THE final round of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s was completed over the weekend, with four teams ending their 2022 season. We took a look at those State Academy representatives and how they performed across the weekend.
All notes are the opinion of the individual author.
#24 Lily Whitcombe
The tough defender held her line in defence and was able to go about supporting her teammates as the Double Blues limited the Bulldogs scoring. She only had the six disposals herself and did get caught out once or twice against McKee, but is very good one-on-one.
#29 India Rasheed
Showcasing her creativity and superb left foot in the front half of the ground, Rasheed was able to take a number of good marks on the lead both inside 50 and at high half-forward. She could have been a little cleaner with her finishing, with her usual accuracy just ending in two behinds on this occasion, including a 40m set shot she would usually nail. She was clean by hand and really clever to create space inside 50, setting up a goal to Amy Brooks-Birve in the first term, which was Rasheed’s busiest quarter of the match. She finished with 11 disposals, four marks, two inside 50s and two behinds.
#33 Kiera Mueller
One of the best on the day, Mueller was a rebounding force once again, constantly bringing the ball from the defensive half of the ground to the attacking half. She went in hard and earned a free kick for being legged at one stage in the first term, producing a lovely weighted kick to Zoe Prowse at half-forward. Mueller had a high metres gained as usual in the match, reading the ball well and giving it off cleanly, taking some of the kick-outs and going long outside the defensive 50. Though at times she might be rushed under pressure with her kicking, her trusty left can clear enough distance to have an impact regardless. Mueller racked up 19 disposals, two marks, four inside 50s and three rebound 50s.
Had a game of “almost moments” with some great contested plays. Her athleticism was on display once again, and though she only took the one mark, Riggs had a number of attempts. She was equally strong at ground level, smothering a Georgia Swan kick in the final term and then beating her one-on-one earlier in the game, utilising her extra height to advantage. She had a couple of great moments charging out of defence at one stage punching the ball away from ground level between multiple opponents, showing her desperation. Overall, Riggs had 11 disposals, three tackles, six hitouts and six rebound 50s.
#21 Georgia McKee
The talented Under 16s forward predominately played inside 50 for the most part in her first game back since the AFLW Under 18 Championships, leading to her lower-than-usual disposal count of seven. Though statistically she did not have as much of an impact as she has prior, she still had a couple of eye-catching moments in the second term, threatening to break the game open. She gave it off to Williams for a flying shot that just missed, then had a checkside set shot herself which also just missed. She got one chance over the back and ran towards goal but got a terribly unlucky bounce to be another behind, before learning her lesson and backing her speed all the way to the goalface a couple of minutes later to slot Central’s only major of the contest. She booted 1.2 from seven disposals, four tackles and two inside 50s.
#38 Dakota Williams
It was a quiet game for Williams who played up forward and laid a few good tackles, with her sole disposal coming after receiving the handball from McKee and having a shot on goal. That shot just missed, but looked lively, though found the going touch after that, with just the three tackles otherwise filling her stat sheet.
#4 Sachi Syme
A quieter game from the consistent midfielder who spent a bit more time outside the stoppages, Syme still worked hard when given the chance. She was a touch more rushed with her disposal, but still clean by hand under pressure. She won a fair chunk of disposals by hand and also laid some strong tackles, finding herself behind the ball at times mopping up in the back 50. She also won a couple of free kicks for her attack on the ball, and in the end finished with 13 disposals, five marks and three rebound 50s in what was still a solid overall game, just a touch quieter than her usual standards.
#18 Molly Brooksby
Had some eye-catching moments throughout the match with the all-round talent working hard on the wing and then attending stoppages. She had a great running clearance in the second term and then had another smooth looking long kick inside 50 in the fourth quarter amongst her highlights. She is a neat user of the ball with a high work rate, and her role on the day perhaps foreshadowed the role the bottom-age prospect will play next season for the Redlegs. Brooksby recorded 16 disposals, four tackles, four clearances and three inside 50s in the loss.
#41 Lana Schwerdt
One of the more impressive Redlegs, Schwerdt stood up and had a really big game through the midfield, cracking in on her way to 22 disposals, five tackles, five clearances and five inside 50s. To get a full run down of her performance, check out her SANFLW Player Focus for Round 12.
#38 Shae Archbold
Yet again spending some time around the ball before going back and hitting the scoreboard, Archbold had a solid overall game and had a crack in wet conditions. She laid six tackles for the match and put her body on the line time and time again, kicking a goal with a clever snap in the fourteenth minute of the first term. She had another couple of chances and finished with a couple of behinds, including a set shot she uncharacteristically missed in the third term. Her field kicking caught the eye again going inside 50, with a clean technique and ball use down the field. Along with her tackles, Archbold picked up 12 disposals, two marks, two inside 50s and booted 1.2.
#49 Jemma Ellis
Coming up against the best ruck in the SANFLW in Leah Cutting, Ellis and her partner-in-crime Tiffany Copley fared pretty well in the battle. Though she had less disposals and hitouts – which was a given considering Cutting’s experience – Ellis did well to limit Cutting’s potential dominance around the field. She had a great kick in the second term after a free kick leading to Archbold’s goal. Though she had a purple patch in the second quarter for most of her touches, Ellis finished the match with six disposals, two tackles, eight hitouts and two clearances.
By: Michael Alvaro
#22 Amelie Borg
The Under 18 All Australian defender may not be a big producer on the stats sheet, but plays her role incredibly well and did so once again on Sunday. Mentored by the likes of Kristi Harvey, Borg has become a real defender’s defender with her reliability and knack of cutting off opposition attacks. Against Glenelg, she met the ball with authority and positioned high up the field as one of the Rooster’s more aggressive interceptors, chiming in for marks and hardly being beaten one-on-one. While unorthodox at times, her use by foot put the ball in good areas for teammates to run onto and continue the transitional chain.
#30 Elaine Grigg
Another who knows her role and sticks to it, Grigg’s production as a pressure forward comes in the way of tackles. With constant and repeat harassment of opposition defenders, she made her presence felt and ended up laying double the amount of tackles as she had disposals – 12. An opportunity to hit the scoreboard did not quite present for Grigg, who buzzed around at ground level and looked to twist or turn her way out of trouble. She is still very raw, but only means she has plenty of potential to fulfil.
#31 Hannah Ewings
What more is there to be said about Ewings? The Roosters standout had the ball on a string at times and ended up with whopping game-high numbers of 34 disposals, eight clearances and five inside 50s. Spending the majority of her game in midfield, the young gun had no trouble getting her hands on the ball both at and away from the contest, often booting long to gain quick meterage. When she looked to take on her opponents and find exits, Ewings dug the hole a bit deeper but could not be faulted for her effort to produce something worthwhile. As the game opened up a touch, she began to better showcase her skills and even hit the scoreboard in term four with a flukey bouncing effort which went through everyone. It was an important goal too, after she gave away a costly 25-metre penalty, but managed to momentarily keep North Adelaide in the game.
Patterson is a player whose potential is observed in glimpses, and the under-ager had her moments in a seven-disposal outing. Stationed out on a wing, she popped up for a couple of important plays in the final quarter, including a holding-the-ball tackle on the ultra-experienced Jessica Edwards. An intercept mark and spurt of speed in term two, and kick across the corridor in term three were a couple of her further highlights for the day.
#8 Piper Window
Another player whose numbers (nine disposals, six tackles, five clearances) don’t immediately jump off the page, Window certainly made her mark with typically fierce attack on the contest. The midfielder-forward brought great intensity to each play and was prominent on the inside with her hard tackling and clean hands. While a touch awkward when it came to kicking, Window still took full advantage of a 25-metre penalty in the final quarter to extend Glenelg’s lead, but can certainly add weapons to her game with improvement on those skills and her outside work.
#28 Matilda Scholz
Scholz is an absolute force through the ruck and continued to prove difficult to combat on Sunday. Her pure size at comfortably over 180cm, combined with good athleticism makes her a tough matchup for most state league rucks, and that showed once again. She was clean as always with her handling and got involved in general play, flicking the ball on quickly and playing within a tall’s limits. She looked to direct her taps and had a good lift in the fourth quarter, producing a centre clearance and clunking her only mark for the day.
#43 Ella Boag
There must be something in the water along the Bays’ half-back line, with Boag the latest youngster to step into said role and produce some eye-catching passages. Often utilised on a wing, the outside runner slotted into Sarah Goodwin‘s usual role and did so with notable authority. She offered great rebounding power, either latching onto handball receives or straightlining the ball herself to intercept North Adelaide attacks and set her side on the front foot. Her style of play suited Glenelg’s output perfectly, earning her 18 disposals (16 kicks), five tackles and five rebound 50s in a breakout display.