By ZAC MILBANK
North Adelaide’s undefeated season rolled on as it fought off a determined South Adelaide by just eight points in the SANFLW Second Semi-Final at Thebarton Oval.
Coming off 10 consecutive wins in the minor round, the Roosters booked their place in the Statewide Super Women’s League Grand Final on the back of another stunning solo performance by star midfielder Anne Hatchard.
While Hatchard didn’t score one of North’s three goals in the tight contest, she racked up a game-high 36 disposals, 11 marks, six tackles and nine clearances.
The Crows’ AFLW Club Champion rested her foot in Round 10 and it appeared to pay dividends as she also worked hard both ways to register five inside 50s and four rebound 50s.
But she had plenty of support to ensure North would play in its second title-decider in succession, with GWS-listed Britt Perry finding 16 disposals and a goal, while Erica Greet and Hannah Ewings used their leg speed well on the wide open spaces to tally 17 possessions each.
North edged in front early when Brianna Arthur nailed her set shot from 20m in front only for it to be cancelled out by South’s Cheyenne Hammond converting truly from the top of the goal square before the first change.
Perry then made her presence felt when she handballed in composed fashion to Kat Reynolds, who didn’t need to break stride while kicking a fine finish on the run.
South skipper Lauren Buchanan made a desperate lunge but the goal umpire adjudged the ball to have crossed the goal line once Buchanan touched it.
The Panthers’ Hannah Munyard – announced as a recruit for the Crows AFLW side after returning from the Western Bulldogs this week – then trimmed the margin to three points with her set shot at the top of the goal square.
But it wasn’t long before Perry’s class was again on display when she produced a stunning blind turn in traffic before kicking truly on the run from 35m to kick North’s third and final goal of the game.
Hatchard and Ewings both hit the post from set shots to start the fourth term, keeping the door ajar for a Panthers upset.
And it was very nearly on the cards when South utility Indy Tahau read the ball beautifully off hands, had a bounce and let fly from 35m on the run only to have her kick touched on the line by North’s Talia Radan.
First-year teenager Gypsy Schirmer had another opportunity for South just one minute later but when the ball spilled free from her marking attempt, it crept across the line for a rushed behind.
It was to be South’s final score for the match, leaving Rick Watts’ charges to begin preparing for a Preliminary Final against West Adelaide next weekend.
South star Teah Charlton led the way for her side with 22 disposals, three contested marks and five clearances while Hammond – who won the medal for best afield in the 2018 Grand Final – tallied 19 disposals, three tackles and a goal.
Crow Nikki Gore and Jaslynne Smith also had 17 disposals each for the Panthers, with Gore also racking up eight tackles, five marks and five clearances.
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