2023 SANFLW R2 wrap: Double Blues down Dogs

AFTER dropping its Round 1 SANFL Women’s clash to South Adelaide, Sturt bounced back in the best possible way in Round 2, defeating Central District by 37 points at Thebarton Oval on Saturday afternoon. In the first of a double-header at the ground, the Double Blues held an 11-point win heading into half-time, but slammed home 4.6 to 0.4 in the second half to run away with the contest 8.8 (56) to 2.7 (19).

The team that surprised the SANFL Women’s competition to reach the grand final last season was back on-song, with the Double Blues producing a strong four-quarter effort to nullify the Bulldogs back on Sturt’s home patch. After racing out of the blocks to lead by 13 points at quarter time – largely thanks to back-to-back goals to Abbey Rigter – Sturt withstood pressure from the visitors, including a long-range bomb from Katelyn Rosenzweig just before half-time.

Though it looked like Central District would go all the way with Sturt, the dreaded momentary fadeout that cost the Bulldogs a potential finals spot last season returned, with Jaimee Wittervan and Millie McCarthy kicking goals within a minute of each other. When West Australian talent Tessa Doumanis ran into an open goal to convert her first major in her new colours, Sturt was out to a 31-point lead at the last change.

A couple of early chances went begging for Sturt early in the third term, but it took a brilliant effort from Georgia Bevan to put the final nail in the coffin. From that point on, the Bulldogs, kicking with the breeze, had just as many chances as the Double Blues, but could not convert, kicking four behinds to two in the last 16 minutes of the match, to ultimately go home with a 37-point loss.

Both teams registered exactly 204 disposals, with stats across the board being largely accurate. But similar to the week before, despite dominating the hitout count (52-25), Central District could not have a similar advantage at the stoppages. Sturt won that area by four (32-28), and though the visitors had more inside 50s (28-24), the famed Sturt defence was able to remain composed and clear the ball 26 times to 15.

In yet another even team performance across the board, the Double Blues had so many contributors, with a whopping 15 players registering a clearance, 12 of those by half-time. Leading the way was Kate Harris with seven to go alongside 14 disposals, often having the nullifying job of Bulldogs skipper Shelby Smith. Second gamer Monique Bessen picked up a team-high 17 disposals, playing an influential role in the forward half of the ground. Alisha Gepp and Georgia Swan also stepped up in crunch moments.

For the Bulldogs, bottom-age tall Charlotte Riggs had a dominant performance with 17 disposals, seven marks – two contested, three tackles and three rebound 50s, while midfielders Caitlin Wendland (19 disposals, nine clearances and nine tackles) and Jovanka Zecevic (18 disposals, five clearances and seven tackles) were also consistent. Smith was heavily targeted all game but found a way to lay 13 tackles, have six clearances and 12 disposals.

STURT 3.1 | 4.2 | 7.4 | 8.8 (56)
CENTRAL DISTRICT 1.0 | 2.3 | 2.3 | 2.7 (19)

A. Rigter 2, M. McCarthy 2, G. Bevan, T. Doumanis, Z. Walsh
Central: K. Rosenzweig, S. Eaton.

K. Harris, M. Bessen, A. Gepp, G. Bevan, A. Rigter
Central: C. Riggs, C. Wendland J. Zecevic, S. Smith, G. Madigan


In the second match of a double-header at Hisense Stadium, Glenelg got on the board in the 2023 SANFL Women’s season courtesy of an eight-point win over Woodville-West Torrens. The Bays lead at each break and extended it to 19 points by the final change, and though the Eagles came out and trimmed the deficit to seen points early in the final term, Glenelg stead to win, 5.6 (36) to 4.4 (28).

Glenelg young gun Piper Window racked up 23 disposals, 10 clearances and 10 inside 50s, while fellow State Academy member Matilda Scholz returned for her first game of the season and amassed 14 disposals, two marks, 15 hitouts and three inside 50s rotating between forward and ruck on limited minutes. Eagles star Shineah Goody copped fierce attention from the opposition but worked hard to win 19 disposals, five marks, six tackles, four clearances, three inside 50s and a goal in the loss.

In a Saturday evening thriller, South Adelaide proved too good for Norwood in a nail-biter, winning 3.5 (23) to 3.0 (18). The Panthers remained undefeated from season 2023, while Norwood slipped to 0-2 despite two gallant efforts in the opening fortnight.

Czenya Cavouras starred for the Panthers with 22 disposals, eight tackles and four inside 50s, while Nicole Campbell and Brooke Boileau were also busy. Defender Samantha Pratt nullified star Redleg Meghan Gaffney out of the game, though youngster Sarah Branford picked up a career-high 25 disposals.

>> SANFLW R2 MOTR: Panthers claw home

In the other match, reigning wooden spooners West Adelaide remained undefeated with an 11-point win over reigning premiers North Adelaide. In a massive victory of the Bloods, the home side got up 6.7 (43) to 4.8 (32), keeping the normally high-scoring Roosters to just one goal in the opening three quarters. Though the Roosters tried to hit back in the last term, it was a case of too little, too late.

Lauren Young produced another remarkable performance on her way to 22 disposals, four marks, eight tackles, four inside 50s and 2.3 from the match. Zoe Venning (20 disposals, three marks, three clearances, three tackles and three inside 50s) was also busy, while Ruby Ballard was exciting. For North Adelaide, Isabelle Starmer had 19 disposals and 19 hitouts, while co-captain Jessica Edwards and winger Katelyn Pope also stepped up in the loss.


Sturt 8.8 (56) defeated Central District 2.7 (19)
West Adelaide 6.7 (43) defeated North Adelaide 4.8 (32)
WWT Eagles 4.4 (28) defeated Glenelg 5.6 (36)
South Adelaide 3.5 (23) defeated Norwood 3.0 (18)

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