By PETER CORNWALL
Norwood has again displayed its strong premiership credentials by over-running last year’s grand final conqueror South Adelaide by 12 points at Coopers Stadium on Friday night.
The Redlegs, inaugural SANFLW premiers in 2017, ended South’s stunning run of eight successive wins over the past two seasons to make it two wins from two starts in their 2019 campaign.
Norwood and South continued their fierce rivalry – the Panthers edged out the Legs by five points in last year’s epic grand final – with strong tackling, desperation to get the ball and intense pressure meaning there were no easy kicks at The Parade.
But Norwood’s classy Canberra recruit Najwah Allen made it look easier than most, continuing her outstanding form from the Legs’ first-round win against North by picking up 24 possessions and booting two gamebreaking goals.
South, which had honoured the raising of its premiership flag by beating Sturt by 32 points in the opening round, showed it meant business by booting the first goal of the grand final re-match, although it took 16 minutes of pressure footy to record it. Teah Charlton found Lauren Buchanan on a lead and she kicked truly.
But Redleg Hannah Dunn who, like Allen has played with GWS in the AFLW, also showed her touch of class with a great right-foot snap around the corner three minutes into second quarter.
Jess Kirk, who has previously made her mark with South Adelaide in soccer, pulled in a strong overhead mark and goaled from 30m early in the third term and the premier led by six points.
But in the space of four minutes, Allen turned the Statewide Super Women’s League game on its head with back-to-back goals, as she had in the final quarter against the Roosters.
The first came from a brilliant snap around the corner from a pack, then Thalia Meyer charged out from half-back and found Monique Hollick, who burnt through the midfield to kick to Allen, who had slipped clear at centre half-forward. She dashed away and it was never in doubt what would happen next. Norwood was six points clear and wouldn’t be headed again.
Allen showed what an outstanding allround game she has by running down and tackling South star Hannah Munyard to win a free for holding-the-ball.
Hollick snapped a clever goal with the outside of her boot and the Legs led by 11 points at the last break.
South showed why it had won last year’s flag as it made another charge. Indy Tahau snared a strong overhead mark and finished in style to reduce the margin to five points eight minutes into the last quarter, the Panthers continuing to push.
But Norwood’s Bree-Anna Liebhardt sealed the deal on 13 minutes when she grabbed the ball off hands deep in attack and snapped around the corner for the ball to bounce and bounce straight through.
Czenya Cavouras had an impressive game for the Panthers with 19 possessions and some strong tackling, while athletic, long-kicking Montana McKinnon earned 18 touches as the Panthers showed they again will be around the mark at the business end of the season.
NORWOOD 0.1 1.2 4.2 5.3 (33)
SOUTH 1.2 1.2 2.3 3.3 (21)
LEADING DISPOSALS – Norwood: Najwah Allen 24, Hannah Dunn 17, Michele Reid 16, Monique Hollick 15, Jo Hill, Thalia Meyer 14.
South: Czenya Cavouras 19, Montana McKinnon, Samantha Pratt 18, Cheyenne Hammond, Jaslynne Smith 15.
GOALS – Norwood: Najwah Allen 2, Hannah Dunn, Monique Hollick, Bree-Anna Liebhardt.
South: Lauren Buchanan, Jessica Kirk, Indy Tahau.
Kelly Barltrop stood tall with five goals for North Adelaide in its hard-fought seven-point win against gutsy Sturt in the early game at Coopers Stadium.
The 181cm Barltrop only had six kicks – but didn’t she make the most of them? KB booted two goals in the first quarter, one in the second and two in the third and by three-quarter-time the
Roosters led by 15 points. But the problem was that was when North’s scoring stopped. Winless Sturt, which, inspired by co-captain and former Crow Georgia Bevan (24 touches), had led by
two goals in the second quarter, battled hard in the last quarter to close within seven points.
NORTH 2.3 3.4 6.6 6.6 (42)
STURT 2.1 4.3 4.3 5.5 (35)
LEADING DISPOSALS – North: Nadia Von Bertouch 20, Paige Allan 16, Erica Greet 15, Lauren Daniel 12.
Sturt: Georgia Bevan 24, Maya Rigter 16, Lucy Griffith, Lauren Lovell, Larissa Schenscher 14.
GOALS – North: Kelly Barltrop 5, Nadia Von Bertouch.
Sturt: Nicole Baker, Lucy Griffith, Lauren Lovell, Jess Schulz, Caitlyn Swanson.
On a night of great goalkicking performances, West Adelaide’s Chelsea Biddell booted a stunning six as the Bloods held off Woodville-West Torrens in a thriller at City Mazda Stadium.
Biddell, forward pocket in last year’s The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year, booted three goals in each of the second and third quarters and West led by 28 points at the last break. But, like North, that was it for the Bloods.
The Eagles, in just their second game, booted 4.1 to nothing in a stunning charge that ended desperately short – by three points. Stephanie Walker, who played for GWS in AFLW season one, was outstanding with 24 disposals, while Adelaide forward Sarah Perkins, dropped for the Crows’ clash with Fremantle, was ever-dangerous with 3.4.
WEST 0.0 3.3 7.3 7.3 (45)
EAGLES 0.3 1.3 2.5 6.6 (42)
LEADING DISPOSALS – West: Madison Newman 18, Abbie Ballard 16, Kasia Culhane 12, Chelsea Biddell, Rebecca Owen, Zoe Venning 11.
Eagles: Stephanie Walker 24, Jaimi Tabb 18, Tesharna Maher 15, Adele Gibson 14, Tara McDermott, Georgia Taylor 13.
GOALS – West: Chelsea Biddell 6, Emma Smith.
Eagles: Sarah Perkins 3, Jaimi Tabb 2, Kiana Lee.
Glenelg continued its stunning charge from last year’s wooden spoon to top of the table with a strong 17-point win against Central District at X Convenience Oval.
The Bays have beaten newcomers Woodville-West Torrens and the Bulldogs in the opening two rounds but there is little doubt how much they have improved and a win was rarely in doubt at Elizabeth on Friday.
Tigers skipper Cass Hartley just keeps on keeping on and she continued to work hard for another 18 possessions, along with Ellie Kellock.
Central’s Danielle Stewart earned 19 touches, while last year’s SANFLW leading goalkicker, with North, Katelyn Rosenzweig kicked two goals for the Doggies.
GLENELG 1.1 3.3 4.5 5.7 (37)
CENTRAL 0.1 1.1 1.1 3.2 (20)
LEADING DISPOSALS – Glenelg: Cass Hartley, Ellie Kellock 18, Ellen Fauser 16, Caitlin Gould 14, Lucy Armitage, Brooke Trevena, Bonnie Wells 12.
Central: Danielle Stewart 19, Shannen Solly 14, Abbey Scheer 11, Jayme-Lee Sonneman, Caitlen Teague 10.
GOALS – Glenelg: Ellen Fauser, Olivia Walker-Obushak, Rebecca Steer, Hannah Crump, Samantha Franson.
Central: Katelyn Rosenzweig 2, Isabella Wilson.