By ZAC MILBANK
North Adelaide began life under new coach Krissie Steen in impressive fashion, chalking up a 24-point win against Glenelg at X Convenience Oval on Saturday.
With the South Adelaide premiership mentor at the helm for the first time, the Roosters broke free of the Tigers with a strong second quarter performance.
Trailing by four points at the first change, North piled on 4.4 while holding the Bays scoreless to earn a comfortable four-goal buffer at half-time.
Last year’s SANFLW leading goalkicker, Kelly Barltrop, booted two of the Roosters goals in the match-defining period, with Hannah Ewings and Cristie Castle also getting in on the act.
Castle’s goal put the icing on a dominant display from the experienced utility, who also tallied a match-high 17 disposals, six marks and five clearances.
Diminutive left-footer Lauren Daniel was also instrumental with her 14 possessions while Adrienne Davies and Katelyn Pope had 13 each for North.
North ruck Bek Rasheed, the daughter of Roosters premiership great Mick Redden, finished with seven disposals, 14 hitouts and three clearances in her SANFLW debut.
Inaccurate kicking in front of goal stifled the Bays’ valiant attempt to drag their way back into the contest, booting 1.5 in the third quarter as North managed just one major courtesy of recruit Tayla Gordon.
But Tigers coach Jason Fairall will take plenty of heart from his side winning several key statistic categories such as scoring shots, disposals, tackles, hitouts and clearances.
Samantha Franson continued on from her impressive 2019 campaign to register a team-high 16 disposals and six tackles for Glenelg while Madisyn Freeman and Lucy Earl finished with 14 and 13 respectively.
West Adelaide piled on the pressure early to secure a solid 21-point win against Sturt at X Convenience Oval.
The Bloods, now under the tutelage of new coach Mark Moody, engineered the first seven scoring shots of the game to take a defining 17-point lead into the half-time break.
Leadership group member Kasia Culhane got West on the board with the first goal of the game five minutes into the first term.
And by the time team-mate Melanie Elsegood also converted four minutes into the second, the Bloods’ advantage was already at 13 points.
Restricting the Double Blues to just one behind for the first three quarters, West was again powered by Culhane and Elsegood, who each saluted in the third term to open up a commanding 29-point buffer at the final change.
Sturt got moving in the fourth quarter when Ally Ladas marked on the lead and converted her set shot from 30m.
And when wing Alex Ballard baulked around two opponents and kicked an impressive snap shot, there was a faint flicker of a comeback for the Double Blues, who whittled the deficit back to 15 points with 11 minutes to play.
But West’s Zoe Venning marked on the lead before booting the sealing goal for the Bloods in the 14th minute.
After making her Crows AFLW debut last weekend, Rachelle Martin continued her strong form to chalk up 15 possessions, 11 tackles and five clearances while Abbie Ballard posted monster numbers with 27 disposals, five marks, four tackles and nine clearances.
Sturt co-captains Georgia Bevan and Maya Rigter fought hard to combine for 37 disposals between them former Eagle Aaijah Jericho had 11 disposals and four tackles in her club debut.
There were plenty of positives for new Sturt coach Bruce Dawes, who will no doubt point to his team having more disposals, tackles, clearances and inside 50s than the Bloods.
South Adelaide began its premiership defence in shaky style as a plucky Woodville-West Torrens outfit came within four points at Flinders University Stadium on Friday night.
Unfurling their premiership flag in front of the Noarlunga faithful, the Panthers jumped out to a match-high 12-point lead when they booted the opening two goals of the game through captain Lauren Buchanan and debutant Kelli Nijhuis.
But once Eagles recruit Nicole Collie – who transferred from North Adelaide in the off-season – opened the account for the visitors, the deficit stayed in single figures until they hit the front with a major to Mikayla Cavallaro on the verge of half-time.
With Crows-listed ruck Montana McKinnon dominant around the ground, the Panthers edged back in front to lead by seven points at the final change.
Despite managing just one rushed behind in the final quarter, the hosts held on after being forced to defend grimly under siege from a side still searching for its inaugural victory in the Statewide Super Women’s League.
The Eagles had the last four scoring shots of the game – four behinds – as they proved they will almost certainly break through for victory if they continue to bring the same intensity this season.
Talented Eagles forward Kiana Lee took a juggled mark 40m out and had an opportunity to tie up the scores but narrowly missed her set shot with little over four minutes to play.
Then her team-mate Amie Blanden let fly with a shot on goal from 30m which was bouncing through only to be touched on the goalline by two desperate South defenders.
Rick Watts’ side was then able to clear the ball from it defensive 50m for the final two minutes as they wound the clock down to secure victory.
McKinnon, who was unable to make her AFLW debut last weekend due to a minor injury, finished with 18 disposals, seven marks and four clearances to put her hand up for selection with the Crows.
Tall midfielder Czenya Cavouras led the way with 20 disposals, 11 tackles and six clearances while Jaslynne Smith played a composed game in defence while tallying 15 touches.
It was an even contribution from Tess Baxter’s Eagles outfit, with former West Adelaide captain Alli Evans making her presence felt at centre-half back with 15 disposals and eight tackles.
Crows-listed Jaimi Tabb had 12 possessions for the visitors while experienced pair Adele Gibson and Stephanie Walker each reached double figures in a spirited first-up performance from Woodville-West Torrens.
A Katelyn Rosenzweig-inspired Central District caused the first upset of the season with a four-point win against Norwood at X Convenience Oval.
Rosenzweig, now back full-time at Elizabeth after a season on the Crows’ AFLW list, showed off her immense talent with some fine finishing on goal to finish the match with a game-breaking four majors.
The SANFLW leading goalkicker in 2018, Rosenzweig kicked three goals in succession either side of the final change to swing the result in the Bulldogs’ favour.
Speed from Caitlen Teague set up ”Rosey’s” first goal of the game, with Teague breaking the lines before hitting up her strong-marking forward on the lead.
It brought Central within two points of Norwood but then veteran Jo Hill steadied for the visitors with her seocnd goal when she converted her free kick for an eight-point buffer.
But Rosenzweig was only just getting warmed up as Shelby Smith, the daughter of former Bulldogs captain Greg Smith, added a desperate smother to her team-high tally of 20 disposals to set up another goal.
This put the hosts in front much to the delight of the Elizabeth faithful, which suddenly found full voice with their team hitting the lead three minutes into the fourth term.
Just three minutes later, Rosenzweig was at it again as she cleverly edged her opponent under the ball to run into open space and snap truly from 20m to kick what proved to be the sealing goal.
Impressive Norwood youngster Jade Halfpenny converted her juggled mark from 15m to pull the deficit back under a goal but the Bulldogs hung tough to secure their third win in SANFLW history.
Nippy Central half-forward Latiah Huynh collected 15 disposals while Dogs defender Kimberley Fry again proved why she is one of the best in the competition at reading the play across half-back.
Last year’s minor premier received an encouraging performance from speedy Matilda Zander (20 disposals and four tackles) while new captain Alison Ferrall collected 15 possessions.