By ZAC MILBANK
A classy coast-to-coast goal was enough for North Adelaide to edge out South Adelaide by just four points in the top-of-the-table clash at Flinders University Stadium on Saturday night.
Roosters’ spearhead Kelly Barltrop got on the end of a skillful chain of possessions starting from the last line of defence, with last year’s SANFLW leading goal kicker putting her side in front with just over two minutes to play.
Despite several Panthers defenders claiming the ball was touched, Barltrop’s match-winner (in the clip below) was declared all clear by the umpires as the visitors performed the great escape after trailing for all but eight minutes of the contest.
It gave Panthers premiership coach Krissie Steen a nice ending to her Noarlunga return as coach of the Roosters, who also inflicted the first loss for South on home soil since their inception into the competition at the start of the 2018 season.
Remaining the only unbeaten team certainly didn’t come easily considering both Olivia Gallio and Hannah Ewings were stretchered off, leaving North two players short for a significant period after conceding the opening three goals of the game.
South – without star ruck Montana McKinnon who had been called up for AFLW duty – was clearly the better side in the opening term as Nicole Campbell and Jess Kirk combined to hit the scoreboard.
Campbell, another of South’s talented Crows AFLW players, was a class above with her intent at the contest and finishing on her left foot through the corridor.
And if it wasn’t for South’s 2018 premiership captain Kristi Harvey – now wearing North colours – taking several intercept marks, the damage could have been a lot worse for the visitors.
Instead, they were able to get the jump on South in the second term by erasing the deficit thanks largely to the creativity and finishing of Roosters forward Cristie Castle.
After converting a nice mark on the lead from 25m, Castle then snared an intercept mark before lacing out Barltrop on the chest to give North its second goal inside seven minutes.
And when clever teenager Hannah Ewings kicked truly before her untimely injury, North had trimmed the margin to just one point.
Only Teah Charlton’s behind for South troubled the scorers in the third term before North’s passage of brilliance earned it victory in virtually the last play of the night.
Harvey was outstanding for North, finishing with eight marks, 15 disposals and eight tackles while keeping Kirk quiet after the first change.
The two Laurens – Gauci and Daniel – found plenty of the ball for the Roosters while Katelyn Pope showed off her eye-catching speed with the majority of her 16 disposals.
Campbell and Czenya Cavouras tallied 41 disposals between them while regularly having an impact through the middle, only to be shadowed by team-mate Courtney Barry, who was the highest possession-winner on the ground with 23.
West Adelaide and Norwood shared the premiership points after the Redlegs staged a late comeback to snare a draw at Flinders University Stadium on Saturday evening.
Despite trailing for the majority of the contest, the Redlegs erased their 15-point deficit at three-quarter time by kicking 2.3 while keeping the Bloods scoreless in the final term.
Norwood’s Ashlee Gould managed to pounce on a loose ball and squeeze the ball through for a goal nine minutes into the final term, reducing the margin to seven points.
And after the talented Northern Territorian Mattea Breed narrowly missed her shot at goal two minutes later, Redleg Shae Hiscock didn’t blink after locking the scores at 3.5 (23) having been gifted a free kick for a West Adelaide throw just 15m out, directly in front.
The Bloods – with Crows AFLW premiership forward Rachael Killian acting as a vital conduit through half-forward – had a late charge thwarted in the final four minutes, leaving them to lament an opportunity lost.
Mark Moody’s charges led for close to the entire match whilst also recording more disposals, marks, tackles and a significant 10 more inside 50 entries than the Redlegs, who hung tough in the contest.
Killian finished with 17 disposals to be one of Westies’ best, along with tenacious Rachelle Martin (20 disposals and nine tackles) and Crows AFLW defender Madison Newman, who was classy with her 18 possessions.
West’s Melanie Elsegood again kept the scoreboard attendants busy with a couple of goals, including a brilliant checkside finish from the pocket in the clip below.
Norwood’s Matilda Zander continues to blossom, regularly taking on the play at speed to finish with 22 disposals and seven tackles while Breed regularly posed a threat to the Bloods with her 17 possessions, five clearances and a goal.
A sensational second half was enough for Woodville-West Torrens to register its historic first victory in the Statewide Super Women’s League against Glenelg at X Convenience Oval on Friday night.
Having lost their opening 13 games since inception in 2019, the Eagles – who eclipsed the Tigers by 25 points – have been the hard luck story this season with three losses by eight points or less in 2020.
But Tess Baxter’s charges ensured luck would play no part in Round 4, coming from a goal down at half-time to boot 5.1 while keeping the Bays scoreless in the final two terms of the match.
The Eagles were much more efficient with ball in hand, recording the win despite having considerably fewer disposals, seven fewer marks and six fewer clearances as well as one less inside 50 entry.
But after talented forward Kiana Lee put the Eagles in front with her third goal of the game 12 minutes into the third quarter, it triggered a purple patch from fellow goalsneak Nicole Collie after the last change.
Collie, recruited from North Adelaide in the off-season, booted the final three majors of the match to stretch the margin to four goals, causing plenty of celebration for the girls from Oval Avenue.
It was a very even effort from the Eagles, who had Crows-listed ruck Rhiannon Metcalfe lead the way with 15 disposals while Lee had 12 to go with her five marks and three goals.
After such a promising win against Central in Round 3, it was a disappointing display from the Bays, who were led by Tessa Kohn with 18 disposals and seven clearances.
Lucy Armitage also battled hard for the Tigers with 13 disposals, 10 tackles and seven clearances.
Sturt nudged its way into the top four with a gritty 11-point win against Central District at X Convenience Oval on Friday night.
The Double Blues’ policy to go largely with local youth is beginning to pay dividends after stringing together two wins in succession against the Eagles and Bulldogs.
A fast start was critical to earning the premiership points in Round 4, with co-captain Georgia Bevan sinking Sturt’s third goal of the game in a row six minutes into the second stanza.
The run wasn’t broken until star Bulldogs forward Katelyn Rosenzweig booted the first of her two goals just five minutes before half-time.
And while Rosenzweig pegged the margin back to 11 points with her second eight minutes into the fourth quarter, the Double Blues were able to hang on for the win despite not managing a score after the final change.
One of Sturt’s baby Blues showing great promise is athletic tall Zoe Prowse, who finished with a game high 23 disposals, three tackles, 10 clearances and a goal in a dominant display to illustrate why she is an AFLW Academy member.
Bevan was also prominent with 14 possessions, four clearances and a goal while Jo-Anna Baltais and Izzy Kuiper also reached double-figures in the disposal column.
Despite the scoreboard, Central coach Shaun Ribbons won’t have to look far for positives such as the whopping 83 tackles his side applied, while also having more disposals and inside 50 entries.
First-year midfielder Shelby Smith continued her encouraging start to her career with 15 possessions for the Bulldogs while Rosenzweig tried her best to haul her team across the line with her two goals, 13 disposals and four tackles.
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