Tag: zoe prowse

2021 AFLW Draft Positional Analysis: Rucks

AFTER announcing the inaugural AFLW Draft Power Rankings Victorian Pool, Draft Central is starting a new series – Positional Analysis. It takes a look across the nation and those players within a certain position, and the impact they have. First up is rucks, where versatility and upside comes into play, though a number of the pure rucks have plenty of standout traits and everyone on this list is more than capable at the next level. All opinions are of the individual author.

#1 Zoe Prowse (Sturt/South Australia)
03/07/2003 | 177cm
Ruck/Key Forward/Midfielder

Key strengths: Athleticism, versatility, clean hands, tackling pressure

The standout ruck across the nation is AFL Women’s Academy talent, Zoe Prowse. Though if you had just tuned in to the 2021 SANFL Women’s season, you might have mistaken her for being a ruck, having also played as a key forward and remarkably, a midfielder. She is the ultimate utility, whom at 177cm can play anywhere. Her athleticism around the ground is superb, and she can find the football as well as any midfielder which makes her one of the more readymade rucks coming through junior programs. Prowse’s vertical leap is massive, but she can also get her hands dirty, laying plenty of tackles and causing a real nuisance at ground level. At the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships, Prowse had to carry the ruck load given the Croweaters’ lack of talls and injuries to fellow rucks, to average 18.3 disposals, 2.3 marks, 22.3 hitouts, 4.0 tackles, 3.0 inside 50s and 2.0 rebound 50s in a complete performance across the board.

#2 Georgia Campbell (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
01/09/2003 | 182cm
Ruck/Key Forward

Key strengths: Ruck work, mobility, forward presence, high impact

The upside for father-daughter eligible prospect Georgia Campbell is quite impressive, with the talented ruck able to rest up forward for parts during games due to Eastern Ranges’ abundance of rucks. There she was still able to kick five goals in eight games to go with her 20.9 hitouts, and also slotted a goal for Vic Metro while averaging a higher 12 disposals, and 12 hitouts at the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships. The Western Bulldogs supporter is eligible to go to the Dogs, or Melbourne, and will be nominated in the near future. She has great mobility for a ruck and can get around the ground and be an option, and also provide a good presence when inside 50 which makes her difficult to contain. Compared to Prowse, Campbell is not as high of a ball-winner, but is a stronger presence one-one-one, is slightly taller and has been able to spend more time up forward.

#3 Tahlia Gillard (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
12/12/2003 | 190cm
Ruck/Key Forward

Key strengths: Mobility, versatility, size, athleticism

The towering ruck/forward’s AFL Women’s Academy season makes it into the top 20 overall (third on these rankings) on the back of a solid overall season. Whilst she still needs to work on clunking more grabs above her head, Gillard’s work around the ground and ability to get to repeat contests for a ruck and running as a midfielder is really impressive. Often towering over her opponents, Gillard moves incredibly well, and is a tall that teammates are not afraid to use in transition, as she rotated between the ruck and full forward to average 11.3 disposals and 14.1 hitouts, as well as a couple of inside 50s per game. A December birth, Gillard has plenty of upside that with time could develop into a damaging tall. There is a running theme with athletic and versatile rucks, and Gillard might have some development to go, but with the extra height – 13cm more than Prowse for example – she can certainly dominate with her mobility.

#4 Sarah Lakay (Swan Districts/Western Australia)
20/02/2003 | 186cm
Ruck/Key Forward

Key strengths: Athleticism, vertical leap, clean hands, overhead marking

A little more raw than the three others, Lakay has developed her game coming from a basketball background at quickly learning the ropes at Swan Districts. The talented tall is just as athletic as the others in this list, and one of the stronger contested marks in the ruck crop. Both West Australian teams would have to be considering Lakay for her upside, particularly given she has the clean hands both at stoppages and around the ground. She moves well and has competed strongly at WAFL Women’s level, and whilst her ruck craft is still always improving and her fitness is another area she cited as a way to build her game, she is a player with exciting potential. At 186cm, Lakay is taller than most rucks, and whilst she even admitted that coming up against Prowse was a challenge at the AFLW Under 19 Championships, she acquitted herself well in the second game against Vic Metro, sharing the ruck load with Lauren Wakfer.

#5 Ally Morphett (Murray Bushrangers/GWS GIANTS Academy/Allies)
11/11/2003 | 188cm
Ruck

Key strengths: Ruck craft, strength, one-on-ones, work rate

The AFL Women’s Academy ruck is the strongest one on the list, able to compete against senior players with ease. Rather than beating them through athleticism like many of those in this group, Morphett has a point of difference in the fact that she is able to win through strength and power, happy to engage in one-on-ones. Whilst not likely to burst away quickly from a contest, Morphett will wear down opposition rucks with her work rate, and is one of the more pure rucks in the draft crop. She came second in the AFL Canberra Best and Fairest last year as a 16-year-old, and has not done too much wrong for the Bushrangers, GIANTS or Allies in their respective campaigns. Morphett has natural leadership to-boot, captaining the Allies at the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships, and with her superb ruck work, she is one that many can learn off at stoppages.

#6 Grace Matser (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)
03/01/2003 | 186cm
Ruck

Key strengths: Footy IQ, ruck craft, endurance, kicking

If we are talking about points of difference, then Gippsland Power ruck Matser certainly has that in a ruck. Standing at 186cm, Matser is an early 2003 birth, but has been involved in the Power program since the V/Line Cup days, even as a developing tall back then. What really makes Matser stand out compared to other rucks is her footy IQ and her kicking. Being a left footer, Matser uses the ball well around the ground, so is a player that teammates are happy to give the ball to and dispose of, with her ball drop, technique and delivery inside 50 quite impressive. When watching Matser at stoppages, she always gets to the right position, and whether or not she wins the tap, she has made life difficult for her opponent. The area of improvement for Matser is her overhead marking, mostly because she does everything right – positioning, timing the ball drop and protecting the zone – but needs to hold onto the grabs. Around the ground in play, Matser is as influential as any ruck, and when she can clunk those grabs, will become a more influential key position tall at either end.

#7 Leah Cutting (Norwood/SANFL Women’s)
14/03/1992 | 185cm
Ruck

Key strengths: Tackling, strength, one-on-ones, consistency

Last but certainly not least of the AFLW Draft Combine invites is mature-age ruck Cutting out of Norwood. If the list was on readymade ability, Cutting would be number one by a long way, with the 29-year-old having cut her teeth in the SANFL Women’s level for many years. Obviously it goes without saying she had more than a decade on her contemporaries, so Cutting is perfect for a team looking for a readymade ruck replacement and someone who can slot straight into a side. Every time a Norwood player is mentioned it is hard to ignore the link with ex-Redlegs coach Steve Symonds, whose Magpies have lost two rucks – Sharni Norder and Abbey Green – for one coming in – Alison Downie – so they could look to another experienced body to join the program. At SANFL Women’s level, Cutting averages 12.7 disposals, 2.6 marks, 2.5 clearances, 2.2 inside 50s, 8.2 tackles and 30.1 hitouts at senior level, with remarkable consistency.

SUMMARY:

There are seven genuine ruck options available for AFL Women’s clubs from an AFLW Draft Combine invite perspective, with three of them being more pure rucks, and the other four a mix being rucks who rotate forward, and genuine utilities around the ground. In terms of overall Power Rankings, Prowse would be a top five pick such is her overall talent and upside, which she showed at the AFLW Under 19s Championships. The most readymade ruck is Cutting, and the cleanest ball user is Matser, with Morphett being the strongest, and Gillard, Campbell and Lakay being the most versatile after Prowse. In the end, it comes down to what type of ruck clubs are looking for, as they all offer different traits which makes it fascinating.

2021 SANFLW team review: Sturt

IN summarising the 2021 South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s season, Draft Central will run through a team-by-team review of how each of the sides fared, and who some of the standout performers throughout the clubs were. The next team in the firing line is Sturt.

Position: 7th
Wins: 3
Losses: 7
Draws: 1
Points For: 311 (6th)
Points Against: 343 (6th)

Season in a Sentence: “Sturt had some eye-catching performances throughout the season, and were able to control the midfield battle largely in games, but were just not quite consistent enough to push for finals in 2021”

TOP PERFORMERS:

Zoe Prowse

The AFL Women’s Academy ruck came into the season as South Australia’s brightest draft prospect and she did not disappoint, playing a multitude of roles in nine games for Sturt in between her State Academy duties for the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships. Starting out in the ruck and rotated through the midfield, Prowse also had stints up forward later in the season. She was injured in her second last game but returned to play a week later against North Adelaide. A genuine utility with plenty of upside and great athleticism and mobility.

Isobel Kuiper

The inside midfielder put together a really consistent season on the inside, earning Team of the Year honours for her efforts. In 11 games this season, Kuiper averaged 15.4 disposals, 2.9 marks, 3.6 clearances, 2.1 inside 50s, 1.5 rebound 50s and 6.5 tackles in what was a reliable season across most matches. Not dipping below 12 disposals, Kuiper picked up at least three clearances in eight games, and had a season-high seven against Central District in Round 8. A taller midfielder who can use her strength to advantage, it was hard to fault Kuiper’s 2021 season.

Alisha Gepp

Another inside ball-winner like Kuiper but as a smaller midfielder who won the majority of her touches in tight, Gepp averaged the 17.6 disposals, 3.9 tackles, 3.2 clearances and 2.1 marks. A stunning debut season was highlighted by a 36-disposal effort against Woodville-West Torrens Eagles in Round 5, while her clearance work was consistent with multiple clearances in every game. Gepp still has development to come but was eye-catching in her first SANFL Women’s season.

Jess Good

Coming into the side from Round 4, Jess Good became one of the most dominant tap rucks going around, with 28.5 per game, and after only 12 on debut, Good did not dip below 20 for the rest of the season. This included 46 and 42 hitout efforts against Glenelg and North Adelaide respectively, whilst finding 10 or more disposals in five of her matches. Good allowed Prowse to play in other roles, and really became that impressive starting ruck, finishing with 11.8 disposals, 2.3 marks, 3.0 tackles, 2.6 clearances and 2.3 inside 50s.

OTHERS:

The Double Blues are one of the youngest sides going around, with State Academy members Georgia Swan, Alex Ballard and Hannah Prenzler all having their impressive games, whilst the likes of Jaimee Wittervan, Kate Harris and Maya Rigter stood out throughout the season. Kiera Mueller‘s influence late in the year was also eye-catching.

Picture credit: SANFL / Cory Sutton

SANFLW mature-age talent continues to flourish

READYMADE mature-age talent is something AFL Women’s clubs are often searching for in order to fill needs, or potentially top up areas of depth that they can exploit at the elite level. Last year the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s contribution to the AFL Women’s Draft might have flown under the radar a little because of the view of the current zoning system, but a remarkable 10 players actually got drafted.

It might not seem like a lot in the scheme of things, but in an elite level league which is still not a full-time job, the fact that clubs across the country are taking advantage of the SANFL Women’s for it’s growth and development of talent is a huge tick for the competition and the eight clubs involved. Naturally Adelaide has a smorgasbord of options, picking up young gun Teah Charlton, along with mature-age talents Rachelle Martin and Ash Woodland, whilst another teenager in Indy Tahau went to Brisbane.

By the end of the AFL Women’s Draft, four players had been picked up from the SANFL Women’s. At that stage it might have looked like a low number, but then in came the rookie draft options, with all four free spots on club lists – Collingwood, St Kilda and West Coast (two) – were used on South Australians. North Adelaide duo Lauren Gauci and Amber Ward went to West Coast, Tahlia Meyer headed to the Saints, and Norwood’s Bella Smith teamed up with ex-Redlegs coach and mentor Steve Symonds at the Pies. They were not done yet though, with Sturt’s Georgia Bevan heading to Gold Coast and another North product Katelyn Pope joining her Roosters teammates at the Eagles as replacement players.

The reality is, there is too much South Australian talent to just be filtering into one team, and the other AFLW clubs are well aware of that fact based on the draft results. For players moving interstate, their relocation costs are covered for them if taken after the AFLW Draft, or in other words, if a state they do not nominate opts to select them. Hence only Tahau – who hand family in Queensland – would have needed to cover relocation costs. It is a win-win for clubs and players, with the extra spots available post-draft and mature-age talent being able to live out their dream even if it means moving interstate.

So with that in mind, let us fast forward to the 2021 AFL Women’s Draft. South Australia has two AFL Women’s Academy members in Zoe Prowse and Gypsy Schirmer. Prowse is clearly the standout ruck across the country in terms of this year’s top-age crop and not only that, her versatility to play forward and through the midfield makes her a terrific young talent. Schirmer might be a bit more raw, but her athleticism and attack on the contest, along with her forward ability and upside, make it easy to see why she was included in the AFLW Academy.

The Crows currently have four selections in the AFL Women’s Draft, though with Trade Week still underway, and list lodgements yet to be confirmed, there is still enough in play to be unsure of how many picks they take. West Adelaide’s Zoe Venning and Glenelg’s Brooke Tonon have put in a body of work this year, whilst the likes of South Adelaide’s Tahlita Buethke and Norwood’s Alana Lishmund have also impressed at different stages over the course of their junior careers.

One thing in the mind of South Australians is the fact that with the recent announcement of the AFL Women’s expansion to include all 18 teams, Port Adelaide is anticipated to potentially have a club entering the competition following the 2023 season, meaning players that are looked over even now, could well be considered for the Power in a couple of years time. With 18-year-olds in this year’s draft set to be 20-21 by the time the first round of AFL Women’s in 2024 starts – providing as expected Port does have a team – then they have built up some great consistent state league football in the meantime.

But rewinding back to the 2020 AFL Women’s Draft, we saw the likes of Martin, Meyer and Pope selected having missed out on multiple drafts prior, but then doing enough to suggest they could transition to the elite level. So, in 2021, who could be those players who have missed out on multiple drafts, ie. are – or turning – 20-years-old (or more) that have put in some great consistent efforts in the SANFL Women’s to be considered for the top level?

West Adelaide’s Sharni Whiting has to be near the top of the list. Not only is the key defender – who can play key forward – a lovely contested mark and booming kick, she has proven to do it on the big stage with a standout effort for the Bloods in their loss to Glenelg on the weekend. Whiting played all 14 games, averaging 14.6 disposals, 2.7 marks, 4.1 rebound 50s and kicked at an elite 89 per cent. As a readymade key position player, Whiting came out of the Western Jets and Williamstown, having played as a key forward in the VFL Women’s, and now predominantly key back in the SANFL Women’s. Turning 21-years-old in August, she could step straight into a side.

One-time Adelaide Crows key in Katelyn Rosenzweig continues to be a name who could make the step up again. Booting 11 goals in 11 games this season, the Central District prospect who turns 21 at the end of the month, is a readymade contested marking talent. In 2021, Rosenzweig averaged 11.6 disposals, 3.8 marks and 2.0 tackles per game, also taking a contested mark in every match she played, for almost two per game on average. For teams needing a target inside 50, she has the talent and strength to make a difference, but would be a sure target for the Power in a couple of years.

From a midfielder’s perspective, there are a couple of names – among many – that standout. A proven performer at the top level, Sophie Armitstead played four games for the Crows in the inaugural seasons, 2017-18. Injuries played a part in her short career, but she remains one of the more versatile players going around in the SANFL Women’s, averaging 13.4 disposals, 5.8 tackles, 3.7 clearances and 2.2 inside 50s, able to play just about anywhere. She turns 27 in October, so an older option compared to the other names, but one who could slot straight in.

The other midfielder who has also proven capable of playing in multiple positions is Glenelg’s Jess Bates. Making the SANFL Women’s Team of the Year and being co-captain in the Draft Central SANFL Women’s Team of the Year, Bates enjoyed a terrific second season in the competition, averaging 15.4 disposals, 2.2 marks, 2.2 inside 50s, 3.1 clearances, 1.7 rebound 50s and a massive 8.5 tackles. She is a two-way runner who can impact the play going forward, or winning the ball back from the opposition.

There are plenty more options across the competition who could easily make the step up, with the likes of Erica Greet, Isobel Kuiper and Tessa Kohn all making the starting midfield of the SANFL Women’s Team of the Year following fantastic seasons. Leah Cutting was the standout ruck in 2021, with Norwood’s Morgan Johnston another readymade defender with good composure and had her best season thus far.

Given the success of the SANFL Women’s in fostering talent to the elite level last season, it will be fascinating to see what happens in 2021.

Picture credit: Scott Starkey

2021 Draft Central SANFL Women’s Team of the Year squad

NORWOOD’S sensational South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s season has resulted in the Redlegs recording the most nominations in the 2021 Draft Central SANFL Women’s Team of the Year. The 44-player squad features at least five players from each side in an even spread across the league, with Norwood (seven), and Central District and South Adelaide (both six) the teams to record more than five.

The 2021 Draft Central SANFL Women’s Team of the Year is based off Team of the Week nominations, with the only caveat being a minimum of five games to ensure each member played the equivalent of half a season rather than the AFL Women’s talent making it off a few matches. Due to this, the only player ineligible who made the cut with four Team of the Week nominations from those four games was Central District’s Chloe Scheer, but her efforts still deserve a mention.

Of all the AFL Women’s-listed players, Katelyn Pope is the only one who made the squad having strung together games in the back half of the season with five consecutive matches for three Team of the Week nominations. Of the other AFL Women’s-listed talents, Montana McKinnon, Ailish Considine, Chelsea Biddell and Renee Forth all played a majority of the season at state league level.

From the elite level players to the State Academy talents, six Under 19s state representatives made the team. West Adelaide’s Lauren Young and Glenelg’s Brooke Tonon combined for 14 Team of the Week nominations, whilst Norwood’s Jade Halfpenny, Sturt’s Zoe Prowse, West Adelaide’s Zoe Venning and Central District’s Lauren Breguet also made the squad with between two and four nominations each.

Young was one of three players – with Glenelg’s Jessica Bates and North Adelaide’s Kristi Harvey – to collect a record eight Team of the Week nominations – made all the more remarkable by the fact she missed games due to the AFL Women’s Under 19s Championships. Norwood’s Leah Cutting and Central District’s Shelby Smith were the other players to record at least six Team of the Week nominations.

Following the announcement of the Team of the Year squad, Draft Central will have the tough decision of cutting down to just 24 players in what will be the official 2021 Draft Central SANFL Women’s Team of the Year. The Team of the Year will be announced Monday night.

2021 DRAFT CENTRAL SANFL WOMEN’S TEAM OF THE YEAR SQUAD:

Central District [6]: Lauren Breguet, Chantel Reynolds, Katelyn Rosenzweig, Shelby Smith, Isabelle Starmer, Caitlen Teague.
Glenelg [5]: Jessica Bates, Sam Franson, Ellie Kellock, Tessa Kohn, Brooke Tonon.
North Adelaide [5]: Lauren Daniel, Kristi Harvey, Katelyn Pope, Talia Radan, Jaimi Tabb.
Norwood [7]: Sophie Armitstead, Leah Cutting, Alison Ferrall, Elisha Gallagher, Jade Halfpenny, Morgan Johnston, Jess Macolino.
South Adelaide [6]: Nicole Campbell, Czenya Cavouras, Montana McKinnon, Jaslynne Smith, Brianna Wedding, Lisa Whiteley.
Sturt [5]: Alisha Gepp, Jess Good, Isobel Kuiper, Zoe Prowse, Jaimee Wittervan.
West Adelaide [5]: Chelsea Biddell, Ailish Considine, Zoe Venning, Sharnie Whiting, Lauren Young.
WWT Eagles [5]: Anastasia Falkenberg, Renee Forth, Shineah Goody, Kiana Lee, Jovanka Zecevic.

2021 Academy Watch: SANFL Women’s Round 11

IN the ultimate round of regular season action, there were a number of standout performances from the current South Australian State Women’s Academy members. In our latest Academy Watch edition, we look at those talented state representatives who ran out for their respective South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s sides in Round 11. All notes are the opinion of the individual writer.

NORWOOD vs. WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS 

By: Liam Badkin

Norwood:

#15 Alana Lishmund

A quiet day statistically but did some good things defensively. Pressured opponents constantly and the effort never dropped. While she had only the four disposals, her mark on the game couldn’t be measured on the stat sheet.

#22 Jade Halfpenny

Rotated through the midfield and the forward line as expected, and was damaging for the majority of the game. Had the first set shot of the game early in the first quarter, but pushed it across the face of goal, and missed another to open scoring in the second quarter. Her tackling pressure and attack on the ball were as prevalent as ever as she pushed her way to 11 disposals and four tackles in a solid outing for the Academy player.

#30 Sarah Branford

Did some nice things with her eight disposals, including launching the ball inside 50 three times as she hit targets on multiple occasions during crucial passages of play. Kicked a nice running goal to end the second quarter to find her highlight of the day. The goal displayed her speed and evasiveness as she gave her side a commanding lead.

WWT Eagles:

#8 Charlotte Dolan

Did most of her work defensively, as she laid an impressive five tackles throughout the match. With the opposition constantly having the ball in their hands, Dolan was ruthless with her attack on the ball and the player, with her crunching tackles even earning her a couple of free kicks. Eight disposals in what was an ugly day at the office for her side.

#25 Jamie Parish

The defender was constantly under the pump as the ball was constantly driven inside the opposition’s defensive 50. Only had the seven touches, but a promising sign came as she took a strong contested mark on the wing in the first quarter when the game was still up for grabs. Will only get better for the experience.

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. WEST ADELAIDE

By: Michael Alvaro

South Adelaide:

#1 Tahlita Buethke

The athletic midfielder showed good explosive traits out of congestion, as she constantly looked to get on the move at stoppages and spark some forward momentum for South. While she fumbled a touch when over ground balls, Buethke proved an active participant at the contest and naturally faced forward once she prized the ball, which meant she could also wheel around and kick down the line. Kicking to targets and getting more purchase on each disposal are areas of development, but Buethke’s intent and effort cannot be faulted. She had a couple of key disposals late in the piece, with one a kick within the forward 50 which went towards the hot spot, but was intercepted.

#36 Gypsy Schirmer

Schirmer was a player who proved relatively consistent throughout the contest, but seemed to lift when the game was on the line. Roaming the wing, she was able to set up on the defensive side and was not sucked into South’s forward 50, but worked back well to win a good amount of ball. She was clean and effective with most of her touches and used her size to impact defensively when required. One such instance resulted in a free kick against, where Schirmer laid a heavy tackle as she hunted a loose ball on the wing at the start of term three. She hit the scoreboard with a quick shot on goal in the next quarter, sailing the ball home to bring South within striking distance of a remarkable comeback win. Another good moment late in the piece came as she got to a loose ball out of defensive 50 and showed great poise to help her side start a new chain of possession under pressure.

West Adelaide:

#3 Abbie Ballard

Part of the Westies midfield rotation, Ballard was competitive and made her mark going both ways. She consistently dug in at ground level and was quite clean in her distribution having prized the ball out of congestion. While a lot of her good work was done early, Ballard tried to put her side on the front foot to begin term four, reacting first at the centre bounce to soccer the ball forward in a makeshift clearance.

#7 Scarlett Griffiths

It was quite a quiet day in terms of pure numbers for Griffiths, but she still managed to have a couple of nice moments. The forward showed good initiative to actively man the mark, within the rules, during term two and was quick off the mark to pressure the ball carrier once play on was called. Later in the same quarter, she impacted in the air up at half-back to spoil her opponent and force a spill.

#8 Keeley Kustermann

It was a relatively steady return game for Kustermann, whose last outing was also against South Adelaide in April. While she was not as prolific in a ball winning sense from defence, Kustermann tried her best to impact at contests with tackles and some competitive acts when the heat was on. She tracked back well on a few occasions to help mop up ground balls, and was also seen taking a nice mark from the kick-in during term four, but unfortunately turned the ball over with her kick inboard.

#9 Zoe Venning

A prominent part of West Adelaide’s midfield rotation, Venning showed once again that she just knows how to find the ball. Working hard to impact at either end of the ground, she hit the ball at speed and looked to drive her side forward with trademark long kicks on the end of her runs. Venning’s accumulative factor was high in this outing, credit to a bunch of ground ball gets and plays where she would gather some momentum going Westies’ way. She also used that run to get involved in possession chains, continuing them with repeat efforts and good intent on the attack. Kicking to targets and lowering her eyes on the move could pose as ways to get full value from each disposal.

#30 Lauren Young

The superlatives will soon run out for Young, who was again outstanding for West Adelaide as her side clinched a finals berth. While she built into the contest, Young impacted immediately with repeat tackle efforts which saw her earn a holding-the-ball free kick at half-back. Once moved into the centre bounces, she was able to get first hands on the ball and would have learned plenty while running alongside Adelaide young gun, Teah Charlton. While she already boasts a solid built and is able to win the ball with strength, Young’s aerial marking was arguably the highlight of her day. She rose to take four marks overall and competed for plenty more, showing plenty of courage to go back with the flight or stand tall in packs. Her second contested mark came at a crucial time during the last quarter, proving clutch as Westies scrambled to hold onto their lead. She was dominant during a third term purple patch and managed to find the ball in all parts of the ground, also finding the goals with a well-struck set shot.

STURT vs. NORTH ADELAIDE

By: Liam Badkin

Sturt:

#3 Georgia Swan

While she didn’t get the scoreboard impact that she deserved, her hard work up the ground caught the eye as she pushed hard to win the ball for her side. 12 impressive disposals were the highlight as she worked up the field of play and launched the ball inside 50 on numerous occasions. Missed a shot on goal that would have capped off an impressive performance, but can still hold her head high.

#19 Alex Ballard

Once again displayed her knack for delivering strong leads that prove hard to ignore for teammates, clunking the ball four times as she has so many times before. Didn’t get rewarded with the win, or an amazing amount of disposals, but played to her strength on the lead and showed some promising signs going forward.

#20 Hannah Prenzler

Had a tough day being assigned to the backline, and competed a number of times in the air to thwart some North Adelaide attacks. Provided an option on the switch when Sturt were able to get their hands on the ball, and wasn’t afraid to push up the ground to provide a contest. Seven disposals for the day.

#30 Zoe Prowse

One of her side’s finest performers, essentially doing it all in the tough loss against a quality opposition. Kicked 1.2 up forward, but pushed up into the contest on countless occasions, where she won seven hitouts, five clearances and laid five solid tackles around the ball. Can play essentially anywhere on the ground and demonstrated this during the match. Opposition sides will certainly be mindful of her in the future.

North Adelaide:

#38 Kate Case

Worked her way around the ground, ending up in defence, as she has displayed the ability to play anywhere in the past. Had five touches in the defensive half of the ground and continued her reputation of harassing opposition players into causing turnovers. Her three tackles echoed this perfectly.

#43 Ameile Borg

Once again locked down Sturt forwards as she built on last week’s performance. She has shown in the past that she can play on opponents of all sizes and did this once again during the match. Five disposals for the match and even won a pair of hitouts as she didn’t shy away from taking stoppages in the defensive 50. Her talent for locking down an opponent catches the eye on a weekly basis and this round was no exception. A promising performance to end the season.

GLENELG vs. CENTRAL DISTRICT

By: Michael Alvaro

Glenelg:

#7 Brooke Tonon

Arguably the pick of this bunch on the day, Tonon was her usual productive self off half-back. The Bays youngster got involved early with a holding-the-ball tackle and was persistent with her pressure game, before coming to life with ball in hand. Tonon positioned well on the last line of defence in a couple of instances to cut off long kicks towards goal, then looked to take the game on immediately with some dash and long kicking. She constantly looked to spark Glenelg’s forward momentum via handball receives, or even by forcing the ball on through paddles or kicks off the ground. One of her final acts for the day was a nice read and sliding intercept touch on the wing, showing good courage.

#12 Tamsyn Morriss

Morriss may not have finished with a flattering statline, but contributed some important plays in defence amid the hard-fought contest. She built into the game, trailing a touch to her direct opponent but making a couple of crucial contest splits in term three. The first was a one-on-one spoil deep inside defensive 50, and the second was a ground ball win in a one-on-two situation, which ended up yielding a stoppage. Morriss went on to lay a solid lock-down tackle on fellow academy member Lauren Breguet, one of her two tackles on the day.

Central District:

#28 Lauren Breguet

Starting forward, Breguet made a splash early with some explosive work around the contest. She looked to bustle away and create space out of tight situations, proving quite lively and difficult to stop at full pelt. Her aggression at ground level matched the overall tone of the game and helped Centrals gain a spark inside attacking 50, as she constantly tried to get her legs pumping and make things happen. Breguet slotted into the midfield group in the second quarter and while she fumbled a touch at ground level, attempted to bring similar intent. She showcased her speed with a nice run-down effort on Brooke Tonon in term three, and capped her game with a solid overhead mark from front position in the corridor, during the fourth quarter.

#41 Laitiah Huynh

Playing almost exclusively in the forwardline, Huynh worked well up the ground and looked to get involved in play all the way up to half-back. She competed at ground level but in the heat of a largely contested game, did much of her work under a great amount of pressure. The zippy mover could not quite generate her usual speed on the outer, instead having to dispose of the ball quickly from more contested situations. She copped contact to hold onto a solid mark on the defensive side of the corridor during term three, and generally made good decisions by foot when given the time, if not for airing her kicks a touch.

2021 SANFLW Team of the Week: Round 11

IN the final week of the season, the competition for spots in the Draft Central South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s Team of the Week is as high as it has ever been. A shortlist of more than 30 players had to be whittled down to 24, as West Adelaide and Glenelg both finished with a round-high four players each. Fellow winners, Norwood and North Adelaide had three players each, as did losers South Adelaide and Sturt, whilst Central District and Woodville-West Torrens ended up with two representatives apiece.

Securing a finals spot with the one-point win over South Adelaide, West Adelaide had plenty of contributors with experienced duo Sharni Whiting and Ailish Considine, and State Academy members Lauren Young and Zoe Venning making the Team of the Week yet again. Their opponents South had the three players themselves, with Brianna Wedding being the other key position lock, alongside Teah Charlton and Team of the Week vice-captain, Nicole Campbell.

Glenelg also managed the four players, with last week’s captain Ebony Marinoff unsurprisingly back again. She is in the side with Caitlin Gould, Jess Bates and State Academy Brooke Tonon, all into the 24-player squad. The Bays defeated Central District who had the two players in the side, with Chloe Scheer and Shelby Smith back again in the team.

Norwood finished on top of the SANFL Women’s table and their final round win netted them three representatives in this week’s team, with Jess Macolino, Najwa Allen and Lana Schwerdt all into the side in what was an even team contribution. They defeated Woodville-West Torrens who had the two players in the squad, with Kiana Lee in defence, and Amie Blanden on the interchange.

The final match saw North Adelaide get the job done against Sturt, led by Ashleigh Woodland who slotted six goals to earn the captaincy of the team this week. Along with Woodland, defender Amber Ward and midfielder Jaimi Tabb also made the side. The Double Blues had a standout in Kiera Mueller off half-back, ruck Jess Good and midfielder Jaimee Wittervan all in the starting side.

In terms of emergencies, South Adelaide’s Montana McKinnon, Norwood’s Sophie Armitstead and Woodville-West Torrens’ Marlie Fiegert were chosen, whilst Sturt’s Isobel Kuiper and Zoe Prowse, North Adelaide’s Brianna Arthur and West Adelaide’s Abbie Ballard were also amongst those on the extended list for this week’s Team of the Week.

DRAFT CENTRAL SANFL WOMEN’S TEAM OF THE WEEK: ROUND 11

B: Amber Ward (NA) – Brianna Wedding (SA) – Kiana Lee (WWT)
HB: Kiera Mueller (ST) – Sharnie Whiting (WA) – Brooke Tonon (GL)
C: Ailish Considine (WA) – Ebony Marinoff (GL) – Jaimi Tabb (NA)
HF: Teah Charlton (SA) – Lauren Young (WA) – Jess Macolino (NW)
F: Ashleigh Woodland (NA) (c) – Caitlin Gould (GL) – Chloe Scheer (CD)
R: Jess Good (ST) – Nicole Campbell (SA) (vc) – Jaimee Wittervan (ST)
INT: Najwa Allen (NW) – Jess Bates (GL) – Amie Blanden (WWT) – Lana Schwerdt (NW) – Shelby Smith (CD) – Zoe Venning (WA)

EMG: Montana McKinnon (SA) – Sophie Armitstead (NW) – Marlie Fiegert (WWT)

SANFL Women’s Round 11 wrap: West grabs finals spot with one-point win

WEST Adelaide has won a nail-biter against South Adelaide in the final round of the regular South Australian National Football League (SANFL) season, as top two sides Norwood and Glenelg both posted victories, and North Adelaide won to give itself a finals chance, only for the Bloods’ result to effectively negate that win.

NORWOOD 2.3 | 6.6 | 9.6 | 11.7 (73)
WWT EAGLES 0.0 | 0.1 | 2.1 | 2.2 (14)

GOALS:

Norwood: R. Zerella 3, E. Sporn 3, N. Allen, E. Drake, S. Branford
Eagles: J. Zecevic, M. Fiegert.

DC BEST:

Norwood: J. Macolino, L. Cutting, S. Armitstead, N. Allen, L. Schwerdt
Eagles: K. Lee, A. Blanden, M. Fiegert, N. Collie, A. Falkenberg

Booting the first six goals of the game, and nine of 11 by three quarter time, minor premiers Norwood never looked like losing against Woodville-West Torrens Eagles. Aside from a burst of two out of three goals early in the third term for the visitors, the Eagles had to accept the 2021 wooden spoon as the Redlegs piled on 18 scoring shots to four, booting the final four goals of the game as well to win by 59 points.

Rosette Zerella and Erika Sporn both booted three goals in the win, whilst it was the midfield of the Redlegs that really stood up. Leah Cutting had 36 hitouts to go with 11 disposals and six tackles, while Najwa Allen (19 disposals, five marks, four tackles, four inside 50s, two rebound 50s and a goal), Sophie Armitstead (16 disposals, four tackles, two clearances, three inside 50s and two rebound 50s), Jess Macolino (13 disposals, three marks, five tackles, three clearances and seven inside 50s) and Lana Schwerdt (11disposals, five tackles, four clearances and three inside 50s) all stood out.

Kiana Lee was outstanding in defence for the Eagles, racking up 18 disposals, nine marks – two contested – six rebound 50s, five hitouts, two tackles and two clearances. Teaming up with her back there was Nicole Collie (13 disposals, five marks, three tackles and four rebound 50s), while Amie Blanden (15 disposals, two marks, four tackles, nine hitouts, six clearances and four inside 50s), Marlie Fiegert (14 disposals, two marks, four tackles, five clearances, three inside 50s and a goal) and Anastasia Falkenberg (16 disposals, five marks, seven tackles, two clearances and two inside 50s).

Norwood now takes on Glenelg in the semi-finals for a spot in the 2021 SANFL Women’s Grand Final, as the Eagles’ season comes to an end.

SOUTH ADELAIDE 1.0 | 1.0 | 2.1 | 5.3 (33)
WEST ADELAIDE 1.2 | 2.4 | 5.4 | 5.4 (34)

GOALS:

South: J. Hooper 2, J. Hickey, J. Kirk, G. Schirmer.
West: M. Elsegood, C. Biddell, L. Young, I. Loftes.

DC BEST:

South: N. Campbell, T. Charlton, M. McKinnon, G. Schirmer, T. Meyer
West: L. Young, A. Considine, S. Whiting, Z. Venning, A. Ballard

In the most thrilling match of the weekend, the third against fourth contest lived up to its billing, as West Adelaide held on against a fast-finishing South Adelaide outfit. The teams were fairly even as early as the third term, before West piled on three goals in seven minutes to race out to a 21-point lead at the final break. Looking home and hosed, the Bloods could not manage to score in the final term, as they watch South boot the last three majors of the contest, only to fall a point short, 5.4 (34) to 5.3 (33).

West’s youth stood up in the win, as Lauren Young had a game-high 22 touches to go with four marks – two contested – eight tackles, two clearances, two inside 50s and a goal. Fellow State Academy members Zoe Venning (18 disposals, six tackles, three clearances and four inside 50s) and Abbie Ballard (11 disposals, nine tackles, four clearances and two rebound 50s) both impressed, while the experience of Ailish Considine (19 disposals, two marks, four tackles, six clearances, three inside 50s and two rebound 50s) and Sharnie Whiting (15 disposals, four marks, two tackles, two inside 50s and six rebound 50s) stood out.

For South, Nicole Campbell (21 disposals, nine marks – two contested – three tackles, five clearances and six inside 50s) was outstanding alongside Teah Charlton (21 disposals, three marks, five tackles, four clearances and six inside 50s). Tahlia Meyer (15 disposals, two marks and four tackles) and Gypsy Schirmer (15 disposals, four tackles and a goal) both found plenty of the ball, while Montana McKinnon (14 disposals, 27 hitouts, five tackles, three clearances, three inside 50s and two rebound 50s) was strong.

These two sides lock horns again next weekend in a do-or-die semi-final that promises to go down to the wire, with the Bloods securing the home ground advantage with this win.

STURT 1.2 | 1.2 | 3.3 | 3.4 (22)
NORTH ADELAIDE 1.2 | 4.2 | 4.4 | 7.5 (47)

GOALS:

Sturt: Z. Prowse, K. Harris, A. Ladas.
North: A. Woodland 6, T. Thorn.

DC BEST:

Sturt: K. Mueller, J. Good, I. Kuiper, J. Wittervan, Z. Prowse
North: A. Woodland, J. Tabb, T. Gordon, B. Arthure, K. Harvey

Despite the West Adelaide result meaning North Adelaide missed out on a chance to defend its title in the final series, a six-goal performance from Ashleigh Woodland ensured the reigning premiers ended their season on a high note. The teams were even in the first term, before three consecutive goals to Woodland in the second broke the game open. Sturt continued to press and move to within seven points at the final break – and as low as six points early in the fourth, for Woodland to stand up again, and along with Tayla Thorn kick the last three goals of the game to win by 25 points.

Along with six majors, Woodland had the 13 disposals, four marks – one contested – and three tackles, while Thorn finished with 10 disposals, two hitouts, four inside 50s and a goal. Through the middle and forward half, Tayla Gordon (18 disposals, three marks, three clearances, two tackles and two inside 50s), Jaimi Tabb (12 disposals, 12 tackles, five clearances, four inside 50s and two rebound 50s) and Kristi Harvey (10 disposals, four marks – two contested – four tackles and four inside 50s) were all lively.

For the Double Blues, Kiera Mueller was again the standout for the second week in a row, picking up 17 disposals, eight marks, eight rebound 50s and four tackles coming out of defence. Jess Good (14 disposals, four marks, 42 hitouts, four clearances and three inside 50s) dominated the ruck, as the midfield of Jaimee Wittervan (15 disposals, two marks, six clearances, three inside 50s and two rebound 50s), Isobel Kuiper (21 disposals, two marks, six tackles and four clearances) and Zoe Prowse (nine disposals, two marks, five tackles, seven hitouts, five clearances and one goal) went to work.

Both these teams end their 2021 campaigns and will head back to their local clubs before a big preseason looking towards 2022.

GLENELG 2.1 | 3.2 | 5.3 | 6.4 (40)
CENTRAL DISTRICT 1.0 | 2.2 | 2.4 | 4.5 (29)

GOALS:

Glenelg: C. Gould 2, M. Green 2, C. Swanson, E. Marinoff.
Central: K. Rosenzweig 2, C. Scheer, N. Biagi.

DC BEST:

Glenelg: E. Marinoff, C. Gould, J. Bates, B. Tonon, E. Kellock
Central: C. Scheer, S. Smith. K. Rosenzweig, L. Smith, L. Breguet

Whilst the result mattered little to Glenelg in terms of ladder positioning – the Bays had already secured second spot heading into the round – the home team still came away with a morale-boosting victory over Central District. After Chloe Scheer slotted the first major for the Bulldogs inside the first two minutes, the Bays booted five of the next six goals to lead by as much as 18 points. Katelyn Rosenzweig kicked back-to-back goals in the final term to cut the deficit to within a single kick before a last minute major to Caitlin Gould saved the day and handed Glenelg the win.

Ebony Marinoff led the way again with 24 disposals, five marks – three contested, five clearances, five inside 50s and a goal, while Gould slotted two majors from 18 touches, six marks, 23 hitouts, three clearances and three rebound 50s. Jessica Bates (18 disposals, four marks, four tackles, four clearances, two inside 50s and two rebound 50s) and Ellie Kellock (13 disposals, three tackles, three clearances and four inside 50s) were both impressive in midfield, while Brooke Tonon (15 disposals, two marks, three tackles and five rebound 50s) impressed again for Glenelg.

The forward combination of Rosenzweig (12 disposals, three marks, six hitouts, three clearances, three inside 50s and two goals) and Scheer (18 disposals, three marks – two contested – six tackles, four clearances, four inside 50s and a goal) were both dangerous, while captain Shelby Smith (12 disposals, 11 tackles, three clearances, two inside 50s and two rebounds 50s), Lauren Smith (nine disposals, two tackles and three rebound 50s) and Lauren Breguet (10 disposals, two marks and three tackles) were among a group of even contributors for the Dogs.

Glenelg now takes on Norwood in a top of the table clash for a spot in the 2021 SANFL Women’s Grand Final, as the Bulldogs impressive season comes to a close.

Picture credit: Cory Sutton / SANFL

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 Academy Watch: SANFL Women’s Round 10

IN the penultimate round of action, there were injuries, standout performances and even tags dealt with for the South Australian State Women’s Academy members, as we look at those talented state representatives who ran out for their respective South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s sides in Round 10. All notes are the opinion of the individual writer.

NORWOOD vs. CENTRAL DISTRICT

Norwood:

#15 Alana Lishmund

Got better as the night went on after a slower start, applying good tackling pressure across half-back and pushing up the ground. She was not needed a great deal in the opening term with the ball up the other end and whilst she could have been cleaner at ground level, did draw some free kicks because of her attack at the contest. She had an impressive final term with some nice foot skills, and laid a great tackle on Katelyn Rosenzweig midway through the final term to force a shot on goal to be off target.

#22 Jade Halfpenny

Had a really strong defensive game, laying plenty of tackles and charging at the football. On a number of occasions she took some strong grabs, including a courageous clunk back with the flight mark midway through the third term. Her disposal was hit and miss at times with some rushed passes but then absolute pinpoint darts, and a hardball spin out of trouble to give it to Najwa Allen to set up a goal in the first term was fantastic. She also kicked one of her own from straight in front after good positioning in a marking contest to have a solid night out.

Central:

#28 Lauren Breguet

The pick of the State Academy players in this game, Breguet was really lively in the front half, leading out hard and pushing up the ground. Her decision making was good, able to hit those short, sharp kicks to open up angels going inside 50, and nailed a set shot goal three minutes into the third term. She drew a number of free kicks for going in hard, and had another shot with the banana in the third term, but that went out on the full. Breguet showed good footy smarts throughout the contest to keep the ball in play and her eye on the prize to be one of the better Central players on the night.

#40 Madison Lane

Had a really fast start with the Central defence under siege picking up most of her touches early. She used her booming kick to clear the area and rebound from danger then lay some fierce tackles and putting on defensive pressure through the middle quarters. In the end she did not win as much of it as he has tended to, but never gave in, though she was injured in a contest six minutes into the final term and had to be stretchered off.

#41 Laitiah Huynh

Might not have hit the scoreboard, but used her lightning hands and ability to create separation from her opponents well. Once she had ball-in-hand, her ability to flick it off to teammates at speed was really impressive. Naturally her pressure was still high, and she contested well in the air and at ground level. Once she adapted to the conditions, she was able to play like it was a dry ball. Huynh was unlucky not to win a free kick for in the back late in the final term, with the talented small forward certainly up and about in the pressure moments.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS vs. GLENELG

WWT Eagles:

#8 Charlotte Dolan

Might not have won a heap of the ball, but her intent was consistent throughout the four quarters. Dolan copped plenty of knocks and kept bouncing up, taking a strong mark late in the second term to kick deep in attack and then provide an option a minute later for another inside 50. She pushed hard throughout the game to provide pressure at half-back and even spent some time on-ball late in the game.

#25 Jamie Parish

Had a tough job with the defence seeing plenty of action in this one, but Parish provided some good repeat efforts and defensive pressure. She could not always cleanly grab the ball, but when she won it in close she was quick to dispose of it, and tried to create some attacking movement despite the mounting scoreboard discrepancy.

Glenelg:

#7 Brooke Tonon

The clear standout of the State Academy members, Tonon played at the level she has built this season, coming off half-back and pushing up to the wing. She laid some fierce tackles and worked hard around the ground, quick to get boot to ball. She just kept plugging away and was one of a number of defenders who kept the Eagles from kicking a goal in the contest, providing good run and spread from defence out in transition.

#12 Tamsyn Morriss

Had a solid performance with some nice moments as you have come to expect. Morriss did not win a ton of the ball, but it was seldom in her region, attacking it hard when she needed to and winning a good one-on-one early in the match, then laid a tackle at the next stoppage to force a turnover. She was run-down trying to move the ball through the middle in the third term, but kept providing an option for her teammates, working hard both ways.

STURT vs. SOUTH ADELAIDE

Sturt:

#3 Georgia Swan

Worked really hard throughout the game and used the ball well when having the opportunity. Her statistics of six touches and no tackles do not reflect the intensity at which she played, with her one-percenters and ability to be an option in transition quite noticeable. She showed good footy smarts to get to the right positions and provided a second tackling option at the contest, often winning the hard ball and being wrapped up as well.

#19 Alex Ballard

A huge first term and arguably the pick of the State Academy players in this game, Ballard worked really hard on the lead up and down the ground to take some strong grabs. Her body positioning in one-on-one contests was also eye-catching, and she slotted a goal from 30m out on a slight angle from the set shot. Ballard seemed to be everywhere early on, and whilst she was a little quieter after that as South Adelaide ran rampant, she still lead out to take a mark and use the ball with a lovely inboard kick in the third term, then tried a snap off the outside of the boot from 15m out under pressure, which bounced through for a behind.

#20 Hannah Prenzler

Worked hard in the back half to counter a number of South Adelaide attacks and pushed up to the wing when required to keep the defensive line high. Her kicking was a little rushed compared to her usual precision, but her intercept work and mopping up was still reliable. She stood up when being tackled and spread well to provide an option and switch when required, finding plenty of the ball.

#30 Zoe Prowse

Unfortunately the exciting utility’s day ended early after a ruck stoppage in the first term, copping a knock and not being sighted again, after showing good intent early in the match with a big tackle at half-forward, though gave away a free kick for her troubles.

South:

#1 Tahlita Buethke

After a quieter start to the game, Buethke came alive after quarter time and started buzzing around the stoppages. At times she could not quite take it cleanly or would be knocked off it trying to run at speed, but her ability to create separation and then give-and-go was noticeable. She was quick with her hands or feet, and even took some good marks in space, looking to be an option in transition or intercepting a kick behind play. She used her speed to advantage and had several passages where she won a chain of possessions, and while it was not her best game, it was certainly a solid effort.

#36 Gypsy Schirmer

Had a mixed day where the talented AFL Women’s Academy member produced some nice moments, but ultimately it was more her defensive work, rather than her offensive stuff, that stood out. She was still clean with the ball off the deck, but did make some errors by hand or foot and was penalised on a couple of occasions. When it came to her intent and defensive pressure it was hard to fault Schirmer, who racked up a ton of tackles and really applied fierce pressure to the opposition. Her best play from an offensive standpoint came in the first term where she hit a lovely kick out in front of Jordann Hickey leading out.

NORTH ADELAIDE vs. WEST ADELAIDE

North:

#33 Julia Clark

It was not a good weekend for State Academy members and injuries, with Clark another one to go down in Round 10. She started promisingly with her attack on the ball earning her two free kicks in the opening term, but then a tackle from Abbie Ballard three minutes into the second quarter unfortunately resulted in her hitting the turf pretty hard and having to be helped off. The positive was the stretcher was not required and she was able to walk off with the trainers.

#43 Amelie Borg

Played a more defensive role on her opponents trying to limit their impact, and she certainly did that. Only having the six touches, Borg was more prominent for her work in adapting to multiple opponents, from key forwards to smaller types rolling through the back 50. She played quite deep and was able to just lockdown on an opponent to allow the likes of Kristi Harvey and Amber Ward to play more attacking roles out of the back 50.

West:

#3 Abbie Ballard

Building nicely in her return from a long-term injury, Ballard is hitting her straps at the right time of year. Given the strength of the West Adelaide midfield, Ballard is able to play as that pure forward with rotations through the middle, and use her left foot to advantage when searching for targets inside 50. She is clean in-close, and great off the deck, able to use the ball well in transition. She almost kicked a goal in the second term but it bounced the wrong way and through for a behind. She provided her regular amount of tackling pressure throughout the contest.

#7 Scarlett Griffiths

For the second week in a row, Griffiths had the one disposal you want to have if that is all you are going to get – kicking a goal. After her set shot last week, Griffiths kicked a clever goal on the run, dribbling it home from 30m to seal the deal for the Bloods 11 minutes into the term. She only had the one touch, but had a few almost-moments with a dropped mark one-on-one against Kristi Harvey, and then a handball that was deemed a throw.

#9 Zoe Venning

An underrated game from the fierce midfielder/forward, who exclusively was able to play at half-forward and use her high work rate to roam up and down the ground. Venning won the ball in each of the thirds and spread really well to contribute to the team’s cause. She took some good marks leading out at half-forward in the first half, then pushing back into defence in the second, she showed clean hands out of the stoppage and was able to find her fair share of the ball on the day. She had some impactful disposals and made some mistakes by foot, but overall had a pretty impressive game.

#30 Lauren Young

You know you are travelling pretty well when the opposition sends a tagger to you at half-time to try and quell your influence, and the 15-year-old had no issues whatsoever dealing with it. Not only showing talent, but maturity to just get on with it, Young still was lively in the second half despite having at least one player sticking to her, and often multiple players around her in marking contests. She won free kicks for being held, and finished with two goals – could have been three if the free kick she won was not taken advantage – but she kicked a set sot goal from 20m out straight in front in the second term for the first goal of the match, then the last goal thanks to a sidestep, spin and shot on the run which sailed home in the final few minutes of the match. Had another outstanding performance, and the fact she had to deal with tagging and still stepped up was impressive.

2021 SANFL Women’s preview: Round 10 – Ladder-defining round of action

IT might not be finals time just yet, but if the top four sides can topple the bottom four sides this weekend in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s action, then it will seal up the finals spots ahead of the last round.

NORWOOD vs. CENTRAL DISTRICT
Friday, May 7 @ 7:00pm
Coopers Stadium

Coming off their first loss in eight weeks, Norwood will be hungry to get back to business against Central District who did pretty well last week against a strong West Adelaide side, but it was not enough to come away with the points. Unlike the other three sides in the bottom four, the Bulldogs do have a superior percentage to those teams just inside the four – and both above have one draw – meaning an upset win, and a loss to either South Adelaide or North Adelaide this week will hand Central District a top four spot heading into the last week. Norwood is looking pretty good to secure top spot on the table, sitting one-and-a-half games clear of Glenelg, with just one win needed to secure the minor premiership. The likes of Alicia Butler and Ella Mickan will return to the Bulldogs outfit on an extended bench, while the Redlegs have brought back vital ruck, Leah Cutting, and in-form Ella Murison. Youngsters Sarah Branford and Lana Schwerdt are amongst the outs for this game, but the Redlegs are looking very strong. Isabelle Starmer has put together some great form through the ruck and will enjoy a battle with Cutting and possibly youngster Jade Halfpenny who has been named there. Bulldogs captain Shelby Smith and Adelaide AFLW midfielder Najwa Allen could go head-to-head in the midfield, whilst the Norwood defence will need to find a way of slowing down key forward duo Katelyn Rosenzweig and Chantel Reynolds. Sophie Armitstead could be the player to try and quell the red-hot Chloe Scheer, whilst State Academy members Alana Lishmund and Madison Lane could go head-to-head in this clash. Norwood should be too strong, but the Bulldogs have the capacity and talent to beat anyone on their day if they take their chances.

WWT EAGLES vs. GLENELG
Saturday, May 8 @ 10:10am
Maughan Thiem Kia Oval

Whilst finals seems a stretch for the Woodville-West Torrens Eagles – the results needed to occur are near impossible – they can still play the role of party pooper to finals-bound sides, whilst trying to jump off the bottom of the table. The Eagles strung three consecutive wins together this season, but with the return of AFL Women’s talents, they have been more inexperienced, but providing games to great future talents. For Round 9, the Eagles have lost Jessica Evans to concussion, but regain Renee Forth to bolster that minimal AFL Women’s talent. Their opponents Glenelg are not mucking around though, with Ebony Marinoff pulling on the black and gold for the first time this season, returning to the Bays’ outfit with Molly Affolter, Lucy Armitage and Caitlyn Swanson among others for an extended bench after multiple players have dropped out due to illness. Marinoff joins an already strong midfield of Ellie Kellock, Jessica Bates, Tessa Kohn and Brooke Tonon who are all in great form, and Caitlin Gould is a crucial player up forward or through the ruck. The Eagles have so much developing talent that will benefit from the experience against AFLW-listed players with Shineah Goody, Jamie Parish and Charlotte Dolan just a few of them. The reliable combination of Anastasia Falkenberg and Jovanka Zecevic will always stand up in big moments, and they will need to be key players in this game if the Eagles are to cause a massive boilover. The Bays also need to win this to keep touch with Norwood at the top of the table, and fend off last year’s grand finalists in North Adelaide and South Adelaide. It is hard to see the Bays losing this given their side on paper, but this has been one heck of a season for upsets.

STURT vs. SOUTH ADELAIDE
Saturday, May 8 @ 11:00am
Prospect Oval

South Adelaide can go a long way to securing a finals spot with a win over a Sturt team that just refuses to go away in the SANFL Women’s competition. Just when you think the Double Blues are out of the running, they produce a massive performance like they did against the Eagles last week to just remain in contention. A loss here would cut the chord on any finals hopes if North Adelaide get up as well, but a win, and the Double Blues could be in the top four given their percentage is higher than the two sides in there, and they take on the fourth placed Panthers. Captain Maya Rigter will miss with a foot injury, Alysha Healy is out with a shoulder injury and Lane Trenorden suffered a knee injury. They welcome back Tiah Hough, Nicole Baker and Ally Ladas to an extended bench as they try and plot South Adelaide’s downfall. The Panthers are coming off a great win over Norwood, and with their team at full strength, it showed just how good this side could be. Madison Bennett is the sole exclusion from the team, with young key forward Jorja Hooper, and defender Lucy Northcott among the inclusions. Jaslynne Smith will run out for her 50th game this weekend, and will be a key part of that Panthers backline with Lisa Whiteley and Brianna Wedding who have put together strong performances. The Sturt forward line of young talent seems to be ticking over nicely, with Alex Ballard slotting three goals last week, and with Zoe Prowse providing the height, and Chloe Forby and Georgia Swan among the developing talents in there, the Double Blues have enough firepower down there. The Sturt midfield of Alisha Gepp, Jaimee Wittervan and Isobel Kuiper will get its greatest test this weekend with Teah Charlton, Nicole Campbell and Tahlita Buethke all in ripping form and could be the deciding factor. The Panthers should get up based on their lineup, but the Double Blues will not make it easy for them.

NORTH ADELAIDE vs. WEST ADELAIDE
Saturday, May 8 @ 12:45pm
Prospect Oval

The final game of the round, and the second of a double-header at Prospect Oval sees the Roosters host West Adelaide in a massive clash. The Roosters tentatively sit in third spot, and thanks to their higher percentage compared to South Adelaide, have some sort of a buffer, but they could lose that with West and one of Central District or Sturt getting up. The Westies need to win to keep touch with the top four and frankly their side is too good not to play finals, but the Roosters also have such a consistent lineup it is hard to imagine them not competing at the pointy end. North has just brought in a potential debutant in Monika Ney to an extended bench, with not too much needing changed for the reigning premiers. Despite Marinoff coming back for Glenelg, the Roosters have not unleashed Anne Hatchard yet, with the team having a strong enough team on its own with Leah Tynan, Brianna Arthur and Erica Greet rolling through the midfield. Youngsters Kate Case and Julia Clark are versatile enough to slot in anywhere, whilst the defence of Kristi Harvey, Amber Ward and Talia Radan is just ridiculously strong. Amelie Borg can be utilised as a more athletic tall, whilst Jaimi Tabb has the freedom to play inside or out, add in Lauren Gauci who returned in style to the competition, and Ash Woodland up front, and the Roosters have so much past and present AFLW talent. West Adelaide has plenty of talent itself, as one of the most exciting young sides. Sarah Dargan, Ailish Considine and talented junior Lauren Young form a massive midfield trio, while Chelsea Biddell and Melanie Elsegood are reliable targets to hit up forward. The talls are surrounded by young talent in Zoe Venning, Abbie Ballard and Charlie Scutchings, while Imogen Loftes was one of four players to return, and slots straight onto a wing. Sharni Whiting has been strong overhead in defence for the Westies this season, while Madi Russell and Taylah Jayne have also served as strong interceptors and rebounders. This is a 50/50 game with North Adelaide having an incredibly experienced defence, but there is something about West Adelaide that could see the Bloods grab the win and make the final week interesting.

Picture credit: SANFL