WITH no football on given the current COVID-19 global pandemic, the Draft Central team takes a look at where the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s left off, and will examine each of the eight teams from reverse ladder order. Today’s team summary is South Adelaide.
RECORD: 2nd (3-1)
R1: defeated WWT Eagles by 4 points
R2: defeated Sturt by 35 points
R3: defeated Norwood by 30 points
R4: lost to North Adelaide by 4 points
Despite losing a number top players to the AFL Women’s competition, South Adelaide had a terrific start to the 2020 SANFL Women’s season. The reigning premiers almost had a shock loss to Woodville-West Torrens Eagles in Round 1, then easily defeated both Sturt and Norwood, before engaging in an epic battle for the grand final rematch. It was the Roosters that got the better of the Panthers this time, but had the season completed, no doubt both were teams to watch.
Czenya Cavouras (18.8 disposals, 8.0 tackles, 4.8 clearances, 2.5 inside 50s, 1.3 rebounds)
While a number of her premiership midfield teammates got called up to the AFL Womens competition, the reliable Panthers talent continued to step up amongst a new group and led them well. Using her fierce approach around the stoppages, Cavouras finished second in both disposals and handballs – to teammates – was the equal top tackler in the competition, and ranked top five in clearances as well. When it comes to league best and fairests, or even club ones in this scenario, she would be among the contenders having reached 20 disposals on three occasions and laid double-figure tackles twice in four games.
THE top-age star:
Teah Charlton (19.0 disposals, 2.0 marks, 5.3 tackles, 3.3 clearances, 3.8 inside 50s)
The competition’s leading disposal winner and South Australia’s top draft prospect for the AFL Women’s competition, it is no surprise to see Charlton continuing to succeed on a football field. She was a standout player in her bottom-age year and it showed when she got to the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships last year as a Central Allies representative. For South Adelaide this season, after a quieter first game, she tore it up in the big wins over Sturt and Norwood, combining for 50 disposals, 11 tackles, seven clearances and 10 inside 50s. She did not kick a goal this season moving purely into the midfield, but she has that X-factor and perfect blend of offence and defence, and can take a contested mark.
THE VERSATILE RUCK:
Montana McKinnon (15.7 disposals, 5.3 marks, 1.7 tackles, 2.7 clearances, 4.7 inside 50s, 2.0 rebounds)
Speaking of contested marks, the leading contested mark in the competition – and it’s not even close – is Adelaide’s first pick at the 2019 AFL Women’s Draft. Each week it was a – pleasant for the Panthers – surprise to see McKinnon still available, though the talented ruck missed the last round defeat to the Roosters after receiving the call-up to the Crows. She averaged 15.7 disposals, 5.3 marks – including 3.3 contested – 1.7 tackles, 2.7 clearances, 4.7 inside 50s and 2.0 rebounds from three games in an outstanding short season. While she started off in the ruck averaging 18.5 hitouts per game in the first two games, she showed the versatility to also play behind the ball with four rebounds and seven marks – four contested – to really be a thorn in Norwood’s side.
THE GOAL SNEAK:
Jess Kirk (6.0 disposals, 2.3 marks, 3.0 tackles, 10 goals)
The competition’s leading goalkicker with 10 majors in four games, Kirk was a reliable source of scores this season. Starting off slowly with just a goal against the Eagles in Round 1, the 27-year-old 173cm forward who kicked just the five goals in 10 games last year, exploded with tallies of three, four and two in the remaining three rounds. Being a stay-at-home forward, Kirk only had the six disposals per game, but she was efficient, with a score every 1.8 disposals. Absolutely remarkable.
THE REBOUNDING MACHINE:
Jaslynne Smith (11.5 disposals, 2.3 marks, 1.5 tackles, 5.0 rebounds)
While the Panthers had plenty of firepower in the forward half, it is easy to forget the job the defenders do, and Smith was one of the top rebounders in the competition this year. She finished equal top of the rebound statistic with five per game, and teamed up well with Samantha Pratt in the back 50 when her side was under pressure. She was a slick user of the ball and was a reason why the Panthers managed to hold off the Eagles in Round 1 with 15 touches and seven rebounds, as well as stay in the game against North Adelaide for so long (11 disposals, eight rebounds).
THE IN-FORM MIDFIELDER:
Courtney Barry (16.5 disposals, 1.0 marks, 5.5 tackles, 4.8 clearances, 1.8 inside 50s)
If there was one player in the competition building some nice form over the past few weeks, it was Barry. Consistency at times waived with just the seven touches in Round 1, but had two games – Sturt and North Adelaide – with more than 20 disposals, She averaged the 16.5 disposals, 5.5 tackles and 4.8 clearances this season, which if you exclude that first game, puts those totals up to 19.7 disposals, 7.0 tackles and 6.0 clearances which would be in the top couple of players across the board in that time. When left to hunt the ball and get it out of midfield, she provides a great service to her teammates.
South Adelaide has an array of talents that could be a much longer list realistically. Indy Tahau is another player from a youth prospect that has stood out, Nicole Campbell returned from the AFL Women’s for a big game in Round 4, and Tahlia Meyer has been a consistent player on the outside with some big games in the middle. South Adelaide was naturally a contender when the season halted, and the line-up competitive across all three lines.