minor premier, Norwood twice and advanced straight through to the Grand Final.

LAST TIME THEY MET

South Adelaide 5.9 (39) defeated North Adelaide 6.2 (38)

The teams have clashed once this year, with South Adelaide defeating North Adelaide by one point in the biggest comeback in SANFL Women’s history. The Panthers trailed by 25 points at quarter time, 21 points at half-time and eight points at three quarter time. In that game, Nikki Gore had 24 touches, two marks, two clearances, four inside 50s and laid five tackles, while Hannah Munyard produced 16 disposals, four tackles, five clearances and two inside 50s. Montana McKinnon impressed in the ruck with 20 hitouts, while Czenya Cavouras had 17 disposals as well. For North, Amber Ward was a wall in defence, picking up 11 rebounds and laying eight tackles to go with her 15 disposals, while Sarah Ellis and Rheanne Lugg each had 15 disposals. and Kelly Barltrop booted two goals. Since that Round 4 loss, North Adelaide has not tasted defeat – getting a momentum eight-game winning streak coming into the match, including downing the Redlegs themselves in the Preliminary Final. South Adelaide has only lost one since that match itself, going down to Glenelg and now having won nine of the past 10 games.

TEAMS

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
Sunday, May 26
ACH Group Stadium

SOUTH ADELAIDE

B: 22. Samantha Pratt – 35. Jaslynne Smith – 44. Elke Jarvis
HB: 41. Indy Tahau – 29. Cheyenne Hammond – 39. Emily Brockhurst
C: 25. Teah Charlton – 6. Hannah Munyard – 9. Nicole Campbell
HF: 2. Nikki Gore – 14. Tiffany Copley – 7. Jess Kirk
F: 33. Brooklyn Kraft – 40. Sarah Wright – 18. Madison Bennett
R: 19. Montana McKinnon – 11. Czenya Cavouras – 8. Elysse Haussen
INT: 1. Emily Woods – 4. Lauren Buchanan – 20. Tamara Page – 21. Alana Browne – 24. Danielle Goding – 30. Emma Gryczewski – 34. Nat Gibbs – 45. Emogen Johnson

IN: Emily Woods, Lauren Buchanan, Madison Bennett, Danielle Goding
OUT: Nil.

NORTH ADELAIDE

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

No change.

KEY STATISTICS: (pre-finals)

Stat: South Adelaide Leader | North Adelaide Leader
Disposals: Czenya Cavouras [ 195 ] | Nadia Von Bertouch [ 170 ]
Goals: Madison Bennett [ 9 ] | Kelly Barltrop [ 26 ]
Marks: Montana McKinnon [ 46 ] | Emma Sampson/Nadia Von Bertouch [ 39 ]
Tackles: Teah Charlton/Czenya Cavouras [ 77 ] | Leah Tynan [ 50 ]
Hitouts: Montana McKinnon [ 136 ] | Jane Altschwager [ 141 ]
Clearances: Czenya Cavouras [ 38 ] | Leah Tynan [ 38 ]
Inside 50s: Nicole Campbell [ 42 ] | Nadia Von Bertouch [ 30 ]
Rebounds: Jaslynne Smith [ 24 ] | Amber Ward [ 42 ]

KEY MATCH-UPS:

Montana McKinnon (SA) vs. Jane Altschwager (NA)

South Australia’s promising young ruck in McKinnon has enjoyed a terrific season for the Panthers and comes up against one of the better rucks in the competition in Altschwager. Both are capable of taking control of the match with McKinnon averaging 12.5 disposals, 4.8 marks, 2.3 tackles and 15.1 hitouts, while Altschwager has averaged 7.9 disposals, 2.3 marks, 1.7 tackles and 14.1 hitouts but will be keen to get one over her younger opponent.

Tiffany Copley (SA) vs. Amber Ward (NA)

These two may not match up directly, but one would expect a South Adelaide forward to pay close attention to Ward who is the competition’s top rebounder. If she can get her hands on the ball and get things moving, it goes a long way to North Adelaide winning. The Roosters have used her run out of defence to propel forward and put big scores on the board and she is a crucial player in defence. South Adelaide do not rely on one individual goalkicker and can afford to shut down Ward while looking for options away from her.

Jaslynne Smith (SA) vs. Kelly Barltrop (NA)

Barltrop is the competition leading goalkicker and a hard player to stop on her day. She has kicked bags of goals and is the only player to average more than two goals a game this season. Smith is South Adelaide’s dominant rebounder this season, and could have a duel purpose in this game, having her hands full with Barltrop, while trying to drive the ball out of defence.

KEY POINTS:

1. North Adelaide’s firepower is #1 in the league, ranked first in scoring and accuracy.
2. South Adelaide has a slingshot approach to its football, ranked #1 in both inside 50s and inside 50s allowed.
3. The Panthers are also ranked #1 in contested possessions and hard ball gets.
4. South Adelaide is gunning for for its second consecutive flag, while North Adelaide are hoping to bounce back from its one grand final loss in 2017 to win its first flag in the competition.

FINAL CALL:

The best offensive team meets the most consistent one in what shapes to be a thrilling contest. The match will come down to whether or not South Adelaide can contain the Roosters forward line, while the Roosters midfield must break-even in the midfield with the star-studded Panthers on-ball brigade. Both sides are capable of getting the ball forward and giving their forwards opportunities, so the team that makes the most of their opportunities will win. South Adelaide has been here before and deserves to be favourites, but it is hard to ignore some of the feats of the Roosters side since they were 1-3 at the start of the season. They can match it with the Panthers too. The week off for South Adelaide will be interesting to see how they go, North could have a strong start and the Panthers come back like in Round 4. South Adelaide in a thrilling one-point contest.