MINOR premiers North Adelaide have set the benchmark for the 2022 Rookie Me Central South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s Team of the Year. The Roosters were first team to qualify for the 2022 SANFL Women’s Grand Final on the weekend, and their season showed why they are the team to beat, recording five players in our Team of the Year. In what was an even spread across the competition, the Roosters had one more than South Adelaide, with four teams – Sturt, Glenelg, Norwood and Central District – all on three, and the bottom two sides – Woodville-West Torrens and West Adelaide recording a combined three players.
Our 2022 SANFL Women’s Team of the Year captain is Glenelg midfielder Jessica Bates who racked up a competition-high 11 Team of the Weeks, dominating across the board and featuring highly for the Bays. Her vice-captain for this year is North Adelaide co-skipper Kristi Harvey who had the second most Team of the Weeks this year with nine. Bates averaged 25.3 disposals, 3.0 marks, 10.6 tackles, 5.3 clearances, 3.8 inside 50s and 2.0 rebound 50s, while Harvey had more rebound 50s than anyone else, averaging 6.9 per game to go with 13.8 disposals, 4.0 marks and 2.7 tackles.
Anchoring Harvey either side are teenagers, Sturt’s Kiera Mueller and Eagles’ Shineah Goody who both had strong seasons either side of the 2022 AFLW Under 18 Championships. Mueller averaged 16.3 disposals, 3.9 marks, 2.2 tackles ad 3.2 rebound 50s, whilst Goody amassed 20.3 disposals, 4.3 marks, 3.2 tackles and 4.0 rebound 50s. They were not the only teenagers in the back 50, with Sarah Goodwin earning a half-back flank spot following her season of 22.2 disposals, 4.3 marks, 3.2 tackles, 4.1 inside 50s and 4.8 rebound 50s.
Anchoring the defence at centre half-back was the sole West Adelaide representative in Beatrice Devlyn. The versatile utility did a lot of work behind the ball, averaging 19.6 disposals, 2.1 marks, 5.3 tackles, 2.3 inside 50s and 5.7 rebound 50s. Rounding out the back six was South Adelaide’s Gypsy Schirmer (15.8 disposals, 3.1 marks, 5.8 tackles and 3.3 rebound 50s).
As always, the midfield is one that is tricky to decide given the stacked nature of big ball-winners. Central District ended up with two players earning Team of the Week selections eight times, and that was captain Shelby Smith and ruck Isabelle Starmer. Smith averaged an impressive 23.8 disposals, 3.5 marks, 9.3 tackles, 5.0 clearances, 2.5 inside 50s and 1.9 rebound 50s per game, whilst Starmer was the standout ruck all season, managing the 16.6 disposals, 4.3 marks, 24.6 hitouts, 5.8 tackles, 2.9 clearances and 2.5 inside 50s.
The other midfielder with eight Team of the Week nominations was North Adelaide’s Jessica Edwards (23.3 disposals, 4.4 marks, 4.3 tackles, 2.5 clearances, 3.3 inside 50s and 2.3 rebound 50s). On the other wing is another versatile player in South Adelaide’s Nicole Campbell who picked up 20.9 disposals, 3.2 marks, 7.9 tackles, 3.8 clearances, 3.1 inside 50s and 2.6 rebound 50s. Completing the onball group with Bates is Norwood’s Jade Halfpenny who put up 16.8 disposals, 3.5 marks, 3.3 tackles, 3.4 clearances in an outstanding year for the Redlegs.
There were plenty of competitive forwards putting their hands up for spots in our Team of the Year, with a couple of midfielder-forwards on flanks. North Adelaide young gun Hannah Ewings was one of them, averaging 20.3 disposals, 3.3 marks, 4.5 tackles, 4.2 clearances, 5.3 inside 50s and 1.2 goals per game. On the other flank is Glenelg skipper and onballer Ellie Kellock who spent more time up forward this year, and was able to impact the scoreboard, averaging more than a goal every two games with 18.8 disposals, 3.0 marks, 4.0 tackles, 3.8 clearances and 3.4 inside 50s. In between them is powerful Eagles forward McKenzie Dowrick who slotted 15 goals in eight games to average more goals than any other player with 1.9, whilst also averaging 12.0 disposals, 2.4 marks and 2.3 inside 50s.
At full-forward was the leading goalkicker in Alana Lishmund who slotted 18 majors in 11 games (1.6 per game), to go with her 10.4 disposals, 2.4 marks, 3.9 tackles and 2.4 inside 50s. Next to her in the forward pocket was South Adelaide’s Jess Waterhouse who averaged 1.4 goals per game to go with 15.3 disposals, 2.2 marks, 3.0 tackles, 2.4 clearances and 4.6 inside 50s to spend more time in the midfield later in the season. Completing the starting 18 was North Adelaide’s Jade De Melo, who did not need a lot of the ball to do a lot of damage, averaging 12.9 disposals, 3.4 marks, 2.5 tackles, 2.2 inside 50s and 0.9 goals per game.
The interchange was made with a real team feel in mind, grabbing a mix of defenders, forwards and midfielders rather than just six midfielders. Of the defenders, the two next picked were Norwood skipper Alison Ferrall and South Adelaide rebounder Jaslynne Smith. Ferrall played the eight games before suffering a season-ending injury, but averaged 17.1 disposals, 4.1 marks, 2.5 tackles and 4.0 rebounds, while Smith recorded 16.9 disposals, 4.1 marks, 2.8 tackles and 3.8 rebound 50s in 11 games this season. The specialist forward on the bench was Georgia McKee who impressed in her debut season for Central District, slotting 1.2 goals per game from nine matches, and averaging 13.7 disposals, 2.8 marks, 3.6 tackles and 3.0 inside 50s.
A player who can play on all three lines, but really found her niche at half-forward connecting between midfield and the forward 50 was Sturt’s Georgia Bevan. She averaged 16.8 disposals, 3.1 marks, 6.2 tackles and 2.6 inside 50s. Her Double Blues teammates Isobel Kuiper is the designated inside midfielder rotation, racking up 6.1 clearances to go with 17.9 disposals, 3.4 marks, 6.7 tackles and 1.9 inside 50s. Winger/half-forward Katelyn Pope rounds out the 24-player side, with the North Adelaide speedster finishing the season with an average of 17.3 disposals, 2.7 marks, 4.3 tackles and 3.2 inside 50s.
Picking the last 10 players in the side was incredibly difficult, given the evenness between players. The balance of ensuring players from each position earned their spots, the three emergencies for the side this year are Norwood’s Sophie Armitstead, Eagles’ Jessica Sedunary and South Adelaide’s Shae Archbold. Armitstead had another terrifically consistent season, averaging 17.4 disposals, 5.0 tackles and 5.7 clearances, Sedunary was busy in multiple roles, averaging 15.9 disposals, 4.6 tackles, 2.6 clearances and 2.7 inside 50s, whilst Archbold was one of the leading goalkickers, slotting 1.4 per game to go with 9.9 disposals, 2.2 marks and 4.7 tackles.
The process of cutting 48 down to 24 was always going to be difficult, and after slotting in the 13 players who earned automatic qualification – due to six or more Team of the Weeks – just 11 spots remained from the last 35 players. Bit by bit players were eliminated, and eventually there was down to 33 players remaining for the final decision. The last six just outside the emergencies were Central District duo Madison Lane and Laitiah Huynh, West Adelaide duo Madison Russell and Zoe Venning, South Adelaide’s Tahlita Buethke and Glenelg’s Chelsea Packer.
2022 ROOKIE ME CENTRAL SANFL WOMEN’S TEAM OF THE WEEK:
B: Kiera Mueller (Sturt) – Kristi Harvey (North Adelaide) – Shineah Goody (WWT Eagles)
HB: Gypsy Schirmer (South Adelaide) – Beatrice Devlyn (West Adelaide) – Sarah Goodwin (Glenelg)
C: Jess Edwards (North Adelaide) – Shelby Smith (Central District) – Nicole Campbell (South Adelaide)
HF: Hannah Ewings (North Adelaide) – McKenzie Dowrick (WWT Eagles) – Ellie Kellock (Glenelg)
F: Jess Waterhouse (South Adelaide) – Alana Lishmund (Norwood) – Jade De Melo (North Adelaide)
R: Isabelle Starmer (Central District) – Jade Halfpenny (Norwood) – Jess Bates (Glenelg)
INT: Georgia Bevan (Sturt) – Alison Ferrall (Norwood) – Isobel Kuiper (Sturt) – Georgia McKee (Central District) – Katelyn Pope (North Adelaide) – Jaslynne Smith (South Adelaide)
EMG: Sophie Armitstead (Norwood) – Jess Sedunary (WWT Eagles) – Shae Archbold (South Adelaide)