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