2022 SANFLW Round 7 preview: Teams hit hard at the selection table

IF there was any doubting the impact of COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols on the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s, then the Round 6 selection table was a prime example. A whopping 19 players were ruled out of this weekend’s action due to the protocols, with Norwood (seven) and Glenelg (six) the hardest hit. Ironically, North Adelaide which has had the most impact from the protocols this season, was one of only two sides without a forced omission.

  • Team
  • Norwood
  • West Adelaide

Saturday, March 26 @ 12pm
Coopers Stadium

Coming off back-to-back heavy defeats, the last thing Norwood needed at the selection table was a ton of forced omissions, but that is exactly what they face with seven players out due to Health and Safety Protocols. Among them are a couple of impressive defenders in Morgan Johnston and Nicola Burns, as well as Steph Simmonds and Lindsay Bigg. There is some relief for the Redlegs though, with captain Alison Ferrall and equally experienced utility Sophie Armitstead back in the lineup, alongside youngsters Molly Brooksby and switchperson Shai Hiscock. They have also been boosted up forward with Jiarna Zerella returning to a very different side to last round.

Though Norwood has not had the greatest results the last fortnight, West Adelaide simply must-win. A loss here and one would surely put a line through their finals hopes, sitting at 1-5 currently. Though they looked better last week, they will have to overcome the loss of Crows duo Abbie Ballard and Madison Newman, one of their best defenders Madelyn Zacher, and vice-captain Ashlea James. The Bloods will welcome the return of inside midfielder Jess Macolino who will face her old side for the first time, joined in the lineup by experienced Louella McCarthy and young Tasmanian Lily Johnston among five inclusions for the side.

The midfield battle will be key, with Macolino, Zoe Venning, Keeley Kustermann and Charlie Scutchings going up against the likes of Jade Halfpenny, Lana Schwerdt and Sachi Syme, whilst Alana Lishmund has been a key player up forward for the Bloods.

Norwood still have a strong side despite the outs, and both teams have plenty of key players missing, it will come down to not only the midfield battle, but the team that can take its chances. An absolute must-win match.

  • Team
  • North Adelaide
  • Glenelg

Saturday, March 26 @ 2:10pm
Coopers Stadium

Built up as the Match of the Round with two in-form sides going head-to-head, it has ended up a huge challenge for the visiting side. Reigning premiers Glenelg have lost six players to Health and Safety Protocols, with the two AFLW talents – Dayna Cox and Brooke Tonon – also out of the side. The youth of Violet Patterson, Piper Window and Ella Boag are among the outs, and have all been among the Bays better players this season. By contrast, North Adelaide has been forced into just one change with Rachael Plummer doing a hamstring and both Julia Clark and Kate Case named in the side.

Full credit should go to the Bays’ depth because despite the heavy omissions, they still have plenty of talent across the park. Captain Ellie Kellock, the in-form Jessica Bates and the skilful Sarah Goodwin are there, as is th experience up forward in Caitlyn Swanson and Chelsea Packer, Among the new faces named in an extended square are ex-South forward Madison Bennett, ex-Central talent Kayla McInerney, outside runner Airlie Schirmer and 16-year-old Mykaela Walker.

North Adelaide should be favourites in this one given the continuity in the lineup and coming off a massive 62-point win over Norwood. The forward line is firing on all cylinders with Hannah Ewings booting four majors last week, whilst Jade De Melo, Doreena Hansen, Brianna Arthur and Cristie Castle are all difficult to match up on. Jessica Edwards continues to be one of the most in-form players in the competition, and will be looking to have another big game here.

  • Team
  • Central District
  • Woodville-West Torrens

Saturday, March 26 @ 5pm
X Convenience Oval

Fresh off a breakthrough win against the undefeated Sturt, Central District will be riding high and hope to take that form into the clash against Woodville-West Torrens. Defender Tess Gerhardy is the sole confirmed out at this stage due to Health and Safety Protocols, with experienced replacement Nicole Mark and potential debutant Jessie Sandford both named as inclusions on an extended bench. The Eagles have lost State Under 18s call-up Ella Little, with Crows duo McKenzie Dowrick and Jasmine Simmons. Surprisingly, McKenzie’s younger sister Abbey has come across to the Eagles after playing a game with Subiaco in the WAFL Women’s this season, and she has been named in the side along with fellow West Australian Brianna Hyde, and some young talents including the highly-rated Grace Martin.

There is plenty of midfield depth across both sides, with the Bulldogs core Shelby Smith, Lauren Breguet and Caitlin Wendland going up against Annie Falkenberg, Shineah Goody and Cher Waters. The game also marks the first time Jovanka Zecevic will face the side she won a best and fairest for, and she is coming off a season-best game last week for the Dogs. The key for Central will be containing the forward line of Jessica Sedunary and Jordann Hickey, whilst youngsters Charlotte Riggs, Laitiah Huynh and Georgia McKee in good form this season.

Off recent form, Central District would be a good chance, but the Eagles have gone close against a lot of sides, so this could be a nail-biter.

  • Team
  • South Adelaide
  • Sturt

Saturday, March 26 @ 6:30pm
Flinders University Stadium

Both South Adelaide and Sturt look set to unveil debutants in a huge Saturday night clash at Flinders University Stadium. The Double Blues head south to take on the Panthers after the former suffered their first loss of the season last round against Central District. They welcome back Kiera Mueller and Lily Whitcombe from that strong defence, but have lost Hannah Prenzler to Health and Safety Protocols. Also out of the side for that reason are forwards, Georgia Swan and Ally Ladas, though Sturt has regained talented forward India Rasheed and valuable experience in Kate Harris. Old Ignatians’ Jemma Valente is set to debut for the visiting side, whilst Mount Compass top-ager Kiahni Russell makes her debut for the Panthers. She is in alongside the Radbone’s – Ella and Caitlin – whilst Crows-listed Lisa Whiteley is out, as is Caitlin Couch.

South Adelaide has a two-pronged forward line in Shae Archbold and Jess Waterhouse who will be the keys to shut down for Sturt. The Double Blues on the other hand have an abundance of options who have kicked multiple goals in a game, including Rasheed, Alysha Healy, Abbey Rigter and Georgia Bevan. Sturt is still missing quite a bit from its defensive end, as well as a couple of crucial Crows-listed talls, but have a system in place that allows any player to come in and play a role. The Panthers have been competitive throughout every game this season, and Layla Rogers and Nari Wright were a couple who stepped up last week alongside experienced players in Nicole Campbell and Jaslynne Smith who have are reliable in the back half.

Though Sturt is still not at 100 per cent strength, the Double Blues are still favourites for the clash, though the Panthers will make like difficult at home, a ground they play very well.

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