SANFLW Academy notes: Round 11

A RETURN of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s Academy athletes after their undefeated AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships means the return of our Academy notes. A number of standouts slotted straight back into their roles at league level, and were among the best in their respective games.

  • Team
  • Sturt
  • Norwood


#24 Lily Whitcombe

The competitive defender played her role during the Double Blues’ win over Norwood at Wigan Oval, applying plenty of pressure and competing well one-on-one when needing to. Though almost always playing a thankless role as someone who can limit the influence on the opposition, Whitcomb managed the eight disposals and two rebound 50s across the match in what was largely a low-possession game for the Double Blues.

#29 India Rasheed

The Under 16s young gun and looked lively even though both her scoring shots back-to-back ended in behinds. She was often found under pressure and in the third term tried to soccer it off the deck but just missed to the left. She took some good marks through the centre third of the ground and was able to hit targets with her elite left foot. What Rasheed does better than a lot of medium-tall forwards is her ability to apply defensive pressure to her opponent, and she certainly did that laying seven tackles to go with 12 touches, two marks and two inside 50s upon her return to senior footy.

#33 Kiera Mueller

Slotted straight back into the defence as if she had never left, pushing up high and finding the ball with ease between the arcs. She also mopped up in defence and got the Double Blues out of trouble on a number of occasions, whilst getting her hands dirty on the way to nine tackles. Most of Mueller’s touches were unsurprisingly intercept possessions, and she often ran hard defensively to get into ball-winning positions then take off down the ground. At times she played on State Academy teammate Schwerdt at stoppages, and was able to use her strength and smarts to nullify her opponents’ ability to run through the clearances. Clearly one of, if not the best on ground, Mueller amassed 23 disposals, four marks, nine tackles, four inside 50s and four rebound 50s.


#4 Sachi Syme

Though not her biggest game by any stretch, Syme still showed plenty of impressive traits during Norwood’s loss, with clean hands and an ability to find space away from the contest, as well as applying pressure when inside the contest. At first she tried to sidestep Georgia Bevan at half-back and was pinged for holding the ball, but started to get busy in the second term by winning a number of crucial touches in the forward half. Finding herself in the clinches around the third term she was able to fire out a handball to a teammate running back, and then continued to show clean hands right to the end of the game. The incredibly clever and clean player finished with a handy 15 disposals, three marks, four tackles, three clearances and three inside 50s.

#18 Molly Brooksby

Definitely a game on the quieter side for Brooksby compared to what she is capable of, but had a couple of nice touches in the first half that included a kick under pressure on the wing that was effective, and then a quick handball to a teammate running by in a similar spot. Though she did a lot of unrewarded two-way running in the match, Brooksby worked hard throughout and finished with eight disposals, one mark, two clearances, one inside 50 and two rebound 50s.

#41 Lana Schwerdt

The pick of the Norwood representatives, Schwerdt was a workhorse on the inside around the stoppages, and then outran many of her opponents to be the beneficiary on the outside. Schwerdt is a good decision maker with ball-in-hand and deceptively strong, shrugging off Mueller at one stage in the stoppage, and also putting her body on the line that ended up seeing her need a break from a late bump. Her attack on the ball is never in question and she was a key player in the second half as Norwood tried to lift to come over the top. Her lightning quick hands to Jade Halfpenny in that term for a snap on goal was impressive, but it was one of a number of quick touches across the ground that indicate she can make a decision in the blink of an eye. Schwerdt recorded 18 disposals, two marks, two tackles, five clearances, four inside 50s and two rebound 50s in the loss.

  • Team
  • Woodville-West Torrens
  • Central District

Woodville-West Torrens:

#2 Jemma Whitington-Charity

The tough inside midfielder continued her recent form of impacting inside 50 by kicking a goal midway through the third term to stretch the Eagles’ lead to 21 points. From that point on the Eagles did not score, but Whitington-Charity still cracked in and was able to be effective under pressure, even dropping back to help the defence. Earlier in the game, Whitington-Charity won a free kick for in the back inside 50, and though her set shot from 30m was not perfect, it ended up well when it dropped short to Klaudia O’Neill who marked and goaled. Her spread throughout the game was another highlight of her performance, and Whitington-Charity finished with 11 disposals, two marks, four tackles and one goal.

#34 Shineah Goody

Her successful AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships momentum of being Most Valuable Player (MVP) rolled on into the SANFL Women’s competition with a standout performance. The middle-ager amassed 23 disposals, six marks – one contested – nine tackles, two clearances, two inside 50s and five rebounds in an outstanding effort playing in the defensive half. Though it is nothing that has not been said before about Goody, her cleanliness and skill is a huge asset and she is not afraid to take on bigger bodies one-on-one. She won a free kick for going for a fly in the first term but was tunnelled, and cracked in hard to win the ball in contested situations. Her cleanliness at ground level can still be improved, but Goody has the smarts to keep it in front of her before she takes control of the ball. A rare turnover in the third term from the kick-out gifted Caitlin Wendland a goal, but considering her power of work and consistency across four quarters, Goody can be forgiven for the one big error considering how many times she saved the day.

#41 Ella Little

Starting on-ball against former Eagle Jovanka Zecevic, Little immediately won a free kick from being taken high. She cracked in hard and was good around the clearances, but also did well to spread to the win and provide an option in transition. Mopping up in defensive 50 on a number of occasions particularly late, Little tried to lead the midfield group with how to stem the Bulldogs’ momentum. In the end it proved in vain, but Little was able to produce a solid performance, laying seven tackles and having three clearances from 15 touches and two marks, one of which was contested.

Central District:

#9 Charlotte Riggs

A quiet game by the talented bottom-ager who was playing her second game back after being able to play for South Australia against Vic Country. In many ways having a quiet game means it was good for Central District, with Riggs stationed in the defence. The Bulldogs tall was able to pick up the ball cleanly on a number of occasions and even set up the final scoring play off half-back, with her pressure throughout the match a particular highlight. At times she can get sucked into the play a little bit and her opponent can sneak out the back, but Riggs is good at impacting contests when coming off her opponent. Riggs recorded four disposals, two tackles and one hitout in the game.

#38 Dakota Williams

Similar to Riggs, it was a quiet game by Williams who played forward and rotated through the midfield. She applied good pressure when around the stoppages, and had a chance on goal in the third term but only came away with a behind. In the last quarter, Williams had a nice one-two with Laitiah Huynh as the Dogs were attacking, but she did not get her hands on it a great deal. The athletic utility finished with five disposals, one contested mark, three tackles and one inside 50 in the win.

  • Team
  • West Adelaide
  • North Adelaide

West Adelaide:

#8 Keeley Kustermann

A standout performance from the West Adelaide AFL Women’s Academy member, Kustermann was our SANFL Women’s Player Focus for this week, so for a full recap on her performance, check out that article. Kustermann recorded 26 disposals, four marks – one contested – three tackles, three clearances, two inside 50s and three rebound 50s in a balanced effort across the ground.


#12 Charlie Scutchings

The hard-nosed utility laid a strong tackle at the top of 50 in the opening two minutes of the match, but could not get her hands on the ball due to playing inside 50 on this occasion. The West forward entries made it difficult for her to influence the game, and though her pressure and intent remained high, Scutchings only had the one kick, one tackle and one hitout for the match, largely due to her role and positioning on the field.

#41 Lucy Boyd

One of the better players going around when it comes to off-ball impact, Boyd just keeps running all day long. She quietly accumulates the ball, often winning a few touches in one passage of play such as three minutes into the third term. In that instance, Boyd won a handball in close to keep the ball moving, earned a free kick in the middle where she delivered cleanly to half-forward, then ran over to apply a shepherd and be an option if required. Trying to create things forward of centre, Boyd is not afraid to boot the ball off the deck, with the first quarter attempt gaining distance, but the second unfortunately being so perfectly connected it gained air and landed in the arms of a North Adelaide defender for a mark. Boyd finished with 12 disposals, two marks, four tackles and two clearances.

North Adelaide:

#22 Amelie Borg

Borg is a player who finds the balance between offensive run and defensive accountability just right, and she played a really solid game across four quarters for the Roosters. Though she could not quite pull down a mark in the eighth minute of the first term slipping off hands, then was unlucky not to get an in the back free a few minutes later, Borg stepped up in the second term to win a few more touches, largely through intercept possessions. She took a couple of strong marks too, including an intercept one eight minutes into the last term to settle down her side, delivering cleanly into the middle. Borg managed 11 disposals, four marks – one contested – three tackles and two rebound 50s in the win.

#30 Elaine Grigg

The speedster showed plenty of promise up forward yet again, and once she is able to get a bit more composure, then she will start impacting games in a big way. She had a number of ‘almost moments’ in the match, kicking a couple of behinds, and then another chance that went begging. Grigg is so good at slipping from people’s grasps with an outstanding sidestep and quick hand to foot play. However she can also put herself under more pressure than the opposition at times, with three attempts in the second term all just missing. The first was a snap around the body that bounced out of bounds, then she sidestepped an opponent for a shot 30m out that was settable but rushed the kick and missed to the right, and yet another set shot almost immediately after also missed. Grigg also marked 30m out from goal for a set shot but came off her line and was called to play on so had to hurry a handball rather than take the kick. In saying all that, it goes to show that with composure, Grigg could very easily have ended up with four goals, showcasing her ability to get to the right spots and do the hard work, it is just ironing out that finishing touch. Grigg ended up with nine disposals, two marks, three tackles, two inside 50s and two behinds.

#31 Hannah Ewings

Another strong performance from Ewings who has hardly put a foot wrong all year. She found the going a little tough to start the game, but soon got into it by receiving the ball via hand and kicking long down the ground. She thumped a lot of kicks deep inside 50 to put pressure on the opposition, and set up scoring chances, particularly combining well with Jade De Melo. As the game went on, Ewings continued to have an impact, racking up the ball well and going in hard. She shrugged and sidestepped her way through or around stoppages, and is able to force her hands free when she is caught to give off the handball. Ewings also had some nice defensive efforts such as a shepherd to allow Katelyn Pope to kick into the middle with her trusty left, and the midfielder forward finished with the last kick of the day that bounced through the middle but was deemed touched off the boot. Ewings was one of the best on the ground with 22 disposals, one mark, four tackles, three clearances and a game-high 10 inside 50s.

  • Team
  • Glenelg
  • South Adelaide


#6 Violet Patterson

Had some moments and was able to create some run in transition, Patterson played her wing role well once again for the Bays. Though the bottom-ager has had bigger games in the past, she provided a target on the outside and works well into space to mark and then dish off going forward. At times Patterson can be a touch fumbly at ground level and needs that extra bit of composure, but what she does show is a willingness to run, win the ball, go in hard and keep delivering time and time again. A tough footballer with great footy IQ and decision making, once the other areas click, she will be a special player. Patterson managed the 10 disposals, two marks and four inside 50s in the win.

#8 Piper Window

Really cracking in and taking her chances when on-ball, Window was incredibly strong and clean handballing from congestion to the outside. Her kicking remains a work in progress, but her strength and contested work is incredible, and she can stand up in tackles well. She set up a scoring chance to Boag late in the game which funnily enough levelled the scores. Without a doubt her clearance ability and consistency in winning the ball in contested situations is a highlight, and she recorded 15 disposals, tow marks – one contested – five tackles, six clearances and two rebound 50s.

#11 Sarah Goodwin

Stepping straight back into her using rebounding half-back role, Goodwin was again prolific for the Bays in what has been a sensational top-age season from the number 11. She had the 18 disposals, two marks, three tackles, four inside 50s and six rebound 50s, moving well between the arcs and taking grass time and time again. She runs direct and looks to produce the most damaging disposals possible, and though it can sometimes backfire, her high rate of efficiency allows the pros to far outweigh the cons. She continually mopped up in the defensive half of the ground and kicked long, with either a penetrating or pinpoint kick to a target in space, or releasing by hand to allow teammates to run forward. Late in the second term, Goodwin took a great mark then danced around the experienced Nicole Campbell as one of many highlights. She might have had bigger number games, but Goodwin was yet again one of the most prolific for the match.

#28 Matilda Scholz

Took control in the ruck with her extra height and athleticism, Scholz was able to impact around the ground with her stoppage craft. Outside her ruck work, Scholz was able to pick up a number of important touches, such as dropping into the hole for an intercept mark in the defensive 50 in the first term, and then having a nice switch kick at half-back in the second term. She also had a couple of handballs in close in the fourth term, and managed 12 disposals, 26 hitouts and two rebound 50s in Glenelg’s victory.

#43 Ella Boag

Ran hard for not a lot of reward at times, with Boag’s numbers similar to Patterson’s further indicating how contested the game was, and how most of the touches were found in the centre corridor. She still had a number of good touches such as a fantastic contested mark midway through the second term and set up a shot on goal with a nice kick inside 50. She even levelled the scores with a behind after receiving the handball, narrowly missing the chance to kick the winning goal. Boag finished with seven disposals, two marks – one contested – one tackle, one clearance and one inside 50.

South Adelaide:

#38 Shae Archbold

The medium-tall forward with the potent left boot returned to the Panthers side after missing the one game due to the AFLW Under 18 Championships, and spent a bit of time in the midfield as well as up forward. Though not being able to hit the scoreboard. Archbold did set up a goal to Brooke Boileau after charging out of a stoppage, and showed that an inside midfield role could be on the cards for the future. She also saved a certain goal diving to touch the ball on the goalline to force a rushed behind.

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