STURT made history by reaching its first South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s Grand Final on the weekend, defeating Glenelg by 17 points. There was a mixed bag of performances from the State Academy members, in what was a tough game for the clean outside players, but we took note of each of the Academy member’s performances.
All notes are the opinion of the individual author.
#24 Lily Whitcombe
The lockdown defender did not have a great deal of work with ball-in-hand, but had a nice play in the second term. She trapped the ball in front of her inside the defensive 50, and then eventually was able to use enough speed to gather and kick long before her opponent bearing down on her could slow he. Whitcombe finished with four disposals, one mark, one tackle and two rebound 50s.
#29 India Rasheed
A quieter game from Rasheed who won her touches in the second half. The Under 16s talent kept pushing up the ground and presenting in the fist half, but could not really get her hands on the ball. In the third term she laid a good tackle – one of six through the match – to win a free kick and put it to a teammates’ advantage inside 50. She was also able to set up a goal after beating four players in the middle with high footy IQ and putting it to a dangerous spot, then showed clean hands on the wing. Though the result was done and dusted, Rasheed ran in and kicked the final goal of the game just before the final siren to put the final nail in Glenelg’s coffin. Rasheed picked up five disposals, six tackles, one inside 50 and booted one goal.
#33 Kiera Mueller
The rebounding defender was consistent throughout the four quarters, playing a solid without being outstanding game. She had a number of big collisions with Glenelg skipper Ellie Kellock, but her kicking was back up to a higher efficiency from last game – aside from a rare turnover midway through the second term – with a number of nice kicks going from half-back to the wing, and from the wing to half-forward. She showcased her composure and was able to generally impact the game with her run and carry. Mueller managed the 16 disposals, four marks, one tackle, five clearances and three rebound 50s in the win.
Like Rasheed, it was a tougher game for Patterson who could not get her hands on the ball, but not through lack of trying. The winger provided a lot of unrewarded running up and down the ground, but the contested nature of the game meant the ball was very seldom spilling out to the outside for the Under 16s talent to go for her trademark runs. Each time she would win a loose or hardball, she would be bumped off it or tackled, though she did a nice dance late in the third term at half-forward around an opponent to kick inside 50. Then late in the fourth, she intercepted, shrugged off a would-be tackler and kicked to centre half-forward. Patterson picked up four disposals, one inside 50 and laid four tackles.
#8 Piper Window
The hard inside midfielder cracked in throughout the game once again rotating between onball and forward. She had a couple of quick handballs early to set up a Chelsea Packer shot on goal, then laid a great run-down tackle on Zoe Prowse in the defensive 50 to win a holding the ball free kick. Window had a really big first term, then copped a falcon early in the second term, but recovered quickly to win the ball again and give it off with a quick handball. She set up Packer who this time kicked the goal late in the third term to keep the hope alive for the Bays, then had a quieter fourth term. Window recorded 11 disposals, one contested mark, six tackles, four clearances and one rebound 50.
#28 Matilda Scholz
The athletic ruck was the pick of the State Academy players this week for her individual effort, even though her opponent Prowse would have taken the chocolates as best on ground. No doubt the bottom-ager learnt plenty, as she went about her business to amass a season-high 16 disposals working hard around the ground. Her ruck work was a treat with her soft hands to teammates at ground level, and had the extra height on Prowse. Her kicking around the ground can be touched up with a few missed targets, but she did set up Caitlyn Swanson for a goal in the final term after intercepting well. Overall Scholz had a really productive game with 16 disposals, two marks – one contested – four tackles, 25 hitouts, seven clearances, three inside 50s and two rebound 50s.
#43 Ella Boag
Though usually a really efficient operator, it was a really tough game from the Bays winger who, like Patterson, did not have a lot of her usual space to work with. She still found enough of the ball throughout each of the quarters, but there were a lot of situations where she would scoop it up and look to go, only to be confronted by an opponent, either tackled, bumped off it or forced off it. Boag did have a number of good plays off-the-back by beating Georgia Swan one-on-one a couple of times, but was also pinged herself in a tackle, such as trying to fend off a couple of opponents in the third term and being caught by the second opponent. Overall Boag had 14 disposals, two marks, one tackle, three clearances, two rebound 50s.