2023 SANFLW R5 wrap: Eagles take flight

AFTER battling away across the first month of the season, Woodville-West Torrens Eagles finally gained reward for effort with an impressive win over West Adelaide in Round 5 of the SANFL Women’s season. Though the Bloods were missing a number of key personnel, the Eagles put the foot down early to blow the game wide open, then held on through numerous challenges and finished strongly to post an 8.9 (57) to 2.8 (20) victory.

West Adelaide – who added Lucy Boyd, Georgie Pater and Zoe Greer – to an injury list – Boyd a suspension – that includes the likes of captain Madison Russell, and midfielders Paige Allan and Jess Macolino battled hard early and never stopped fighting, but could not match the run of the Eagles who clearly played the best game of their season.

Bringing back Abbey Dowrick after missing last week, the Port Adelaide AFLW Academy member was superb, notching up 29 disposals, five marks, four tackles, five clearances and three inside 50s. Her hardness at the contest combined with the silk of incredible top-ager Shineah Goody who had 23 disposals, five marks, five tackles and four inside 50s. Goody also kicked one of the goals of the day, with a clean pickup, burst and goal from 35m.

The Bloods peppered the goals early, and a crucial major from Tabby Saville early handed the home team back the lead following some crafty forward work off the deck from Port Adelaide listed youngster Yasmin Duursma up the other end.

From that moment though, it was all the Eagles as the visitors piled on 10 unanswered scoring shots (5.5) including two goals to Jemma Charity who finished with three for the match. By the point the Bloods hit the scoreboard again – a behind to Iilish Ross late in the second term – the match was ultimately done and dusted.

Coming out from half-time facing a 33-point deficit, West Adelaide found renewed vigour, but again could not capitalise on its time in forward half, booting 1.3, with Nicole Hooper‘s goal in the 16th minute a case of too little, too late. Though the Eagles failed to score in the third term, they held up well to limit the Bloods from getting too much of a run-on.

Goody almost kicked a great goal four minutes into the last term, but just missed. After looking like neither team might add an additional major in the final 20 minutes, Charity booted her third and then Leah Cutting finished the game off in the final 90 seconds with the Eagles’ eighth major of the day to seal the 37-point victory and break the club’s winless drought in the 2023 season.

Aside from Dowrick and Goody, another State Academy in Marlie Fiegert racked up 20 disposals, three marks, four tackles and two clearances in the win. Captain Annie Falkenberg (19 disposals, six rebound 50s) was again influential in defence, while Poppy Waterford and Amie Blanden were also lively.

For the Bloods, Lauren Young was moved into the midfield for the match and teamed up well with Zoe Venning. Young had 22 disposals, six marks, six tackles, five inside 50s and a game-high seven clearances, while Venning, in her 50th SANFL Women’s match, finished with 20 touches, seven marks, five tackles and five clearances. Asha Dufour covered the ground well, while Milli Gentle and Iilish Ross were busy throughout the four quarters.

Woodville-West Torrens hosts Sturt for the Eagles’ first game of the season at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval next week, while West Adelaide faces the in-form Norwood at Hisense Stadium yet again. Both matches are at 12pm on Saturday, April 1.

WEST ADELAIDE 1.3 | 1.4 | 2.7 | 2.8 (20)
WWT EAGLES 3.3 | 6.7 | 6.7 | 8.9 (57)


West Adelaide: N. Hooper, T. Saville.
WWT Eagles: J. Charity 3, A. Baker, L. Cutting, Y. Duursma, S. Goody, G. Martin.


West Adelaide:
WWT Eagles: S. Gulden, T. Levy, N. Campbell, B. Boileau, E. Barwick


Glenelg won the top of the table clash against Central District, kicking away after a tight first half to book a 7.5 (47) to 2.3 (15) win over the Bulldogs at The Ponderosa. The Bays lead by just two points at the main break, but kicked the final five goals of the match – including two each to Matilda Scholz and Piper Window – to run away with the contested by 32 points.

Window (21 disposals, seven marks – three contested – six clearances and two goals) continued her incredible form throughout 2023, but she was well supported in the win. Adelaide AFLW recruit Sarah Goodwin racked up a match-high 33 disposals, nine marks – two contested – six tackles and five inside 50s during the win, while Madisyn Freeman and Brooke Tonon also provided great run. Captain Ellie Kellock also lead from the front with 11 tackles to go with 16 disposals, three clearances and four inside 50s.

For the Bulldogs, captain Shelby Smith again battled away across four quarters on her way to 26 disposals, five marks – one contested – six tackles and four clearances, while fellow midfielders Jovanka Zecevic (32 disposals) and Elaine Grigg (22) were both prolific. Ruck Jess Allan stepped up in the absence of late withdrawal Olivia Levicki, while Madison Lane was strong in defence.

Norwood made it back-to-back wins with a nine-point victory over Sturt at Coopers Stadium. The Redlegs admittedly looked in a little trouble when Sturt stretched its lead to 15 points five minutes into the third term and seemed to have ll the play. A costly free kick against the Double Blues to Shai Hiscock close to goal, followed by two goals to Najwa Allen put the Redlegs in front and they never looked back to secure the 6.5 (41) to 4.8 (32) win.

Sachi Syme picked up 26 disposals in the win to work hard around the stoppages, as defender-turned-midfielder Morgan Johnston pulled in seven marks to go with her 18 disposals. Over-age draft hopeful Lana Schwerdt was industrious around the stoppages with 17 disposals and seven clearances, while Georgie Jaques had 27 hitouts alongside 12 disposals.

Inside midfielders Isobel Kuiper (23 disposals, five marks – two contested – six tackles, six clearances, four inside 50s and two rebound 50s) and Alisha Gepp (20 disposals, four marks, six tackles and two clearances) worked hard, as Georgia Bevan and India Rasheed were lively once again.

In the final game of the round, South Adelaide ground out an 11-point victory over reigning premiers North Adelaide to incredibly knock the Roosters out of the top four. In a tight early battle, a two goals to nil third term set up the win, with both sides navigating a tough breeze throughout the 6.4 (40) to 3.11 (29) win.

Defender Jaslynne Smith tried hard all game with 26 disposals, four marks and nine rebound 50s, while teenager Brooke Boileau (19 disposals four marks – one contested – four tackles and six clearances) was consistent yet again. Ruck Soriah Moon (17 disposals, 30 hitouts and 10 tackles) was a huge player throughout the contest, as midfielders Elise Barwick and Caitlin Couch caught the eye with young gun Lily Baxter.

Port AFLW Rising Star Hannah Ewings (22 disposals, five marks – two contested – eight tackles, two clearances, nine inside 50s and one goal) was a standout for the Roosters, while fellow AFLW-experienced midfielders Katelyn Pope and Jessica Edwards also worked hard across the match.

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