Schunselaar targets SANFLW debut

SOUTH Adelaide developing tall Jacinda Schunselaar has set a simple goal in 2023 – earn her South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s debut. Having come through the pathway at the Panthers, Schunselaar has not been able to crack into the side just yet, but hopes her top-age year will provide a change of fortunes.

“Just trying to get a game to see what it’s like because I’ve never played for South before, so we’ll see how it goes,” Schunselaar said.

Schunselaar has followed the journey of a number of other peers in the league, being able to step up from local level at Happy Valley Football Club and progress into the Panthers’ juniors and eventually be included in the extended senior training squad.

“I started just playing for Happy Valley and did Academy the first year at South at Under 16s,” Schunselaar said. “Didn’t get in that year but next year got in. I’m playing for South at the moment.”

Standing at 180cm, Schunselaar is unsurprisingly a ruck. Describing her strengths as being able to tap the ball out of the ruck and often get a long clearance, the 17-year-old is looking forward to improving her around the ground presence to provide a target for her teammates.

“Just taking solid marks around the ground and practice that and forward work, on the ground work as well,” Schunselaar said.

Looking to the elite level, a Crows ruck – who has also played in other positions – is one she aspires to play like, and the fact she comes from her local club is a happy coincidence.

“I look up to Caitlin Gould, she’s a ruck and came from Happy Valley as well,” Schunselaar said.

South Adelaide managed to crack into the finals and finish fourth despite boasting an incredibly young list. Schunselaar said she was not sure if the Panthers could go all the way in 2023, but admitted it “would be cool” if they could take out the flag. She hoped South could life the trophy aloft over the next couple of seasons, rewarding all the hard work over the preseason.

South Adelaide kicks off its 2023 SANFL Women’s season with a home clash at Flinders University Stadium against Sturt. The match takes place on Saturday, February 18 from 6pm.

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