By ZAC MILBANK
Sturt won its first contest of the season when it held off a determined Woodville-West Torrens outfit by eight points at Flinders University Stadium on Saturday.
Securing their first premiership points for rookie coach Bruce Dawes, the Double Blues eventually managed to convert a staggering inside 50 advantage into victory against the winless Eagles.
Sturt had as many as 15 forward forays to the Eagles’ two at one stage in the first half but had difficulty applying any scoreboard pressure to their rivals.
By the final siren, Dawes’ charges led the count 39 to 16 which proved enough despite not being able to land a knockout blow with three consecutive behinds to finish the fourth quarter.
With Sturt co-captains Georgia Bevan (20 disposals, six tackles and four clearances) and Maya Rigter (14 disposals and seven tackles) having an influence around the stoppages, it was little surprise their team looked stronger in the first half.
Leading by just one goal at the first change, Sturt stretched the advantage to 13 points when AFLW Academy player Zoe Prowse converted her impressive overhead mark on the lead from a 25m set shot.
Prowse, who finished with 14 disposals, four clearances and 16 hit outs, displayed great athleticism in the ruck and inside attacking 50m for the Double Blues.
But the Eagles hung in the game thanks largely to the goalsense of Crows AFLW-listed youngster Jaimi Tabb, who closed the gap to a goal on the verge of half-time.
Tabb trimmed the deficit to just six points again with just 21 seconds left in the third term when she cleverly edged her opponent under the ball before kicking truly in the goal square.
But that was to be the last major kicked by either side for the match in what proved to be a pressure-packed arm wrestle in the fourth quarter.
Isobel Kuiper showed great promise for Sturt in the win while the courage displayed by Kate Harris late in the final term as she went back with the flight of the ball to contest a mark exemplified her team’s determination.
Eagle Stephanie Walker (18 disposals and eight tackles) showed great support to Tabb while switching with her through the midfield and attack while Ruby Allan and Tesharna Maher battled hard in defence all afternoon despite regularly being under siege from inside 50m entries.
An impressive South Adelaide strung together its third win in succession, outclassing Norwood by 30 points at Flinders University Stadium on Saturday evening.
Inform South forward Jess Kirk booted four goals as the Panthers led at every change to maintain pressure on first-ranked North Adelaide.
It sets up a salivating match-up between the two SANFLW powerhouses, with South’s 2018 premiership mentor Krissie Steen returning to Noarlunga against South with her Roosters in Round 4 on Saturday March 14.
If last night’s contest is anything to go by, North will face a slick South side playing a selfless brand of team football across each line of the field.
The Panthers are more than willing to share the ball around by hand until they find an open player, as evidenced by them having 119 handballs to Norwood’s 64.
And while they didn’t have as many inside 50 entries as the Redlegs, it was quality over quantity for Rick Watts’ charges as they maintained scoreboard pressure with accurate kicking for goal.
Leading by just five points nearing half-time, South star Indy Tahau ran onto the loose ball before slotting a nice goal on the run from 30m with just eight seconds on the clock.
Speedy South forward Madison Bennett then applied more pressure with her left-foot goal on the run from 20m to open up the third quarter in positive fashion.
Bennett was at it again when she set up Kirk with a nice foot pass over the top, with the latter taking a strong overhead mark before converting in the goal square.
Norwood got a quick reply through Bella Smith but when former Redleg Tahlia Meyer’s floating shot on goal evaded everyone with a lucky bounce, it was always going to be the Panthers’ night.
Meyer tallied 20 disposals in the win to equal midfield star Czenya Cavouras, who also laid seven tackles while 2019 Powerade Breakthrough Player Teah Charlton continues to increase her numbers, finishing with 26 possessions and five tackles.
Exciting Norwood youngsters Matilda Zander and Jade Halfpenny combined for 37 disposals but in the end, the Redlegs left the work to too few as they were handed their second loss of the season.
A Caitlin Gould-inspired Glenelg banked its first victory of the season in emphatic fashion, cruising to a 50-point win against Central District at X Convenience Oval on Saturday.
Playing her first SANFLW game for the Tigers after spending the first fortnight with the Crows in the AFLW, Gould was a significant factor in the outcome of the match with her four-goal haul.
In just her second full season of Australian Football, Gould – a volleyball convert – tallied 4.4 from her eight scoring shots to go with her team-high 17 disposals, four tackles and four clearances.
Gould’s first goal of the game opened up a 14-point lead halfway through the first term and from there, the Bays were never headed as they restricted the hosts to just 1.4 while piling on 8.12 for the match.
Glenelg coach Jason Fairall would have been delighted with the intent of his players, given they recorded significant statistical advantages in all major categories, including inside 50s – which the visitors led 36 to 18.
The even contribution spread across the Tigers was illustrated by as many as 13 players reaching double figures in the disposal column, compared to Central just having four.
Zoe Smith, Madisyn Freeman, Lucy Armitage and Jordana Bradley all contributed strongly to the Tigers’ win, as did basketball convert Soriah Moon, who continued her promising start to the campaign with 12 disposals and a goal.
Moon, an SA District basketballer with Sturt, has shown great promise in the ruck for the Bays and calmly slotted her major from a difficult angle in the clip below.
The Bulldogs’ only goal came from star forward Katelyn Rosenzweig five minutes into the third quarter as the experienced Demi Sonneman battled against the Tigers’ tide with 19 disposals while Shelby Smith and Latiah Huynh had 14 and 13 respectively.
North Adelaide maintained its place at the top of the ladder with a comfortable 21-point win against West Adelaide at Flinders University Stadium on Saturday.
Just one of two unbeaten teams, along with South Adelaide, the Roosters started strongly to put the previously unbeaten Bloods on the back foot.
Krissie Steen’s outfit had three goals on the board before West’s first score came from a Melanie Elsegood blemish five minutes into the second term.
Elsegood, who has started the season brightly, trimmed the margin to 14 points with her team’s first goal nearing half-time.
But it was difference-maker Ashleigh Woodland who had all the replies, adding to her first goal of the game by booting another to start the third term nicely for the Roosters.
Nippy North left-footer Katelyn Pope stretched the advantage out to 26 points with a nice left foot snap in front just forty seconds before the siren for three-quarter time.
It appeared as though North would cruise to a comfortable win but when Abby Hardwick shrugged off a tackle to kick truly on the run from 25m in front, the Bloods gained heart.
Elsegood again chimed in with her second to put West within just 14 points, seven minutes into the fourth quarter, but it was Woodland who made her presence felt yet again for North.
The former Melbourne AFLW utility sank her set shot from 35m in front to seal North’s third consecutive victory to start the season.
Woodland finished with 22 disposals and seven marks to go with her three goals to be the most influential player on the field while North captain Leah Tynan had 18 possessions and six tackles.
West’s Zoe Venning gathered a match-high 26 disposals and three clearances as she battled against the tide with Emma Smith (18) and Abbie Ballard (17).
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