2022 SANFLW Grand Final preview: North Adelaide vs. Sturt
HISTORY will be written for one side in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s, as North Adelaide and Sturt go head-to-head in the 2022 Grand Final. Just two weeks ago the Roosters accounted for the Double Blues by 57 points in a convincing win, but the heaviest defeat of Sturt’s season looked more to be an aberration than anything else. The Double Blues bounced back with a 17-point win over Glenelg in the preliminary final to earn their place in the last match of the season. We deep dive into their respective seasons and what might take place on Sunday.
North Adelaide – Wins: 10 | Losses: 3 | Position: 1st (minor premiers)
Sturt – Wins: 10 | Losses 4 | Position: 2nd
North Adelaide went on an eight-game winning streak since losing to Sturt back in Round 3, when the Roosters sat 1-2. They did not lose again until falling to Glenelg by 10 points in the final round, but it proved to be the loss they had to have, smashing Sturt the next week. For the Double Blues, they raced out to a 5-0 win-loss record to look like the premiership favourites, before dropping three of the next four games with a high number of absences in their side. They bounced back to win their last three games of the season to qualify for the double chance, before suffering the heavy loss to North Adelaide, then bouncing back against Glenelg last weekend.
HEAD TO HEAD
Semi-Final: North Adelaide 11.5 (71) defeated Sturt 2.2 (14)
One does not have to look too far back to see these two sides going head-to-head, with the Roosters slamming home 11 of the last 12 goals of the game after the Double Blues kicked the first through Abbey Rigter. Young gun Hannah Ewings had a day out slotting three goals from 25 possessions and having five clearances. Her midfield partner-in-crime Jessica Edwards (31 disposals) was also huge, while Zoe Prowse was a clear best for Sturt with 24 touches and 10 clearances through the ruck.
Round 3: Sturt 1.4 (10) defeated North Adelaide 0.7 (7)
It took until the last five minutes of the match for Alysha Healy to break the goalless drought, as the Double Blues and Roosters engaged in an old fashioned scrap. Neither side’s defence gave an inch, with Kristi Harvey pulling down a ridiculous eight marks – four contested – and notching 12 rebound 50s to go with 22 disposals, whilst Prowse was dominant up the other end for the home side. Georgia Bevan (22 disposals, nine marks and five rebound 50s) was also lively for the winners, while Cristie Castle clunked 10 marks from 15 touches playing in her first game of the season.
B: 58. Ella Quinn – 5. Kristi Harvey
HB: 22. Amelie Borg – 20. Jamie Parish – 40. Ella Metcalfe
C: 18. Brianna Arthur – 36. Sarah Steele-Park – 25. Erica Greet
HF: 7. Jaimi Tabb – 31. Hannah Ewings – 13. Katelyn Pope
F: 30. Elaine Grigg – 3. Jade De Melo
R: 44. Megan Ryan – 2. Jess Edwards – 33. Julia Clark
INT: 41. Doreena Hansen, 8. Rachael Plummer, 28. Chelsea Farr, 49. Kristen Rothwell, 19. Lauren Gauci, 42. Jamie Norup, 29. Kate Ferguson
IN: Chelsea Farr, Kate Ferguson
B: 22. Maya Rigter – 24. Lily Whitcombe
HB: 33. Kiera Mueller – 19. Alex Ballard – 35. Jaimee Wittervan
C: 5. Elsie Dawes – 23. Kate Harris – 31. Molly Fletcher
HF: 3. Georgia Swan – 11. Abbey Rigter – 43. Ellen Lynch
F: 29. India Rasheed – 44. Amy Brooks-Birve
R: 30. Zoe Prowse – 15. Alisha Gepp – 7. Georgia Bevan
INT: 10. Alysia Healy – 17. Ally Ladas – 37. Sarah Wallace – 30. Hannah Prenzler – 36. Jemma Valente – 42. Olivia McEvoy – 40. Tahlia Walker
IN: Jemma Valente, Olivia McEvoy, Tahlia Walker
OUT: Isobel Kuiper (knee)
2022 Stats: 20.7 disposals, 3.2 marks, 4.2 tackles, 4.3 clearances, 5.2 inside 50s, 1.5 rebound 50s, 15 goals
vs. Sturt: 21.0 disposals, 4.0 marks, 2.0 tackles, 4.0 clearances, 2.5 inside 50s, 4.0 rebound 50s, 3 goals
2022 Stats: 23.9 disposals, 4.3 marks, 4.4 tackles, 2.5 clearances, 3.5 inside 50s, 2.2 rebounds
vs. Sturt: 25.0 disposals, 3.5 marks, 3.0 tackles, 1.5 clearances, 1.0 inside 50s, 2.5 rebound 50s
2022 Stats: 13.5 disposals, 3.9 marks, 2.5 tackles, 6.6 rebound 50s
vs. Sturt: 16.0 disposals, 5.5 marks (3.0 contested), 7.5 rebound 50s
Jade De Melo
2022 Stats: 12.7 disposals, 3.5 marks, 2.3 tackles, 2.3 inside 50s, 13 goals
vs. Sturt: 13.0 disposals, 4.0 marks (1.0 contested), 1.5 inside 50s, 3 goals
2022 Stats: 17.5 disposals, 2.6 marks, 4.3 tackles, 1.1 clearances, 3.5 inside 50s, 7 goals
vs. Sturt: 17.5 disposals, 4.0 marks, 4.5 tackles, 1.0 clearances, 3.5 inside 50s, 2 goals
2022 Stats: 15.6 disposals, 3.8 marks, 3.5 tackles, 3.3 clearances, 2.4 inside 50s, 1.4 rebound 50s, 14.3 hitouts
vs. North Adelaide: 21.0 disposals, 3.0 marks (1.0 contested), 3.0 tackles, 5.5 clearances, 0.5 inside 50s, 1.5 rebound 50s, 13.0 hitouts
2022 Stats: 16.5 disposals, 3.8 marks, 2.5 tackles, 3.3 rebound 50s
vs. North Adelaide: 16.0 disposals, 4.0 marks, 2.5 tackles, 2.5 rebound 50s
2022 Stats: 15.8 disposals, 2.8 marks, 6.6 tackles, 1.6 clearances, 2.4 inside 50s, 1.4 rebound 50s
vs. North Adelaide: 16.0 disposals, 5.5 marks, 5.5 tackles, 2.0 clearances, 2.0 inside 50s, 3.0 rebound 50s
2022 Stats: 17.8 disposals, 2.2 marks, 4.8 tackles, 3.2 clearances
vs. North Adelaide: 14.0 disposals, 1.0 marks, 4.5 tackles, 1.5 clearances
2022 Stats: 8.8 disposals, 2.1 marks, 2.4 tackles, 1.5 inside 50s, 14 goals
vs. North Adelaide: 5.5 disposals, 2.5 marks, 1.0 tackles, 1.5 inside 50s, 1 goal
North Adelaide is ranked the best team in attack, averaging 46 points per game during the minor season, and on average scoring 21.2 points more than its opposition. The Roosters average 14.3 scoring shots per game, but inaccuracy has been a struggle for them, shooting at 44.2 per cent, ranked seventh in the league. They create the second most inside 50s per game (35.5) and though the Roosters might be inaccurate, are able to score off an inside 50 40.4 per cent of the time (ranked first).
By comparison, Sturt is inside the top three for those areas, with the key advantage being the accuracy. The Double Blues score with an accuracy of 52.6 per cent, and ranked second in scoring differential to the opponent with 16.6 more points per game, having averaged 40.3 per game throughout the 2022 season. The Double Blues are ranked third overall for inside 50s (33.5), but breakdown a touch when inside 50 compared to their opponents, averaging 33.1 per cent of scores converted from inside 50s.
North Adelaide’s defence is naturally strong, conceding just 24.8 points per game, which allows them to rank first for scoring differential. They allow the equal least scoring shots – with Sturt – at 7.8, while ranking first in scoring shots differential (6.6). Additionally, they ranked inside the top three for reducing the accuracy of the opponent, and inside 50s conceded. Even better, the Roosters only allow 27.3 per cent of their conceded inside 50s to result in scores and the difference at both ends ranks them comfortably first with 13.1 per cent higher scoring off inside 50s compared to conceding scores from opposition inside 50s.
Sturt has always been known as a strong defensive side and it is the case again, ranked first for the least scores conceded (23.7), as well as second behind North in scoring shots differential and scoring differential. They are equal first in scoring shots allowed, and ranked first with forcing the opposition to miss (40.4 per cent opposition accuracy). The Double Blues only concede 23.8 inside 50s per game, the least of any side, as well as ranking first in the inside 50s differential. Sturt also ranks third overall for shots allowed from inside 50s conceded, but drops to fourth when comparing their own forward efficiency to defensive efficiency.
North Adelaide ranks first for possession per scoring shot with 17 disposals per score, while Sturt is third with 21 per score. The Sturt defence (28.5) is marginally ahead of the Roosters (28.4) in terms of possessions per opponent score, whilst Sturt is also ahead in kicks per game (159.3 to 158.1) and the kick differential (14.2 to 7.6 per game). North Adelaide looks to have a much higher handball efficiency game, ranking first in handballs per game (85.3) and handball differentials (15.9) with Sturt ranking seventh for handballs (72.9) and sixth for differentials (-5.1). Overall with possessions, North leads all-comers with 243.4 comfortably ahead of the pack, while Sturt’s 232.3 ranks them fifth overall.
In terms of efficiency, Sturt is the best in the league with a terrific 68.9 per cent efficiency, whilst North is down at fifth but realistically just over two per cent behind (67.6). The Double Blues also rank second for opposition disposal efficiency (66 per cent) compared to the Roosters’ (68 per cent). In other areas, the teams rank first and second for marks per game with Sturt (49.5) and North Adelaide (46.4) both good with their hands, whilst Sturt concede 41.8 marks per game to rank fourth, ahead of North’s 43 (seventh). In the hitouts, Sturt ranks fourth overall (31.3) and with a differential of 8.1 (4th), while North is last for overall hitouts per game (21.4) but has a -5.9 hitout differential (5th).
WHERE CAN THE GAME BE WON?
North Adelaide is a high possession side that is happy to maintain possession of the ball in the back half and pick the right option. The Roosters defence is rarely flustered and then once the switch is on, or there is an available option on the overlap or in the corridor, they take it. Once the Roosters have that chance, they flick the switch and rush the ball forward to create chaos inside 50 with marking players and crumbing talents alike.
Sturt on the other hand is also a team that loves to keep hold of the ball. The Double Blues move it a little slower compared to the Roosters, ensuring each option is the right one. It is no surprise to see they have the highest disposal efficiency, playing a safer brand, but one that works for them. The slightly slower style means the opposition has a chance to set up in defence, but the Sturt forwards work. in unison to create short hit-up leads. If the game starts to go against them, the Double Blues are happy to chew time off the clock and regain momentum through uncontested marks and picking the right option.
WHY NORTH ADELAIDE CAN WIN
North Adelaide has the experience and the talent that has been there and done it before. The likes of Ewings, Jade De Melo and Jaimi Tabb can all hit the scoreboard with consistency, while Brianna Arthur is another dangerous proposition for the Roosters. Katelyn Pope‘s ability to rotate from the wing to the forward line and score multiple goals is another avenue from which the Roosters can lead. Additionally, they have the stronger midfield with Ewings and Edwards both in great form and Sturt missing Isobel Kuiper, and a defence lead by Harvey, as well as Amelie Borg and Jamie Parish.
WHY STURT CAN WIN
The Double Blues have enough defensive prowess that it is hard to see them putting out another performance like the semi-final. Their effort against Glenelg was more like the Sturt of 2022, and though they are young, they are consistent in defence. Alex Ballard, Mueller and Hannah Prenzler are three rebounding types who can intercept any high balls, while in attack, the combination of Abbey Rigter and Amy Brooks-Birve – who did not get a touch in the preliminary final – are primed for a big one alongside Healy. Captain Maya Rigter will settle the defence and ensure the Roosters do not get too far out of the blocks.
FINAL WORDS FROM THE COACHES
Krissie Steen (North Adelaide)
“Footy’s a game of chess, so you see what works and what doesn’t, we’ll see what they do, and we’ll potentially react to that. “They’ve got some great players, but I think our best is better.”
Michael O’Connor (Sturt)
“Everyone knows there’s things on the end of grand final day, but the reality is that we’ll need to come out and play 80 minutes to experience the good side of a grand final.”
It is hard to look past North Adelaide given the recent form, the Roosters grand final experience, and the fact the Double Blues will be without Kuiper. Expect the game to be far closer than the 57-point semi-final blowout, with the Roosters to win by three or four goals, but be made to work for it.