By PETER CORNWALL
North Adelaide has jumped into the SANFL Women’s top four – and above West Adelaide into third – with a hard-fought 20-point win against the Bloods at Prospect Oval on Saturday.
The Roosters, on the day the men’s side unfurled the flag for last year’s stunning premiership success, added to a day of celebration with a win that showed they are well-and-truly ready for finals footy.
Matt Slade’s North claimed its third successive win, giving a clear indication of its intent in the first 28 seconds, Paige Allan pumping the ball into the goalsquare where Cristie Castle read the ball off hands to soccer through the opening goal.
Strong-marking Roosters forward Emma Sampson then stamped her influence on the game. With less than three minutes gone Sampson hauled in a strong overhead mark and kicked long and strong for a goal. Sampson was looking more than a handful as she goaled from another mark in the forward pocket and when she marked on her chest in the other pocket, wheeled around and snapped her third goal in five minutes, North led by 24 points.
The Bloods showed fight when Melanie Elsegood held on to an impressive juggling mark just inside the forward-50 and thumped through a booming goal. When Megan Rich found Alexandra Mason in a forward pocket and she steered the ball through Westies were within 11 points at the quarter-time break.
The Roosters took charge with the only two goals of the second quarter to Leah Tynan and Castle – with a stunning banana kick from the boundary – before another to Castle early in the third quarter made the margin what appeared a matchwinning five goals. But the Bloods refused to give in, Abbie Ballard – from a long shot on an angle – Megan Rich – after a strong mark – and Mary Smith – with a sensational snap – ramming on goals within five minutes to bring the contest to life.
But Rooster Kathryn Reynolds sealed the deal early in the final term with a fine left-foot goal on the run.
NORTH 4.0 6.1 7.2 8.5 (53)
WEST 2.1 2.1 5.2 5.3 (33)
LEADING DISPOSALS – North: Erica Greet 19, Lauren Daniel 17, Leah Tynan 16, Adrienne Davies 14, Cristie Castle, Kathryn Reynolds 13.
West: Abbie Ballard, Madison Newman 17, Niamh Davis 11.
GOALS – North: Christie Castle, Emma Sampson 3, Kathryn Reynolds, Leah Tynan.
West: Megan Rich, Abbie Ballard, Melanie Elsegood, Alexandra Mason, Mary Smith.
Reigning premier South Adelaide continued its winning ways by overcoming Glenelg by 28 points on Friday evening at the Bay.
The Panthers, whose only loss this year has come against last year’s grand final opponent Norwood, set up the win with a three goals-to-none second quarter, with Madison Bennett booting three goals in their sixth win of the campaign.
Bennett was a dynamo any time the ball was around the goalmouth, soccering through opportunist goals in the opening two quarters before capping the game with a snap from a scrimmage in the dying moments of a hard-fought clash.
Glenelg won the clearances 26-19 on the night but South’s impressive handball set up plenty of chances at they won the inside-50 count 27-20.
Hannah Munyard was in everything for South with 23 possessions and a long goal in the second quarter, while Czenya Cavouras and Teah Charlton both collected 20 touches and 10-plus tackles and Indy Tahau had 14 possessions and 21 hit-outs. Tigers skipper Cass Hartley led the way with 18 disposals, while Lucy Bellenger booted two goals – from a set shot after a mark and a snap out of a pack – from 16 disposals and Caitlin Gould gathered 13 possessions, seven tackles and 16 hit-outs.
SOUTH 2.0 5.3 5.5 6.7 (43)
GLENELG 1.0 1.3 2.3 2.3 (15)
LEADING DISPOSALS – South: Hannah Munyard 23, Czenya Cavouras, Teah Charlton 20, Nicole Campbell, Indy Tahau 14.
Glenelg: Cass Hartley 18, Lucy Bellenger 16, Samantha Franson 14, Caitlin Gould 13.
GOALS – South: Madison Bennett 3, Danielle Goding, Elyse Haussen, Hannah Munyard.
Glenelg: Lucy Bellenger 2.
Sturt stormed to its second win of the season with a powerful five-goal last-quarter blitz against Woodville-West Torrens at Peter Motley Oval.
The Eagles, still to record a win in their first season of the SANFL Statewide Super Women’s League, hit hard early with a four-goal opening quarter to take a 17-point lead into the first break. Kiana Lee, who holds a place in Eagles history having kicked their first three goals at this level, booted two goals in their stunning start at Unley, with Natasha Farrier and Chloe Forby also kicking majors. They were to be the Eagles’ only goals of the game.
The Blues were inaccurate as they set about hauling in the Eagles’ early lead and by three-quarter time scores were locked – Sturt 3.10 to the Eagles’ 4.4.
The Double Blues started the last term with three more behinds but suddenly they found their range and Taylor Prenzler, Georgia Swan, Maya Rigter, Caitlyn Swanson and Alexandra Ballard booted goals in a flurry from the last six scoring shots of the match.
Inaugural Crows premiership player Georgia Bevan was in everything for Sturt with 19 disposals and 11 tackles, while former GWS player Stephanie Walker had 13 touches for the Eagles, as did Lee, who has now booted a club best seven goals in seven games.
STURT 1.1 1.7 3.10 8.14 (62)
EAGLES 4.0 4.2 4.4 4.4 (28)
LEADING DISPOSALS – Sturt: Georgia Bevan 19, Lauren Lovell 17, Lane Trenorden 14, Bella Griffith, Sophie Hoyle, Caitlyn Swanson 13.
Eagles: Kiana Lee, Stephanie Walker 13, Abby Pengelly 12.
GOALS – Sturt: Alexandra Ballard 2, Georgia Swan, Nicole Baker, Lauren Lovell, Taylor Prenzler, Maya Rigter, Caitlyn Swanson.
Eagles: Kiana Lee 2, Natasha Farrier, Chloe Forby.
The rampant Redlegs remain undefeated at the top of the table after a powerful 38-point win against Central District at Elizabeth.
Norwood superstar Najwah Allen continues to impress as the most dynamic player in the league, picking up another 30 possessions and booting two goals. And two other Redlegs stars Hannah Dunn and Monique Hollick collected 22 disposals each to help their side win the possession count 236-182 and the inside-50s 28-17. Former Australian swimmer Leah Cutting also stood tall with nine disposals, nine tackles, 24 hit-outs and a goal.
Round 4 SANFL Women’s Powerade Breakthrough Player Laitiah Huynh again impressed for the Dogs. The teenager originally from Ingle Farm Football Club had 11 kicks, four handballs and four tackles, always throwing everything into it.
NORWOOD 1.4 3.6 5.6 7.9 (51)
CENTRAL 1.1 1.1 1.1 2.1 (13)
LEADING DISPOSALS – Norwood: Najwah Allen 30, Hannah Dunn, Monique Hollick 22, Thalia Meyer 18, Matilda Zander 16, Michele Reid 14.
Central: Laitiah Huynh 15, Gemma Doughty, Jayme-Lee Sonneman 13, Shannen Solly, Demi Sonneman 12.
GOALS – Norwood: Najwah Allen, Erika Sporn, Matilda Zander 2, Leah Cutting.
Central: Abbey Scheer, Isabella Wilson.