West is best after trial matches

REIGNING wooden spooners West Adelaide kick-started its season 2023 preparations with a bang, winning both of its trial matches, the only team in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s to do so. In their most recent victory, the Bloods proved a little too clinical for a wayward shooting Central District outfit, securing a comfortable 6.6 (42) to 2.7 (19) victory.

From the opening bounce it looked like both sides – who won their respective week one trials – were going to put some big scores on the board as they shared similar amounts of chances. The difference was Lauren Young up one end, and Iilish Ross up the other, who produced some highlight-reel moments to set up the win. Young kicked the opening goal of the match and a moment later set up her team’s second goal, as the Westies raced out to a 12-point lead at quarter time.

Central District was not without its chances though, but frustratingly could only add five behinds in the first half, as gettable shots strayed wide. That seemed to change in the opening 90 seconds as young gun Sophie Eaton got the home crowd up and about thanks to a clever snap and a fortunate right angle bounce. That good work would be undone when Steph Tredwell snuck out the back of a forward stoppage to be all alone 15m from goal to kick an easy major in response, and after Paris Francis launched a long bomb, the visitors were firmly in control.

Trailing by 23 points at the final break, Central District needed something special, and it seemed to come through Lauren Breguet who at full speed picked the ball up cleanly, burst inside 50 and kicked a ripping goal to cut the deficit to within three goals. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, the ball can be an unpredictable enemy, and when it hovered towards Young inside the deep forwardline, her opponent did well to work her off it, only for the bounce to go straight into the waiting Young’s arms for an easy snap. It sealed the match and the Bloods took the pace out of it to win by 23 points.

Young and Ross were two of the starring figureheads up respective ends for West Adelaide, with Ruby Ballard – sister of Crows’ Abbie – and midfield ball-winners Zoe Venning and Jess Macolino finding plenty of it. AFLW-experienced Keeley Kustermann patrolled half-back and mopped up plenty of the Bulldogs forward forways.

For Central District, Breguet was one of her side’s most impressive playing in a new role off half-back, while the midfield group that included captain Shelby Smith, Caitlen Teague and wingers Laitiah Huynh and Elaine Grigg also worked hard across four quarters.


Norwood took care of Glenelg in a commanding performance under Friday night lights. The lights themselves at The Parade were new, and officially switched on for the first time in a SANFL Women’s match, the crowd certainly expressed their awe of the extra brightness. On-field, Norwood ran out 7.7 (49) to 3.1 (19) winners over the Bays. Alana Lishmund looked her damaging self up forward, kicking a handful of goals and setting others up – as well as missing a couple she would normally get – though she had plenty of help. Midfielders Lana Schwerdt and Tesharna Maher impressed, while Piper Window shone for the visitors.

Norwood midfielder Tesharna Maher was among the best yet again, during her side’s win over Glenelg | Image credit: Rookie Me Central

Both winners in week one, South Adelaide and North Adelaide shared the points down at Noarlunga, finishing 22-apiece. Promising young talent Lily Baxter kicked both of the Panthers goals to go with her two majors from the week before.

In the other match, Sturt bounced back from its week one trial loss against South Adelaide to post a narrow two-point win over Woodville-West Torrens. In what was the first ever SANFL Women’s match at Eastern Parade Reserve, the Double Blues spoiled the party as the reigning grand finalists came away with the win.

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