By ZAC MILBANK
A straight-sets finals exit, coupled with a host of new faces and a new coach is a fascinating mix for Norwood ahead of the 2020 Statewide Super Women’s League season.
The dominant team throughout the minor round of the 2019 season, Norwood was bundled out of the major round in heart-breaking fashion after losing star midfielder Najwa Allen to injury.
But that seems a distant memory at The Parade less than 12 months later as new coach Chris Howie ushers through an exciting wave of young Redlegs this year.
Speaking on SANFL Radio, Howie said he was embracing the challenge to find replacements for AFLW Draftees in Allen (Adelaide), Hannah Dunn (Gold Coast), Hannah Priest (St Kilda) and Ebony O’Dea (Collingwood).
One such exciting talent is Bella Smith, who has decided to focus on playing football after featuring in 10 SANFL Women’s matches for the Redlegs in 2019.
Originally from Cleve on the Eyre Peninsula, Smith is also an accomplished cricketer, having represented South Australia at the Under-18 National Championships this year.
Experienced campaigners in Leah Cutting, Jo Hill and Bek McMahon are all set to don the red and blue again, with McMahon pushing for Round 1 selection after missing the majority of last season through injury.
But one wise head has decided to put her nous to use in the coaching box, with key position veteran Jane Fitzgerald preferring to assist Howie on the sidelines this season.