THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s had some upsets, thrashings and thrillers in Round 6, and as per usual, we take a look at how the SANFL Women’s Academy members performed across the weekend.
All notes are the opinion of the individual writer.
The AFLW Academy member worked hard in a big loss, attacking it hard and tried her best to control the midfield but her team was ultimately beaten there.. She had a bigger first half that her second, with some nice spins out of traffic and quick hands around the contest. She was heavily involved with the umpires both for and against, and Kustermann was able to get back and help the defence with some relieving kicks into midfield. She provided an option by hand when moving around the ground and was generally clean with her ball use. Kustermann finished with 14 disposals, three tackles and five clearances, and was remarkably involved in eight free kick decisions (five for, three against).
Always finding the ball under pressured situations, Scutchings did not have too much time and space to dispose of the ball, but was able to win it in each third of the ground. She would work back into defence to kick long from the danger zone, scoop it up at ground level from the midfield and kick it forward, and then push up and try and lock the ball in the attacking end. She had a couple of moments where she just lost control of the pill or was smothered, but kept working hard throughout the contest. Scutchings picked up seven disposals, three tackles and two inside 50s.
#41 Lucy Boyd
It was not a day for the taller forwards, especially up West Adelaide’s end, but Boyd’s work rate was evident and she was once again the sole goalkicker for the Bloods. This time that goal came late in the match, ensuring the home side did not go goalless in the clash, with her pressure up the field leading to a turnover and her ability to know when to double-back impressive. Boyd recorded nine disposals, three marks and two tackles to go with her goal.
#24 Lily Whitcombe
A quiet game from the defender who realistically did not need to do a lot anyway as the majority of the play was further afield. The top-age talent is good one-on-one showed clean hands at ground level in the last term where she scooped it off the deck and kicked well from the back pocket to half-back. Whitcombe had four disposals, two tackles and two rebound 50s in the match.
#29 India Rasheed
A starring role for the Double Blues, Rasheed showed great offensive and defensive traits, as well as putting in. a SANFL Women’s Goal of the Year contender from the boundary line. The left-footer was our Player Focus this week, so check out that article for a full wrap of her performance. Rasheed starred with 16 disposals, three marks, six tackles, five inside 50s and two goals.
#33 Kiera Mueller
In another solid performance across the board, Mueller was particularly prolific through the middle two quarters, with her footy IQ and reading of the play fantastic. She knows where to run and get into intercepting positions, and then her left foot does the rest of the work. Boasting a high efficiency with her kicking, Mueller is not just a long down the line type kicker, she does try and pinpoint passes in the middle on that 45-degree angle, which opens up the game for her team. When Sturt is on top, Mueller is good at understanding the game and pushing further afield, often playing that kick behind the ball and holding up a high line to intercept on the forward side of the centre as well. Mueller amassed 14 disposals, six marks, two inside 50s and four rebound 50s.
#40 Tahlia Walker
Having a lively start to the game, Walker had a clean pickup at speed off the deck, ran around an opponent and kicked towards goal but it jut fell short. She was unlucky not to be awarded an in the back free kick in the second term, but continued to go in hard at each chance she got. Though not a massive influence on the game, she continued to present and has some nice eye-catching athletic traits, presenting up the ground to provide teammates with a number of key inside 50s. Walker finished with seven disposals, two marks and four inside 50s.
#38 Shae Archbold
After a goalless game the week before, Archbold managed to hit the scoreboard again from a free kick in the seventh minute of the second term. She duly nailed the set shot from 15m out, and though it was her only major of the day, she continued to present and provide pressure inside the Panthers’ forward line. She attacked the ground balls hard and took a terrific mark in the first term where she lead out the top of 50 then swung around on her left boot and put it to the danger zone. Archbold managed six disposals, five tackles, two inside 50s and a goal.
#49 Jemma Ellis
Having a tough day at the office against one of the league’s top rucks in Isabelle Starmer, Ellis could not quite have the same impact she has had in recent weeks. She still worked hard across the four quarters, and her positioning was good, but she was just outclassed at the actual stoppage by a more experienced opponent. Ellis had the three disposals, four tackles and 12 hitouts for the match.
After a couple of huge weeks, Riggs was not quite as dominant, but still had her moments. She first caught the eye in the opening erm when she stood up well in a tackle on the wing, then won it at half-back and burst through a number of opposition players to directly kick long. She did this again late in the opening quarter, and continued to compete in the defensive half of the ground. Riggs took a strong mark on the wing in the third term to kick well to half-forward, then went forward in the last quarter where she was spotted up high, trying to paddle the ball forward and win it off the deck but was unfortunately pinged for holding the ball shortly after. Riggs had the 10 disposals, three hitouts and two inside 50s.
#21 Georgia McKee
The excitement machine always looked under pressure which is uncharacteristic of her, but she still managed to have some outstanding moments, credit to her natural ability. She was forced to kick the ball out on the full in the opening term when tight up against the line, then when she had the chance to run into goal decided to pass on the run but just missed the target and went out of bounds. She had a snap from the boundary line in the 15th minute but it did not make the distance, making for a bit of a shaky first term. After that, McKee settled in well and used her usual dash to create some chances for the Bulldogs, having a flying shot from 50m off the right that just went through for one behind in the third term. She got her goal from a forward stoppage, with her ability to read the ball off hands, charge forward and slam it home off a couple of steps. In the final term, McKee was incredibly stiff to be pinged for throwing the ball inside 50, when she could have easily have won a free kick for being held in a tackle without possession. McKee recorded 12 disposals, two marks and four tackles.
A bit of a scratchy performance from the Under 16s midfielder with the Bays under pressure from the fierce Norwood onball group. She had a number of chances where she looked to open up the game but was forced to either rush her kick or was pinged for holding the ball, and in one instance the latter came when she attempted to bounce just as her opponent went to tackle her. She still got involved throughout the transition, with a nice play midway through the final term working hard to win the ball and handball it on to a teammate. Patterson recorded seven disposals and three tackles in the loss.
#8 Piper Window
After a quiet start to the game playing forward, Window built into the match and had more of an impact in the second half. She did well midway through the second term with quick hands through the middle and had roved a forward stoppage effectively, but was immediately brought down. She had a couple of quick kicks through the third term, but the Norwood defence was up to the task. Window’s best play came midway through the fourth quarter with a terrific fend-off at the stoppage and kicked well inside 50. She also kicked long down the ground later in the quarter, but that went out of bounds. Window finished with 11 disposals, five tackles and five inside 50s.
#11 Sarah Goodwin
Simply sensational and the pick of the State Academy members this week. Goodwin is fast becoming a Top 10 talent nationwide with her ability to read the game, know when to run forward and when to double back, and then using her elite kicking and decision making skills to pinpoint passes up the ground. She looks to cut open opposition defences with her foot skills, and though she can occasionally run into trouble – such as an early fend-off that worked but she did not see a second opponent coming from behind – she has the licence to do it given the advantage she hands to her side. She is an intercepting machine and runs all day, with nearly all of her disposals so damaging, and though she is an outside player, her outside traits are so good you would not need to worry about sending her inside. Goodwin racked up 29 disposals, four marks, three tackles, eight inside 50s and six rebound 50s.
#43 Ella Boag
Had a tough start to the game other than a nicely weighted handball on the wing in the first term, then came alive in the second. She had a number of crucial touches on the outside and set up a number of scoring shots, and was the link in transition, working hard down the wing. She spun out of a stoppage and turned around an opponent to kick to Window alone in the middle. She continued that momentum into the third term with a number of score involvements, and though she quietened down again in the last as Norwood dominated, Boag still had a really strong game. Boag managed 13 disposals, two marks, two tackles and four inside 50s.
#4 Sachi Syme
After her outstanding game the week before, Syme started a touch slowly before really coming alive in the second half. The hard midfielder was able to use the ball effectively around the ground, particularly from the defensive half into the midfield. She was clean by hand and in traffic, and knew where to put most of her touches to best help her side. She took a great mark three minutes into the final quarter to set up a scoring chain for her side, whilst amassing the ball regularly in that term. Her performance was capped off in the final minute with a great smother at half-back, symbolic of her work rate despite her side already having sealed the match. Syme picked up a team-high 23 disposals, as well as three marks, two tackles, three clearances and four inside 50s.
#18 Molly Brooksby
A quieter game from an offensive standpoint for Brooksby, though she did win a few important touches in the second half. She had a couple of nice kicks and clean pickups in the last 25 minutes of the match, but her defensive mindset was there for the full four quarters. Brooksby was fierce at the contest, and has that terrific balance of offensive and defensive traits, which is how she can still have an impact even when not winning it regularly. Brooksby had the seven disposals, nine tackles and three inside 50s.
#41 Lana Schwerdt
Another really solid, consistent effort from the midfielder who as we say each week, does not do too much wrong. She uses the ball well, can win it in close or out in space, of which the former was more prevalent in this match. She had one turnover trying to kick long down the ground, but as a whole she was clean by hand or foot. Schwerdt’s work in close by hand particularly stood out in the victory. Overall Schwerdt is just a wonderfully consistent performer. Schwerdt managed 20 disposals, three marks, eight tackles, four clearances, two inside 50s and two rebound 50s.
The Eagles midfielder had a quiet first term before being really lively in the second where she won the majority of her touches. Whitington-Charity marked on the lead inside 50 to start the term, then worked hard to win the ball in defence and cleanly get it away. She continued to spread around the ground winning touches in transition, and even had a long kick at half-forward that went wide that the Roosters spoiled. Whitington-Charity had a number of touches in the second half after marking in space, and was able to pressure her opponents around the ground. Whitington-Charity had 12 disposals, six marks and two tackles.
#20 Cher Waters
Waters was her usual fierce self in the middle, but often under pressure with her touches. She was forced to kick quick inside 50 which was picked off in the opening term, but continued to offer herself up as an option. Waters had a great kick at the top of 50 in the third term, hitting up Chantelle Mitchell inside 50 who did put it through the big sticks but it was touched on the way through. Waters managed 10 disposals, four tackles and two inside 50s.
#34 Shineah Goody
After a few quieter weeks, Goody was back to her hard-running best, winning a truckload of the ball around the ground, but predominantly mopping up in defence. She supported her teammates well in the back 50, and laid some great tackles, using her smarts in one-on-one situations. She had a great battle with fellow State Academy member Grigg, with Goody able to use her smarts to evade the Rooster on a number of occasions, and out pinpoint her in marking contests. At one stage though, Goody was tackled by her opponent in front of goal and Grigg took full toll with a major. As a whole, Goody’s performance was outstanding between her defensive and offensive impact and she had a four-quarter game that was among the best of the State Academy. Goody racked up 26 disposals, six marks, six tackles, two inside 50s and seven rebound 50s in a prolific performance.
#41 Ella Little
The over-age addition to the State Academy squad for the upcoming AFLW Under 18 Championships, Little returned to the side for the Round 8 clash. She cracked in hard as she has always done, laying some good tackles and putting her body on the line. She won a double free kick and moved up 50m at one stage and kicked inside 50, with her hard running and work to move the ball in transition from the defensive half of the ground going forward being particularly important. Little had the 17 disposals, three tackles, two clearances and three rebound 50s.
#22 Amelie Borg
The rebounding defender had a strong start to the game with a good mark at half-back and being able to hit-up a teammate on the wing. She intercepted a number of forward forays from the Eagles, and showed clean hands when she had it, such as when she won a free kick for holding the ball in the second term. She did give away a high free kick late in the first term, but was overall consistent throughout, standing up in a tackle midway through the third term to handball to a teammate, before not really being required in the last quarter with the ball camped up the other end. Borg picked up 10 disposals, four marks and three rebounds.
#30 Elaine Grigg
Another exciting game from the talented speedster who attacks the ball and ball-carrier with such vigour. She has little time herself and is still light, but packs a punch to be one of the strongest tacklers for her size. She kicked a goal from a free kick by doing just that on Goody 15m out from goal at a forward stoppage, and it kick-started an ultra-impressive second half. Grigg just seemed to be everywhere after the main break, tapping it forward in the final term to win the ball, cleanly handball then pick up a couple of kicks not long after. She even sold some candy midway through the last term to buy time going forward, and looked a really comfortable player at half-forward or even deeper. Grigg managed 14 disposals, four marks, 11 tackles, four inside 50s and a goal.
#31 Hannah Ewings
Just another impressive game from the AFLW Academy member and crucially got through the match to mean she is on the verge of representing her state for the first time in a couple of years. She had a couple of rare errors such as a little scrubber kick early in the match, and a couple of fumbles through the middle of the game, but they were few and far between. Ewings set up a goal to Jade De Melo with a dangerous kick deep inside 50, and then provided a number of fierce tackles. She danced around three opponents at the top of 50 and kicked long, then pulled out a nice spin move from a stoppage as she picked it up, kicking cleanly down the ground. The talented top-ager somehow got pinged for dropping the ball after selling candy twice despite it legally just being a fumble, but it did not deter her, as she finished strong, being taken high in a tackle midway through the last term to kick what would be the winning goal – and assisting in one of the winning behinds. Ewings racked up 17 disposals, two marks, seven tackles, five clearances, seven inside 50s and a goal.
RM CENTRAL SANFLW ACADEMY PLAYER OF THE YEAR ROUND 8 VOTES:
9 – Sarah Goodwin (Glenelg)
8 – Hannah Ewings (North Adelaide)
7 – Shineah Goody (WWT Eagles)
7 – India Rasheed (Sturt)
6 – Kiera Mueller (Sturt)
5 – Elaine Grigg (North Adelaide)
4 – Ella Little (WWT Eagles)
4 – Lana Schwerdt (Norwood)
4 – Sachi Syme (Norwood)
3 – Ella Boag (Glenelg)
2 – Amelie Borg (North Adelaide)
1 – Keeley Kustermann (West Adelaide)
In each edition of Academy Watch, 60 votes are distributed amongst the Academy talents rather than the traditional 5-4-3-2-1 per-game system used with the NAB League Girls. This way, players who go above and beyond are awarded additional votes, with no cap on a minimum amount from teams.