2023 SANFLW R7 wrap: Panthers grind out win in tough conditions

IT was far from pretty, but South Adelaide will be relieved to come away with the four points against Woodville-West Torrens after a two-point battle at a rain and windswept Maughan Thiem Kia Oval on Thursday night. Though the scores indicate just the two goals were kicked for the night, it was a far more tense and entertaining contest than the scoreboard might suggest, with both teams having chances, but the respective defences, and the weather affecting the low-scoring result.

In what was an unusual scoreline of 1.4 (10) to 1.2 (8), South Adelaide got up by just the two points thanks to a Brooke Boileau major in the third term. Though the lead-up was about top against bottom, rain can tend to be the great equaliser in matches, and that was certainly the case in the match, with the inside midfielders thriving over the normally silky outside users.

South Adelaide throughly deserved its win with a plus-53 in disposals and a higher disposal efficiency of 62 to 51 per cent. Though on a night like Thursday with torrential rain at times making any kind of clean disposal difficult, it was a crucial aspect of the match. Unsurprisingly, both teams brought the heat with a combined 174 tackles (92-82 Eagles’ way).

Though the Panthers’ inside midfielder has been a strength of the side, missing Nicole Campbell due to an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury last week impacted the clearances, with the Eagles dominating that aspect, 39-17. The inside 50s were fairly even (29-26 South Adelaide’s way) in the clash, but ultimately it just came down to capitalising on chances.

Both goals came from free kicks, with the Eagles earning theirs late in the first term when Ella Little was deemed to have been held and she converted the set shot from the top of the goalsquare. The only other major was to come from a free kick to Boileau in the third quarter. That came off with a 25m penalty after Sophie Zuill was penalised for not handing the ball back effectively. The extra meterage put the booming kick within range, and despite the blustery conditions, put it straight through the middle.

While it might seem like neither team had too many chances, talented forward Laquoiya Cockatoo-Motlap had a few chances close to goal, running in or having a soccer of the deck opportunity, but could not make the most of those chances while under pressure. Similarly, Jordann Hickey had a huge chance five minutes after Boileau’s goal, winning it at the top of the goalsquare and snapping, but again the kick went wide.

Even the classiest of players felt the heat of the night, with top AFLW draft hope Shineah Goody – who normally has outstanding spacial awareness – took a mark 35m out at the 12-minute mark of the final term. Easily capable of making the distance, she opted to play on despite Caitlin Radbone being next to her, and was run-down in a goal-saving tackle by the Panthers’ winger.

The match went down to the wire with the game very much alive in the final stages. Chantelle Mitchell took a couple of good marks deep in attack, with the second seeing her land awkwardly in the final minute. Not able to take her kick, Leah Cutting was the first over to assist the sore Mitchell, then subtly tried to hand the ball to Goody for the set shot in the pocket as she casually walked away.

The umpire was switched on to that though, calling Cutting back for the shot. The shot fell short, the Panthers were able to spoil it away and hold on as the siren sounded moments later. Though the scoreline read 1.4 (10) to 1.2 (8), it was still every bit as tense as a shootout, with the Panthers going to the top of the table with the four points.

It was no surprise that the likes of inside midfielders, Abbey Dowrick and Marlie Fiegert went to work, combining for 41 disposals and 15 clearances, while Leah Cutting and Soriah Moon had a fantastic battle through the ruck as great follow-up bigs. Audrey Holt and Sophie Zuill also battled on hard for the losing side, as the South onball brigade of Brooke Boileau and Caitlin Couch, as well as the speedy Elise Barwick all impressed. Defender Samantha Pratt was a standout from beyond the midfield group.

WWT EAGLES 1.2 | 1.2 | 1.2 | 1.2 (8)
SOUTH ADELAIDE 0.2 | 0.3 | 1.4 | 1.4 (10)


WWT: E. Little
South: B. Boileau


WWT: A. Dowrick, M. Fiegert, Y Duursma, A. Holt, L. Cutting
South: B. Boileau, S. Moon, S. Pratt, C. Couch, E. Barwick


Sturt confirmed its place as a genuine premiership contender with a vital 14-point win over North Adelaide in the grand final rematch. The victory kept the Double Blues inside the top four, while the Roosters are now two games outside the finals spots with five matches remaining. The final score read Sturt 6.4 (40) to North Adelaide’s 3.8 (26).

Alex Ballard returned to play a massive role for the Double Blues, picking up 24 disposals and nine rebound 50s, also kicking a booming goal. Bottom-ager India Rasheed continued her great form with the Double Blues’ first and last goals of the game as well as 18 disposals and seven marks, while Isobel Kuiper and Georgia Swan were important.

For the Roosters, Hannah Ewings was the most dangerous player in the red and white but missed a few chances she would normally nail en route to 15 disposals, seven clearances and 2.2 for the day. Ruck Isabelle Starmer (21 disposals, 23 hitouts) was strong, while Ella Quinn and Katelyn Pope brought their own football’s to the match with 30 and 28 disposals respectively.

The red-hot Norwood extended its winning streak out to four by taking down Glenelg in a 35-point result on the road. In a remarkable effort, the Redlegs held the Bays’ scoreless for 75 of the 80 minutes, with Glenelg’s total score of 2.1 (13) coming in a five-minute patch in the second term. Norwood finished on 7.6 (48) to replace Glenelg inside the top four, with the Bays incredibly unlucky having been in top spot a fortnight ago.

Norwood had an even spread across the board, though the trio of inside midfielders in Ebony O’Dea, Lana Schwerdt and Sachi Syme put the best clearance midfield to the sword, combining for a whopping 24 clearances in the win. Tahlita Buethke provided some dash on the outside, while Najwa Allen (three goals) was the key scorer inside 50, with the Glenelg defence not as close checking as it has been most of the season.

Most of the Bays were down on their usual output, though Brooke Tonon and Ella Boag showed their AFLW experience to be among the best in the match. Jordan Horne performed an underrated job on Morgan Johnston to pick up more disposals than the experienced utility, while Piper Window tried hard as she collected 20 disposals and laid 11 tackles.

In the final match of the round, Central District edged closer to a maiden finals appearance with its fifth win of the season, downing West Adelaide by 54 points in the Bulldogs’ biggest win thus far. In what was an ultra-impressive effort the visitors piled on eight goals to one after quarter time to run out 10.10 (70) to 2.4 (16) winners over the Bloods at Hisense Stadium.

Elaine Grigg kicked the first three goals for her team, while Julia Teakle backed up her three majors last week with another three snags in Round 7. Further afield, Maria Moloney destroyed the West Adelaide midfield with 26 disposals and 11 clearances, with Shelby Smith hitting the scoreboard and having five clearances from 25 disposals. Charlotte Riggs was a welcome return in defence from suspension, teaming up well with Madison Lane.

The usual suspects were in the thick of it, as Zoe Venning continued her consistent season with 24 disposals, eight marks, nine tackles, three clearances and five inside 50s, while Keeley Kustermann and Iilish Ross combined for 38 disposals and 11 clearances.

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