By ZAC MILBANK
Sturt has searched outside the square again in adding much-needed height to its list for the 2020 Statewide Super Women’s League season.
Two years after luring Adelaide Lightning star Jess Foley into SANFL ranks, the Double Blues have begun nurturing former US College basketballer Stephanie Ratliff.
Having played with Eastern Mavericks and Southern Tigers in the SA Premier League basketball competition, the 25-year-old is eagerly grasping the concept of kicking and handballing the oval-shaped ball.
Measuring in at 190cm, Ratliff has been embraced by her new team-mates who haven’t hesitated to assist in educating her on the nuances of Australian Football, including how to lead as a key forward.
Speaking on SANFL Radio, incoming Sturt Women’s Coach Bruce Dawes said Ratliff would be a development ”project” for the coaching panel at Oxford Terrace as they look to tap into her athletic traits.
Dawes praised Ratliff’s attitude given she has been quick to take on extra skill sessions to develop her craft as she looks to force her way into the League team for 2020.
Already, the former University of Louisiana Monroe forward has been quick to display her clean hands with overhead marking on the training track while also kicking drop punts in the video displayed below.
Together with the experienced Hannah Dreckow, recent AFLW Academy scholarship holder Zoe Prowse also looms as another option in the ruck for the Double Blues as Foley continues to make strides at elite level with the Adelaide Crows.
Key senior players Caitlyn Swanson and Georgia Bevan are signed up ready to roll again while last year’s sole Sturt representative in The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year, Maya Rigter, looks in good shape to improve on her breakout 2019 campaign.