Tag: tahlia meyer

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 VFLW Round 10 preview: Pride on the line in more ways than one for huge round of action

THE Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s Pride Round kicks off in a Super Saturday stretching from the mid-morning to a game under lights, with plenty on the line and a number of virtual elimination finals or finals tuneups.

HAWTHORN vs. DAREBIN
Saturday, May 8 @ 10:00am
Box Hill City Oval

Opening the round is a must-win clash for Hawthorn hosting the last placed Darebin Falcons. If the Hawks get up, they are still a chance for finals, but a loss will all but put a line through their chances. For the Falcons, finals is a bit beyond them, but they will be hoping to double their wins tally with a victory here, and finish strongly in the last five rounds. Gippsland Power’s Grace McRae made her debut in the brown and gold last week, and another young talent will join her this week with Ashanti Bush cracking through to team up with fellow Darwin Buffettes prospect Dominique Carbone. The AFL Women’s Academy member will start on the bench, whilst Calder Cannons’ Peppa Poultney is back in the team after her side was eliminated from the NAB League Girls competition, and ex-Pioneer Katelyn Hazlett back for her second game after a strong debut. Given the AFL Women’s experience that keeps building at the Hawks, the latest is Geelong Cats’ Phoebe McWilliams who teams up with fellow experienced tall Meg Hutchins in attack. The Hawks have plenty of present and former AFLW talents, so expect they will be too strong in this one.

WESTERN BULLDOGS vs. CARLTON
Saturday, May 8 @ 12:00pm
Whitten Oval

A virtual elimination final takes place at midday on Saturday, with the loser of Western Bulldogs and Carlton effectively putting a line through their finals hopes. For the winner, they live to fight another day, which means there is plenty on the line for the teams. The Western Bulldogs have brought back Jess Fitzgerald to the team, with Kirsten McLeod and Naomi Ferres coming in for their first games of the season. Brisbane Lions’ Beth Pinchin is an interesting inclusion for the Dogs at centre half-back, while Western Jets’ Caitlin Sargent, Nikita Wright and Stephanie Asciak all remain in the side. For the Blues, they have kept fairly consistent wiht their lineups, getting games into Charlotte Hammans, Maddy Guerin and Serena Gibbs. Abbie McKay, Grace Egan and Daisy Walker all return for their second games back at the level, and Natalie Plane for her first, in what is a tough game on the road. The Dogs have that bit more class about them, but it will be whether or not they can win the midfield in what looks like a star-studded group on both sides.

GEELONG vs. ESSENDON
Saturday, May 8 @ 1:00pm
Deakin University Waurn Ponds

Two teams headed for finals will clash in a blockbuster VFLW match at Deakin University. Geelong have been strong down there, and with Stephanie Williams, Sophie Van De Heuvel, Rebecca Webster and Richelle Cranston all in the side, there is enough AFLW talent to lead by experience. Carly Remmos remains but Darcy Moloney and Laura Gardiner are out of the side after suffering repeated leather poisoning each week. They take on an Essendon side that is building very nicely, bringing in Bendigo Pioneers’ Jemma Finning for her debut this week, switching in for another Pioneer in Elizabeth Snell. The Calder Cannons talents feature all through the emergencies with talls Kasey Lennox and Neve Crowley likely to come in the following week, while Mia-Rae Clifford and Georgia Nanscawen represent AFL Women’s experience. The defence is solid for the Bombers, as Eloise Gardner and Courtney Ugle will provide some run and carry, while Ruby Svarc is a natural ball-winner and will provide good defensive pressure inside 50. At home Geelong has the upper hand, though the Bombers are a chance in this one.

NORTH MELBOURNE vs. COLLINGWOOD
Saturday, May 8 @ 2:00pm
Arden Street

In the traditional timeslot on Saturday afternoon, North Melbourne host Collingwood in a must-win clash for the Roos. The Magpies are cruising along nicely at 9-0 and unless the wheels completely fall off, a top two spot – and likely minor premiership beckons. The Magpies have brought in Mikala Cann for her first VFLW game of the season, giving the Pies mostly an AFLW spine including Sophie Alexander, Abbi Moloney and Maddie Shevlin, whilst Jasmine Ferguson has been one of the most reliable defenders in the competition. Add in the dangerous Matilda Zander up forward and the ball-winning Marla Neal in midfield, and the Magpies have plenty of top VFLW talents as well. For North Melbourne, they remain determined to keep a fairly consistent VFLW lineup, with Alexia Hamilton and Reni Hicks a couple of former AFLW players while Sarah Skinner and Meagan Kiely join them in the midfield as in-form talents. Camilla Taylor returns to the level after Tasmania Devils’ exit from the NAB League Girls competition, while Molly Eastman is another Roo in great form. They have had a real mixed bag this season, but are not without a chance the Roos, though the Pies are deservedly favourites for this clash.

PORT MELBOURNE vs. SOUTHERN SAINTS
Saturday, May 8 @ 2:00pm
ETU Stadium

Southern Saints can go a long way towards securing a finals spot with an upset win over top two side, Port Melbourne at ETU Stadium on Saturday. The Saints hold the precious sixth spot, and still will after this round given their far superior percentage to the chasing pack, but cannot afford to drop too many or the lower teams will pounce. Dandenong Stingrays co-captain Ash Richards and versatile runner Jaide Anthony both make their debuts at VFLW level, but unlike many of their teammates, they will be running out for the opposition side Port Melbourne. They are joined in the side by Maddy Brancatisano who returns to the level for the first time this season, with a host of current and past AFLW talent, including Katherine Smith, Sophie Molan and Emily Harley who stood up last week with four goals. Zoe Hill has been named as an emergency for the Saints, with Jemma Radford retaining her spot in the back pocket for some Dandenong Stingrays flavour, and the AFLW talent led by Alice Burke, Tahlia Meyer and Renee Saulitis. Port Melbourne have more depth in the side and should win, with the Saints needing to make the most of their chances if they are to get up.

WILIAMSTOWN vs. CASEY DEMONS
Saturday, May 8 @ 7:00pm
Downer Oval

Playing a special Saturday night game under lights for the Pride Round under lights at Downer Oval, Williamstown will be hoping to cause a boilover agains a strong Casey Demons side that is gearing up for finals. The Seagulls need to win the remainder of their games to qualify for finals just about, and have been able to welcome Gold Coast Suns’ Bess Keaney to the lineup. She will lineup in the back pocket, with Georgia Garnett also coming into the defence for her debut in the VFLW following the announcement that Williamstown had formed a link with the GWS GIANTS. Lisa Steane has also been named in the side, with Ella Baxter, Aimee Whelan and Ruby Tripodi among the in-form players. Casey Demons have a damaging forward line with Maddison Gay, Alyssa Bannan and Imogen Milford one of the strong forward trios going around. Libby Birch in defence, Eden Zanker and Megan Fitzsimon in midfield, and the newest debutant Grace Matser – a Gippsland Power ruck – will all provide plenty of talent and depth around the ground.

2021 VFLW Round 9 preview: Youngsters set for debut as AFLW talent filters back

SEVERAL NAB League Girls players make their Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s debuts in Round 9, as more AFL Women’s talents filter back to the state league competition.

ESSENDON vs. CARLTON
Saturday, May 1 @ 11:00am
Windy Hill

In the opening game of the round, Essendon and Carlton clash at Windy Hill in a weekend that will see plenty of opportunities for the rivals to go head-to-head. Ruby Svarc is a crucial in for the Bombers returning after spending her season in Queensland with the Brisbane Lions, and she could well be given the job on Grace Egan who makes her return to state level for the Blues. Searching for a win against a pretty impressive Bombers outfit this season, Carlton has also added Abbie McKay to the side, with the likes of Daisy Walker and Charlotte Hammans steady in the defence. Georgia Nanscawen has overcome the injury that kept her out for the past couple of weeks, whilst Bendigo Pioneers’ Elizabeth Snell is back for another week, with Pioneers teammate Jemma Finning named as an emergency and expected to make a VFLW debut in the coming weeks. The Bombers will be favoured in this clash with the return of Nanscawen and playing at home.

DAREBIN vs. PORT MELBOURNE
Saturday, May 1 @ 12:00pm
Bill Lawry Oval

Two teams at opposite ends of the ladder clash at midday, with the one-win Darebin team taking on a Port Melbourne side coming off its first loss to Casey Demons last week. After gaining Jess Dal Pos back from AFL Women’s last week, the Falcons will be keen to give it all they have against a pretty strong Borough outfit. Nicole Callinan has been an important inclusion for Darebin this season, with Stephanie Simpson and Samara David targets up forward. The Borough just have so much depth, and an incredible forward line led by key targets, Sabrina Frederick and Emily Harley, and reliable source of goals from Sophie Locke. Sophie Molan has returned to state level for the visitors, with GWS GIANTS’ Katherine Smith also set to make her debut for Port Melbourne, in a team that has some how found a way to get stronger. Given the inclusions for the Borough, it is hard to see them dropping this game, but it will be a great test for the Falcons.

GEELONG vs. WESTERN BULLDOGS
Saturday, May 1 @ 1:00pm
Deakin University Waurn Ponds

In the longest road trip of the season for the Western Bulldogs, the back-to-back winners take on an in-form Geelong outfit who remain in contention for a top two spot in this season. Since the AFL Women’s season has concluded, the Western Bulldogs have not mucked around with rotating their elite talents, and whilst Elisabeth Georgostathis rotates out of the side this week, the visitors will welcome back Isabella Grant, Isabelle Pritchard and Annabel Strahan, while Jess Fitzgerald has cheekily been named as an emergency so could well be coming into the side soon. Western Jets’ Jemima Woods comes back into the team after her three-goal debut a fortnight ago, and she will be joined by Caitlin Sargent (four goals in NAB League last week) and Trinity Skenderis. The Cats have kept a strong midfield, but have brought in Amy McDonald, whilst giving Sophie Van de Heuvel a rest. Darcy Moloney and Laura Gardiner still form a dominant group in there, and with Stephanie Williams, Georgia Clarke and the return of Richelle Cranston up forward, the Cats have plenty of firepower. This is a really tight game, and Geelong should be favourites, but the strength of the Bulldogs team means the visitors could cause an upset and make it three wins on the trot.

NORTH MELBOURNE vs. CASEY DEMONS
Saturday, May 1 @ 2:00pm
Arden Street

Casey Demons showed what they are capable of last week by rolling Port Melbourne to inflict the Borough’s first defeat of the season, whilst North Melbourne dominated Carlton, keeping the Blues to just one goal for the game. With the teams coming into good form, on paper it looks to be a great match but the Demons have really stacked their side with AFL Women’s talent, as Libby Birch, Brenna Tarrant and Shelley Heath are named in defence, Eden Zanker joined Maddison Gay in the midfield, and Alyssa Bannan and Casey Sherriff are up forward. The Roos have mostly kept a consistent lineup of players on the cusp of AFLW footy, though Beth Lynch is an important cog in defence. Bella Eddey is getting some extra minutes running around for the VFLW team, whilst Jayde Hamilton returns from the AFLW Under 19 Championships to play alongside sister Alexia. If North Melbourne can get up in this one it will be the Roos’ best scalp of the season, but with Essendon sniffing around Casey’s recently acquired fourth spot, the Demons must hold onto the place by winning this one.

WILLIAMSTOWN vs. COLLINGWOOD
Saturday, May 1 @ 2:00pm
Downer Oval

Williamstown is the next challenger up to try and knock off Collingwood as the undefeated Magpies rose in the final term to see off Essendon and grab another win in Round 8. The Magpies have plenty of reasons to get up in this game, with 2019 premiership coach Penny Cula-Reid behind the helm of the 2019 wooden spooners side this season. She will have her work cut out for her against a red-hot Magpies lineup, which features both Amelia Velardo and Aliesha Newman who copped knocks last week but have recovered to play. Abbi Moloney returns to the side with Joanna Lin, Maddi Shevlin and Imogen Purcell among the other Collingwood AFLW talents outside the two key forwards in Sophie Alexander and Bella Smith. The Seagulls have some terrific VFLW talent, with Erin Meade, Megan Williamson, Aimee Whelan and Ruby Tripodi among the in-form players in the competition, but it will be whether or not they can make the most of their chances as the Pies will give their forwards plenty, particularly after the form of Marla Neal last week who shone in the win at The Hangar. Hard to see the Pies dropping this one, though the Seagulls are strong defensively and will not make it easy for them.

SOUTHERN SAINTS vs. HAWTHORN
Sunday, May 2 @ 10:00am
Trevor Barker Oval

The standalone Sunday fixture pits the sixth placed Southern Saints in a must-win fixture against Hawthorn who got up in Meg Hutchins‘ 250th match last week. The Saints cling onto the lowest finals spot – albeit with plenty of time left in the season – and will need to win this one to give themselves some security there. However the Hawks have some tall targets in Hutchins and Tamara Luke up forward, with the dangerous Kristy Stratton and Jessie Williams capable of kicking multiple goals. Gippsland Power’s Grace McRae makes her debut for the brown and gold following the conclusion of the NAB League Girls’ season, with another former Gippsland leader in Maddi Shaw running around for the brown and gold. Georgia Bevan, Alison Drennan and Nadia von Bertouch have plenty to prove in this game as they look for another chance at AFL Women’s level, with the latter two having played for the Saints at this level earlier this season. For the Saints, they went down to the reformed Western Bulldogs at Whitten Oval last Friday and will look to bounce back with Tara Bohanna and Renee Saulitis providing that tall and small option inside 50. Alice Burke and Tahlia Meyer rack up the ball each and every week, and Hannah Stewart has been enjoying a nice season this year at VFLW level. This game could go either way with the Saints ranked higher, but the Hawks are forming a really strong list as the season goes on.

2021 VFLW Round 8 wrap: Dogs move within range of top six as Casey topple Borough

PORT Melbourne suffered its first loss of the season at the hands of a stacked Casey Demons outfit, while Western Bulldogs continued to make their move towards the top six, defeating Southern Saints under lights to kick off Round 8 of the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition.

>> VFL WOMEN’S PAGE

WESTERN BULLDOGS 0.0 | 1.4 | 2.8 | 4.10 (34)
SOUTHERN SAINTS 0.2 | 1.2 | 1.3 | 2.4 (16)

Under lights at Whitten Oval, the Western Bulldogs well and truly made up for their last game in the same time slot earlier in the season, taking care of the Southern Saints by 18 points. It was a crucial win for the Bulldogs, who moved to within percentage of the top six, and despite not scoring in the first term, booed three goals to one in the second half to secure the 4.10 (34) to 2.4 (16) victory. They arguably could have won by more with 14 scoring shots to six, though it was the impressive work of Nell Morris-Dalton and Danielle Marshall up front who did the damage, slotting two majors each. Elisabeth Georgostathis and Ellyse Gamble combined for 48 disposals, whilst the defence of Simone Ruedin, Sarah Hartwig and Brooke Hards were instrumental in the win. Angelica Gogos had another strong game in her second match back, while for the Saints, debutant Jemma Radford stood tall with some nice highlights. AFLW-listed players Molly McDonald and Alice Burke were busy, as Tahlia Meyer also feasted upon her debut in the VFLW side, sharing 53 disposals with Burke. Deanna Jolliffe was named best on for the Dogs, kicking one of their two goals, while Rebecca Neaves was also impressive in the loss.

>> MATCH STATISTICS

>> Bulldogs out of the dog house and off the leash

GOALS:

Western Bulldogs: N. Morris-Dalton 2, D. Marshall 2.
Southern Saints: K. Ripari, D. Jolliffe.

BEST:

Western Bulldogs: E. Georgostathis, A. Gogos , D. Marshall, E. Gamble, S. Ruedin, A. Scott.
Southern Saints: D. Jolliffe, M. McDonald, R. Neaves, M. Bertuna, J. Radford, A. Burke

PORT MELBOURNE 2.2 | 2.4 | 3.4 | 4.4 (28)
CASEY DEMONS 2.0 | 3.4 | 7.6 | 10.8 (68)

A dominant second half has helped Casey Demons inflict Port Melbourne’s first loss of the season, piling on seven goals to two after half-time to win by 40 points. The Demons trailed by two points at the first break, but hit the front by the main break with the only goal of the season term, before pulling away to win, 10.8 (68) to 4.4 (28). Alyssa Bannan made a successful debut at VFLW level with three majors, countering that of her experienced opponent down the other end in Sabrina Frederick who caused headaches for the Demons defence with the first two goals for her side. Fellow Demons AFLW-listed players in Maddison Gay (22 disposals) and Jacqueline Parry (20) also slotted in seamlessly, as Eliza West (21 and eight tackles) and Megan Fitzsimon (18 and six tackles) continued their good form this season. For the Borough, Olivia Barton and Mel Kuys led the way, having 18 and 17 disposals respectively, and laying four tackles apiece. Elizabeth Wilson kicked the other goal for the home side off 14 touches and 18 hitouts, while Phillipa Peschke and Sarah Sansonetti were lively.

>> MATCH STATISTICS

GOALS:

Port Melbourne: S. Frederick 3, E. Wilson.
Casey Demons: A. Bannan 3, E. Humphries 2, S. Johnson, J. Parry, S. Fairchild, I. Milford, K. Thompson.

BEST:

Port Melbourne: P. Peschke, S. Frederick, S. Sansonetti, S. Locke, C. Dyett, M. Kuys
Casey Demons: E. West, I. Milford, S. Fairchild, M. Fitzsimon, A. Bannan, S. Johnson

DAREBIN 0.2 | 0.3 | 1.5 | 1.5 (11)
GEELONG 1.2 | 3.6 | 6.6 | 11.9 (75)

Geelong Cats took a little while to get going, but then put the foot down against the last placed Darebin, running out 64-point winners at Bill Lawry Oval. The Cats led by a straight kick at quarter time and 21 points at half-time, before piling on 8.3 to 1.2 in the second half, including five goals to zero in the last term in order to secure the 11.9 (75) to 1.5 (11) victory. The AFLW contingent of Sophie Van De Heuvel (25 disposals, nine tackles and a goal), Laura Gardiner (24 disposals, 10 tackles and two goals) and Darcy Moloney (22 disposals, seven tackles and a goal) all had plenty of the footy, as Olivia Barber slotted three goals from 15 touches and six marks. Claudia Gunjaca, Georgie Rankin and Paige Sheppard were also among the best as the Cats continued their red-hot recent form. For the Falcons, Jess Dal Pos returned from New South Wales to put up 21 disposals, four marks and five tackles, and aid AFLW-experienced talents in Nicole Callinan (18 disposals, four marks and 11 tackles) and Alyssa Mifsud (14 disposals, six tackles and 17 hitouts). Hayley Munro, Ellen Buckley and Ashleigh Gunn were all named among the team’s best in the loss.

>> MATCH STATISTICS

GOALS:

Darebin: H. Munro.
Geelong: L. Gardiner 3, O. Barber 3, D. Moloney, S. Van De Heuvel, M. Boyd, A. Johnson, G. Clarke.

BEST:

Darebin: A. Mifsud, N. Callinan, J. Dal Pos, H. Munro, E. Buckley, A. Gunn
Geelong: O. Barber, C. Gunjaca, G. Rankin, B. Beckley, P. Sheppard, D. Moloney

HAWTHORN 1.1 | 3.2 | 3.4 | 5.6 (36)
WILLIAMSTOWN 0.2 | 0.3 | 1.6 | 2.8 (20)

Hawthorn leapfrogged Williamstown out of the bottom two with its second win of the season, getting up by 16 points at Box Hill City Oval on Sunday. The Hawks kicked the first three goals of the game to lead by 17 points at half-time, and whilst the Seagulls did manage to keep touch – and kick two of the last four goals – it would not be enough as the brown and gold saluted at home, 5.6 (36) to 2.8 (20). Dominique Carbone kicked a couple of majors and really impressed across the ground, as did key position player Tamara Luke (one goal). It was no surprise to see in her 250th game of senior footy that Meg Hutchins was a standout, while Sophie Bolding was named best on ground. Jenna Richardson and Chloe Bain were also named among the winning side’s best on the day. For Williamstown, Erin Meade was yet again outstanding, as Eliza Straford and Ella Baxter‘s strong seasons continued. Elizabeth McGrath and Gabrielle Biedenweg-Webster kicked the two goals for their sides, but it would not be enough in the end.

>> MATCH STATISTICS (will be updated once completed on the app)

GOALS:

Hawthorn: D. Carbone 2, T. Luke, E. Mcilvena , A. Malander.
Williamstown: G. Biedenweg-Webster, E. McGrath.

BEST:

Hawthorn: S. Bolding, T. Luke, M. Hutchins, D. Carbone, J. Richardson, C. Bain
Williamstown: E. Meade, E. Straford, E. Baxter, R. Tripodi, A. Whelan, L. Suleiman

ESSENDON 1.3 | 1.3 | 2.4 | 4.4 (28)
COLLINGWOOD 1.0 | 1.1 | 3.3 | 5.8 (38)

Collingwood has held off a determined Essendon at The Hangar, thanks to a strong second half, and in particular final quarter which saw the Magpies boot the last two goals of the game to win by 10 points. The Bombers looked strong early, but could never shake the Pies, and despite Mia-Rae Clifford booting an early goal in the fourth term to cut the deficit to one, the Magpies kicked away with the next two to blow it out to 15 points before a late consolation prize made the final scores 5.8 (38) to 4.4 (28). Collingwood welcomed back some of its AFL Women’s talent, with Sophie Alexander being a threat in the air, clunking seven marks from 17 touches, and while she did not hit the scoreboard in a major way – two behinds – she shared the load inside 50 with Imogen Barnett (13 disposals, six marks and one goal), Matilda Zander (13 disposals, one goal) and Aliesha Newman (12 disposals, one goal). Marla Neal was a clear standout for the Pies though, racking up the ball at will with 28 touches, as well as laying 14 tackles and a slotting a goal, while Jasmine Ferguson (12 disposals, four marks) and Caitlin Bunker (20 disposals, four marks) did well throughout the match. For the Bombers, Cecilia McIntosh dominated in the first half on her way to 22 disposals and six marks, as Eloise Ashley-Cooper (17 disposals, three marks and five tackles), Elisabeth Hosking (14 disposals, eight tackles), Eloise Gardner (12 disposals) and Elizabeth Snell (14 disposals) all stood strong. Clifford’s three goals from nine touches, three marks and five tackles threatened to change the game.

>> ELIZABETH SNELL PLAYER FOCUS

>> MATCH STATISTICS

GOALS:

Essendon: M. Clifford 3, E. Mackay.
Collingwood: M. Zander, A. Newman, B. Smith, I. Barnett, M. Neal.

BEST:

Essendon: C. McIntosh, E. Ashley-Cooper, M. Clifford, J. Davies, E. Gardner, K. Heil
Collingwood: S. Alexander, M. Neal, J. Ferguson, M. Shevlin, K. Lee, S. King

NORTH MELBOURNE 4.1 | 4.5 | 4.9 | 6.11 (47)
CARLTON 0.0 | 0.0 | 1.0 | 1.0 (6)

North Melbourne has won its third game of the season in style, proving too strong for Carlton, and keeping the Blues to just one goal in the match. It was the second time in three rounds that the Blues kicked a goal or less after pushing Port Melbourne in between, but on the day, North Melbourne’s four first-quarter goals were the difference during the 6.11 (47) to 1.0 (6) victory. Sarah Skinner‘s unbelievable form continued with a whopping 32 disposals, five marks, five tackles and a goal, teaming up perfectly with those in the back half, as Meagan Kiely (26 disposals, four marks and seven tackles), Molly Eastman (22 disposals, five marks and five tackles) and Bella Eddey (22 disposals, five marks) all finding plenty of the ball. Daria Bannister slotted two goals from 20 touches and 10 tackles in her return to the level with Eddey, while Annalise Vine who switched to the Roos from the Hawks played her best game of the season with 16 disposals and seven marks. Brooke Brown was named best-on by the Roos coaching staff for her 16 touches and nine marks. For the Blues, Teresa Zampaliogne had a team-high 20 disposals as well as five tackles and three marks, while AFLW-listed talents, Charlotte Hammans (19 disposals) and Winnie Laing (18 and six tackles) were both busy. Eliza Wood was named the Blues’ best with 15 disposals, eight marks, three tackles and a goal, while Paige Trudgeon (11 disposals, six tackles) and Bry Gurr (16 disposals) were also busy despite the loss.

>> MATCH STATISTICS

GOALS:

North: L. Wright 2, D. Bannister 2, S. Skinner, N. Celebre.
Carlton: E. Wood.

BEST:

North: B. Brown, M. Eastman, D. Bannister, J. Mourney, S. Skinner, K. Price
Carlton: E. Wood, C. Hammans, P. Trudgeon, T. Zampaglione, B. Gurr, W. Laing

2021 SANFL Women’s Round 8 preview: State Academy, AFLW talents return in massive round of action

SOME huge ins at the selection table across all eight teams means the intensity and quality of matches will lift from Round 8 onwards, as the State Academy members and some AFL Women’s players return to their state league clubs.

NORTH ADELAIDE vs. WWT EAGLES
Saturday, April 24 @ 11:30am
Prospect Oval

North Adelaide will celebrate Leah Tynan‘s 50th game in the competition against Woodville-West Torrens, welcoming back State Academy members Amelie Borg, Kate Case and Julia Clark, as well as Lauren Gauci among six inclusions, whilst Talia Radan is the crucial loss, out with a back injury. The Eagles have a number of forced changes, with Audrey Holt, Lili Gambranis, Marlie Fiegert and Samantha Hoogeveen-Hill all unavailable. Coming back into the side are the likes of State Academy duo, Jamie Parish and Charlotte Dolan, as well as AFL Women’s talent Renee Forth. Both sides inclusions are huge, and plenty on the line with the Roosters sitting a point inside the eight thanks to their draw, but also a win off the bottom of the table. Lose to the Eagles, and the reigning premiers will slip outside the finals spots. Brianna Arthur had an outstanding game in the midfield last week, and with Leah Tynan and Jamie Tabb taking on the likes of Forth, Shineah Goody and Anastasia Falkenberg, the clearance battle will be an important one to win for both sides.

GLENELG vs. SOUTH ADELAIDE
Saturday, April 24 @ 4:40pm
ACH Group Stadium

Coming off a hard-fought win over Central District last week to secure their place in second spot, the Bays now host a South Adelaide team that will load up on talent – but also lose a number of top players at the same time – in what is a top three clash. The home team will bring back State Academy members Brooke Tonon and Tamsyn Morriss, as well as ruck, Molly Affolter, with only Tess Morcom out with injury. Whilst Glenelg has minimal changes, the Panthers have made eight selection moves, with the likes of Czenya Cavouras and Tahlia Meyer out of the side for this round, but plenty of star power coming back in. AFL Women’s-listed players Lisa Whiteley and Montana McKinnon, and State Academy members Gypsy Schirmer, Tahlita Buethke and Lauren Clifton all come back into the side in what is a crucial game for the Panthers. A win will see them grab second as they head for home with their talents filtering back in, and the likes of Jaslynne Smith and Nicole Campbell in terrific form. Jorja Hooper is developing nicely up forward, while Brianna Wedding has been a rock in defence. For the Bays, Ellie Kellock, Jess Bates and Tessa Kohn remain consistent each week, while Sam Franson and Madisyn Freeman are others who can turn a game.

WEST ADELAIDE vs. NORWOOD
Saturday, April 24 @ 3:40pm
Hisense Stadium

An absolute blockbuster game between the top of the table Norwood and arguably the strongest West Adelaide side of the season presents the Hisense Stadium clash as the game of the round. The Redlegs have exchanged State Academy members with Jade Halfpenny returning to the side for Jess Williams in what will be Leah Cutting‘s 50th game. The ruck has been in sensational form this year, and she has been named forward to share the role with Elizabeth Drake. West Adelaide on the other hand have brought in some of the elite talents in State MVP from the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships, Lauren Young, as well as fellow Academy members Zoe Venning and Scarlett Griffiths, and Abbie Ballard who returns for her first game of the season off a long-term injury layoff. Add in AFL Women’s talents in Ailish Considine and Chelsea Biddell, and tall target Melanie Elsegood, and the Bloods have stocked up this week. Louella McCarthy and Gretel Ramsey are among the outs for the match, but with Sarah Dargan joining Young and Considine in the middle, the Bloods have a stacked side. The Redlegs still have talent across the board that has led them to the top of the table, The midfield featuring Sophie Armitstead, Jess Macolino and Elisha Gallagher, as well as Morgan Johnston and Lana Schwerdt, will be a tough one to beat, with Sarah Branford another talented teenager ready to impact in this huge match.

CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. STURT
Saturday, April 24 @ 7:30pm
Tanunda Oval

The final match of the round in a prime time Saturday night fixture is Central District up against Sturt, with the sides in the bottom four, but one win – and favourable results – will see the winner leap into the top four such is the evenness of the competition. The Bulldogs in particular have a massive chance given their percentage is the second highest in the league. Sturt has a lower percentage, but a win would certainly see them jump past at least one – if not two or three sides. Central District has kept the cards close to the chest, including four players on an extended bench with the trio of State Academy members – Laitiah Huynh, Lauren Breguet and Madison Lane all returning, as well as AFL Women’s representative Chloe Scheer. The Double Blues lose Lucy Griffith to concussion and Amy Brooks-Birve to a knee injury, but have added four players to the side, including a trio of State Academy members themselves in Zoe Prowse, Hannah Prenzler and Alex Ballard. This matchup is all about offence taking on defence, with the Double Blues defensive set up, often featuring Prenzler and Ballard – though both have been named up forward on this occasion – as well as captain Maya Rigter, whilst the Central attack is the most exciting in the competition, with Huynh, Breguet and Scheer roaming to leading goalkicking talents Chantel Reynolds and Katelyn Rosenzweig. Lane and Demi Sonneman up the other end provide the run, with Shelby Smith, Lauren Smith and Caitlen Teague roving to Isabelle Starmer forming a strong midfield core. The battle of the midfields will be fascinating, with Jess Good in ripping form in the ruck, alongside Alisha Gepp, Isobel Kuiper and Jaimee Wittervan onball, while Nicole Baker and Chloe Forby flank Prowse on the forward line.

Picture credit: SANFL / Cory Sutton

2021 SANFL Women’s Team of the Week: Round 7

THERE were a few teams that put together big wins, and others that had tight contests, to make quite the interesting spread in this week’s Draft Central South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s Team of the Week for Round 7. Four sides have four players named in the side for the first time, and one side only having the one representative after a heavy loss.

In a week where the individual midfield and ruck performances were unbelievable, it meant some players were unlucky to miss out whilst others were forced slightly behind their usual position to earn a spot in the team. South Adelaide’s Czenya Cavouras was named captain of the hypothetical side after her outstanding effort on the weekend, one of four Panthers in the team. She is joined in there by Nicole Campbell, Tahlia Meyer and Jaslynne Smith, four of eight players from the game against Woodville-West Torrens Eagles.

The Eagles had four players in the side themselves despite the loss, with Kiana Lee and Zahn Anthony in defence, Jovanka Zecevic named at half-forward for this time, and Shineah Goody making the interchange after another impressive performance from the teenager. At the other end of the scale, West Adelaide’s Madi Russell was the sole representative in the side, named at centre half-back, while Sarah Dargan was nominated as an emergency alongside South Adelaide’s Sorian Moon and Central District’s Shelby Smith.

Whilst the Bulldogs captain was another unlucky one not to make it in due to the ridiculous depth of midfield talent this week, her teammates Chantel Reynolds (full-forward) and Isabelle Starmer (interchange) did make the team. Starmer was unlucky not to be starting ruck, but the overflows of rucks this week meant that even Sturt’s Jess Good had to be named as a centre half-forward. Also in the team with Good are Double Blues’ Alisha Gepp, Nicole Baker and Isobel Kuiper as another team with four players.

Norwood has a quartet of talent in the Round 7 team too, with Sachi Syme named on a wing, Rosette Zerella in a forward pocket, Leah Cutting as the starting ruck once again, and Elisha Gallagher on the interchange. They knocked off North Adelaide, with this week’s vice-captain, Brianna Arthur named on the ball and Jaimi Tabb coming off the bench. The final team rounding out the side is Glenelg, with Ellie Kellock back in the side, this time at half-back, while Jessica Bates is at half-forward and Sarah Goodwin has been named on the bench.

DRAFT CENTRAL SANFL WOMEN’S TEAM OF THE WEEK: ROUND 7

B: Jaslynne Smith (SA) – Kiana Lee (WWT) – Zahn Anthony (WWT)
HB: Ellie Kellock (GL) – Madi Russell (WA) – Alisha Gepp (ST)
C: Sachi Syme (NW) – Czenya Cavouras (SA) (c) – Tahlia Meyer (SA)
HF: Jessica Bates (GL) – Jess Good (ST) – Jovanka Zecevic (WWT)
F: Rosette Zerella (NW) – Chantel Reynolds (CD) – Nicole Baker (ST)
R: Leah Cutting (NW) – Brianna Arthur (NA) (vc) – Nicole Campbell (SA)
INT: Elisha Gallagher (NW) – Shineah Goody (WWT) – Sarah Goodwin (GL) – Isobel Kuiper (ST) – Isabelle Starmer (CD) – Jaimi Tabb (NA)

EMG: Sarah Dargan (WA) – Soriah Moon (SA) – Shelby Smith (CD)

SANFL Women’s Round 7 wrap: Two points separates second from eighth after weekend’s results

THE evenness of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition was on display over the weekend, with the end result being seven of the eight teams separated by just two points – one win – while Norwood streaked away at the top of the table.

NORWOOD 2.0 | 3.2 | 5.2 | 6.3 (39)
NORTH ADELAIDE 0.1 | 1.1 | 1.1 | 1.2 (8)

GOALS:

Norwood: R. Zerella 2, E. Gallagher, J. Macolino, E. Sporn, S. Syme.
North: K. Reynolds.

DC BEST:

Norwood: L. Cutting, E. Gallagher, S. Syme, S. Armitstead, E. Clark.
North: B. Arthur, J. Tabb, K. Pope, E. Sundstrom, E. Greet

Norwood brought up the half dozen straight victories with a dominant 31-point victory over North Adelaide to solidify the Redlegs’ spot at the top of the table. The Redlegs kicked the only two goals of the first term, and kept the Roosters to just one goal for the match, booting the final four goals of the game during the 6.3 (39) to 1.2 (8) win. They dominated possession (215-156) and kept the ball off their opponents with a massive mark differential (46-17), also doubling the inside 50s count (32-16), and controlling the hitouts (37-17). The Roosters defence held up best it could with 25 rebound 50s to 14, and also laid 15 more tackles (69-54).

Leah Cutting led the way in the ruck with 34 hitouts to go with 12 disposals, two marks, 10 tackles and two clearances, as the likes of Elisha Gallagher (16 disposals, four clearances, four marks and a goal), Sachi Syme (17 disposals, three clearances, four inside 50s and a goal) and Jess Macolino (13 disposals, eight tackles and a goal) all hit the scoreboard. Rosette Zerella slotted two majors with her 10 touches and four marks – three contested – while Sophie Armitstead (13 disposals, nine tackles, three clearances and four inside 50s) and Emma Clark (19 disposals, four tackles, three clearances) were also impressive. For the Roosters, Brianna Arthur stood out with seven clearances to match her seven tackles, as well as 15 disposals, whilst Jaimi Tabb laid 13 tackles with nine touches, three inside 50s and four rebound 50s. Erin Sundstrom (nine disposals, seven tackles) and Katelyn Pope (13 disposals, five tackles) were also fierce around the ball carrier.

GLENELG 2.2 | 2.2 | 3.4 | 5.5 (35)
CENTRAL DISTRICT 0.1 | 0.6 | 1.7 | 4.8 (32)

GOALS:

Glenelg: S. Wilton 2, C. Packer 2, G. Duffy.
Central: C. Reynolds 2, G. Madigan, N. Biagi.

DC BEST:

Glenelg: J. Bates, T. Kohn, E. Kellock, S. Franson, S. Goodwin
Central: S. Smith, I. Starmer, P. Allen, N. Mark, E. Mickan,

Glenelg has held on to bounce back with an important win against a fast-finishing Central District outfit that gave the Bays a real scare at ACH Group Stadium on Friday night. The home team booted the first two goals of the game and led by 13 points at the first break, before six consecutive behinds to the Bulldogs over the next quarter and a minute had them within seven points. Chantel Reynolds kicked the drought-breaking goal two minutes into the third term for the Bulldogs to claw to within one point, but the next five scoring shots – and three goals including two to Sarah Wilton  – went the way of Glenelg to open up a 35-13 lead. Looking down and out, the Bulldogs found a way to get back with three last quarter goals, but would ultimately fall three points short.

Jessica Bates was outstanding once again, amassing 14 disposals, two marks, 10 tackles, four clearances and four inside 50s for the winners, teaming up well with Tessa Kohn (16 disposals, three marks, eight tackles and two clearances), and Ellie Kellock (13 disposals, four tackles, three inside 50s and four rebound 50s) around the ground. Wilton slotted the two goals from five disposals, as did Chelsea Packer, while Sam Franson had an impact thanks to nine disposals, eight tackles, two clearances and three inside 50s. For the Bulldogs, Shelby Smith led from the front with a match-high 19 disposals, as well as two marks, four tackles, two clearances and two inside 50s, while Isabelle Starmer was terrific in the ruck, finishing with 10 disposals, 27 hitouts, six tackles, four clearances, three inside 50s and two rebound 50s. Katelyn Rosenzweig (eight disposals, two marks, six tackles, five hitouts, two inside 50s and three rebound 50s) and Reynolds (five disposals, three marks and two goals) again looked lively.

WWT EAGLES 2.0 | 3.0 | 4.0 | 4.0 (24)
SOUTH ADELAIDE 1.0 | 2.0 | 3.1 | 5.3 (33)

GOALS:

Eagles: P. Pipinis 2, A. Gooley, J. Zecevic.
South: J. Hooper 2, L. Buchanan, C. Cavouras, T. Meyer

DC BEST:

Eagles: J. Zecevic, S. Goody, K. Lee, A. Falkenberg, Z. Anthony
South: C. Cavouras, T. Meyer, N. Campbell, S. Moon, J. Smith

A momentum-swinging match has gone in the favour of the visitors, with South Adelaide triumphing over Woodville-West Torrens Eagles by just nine points at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval on Saturday morning. The teams traded goals in the opening half, with the only five scoring shots of the first half all being goals. The Eagles led by as much as 12 points early in the second term, but back-to-back goals by South had them a point up early in the third. The Eagles again responded to hit the front at the final break, but South kicked on in the last term to boot 2.2 to 0.0 and run out 5.3 (33) to 4.0 (24) winners. The teams were evenly matched with the Panthers ahead in the tackles (71-53), hitouts (23-17) and clearances (19-15), but most crucially the inside 50s (28-17), whilst the Eagles held firm in the back half with 21 rebound 50s to 13.

Tahlia Meyer was welcomed back to the Panthers after her terrific season with St Kilda in the AFL Women’s, amassing 25 touches, five marks, nine tackles, three inside 50s and a goal, only bested by Czenya Cavouras who feasted with 26 disposals, five marks, six tackles, three clearances, five inside 50s, two rebound 50s and a goal. Nicole Campbell also dominated through the midfield with 18 disposals, five clearances, six tackles, four inside 50s and two rebound 50s, while Soriah Moon fed them the ball all day with 20 hitouts to accompany 13 disposals, three marks, three tackles and three clearances. Jaslynne Smith (18 disposals, five marks and three tackles) and Elyse Haylock (15 disposals, four tackles and three inside 50s) were other prominent Panthers in the match. Jovanka Zecevic suffered leather poisoning with a match equal-high 26 touches, as well as six marks, three clearances and a goal, while young gun Shineah Goody had 15 disposals, nine tackles, three clearances and three rebound 50s. Anastasia Falkenberg (16 disposals, six marks and five tackles) and Zahn Anthony (16 disposals, four marks, four tackles and three rebound 50s) were busy, while Kiana Lee showcased her contested marking ability with five contested grabs from seven marks, as well as 13 disposals.

STURT 3.2 | 7.2 | 7.5 | 9.8 (62)
WEST ADELAIDE 0.0 | 0.2 | 2.3 | 2.5 (17)

GOALS:

Sturt: N. Baker 3, A. Healy 2, A. Jericho, S. Wallace, J. Good.
West: K. Culhane, I. Loftes.

DC BEST:

Sturt: J. Good, J. Wittervan, I. Kuiper, N. Baker, A. Healy
West: S. Dargan, M. Russell, I. Loftes, S. Whiting, B. Owen

A seven goals to zero first half has set up a memorable victory for Sturt, piling on the Double Blues’ highest score with a huge 45-point win over West Adelaide to move within a win of the top four. The home team kept the Westies goalless until three minutes into the third term, where the visitors kicked two goals in the space of five minutes, and had the majority of their score within that time. But it was the seven straight goals to open proceedings – and that final two of the match – that secured Sturt its second win of the season. The Double Blues dominated possession, winning almost 100 more touches (217-138), had 19 more marks (47-28), and won the hitouts (26-18), clearances (21-18) and thrashed their opponents in the inside 50s count (27-12). West Adelaide did lay more tackles (53-38) and had four more rebound 50s (15-11) in a low-rebound game.

Nicole Baker was the chief destroyer with three goals from five scoring shots, also picking up seven touches, two marks and three tackles in the win. Alysha Healy slotted the two majors from nine touches and three marks – two contested – whilst ruck Jess Good was fantastic kicking a goal and having 16 disposals, four marks, 21 hitouts, four clearances, three tackles and two inside 50s. Kate Harris (12 disposals, three marks – two contested, five tackles and three clearances) and Aajiah Jericho (11 disposals, four marks – one contested) both found plenty of the ball and hit the scoreboard, whilst Jaimee Wittervan (14 disposals, five clearances and five tackles), Isobel Kuiper (20 disposals, four marks, two clearances and three inside 50s) and Alisha Gepp (17 disposals, five marks, three tackles and three rebound 50s) were all busy for the Double Blues. Just four players hit double-figure disposals for the Westies, led by Madi Russell (14 disposals, eight marks), while Sarah Dargan (13 disposals, nine tackles and four clearances) was the standout on her SANFL Women’s debut. Sharnie Whiting (12 disposals, three inside 50s and two rebound 50s), Bec Owen (10 disposals, three tackles and two inside 50s) and Imogen Loftes (six disposals, five tackles and a goal) were also among the visitors’ best in the loss.

 

Picture credit: SANFL / Cory Sutton

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.

2021 AFLW Preview: St Kilda Saints

ST KILDA’S inaugural AFL Women’s campaign produced some notable highlights as the Saints brought football back to Moorabbin, with solid building blocks now in place for an improved second season. Another promising draft crop and handy additions during trade period will only add to the Saints’ emerging squad, which will again look to knock on the door of finals in 2021.

2020 RECAP

As one of the better performed expansion sides, St Kilda finished fifth in the stronger Conference A at 2-4. Losses in the first two rounds were quickly forgotten as the Saints upset foundation club, Melbourne by five points to open Round 3, making for a memorable maiden win. A heartbreaking one-point loss to Fremantle followed, but showed that the Saints could hang with the best on their day.

They would be rewarded for competitive form with another victory in Round 6 after keeping Richmond goalless, capping off a very respectable first crack at the top flight. Leading goalkicker and joint best and fairest, Caitlin Greiser was the sole Saint to earn All Australian honours, also finishing one spot ahead of fellow first year gun Georgia Patrikios (equal-third) in the Rising Star voting.

NEW FACES

Having already formed a solid foundational core, the Saints picked up another couple of established players to accompany their exciting draft hand. The dynamic Bianca Jakobsson was a terrific coup, but has recently undergone surgery to repair a broken collarbone sustained in a scratch match on the eve of season proper. Jayde Van Dyk was the other trade acquisition, set to help shore up the defence after crossing from Carlton.

Tyanna Smith headlined St Kilda’s draft effort and will likely prove an absolute steal at pick six. The Dandenong Stingrays graduate adds to the Saints’ exciting young midfield with her searing pace and capacity to play both inside and outside. Father-daughter selection Alice Burke was another value pick at 24, again bolstering her new side’s engine room with toughness and great tackling pressure.

The versatile Renee Saulitis was another shrewd selection, able to add some spark going forward and allow the Saints’ second year guns to perhaps spend more time in midfield. Southern Saints recruit Jacqueline Vogt rounded out St Kilda’s draft hand, with Tahlia Meyer taken after the fact and Jess Matin getting her chance in place of Irishwoman, Clara Fitzpatrick.

ONE TO WATCH IN 2021

Prized draftee, Smith is one to watch for St Kilda, especially after the level of performance from the likes of Patrikios, Molly McDonald, and Isabella Shannon in their debut seasons. Smith represents the next generation of talent which has taken over the competition of late and only adds to St Kilda’s exciting young depth. Her athletic traits blend nicely with high-level skill and good balance in midfield, pointing towards the kind of upside which could see her prove to be one of the top two players of her draft class.

WHY THEY CAN WIN IT

The Saints are fierce and love to compete. Headed by a strong, established leadership group and backed by competitive youngsters with plenty of class, the Saints are well balanced in terms of their squad profile and have plenty of players who can come in and push highly-fancied opposition. Peta Searle‘s side suffered a season-high loss of 25 points in 2020, while also going down by just 13 points to the reigning premier and a single score to the undefeated Fremantle. If they can continue to rattle established teams and lean on the experience of year one, these Saints could well exceed expectations.

QUESTION MARK

A relatively heavy turnover of players means the Saints will be tested for squad cohesion and depth, but they have proven strong in the face of such challenges thus far. Scoring may be an area of concern with not much in the way of firepower aside from Greiser and the 30-mark cracked just once last season – against the winless Richmond. Kicking a winning score will be key to not just competing with the top sides, but getting the better of them on any given day.

FINAL WORD

St Kilda showed up in its maiden AFL Women’s season and proved plenty of doubters wrong with strong performances each week. A couple of wins is a solid base to work off and notching at least one more in 2021 would be a decent pass mark with finals contention in the Saints’ sights. Should they again bind together to overcome injury disruptions, this exciting young unit could cause a few big upsets.

Image Credit: AFL Photos (Retrieved from St Kilda FC)

2020 AFLW Draft review: St Kilda Saints

NOW the AFL Women’s Draft is over, we take a look at each club, who they picked and what they might offer to their team next year. We continue our countdown with St Kilda, a team that showed promising signs in its inaugural season and will be on the rise in 2021 after being one of the most impressive performers through the draft.

St Kilda:

#6 – Tyanna Smith (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
#24 – Alice Burke (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
#34 – Renee Saulitis (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
#40 – Jacqueline Vogt (Southern Saints VFLW)
#51 – Tahlia Meyer (South Adelaide)

Every club is a winner post-draft, but St Kilda’s draft hand is one to celebrate and leave the red, white and black supporters really excited. Three young guns who were steals in the draft, followed by a couple of mature-agers including one already in the Saints’ program and another underrated talent in the SANFL Women’s, this is a side to watch in 2021.

Tyanna Smith was one of only a few who could challenge as the best player in the AFL Women’s Draft crop, so to see the Dandenong Stingrays star land at pick six and join former Stingrays’ teammates Molly McDonald and Isabella Shannon at Moorabbin is a coup in itself. She is arguably the most complete player from the Under 18s, with elite athleticism, great skills, terrific decision making and a big-game player. She will complement Georgia Patrikios in there and the two will almost be uncatchable.

Alice Burke is one the fans would have been tracking for a little while given the men’s team has not had too many father-sons over the years. The daughter of club legend and now Western Bulldogs’ coach Nathan, Burke is a tenacious midfielder who has also spent time at half-back. Coming from a soccer background, Burke would have been a top 15 pick in an open draft, so again like Smith, represents value. With her defensive pressure and dual-sidedness, Burke is a massive inclusion to the Saints’ outfit.

Renee Saulitis was the premier pure small forward in the draft, and while she showed over the last 18 months she could play in defence or midfield, she is most at home in a forward pocket. Oozing X-factor and goal sense, she is another who could come straight in and cause all sorts of damage at the feet of Caitlin Greiser, and is one to watch as a quick developer. She provides a niche little role in there, and cannot be left alone inside 50.

Jacqueline Vogt comes out of the Southern Saints program where she performed as a versatile forward. Strong and not afraid of the contest, the mature-age Vogt could slot into the side straight away if required following her consistent 2019 VFL Women’s season.

Finally, the Saints picked up slick ball user Tahlia Meyer with the extra pick they opted to pass on draft night. The South Adelaide prospect was one of the most underrated players in the SANFL Women’s competition, but hardly put a foot wrong with her disposal and vision going inside 50 a treat to watch. It seems to be a running theme with the Saints – good ball use and decision making – and Meyer fits the bill and is also readymade to have an impact at senior level.

Overall the Saints included some serious X-factor and talent to their line-up with fans likely to see them continue to rise up the ladder and worry some more experienced teams next season.

Picture: St Kilda Women’s Twitter