SANFL Women’s Player Focus: Elaine Grigg (Central District)
CENTRAL District is enjoying its best ever start to a SANFL Women’s season, and one of the key reasons behind that is the inclusion of North Adelaide premiership player, Elaine Grigg. The aggressive and high energy wing/forward has been an additional spark for the Bulldogs this season and it all culminated in an impressive Round 4 performance.
Grigg was all over the ground in the opening quarter, and finished off strongly enough on her way to 20 disposals and setting up numerous forward thrusts as one of the most productive players in the match.
2023 SANFL Women’s: Round 4
Central District 8.7 (55) def. South Adelaide 3.5 (23)
STATS: 20 disposals (10 kicks, 10 handballs), 2 marks, 3 tackles, 2 clearances, 5 inside 50s
From the opening bounce it was clear Grigg was ‘on’ and could sense the importance of victory against the previously undefeated Panthers. In the opening minute after starting forward, Grigg cleanly picked up the ball and kicked inside 50, before pushing up to the next contest and winning it again. She was a touch rushed and kicked it across goal, but a couple of minutes later produced a nice kick to the leading Julia Teakle. Her first five minutes wrapped up with another clean pickup close to the boundary line with a handball to keep it in a dangerous position, then got first hands to it at the next stoppage before being tackled.
In the second half of the first term, Grigg moved into the onball group to try her luck at the coalface, and she did have an impact, winning the ball and sidestepping an opponent to kick inside 50 and clear from the forward half stoppage. Quite often under duress from the opposition aware of her explosive speed, Grigg was still able to get off a clean handball or a deft tap to keep the ball in motion.
Grigg finished the opening term with seven disposals before having a quieter second quarter. She was only involved in a couple of plays in the term, but did kick off the deck on the wing which proved effective going to a teammate inside 50. Otherwise she kept competing but did not have much luck in the quarter.
Picking up the pace again after the half-time break, Grigg had a massive third term where she collected another seven disposals. She laid a strong tackle at the top of 50, and was able to deliver inside 50 to the hotspot, something she ended up doing efficiently and regularly. In the seventh minute of the quarter, she laid a thumping tackle but with the ball released without her knowing, she coughed up the free against for holding on.
Her hands throughout the match were clean and dangerous, able to quickly get the ball away to a running teammate and combining well with the likes of fellow wing Laitiah Huynh, and captain Shelby Smith. She won her second clearance midway through the third term with a quick kick going forward but that was unfortunately intercepted. Finishing off with a couple of touches around the 50m arc, Grigg headed into the final break with 15 disposals to her name.
The final term was still quite lively for the top-ager, capping off her performance to collect another five touches and make it 20 for the game. She had a clean pickup working back to half-back but her effort was smothered. She won it again at the four-minute mark and this time got the handball away. Another highlight passage of play was an intercept mark at half-forward and kick into Katelyn Rosenzweig to round out a promising performance.
CLOSING THOUGHTS ….
Elaine Grigg is among the most exciting players in this year’s AFL Women’s Draft. She is still a raw talent with a few areas to work on, in particular her composure and strength, but despite her light build, she produces some of the most bone-crunching tackles going around. Her upside is enormous, she has natural goal sense and a high work rate, as well as clean hands both off the deck and in close. Overall she looms as one to watch throughout 2023 not just for Central District, but for South Australia at the AFLW Under 18 Championships.