2023 SANFLW R4 wrap: Dogs dare to dream

CENTRAL District produced arguably the greatest performance of its SANFL Women’s short history with a dominant 32-point win over South Adelaide on the weekend. While the Panthers could be excused missing a couple of key players, and the Bulldogs had some huge AFLW inclusions, it was a full ground, four-quarter performance from a side that has seldom done that in the past. When challenged, Central matched the Panthers, and came away with the 8.7 (55) to 3.5 (23) victory.

In the past, Central District has always shown its ability to beat anyone on its day, but lapses have always cost the incredibly talented Bulldogs outfit. But from three quarter time against the Redlegs a fortnight earlier, a different breed of Bulldog emerged from that huddle, and since then have kicked 10 goals to three, and held their opponents scoreless in three of the five quarters since. On the weekend, in front of home fans, the Dogs always looked in control against the benchmark team of the competition this season.

The good vibes started with a goal to Jess Allan who was rotated forward given Port Adelaide inclusion Olivia Levicki could take the ruck stoppages. With the work of speedy Elaine Grigg and Laitiah Huynh, the Dogs were breaking down the opposition zones, and soon it got over the back for young gun Sophie Eaton to soccer it off the deck for a second goal.

South Adelaide forward Kyanne Campbell mirrored that attempt to be the first one back on a loose ball over the back to soccer it home for a much-needed settler, but Central would add two more before the quarter was out, with key forwards Julia Teakle and Katelyn Rosenzweig both converting. The sheer amount of marks inside 50 would have impressed coach Ben Hunt and the home fans, as the Dogs raced out to a 20-point quarter time lead.

The second term was more about showing their defensive attributes as South threw some counter punches. Controlling the game in their forward half, the Panthers peppered the goals with Jorja Hooper and Senna Gulden both missing chances. Though the Central chances were limited in the quarter, Dakota Williams – playing one of her best games in Dogs colours – had a set shot that was just touched on the line.

She would soon add a major to her scoring load the next quarter, as she followed on from Teakle’s example in the opening six minutes to stretch the lead out to a game-high 29 points. Then the Panthers threw everything at the Bulldogs. Within the space of a minute late in the term, Hooper and double bottom-ager Lily Baxter both converted majors and it was back to 17 points.

The home fans might have been a touch nervous, but when Rosenzweig converted her second goal in the last two minutes of the quarter, the lead was back out to 23 points. The 50th gamer could well have had a big bag in the game, kicking three behinds in the final term – and hitting the behind post or going out of bounds a couple of times as well. It mattered little though as when Caitlin Wendland had a set shot within range midway through the last term, she converted and the Dogs were home.

Since South drew within 17 points, Central booted 2.4 to just 0.1. While the execution perhaps could have been improved, the intent and ability to keep going to the final siren was outstanding. Lead by captain Shelby Smith who laid 14 tackles to go with 24 disposals and four clearances, the likes of Huynh and Grigg combined for 42 disposals and 11 inside 50s, while Wendland helped herself to 19 touches and four inside 50s.

Levicki (22 hitouts from 18 disposals) and Teakle (14 disposals, six marks – three contested – and two goals) were both outstanding inclusions, while Williams (12 disposals, two marks and one goal) and Rosenzweig (12 disposals, two marks and 2.3) were also among the plethora of impressive players.

For South Adelaide, debutant Taylah Levy picked up 18 disposals and had three marks, six tackles, three clearances and two inside 50s, while the inside midfield presence of Gulden and Brooke Boileau was again on show. Nicole Campbell had a massive first half, while Jorja Hooper provided a presence inside 50. Unfortunately the Panthers missed the extra rebound of Gypsy Schirmer out of the back half who missed due to injury.

Central District will have a top two clash against Glenelg next Saturday at X Convenience Oval, while South Adelaide returns home to Noarlunga for a massive battle against North Adelaide.

CENTRAL DISTRICT 4.2 | 4.3 | 7.3 | 8.7 (55)
SOUTH ADELAIDE 1.0 | 1.2 | 3.4 | 3.5 (23)


Central: K. Rosenzweig 2, J. Teakle 2, C. Wendland, D. Williams, J. Allan, S. Eaton
South: J. Hooper, L. Baxter, K. Campbell


Central: E. Grigg, L. Huynh, S. Smith, O. Levicki, J. Teakle, K. Rosenzweig
South: S. Gulden, T. Levy, N. Campbell, B. Boileau, E. Barwick


Sturt came from behind to get its season back on track with a seven-point win over a wounded West Adelaide outfit. The Double Blues trailed at half-time and lead by just a point at three quarter time, but found a way to win. Trailing by five points with six minutes on the clock, Alysha Healy put her side in front, and Tessa Doumanis sealed the match with a goal in the final few minutes.

Doumanis finished with three goals from five touches in an effective performance, while Isobel Kuiper made an incredible return from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury with 23 disposals, three marks, four tackles, five clearances and three inside 50s. Georgia Bevan and Alisha Gepp also had the ball on a string, combining for 54 touches and 12 clearances.

Zoe Venning (19 disposals, nine tackles, three clearances, two inside 50s and four rebound 50s) and Lucy Boyd (18 disposals, six marks, six tackles, three clearances, three inside 50s and five rebound 50s) stepped up in the absence of injured duo Jess Macolino and Madison Russell respectively.

The tight contest was a nice change from Friday night’s one-sided encounter where the Redlegs had the first 15 scoring shots en rout to a 6.10 (46) to 2.3 (15) victory over Woodville-West Torrens. Though the Eagles kicked a couple of majors in the final term – including just 69 seconds into the last stanza – the damage was done by going 40-0 down at the last change.

Coming back to the level, Port Adelaide’s Ebony O’Dea was a clear best on ground with 27 disposals, nine clearances, eight tackles, five inside 50s and a goal, while teammate Jade Halfpenny was sublime pulling down 12 marks – four contested – and having 22 disposals and a goal to her name. Lana Schwerdt (26 disposals, four clearances, three marks and three inside 50s) enjoyed having O’Dea in the side, while Sarah Branford provided terrific transitional running.

For the Eagles, Shineah Goody played her best game of the 2023 SANFL Women’s season with 21 disposals, three clearances, six tackles and six inside 50s, while captain Annie Falkenberg (17 disposals, nine rebound 50s) tried hard in defence. Yasmin Duursma (17 disposals, eight marks – one contested) was busy between the arcs.

Closing out the round, Glenelg proved too good for reigning premiers North Adelaide, booting six goals to three after half-time to run out 22-point winners at Hisense Stadium. The Bays welcomed back a couple of key movers, and their ability to keep the ball in transition allowed the forwardline to go to work.

Chelsea Packer was the difference inside 50, slotting four goals from eight touches. Sarah Goodwin (27 disposals, five marks and four rebound 50s) dropped back with great success, while Piper Window (21 disposals, three marks – two contested – six clearances and five inside 50s) continued her dominant start to the season.

For North Adelaide, Port AFLW talents Amelie Borg (5 disposals, four tackles and three rebound 50s) and Hannah Ewings (14 disposals, two contested marks, four tackles, two clearances and three inside 50s) both played well, while Isabelle Starmer (13 disposals, 10 tackles, 16 hitouts, five clearances, two inside 50s and four rebound 50s) also battled hard with her second efforts around the ground.

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