West strikes first Blood in opening trial match

AFTER a long off-season, the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition kicked off with a series of trial games over the weekend as the first of two practice matches ahead of the official first bounce on February 17.


In the first match of the round played under lights, 2022 wooden spooners West Adelaide caused what would be considered an upset, coming from behind to defeat preliminary finalists Glenelg by two points. After a goalless opening term where the teams felt each other out, Glenelg kicked away to lead by 14 points at the main break. West Adelaide – who welcomed back top young gun Lauren Young for the clash – kicked the only major of the third term to cut the deficit to eight points.

Though Glenelg held the ascendancy heading into the last, West Adelaide – in front of home fans at Hisense Stadium – slotted three straight goals to Glenelg’s 1.2 to run over the top of the Bays. In the end, inaccuracy hurt the visitors, with the Bloods enjoying a 5.4 (34) to 4.8 (32) victory.

Potential top draft pick West Adelaide’s Lauren Young returned from an ACL injury. | Picture credit: Lisa West Adelaide footy

Adelaide first-year player Keeley Kustermann played for the home side, as did recruits Allani Dawes (Sturt), Kelly Barltrop (retired originally North Adelaide), Milli Gentle (Glenelg), Maddie Fitzgerald (Old Scotch) and Kendell Saffin (Mount Gambier).

Glenelg unveiled its two Northern Territory recruits in Serena Waters and Andi Moliere, while Rani Grant (Gunnedah Bulldogs) also took to the field. Talented ruck Matilda Scholz did not play in the trial game, however Adelaide young gun Brooke Tonon did. Just prior to the game, the Bays announced that Samantha Franson would be joining premiership skipper Ellie Kellock as co-captain.


South Adelaide set itself up for a big season by taking down grand finalists Sturt by the same two-point margin. In what would prove an inaccurate scoreline, the Panthers would win 35-33. From the get-go the Panthers were red hot, and though the teams were level at quarter time, South Adelaide managed to kick away in the second half and take a 12-point lead at the main break. That margin would remain the same heading into the last as both teams managed two behinds apiece, before South would withstand a late charge from Sturt to hold by two points.

Central District recruit Elaine Grigg in her new colours against the Eagles. | Image credit: Carly Grant Photography

Central District had a barn-storming start to its clash against Woodville-West Torrens Eagles up at Elizabeth, then survived a comeback to win by 15 points. The Bulldogs held the Eagles scoreless in the opening term, then slammed on 5.1 to 2.2 to lead by 32 points at the main break. Had they kept their momentum, the Dogs might have posted one of their highest scores ever, but the Eagles fought back to kick the last three goals of the match – and the only three of the second half – to trim the deficit back to 15 points, 7.7 (49) to 5.4 (34).

In the final game of the round, reigning premiers North Adelaide had a big win over Norwood, producing 19 scoring shots to three in the clash. The Roosters booted 7.12 (54) to the Redlegs’ 1.2 (8) to dust off the cobwebs from a long off-season and attempt to become the first club to go back-to-back in the SANFL Women’s.


Friday, February 3:

South Adelaide vs. North Adelaide @ Flinders University Stadium (7:45pm)
Norwood vs. Glenelg @ The Parade (8:15pm)

Saturday, February 4:

Woodville-West Torrens Eagles vs. Sturt @ Eastern Parade Reserve (9:30am)
Central District vs. West Adelaide @ X Convenience Oval (11am)

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