By PETER CORNWALL
Glenelg has pulled off a stunning upset to defeat reigning premier South Adelaide by 14 points at ACH Group Stadium and make a late charge for a SANFL Women’s finals spot.
The Tigers looked rank outsiders against the highly-rated Panthers, having lost their previous four games while South had won its previous five and, incredibly, 13 of its most recent 14 games – including last year’s grand final against Norwood.
South had previously suffered just one loss this season – to the top-placed Redlegs. Glenelg, meanwhile, had slipped to fifth place, a major round place looking highly unlikely.
Glenelg did not score a single goal in its two losses against South last season. And the Panthers had beaten the Bays by 28 points at Glenelg just eight days before this clash.
But Glenelg shocked the Panthers with its intensity, strong tackling and non-stop pressure, picking up the only goal of the opening quarter through Ellen Fauser.
Lauren Bungey, in just her fourth game and having kicked one goal, turned the clash on its head with two second-quarter goals in a little over two minutes – the first from a scramble in the goalsquare, the next an impressive snap.
It took until 12 minutes into the third term for South to score its first goal – a beauty from an angle to classy Elyse Haussen. She added two behinds early in the last term and when Jessica Kirk goaled after six minutes the Panthers were within four points and seemingly on the way to a hard-fought come-from-behind win.
The Tigers, determined to secure victory for the first time on their home ground, had other ideas. Winning the clearances as they had done for most of the afternoon they regained control and composure and Bonnie Wells fired out a handball to none other than Bungey and she goaled from deep in the pocket in the 12th minute. Samantha Franson capped the impressive win when she grabbed a powerful overhead mark at centre half-forward and goaled with a strong, long shot.
Jason Fairall’s Tigers have a 4-4 win-loss record in fifth spot, one win behind North and West. The Roosters – with a percentage of 61.5 – look set for finals action but the Bloods (percentage 46.3) look under real threat from Glenelg (percentage 53.9), which faces Sturt and the Eagles in the last two rounds and would be favoured to win both. West will play the Eagles and South.
Ellie Kellock was outstanding for the Bays with 23 disposals, seven marks and seven tackles, while Czenya Cavouras had 17 touches, 12 tackles and seven clearances for South.
GLENELG 1.0 3.1 3.2 5.2 (32)
SOUTH 0.1 0.1 1.2 2.6 (18)
LEADING DISPOSALS – Glenelg: Ellie Kellock 23, Chelsea Packer 21, Cass Hartley, Lucy Bellenger 15, Ellen Fauser 14.
South: Czenya Cavouras 17, Nicole Campbell 16, Hannah Munyard 14, Sarah Wright 13.
GOALS – Glenelg: Lauren Bungey 3, Ellen Fauser, Samantha Franson.
South: Elyse Haussen, Jessica Kirk.
West Adelaide’s Madison Newman and Chelsea Biddell continued their impressive form as the Bloods fought hard for a crucial 16-point win against Central District at X Convenience Oval.
Fourth-placed Westies claimed their fifth win from eight games this season thanks chiefly to consistent ballwinner Newman’s 19 disposals and Biddell’s 18 possessions and 2.3. Biddell took her season’s goal tally to 14 – second-best in the league behind North Adelaide’s Kelly Barltrop (21).
The first goal of the game on the expansive Ponderosa didn’t come until the last minute of the opening quarter when Melanie Elsegood claimed a strong mark 25 metres out and slotted the ball right over the goal umpire’s hat.
Scores proved hard to come by with intense pressure around the ball and it wasn’t until the six-minute-mark of the third quarter the next goal came, Elsegood shooting out a handball to Biddell in the goalsquare.
The Bulldogs made their bid late in the third term when a Chantel Reynolds snap just missed, then Isabella Wilson’s great left-foot shot split the centre. The Doggies, already with wins against the Eagles and Sturt in their debut season, looked some sort of chance within nine points at the final break.
But the Bloods maintained their place in the top four, Megan Rich finding Biddell on a lead 10 minutes into the last quarter and the impressive goalkicker sealed the deal.
Bulldogs defender Kimberley Fry battled hard against the odds for 18 disposals, six tackles and four rebound-50s.
WEST 1.4 1.6 2.7 3.8 (26)
CENTRAL 0.1 0.3 1.4 1.4 (10)
LEADING DISPOSALS – West: Madison Newman 19, Chelsea Biddell, Kasia Culhane, Rachelle Martin 18, Rebecca Owen 14.
Central: Kimberley Fry 18, Demi Sonneman 16, Danielle Stewart, Caitlen Teague 13.
GOALS – West: Chelsea Biddell 2, Melanie Elsegood.
Central: Isabella Wilson.
Dangerous North Adelaide continued to build momentum with its fourth win in a row, defeating the Eagles by 60 points at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval.
The Roosters are looking more and more a finals threat and in Greater Western Sydney AFLW speedster Brittany Perry and leading goalkicker Kelly Barltrop they have a couple of genuine matchwinners.
Perry, also an Adelaide Strikers Women’s Big Bash League squad member, picked up 24 possessions and kicked two goals in a devastating performance against the Eagles, who managed just one behind in the first three quarters. And Barltrop booted five goals – having one on the board after just two minutes and booting four by half-time. She now has kicked a record-breaking, stunningly accurate 21.5 for the season.
Former GWS player Stephanie Walker continued her fine season against the odds with 21 disposals for the Eagles.
NORTH 1.2 4.7 8.11 9.13 (67)
EAGLES 0.1 0.1 0.1 1.1 (7)
LEADING DISPOSALS – North: Brittany Perry 24, Lauren Daniel 21, Emma Sampson 19, Cristie Castle 18, Adrienne Davies, Kathryn Reynolds, Leah Tynan 13.
Eagles: Stephanie Walker 21, Natalie Subelli 18, Jo-Anna Baltais 13, Abby Pengelly 12.
GOALS – North: Kelly Barltrop 5, Brittany Perry 2, Danielle Nunns, Paige Allan.
Eagles: Natasha Farrier.
Norwood is looking a stronger premiership favourite than ever. The inaugural SANFL Women’s champion of 2017 comfortably accounted for Sturt by 35 points at Peter Motley Oval to go two games clear on top of the table.
The Redlegs-Blues clash was an emotional one as players from both teams had the chance to win the inaugural Ellen Maple Medal for most courageous and determined player. Ellen Maple, who had originally played SANFL Women’s footy with Norwood, switched to Sturt last season. She died in a car crash in April last year.
It came as little surprise Norwood superstar Najwah Allen was awarded the Medal after leading the way with 32 possessions. Allen, the top possession-winner in the Statewide Super Women’s League despite missing a game, and the Legs’ other gun Canberra recruit Hannah Dunn continue to carve up opposition sides.
Dunn earned 23 possessions and booted a goal as Norwood kept the Double Blues goalless for the first three quarters at Peter Motley Oval. Former Crow Georgia Bevan ended Sturt’s drought seven minutes into the last quarter.
NORWOOD 1.5 4.5 6.5 7.6 (48)
STURT 0.2 0.3 0.3 1.7 (13)
LEADING DISPOSALS – Norwood: Najwah Allen 32, Hannah Dunn 23, Monique Hollick 15, Sophie Armitstead 13, Jo Hill 12.
Sturt: Alexandra Ballard 17, Georgia Bevan 12, Nicole Baker, Hannah Dreckow, Maya Rigter 11.
GOALS – Norwood: Lindsay Bigg 3, Jo Hill 2, Monique Hollick, Hannah Dunn.
Sturt: Georgia Bevan.