Match Wraps

Hostplus SANFLW League Semi-Final Match Wraps

South's Brooke Boileau leads the race to the ball in the Second Semi-FInal. Picture - Cory Sutton


South Adelaide will contest a fourth Hostplus SANFLW League grand final after conquering Central District by 11 points in the second semi-final at Flinders University Stadium.

The Panthers outlasted the Bulldogs in a tough slog in testing conditions and are now just one win from claiming a record third premiership crown.

The Bulldogs, contesting their first finals series, were the most potent scoring outfit in the minor round, but they were restricted to only two goals and added only four behinds in the second half.

“We really pride ourselves on taking the opposition’s strengths away from them,” said Panthers coach Rick Watts, already a premiership coach with the club.

“We are not always pretty or kick a high score, but we pride ourselves on those defensive actions. For the girls to restrict them to seven scoring shots and two goals was huge.

“Last year we struggled with injuries and understood this year would be a build for us. We are four or five positions ahead of where we thought we would be and to make the grand final is incredible.”

The Panthers defence reigned supreme in the opening quarter to keep the visitors scoreless.
Brooke Boileau was getting her hands to plenty of ball for the home side and the Panthers kicked the only goal of the first term courtesy of Senna Gulden.

The Bulldogs, led by returning captain Shelby Smith, fired back in the second term with goals to Chantel Reynolds and Lauren Breguet putting their side on an even keel.

Neither side was able to secure the ascendency in the third quarter, but the early minutes of the final term belonged to the Panthers as they camped themselves deep in attack.

And the Panthers were rewarded for their territorial advantage when dangerous forward Jordan Hickey kicked the only goal for the term.

The Panthers have the best defensive record in the league and they were able to establish a stoppage fest in the final 10 minutes to deny the Bulldogs.

South’s Soriah Moon stretches high for a mark. Picture – Cory Sutton

Sturt’s India Rasheed (right) and Norwood’s Rosie Boon contest the ruck. Picture – Cory Sutton

Norwood’s title dreams are still alive after overcoming a plucky Sturt by six points in the first semi-final at Flinders University Stadium.

Superior efficiency inside 50 proved decisive for the Redlegs, who will meet Central District in the preliminary final.

The Double Blues will rue their inability to capitalise on a territory advantage, having dominated the inside 50 count.

“I’m really proud of them,” Redlegs coach Brad Snell said. “It is well publicised we have lost a lot of close ones, but that experience came through and they dug really deep.

“I think it was heart which got them there in the end. We defended hard behind the ball, but when we got chances we took them.

“It was finals footy. They just kept working. I kept saying on the boundary, ‘be patient, it will come’. And it did.”

Molly Brooksby was busy for the Redlegs all game and she gave them the early advantage with a goal after only five minutes.

Monique Bessen responded for the Double Blues 10 minutes later, but they would not register another major until six minutes into the final term.

Much of the battle was a slog, and much of that slog was in Double Blues’ territory. But the Redlegs’ defence stood firm.

Lana Schwerdt was outstanding for the Redlegs and her work in the engine room was crucial, while Alysha Healy, in her 50th match, and India Rasheed had a huge impact for the Double Blues.

Norwood’s Molly Brooksby launches into her kicking style. Picture – Cory Sutton

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