Croweaters kick off AFLWU16s with Metro win

SOUTH Australia has started its AFL Women’s Under 16 Championships campaign on the perfect note with a 32-point victory over Vic Metro at Arden Street today. The Croweaters kept their opponents goalless in the opening half, and managed to win each of the four quarters en route to a 8.5 (53) to 2.9 (21) win and set up a grand finale against Western Australia.

In a strong team effort, the South Australians had a host of players who had either played local football or come from other sporting backgrounds mixed with a sprinkling of consistent SANFL Women’s talents. Lead by Central District young gun Sophie Eaton, the Croweaters held up defensively despite a fierce Metro onslaught in the opening half.

At half-time the home team had five more disposals (144-139) and one more clearance (12-11) but dominated the inside 50s (27-16). Despite that lobsided count – largely due to players such as Tayla McMillan, Scarlett Johnson and Phoebe Hargreaves – Metro had only managed the five behinds. By contrast, despite only having the 16 entries, South Australia had seven scoring shots (4.3) to its name.

Eaton got the side off to the perfect start with a nice goal in the first term, before Matilda Wilmore, Taya Maxwell and Sarcha Taylor all added their names to the goalkickers list. Taylor’s major at the 16th minute of the second term included some candy selling to get her team up and about.

Reigning Metro MVP Chloe Baker-West was winning the ball with ease, collecting 10 first quarter disposals and would finish with 30 touches – all kicks – by the end of the game. While the talented Calder small was everywhere, her taller Cannons teammate Jade McLay was providing an aerial nuisance for the opposition.

South Australia looked to have the early going after the main break, with a reverse of the first half in terms of forward half possession. On this occasion though, the Croweaters could not capitalise on the scoreboard other than a strong mark and set shot goal from Chloe Tonkin. The Metro defence held up well and with the likes of McLay and Marlo Graham getting their hands on the ball, Metro responded with its first goal of the game coming in the 12th minute of the third term.

That goal came via the class of Hargreaves who has put together a couple of impressive games, bursting forward and slotting one on the run. Though Metro had more chances in the last 10 minutes, neither team added another score and the visitors increased their half-time lead by one to 23 points at the final break.

The laster term started with Wilmore kicking her second goal and North Adelaide winger Jayde Visser missing a chance for a second South Australian goal in six minutes. Up the other end of the ground, Lily Baxter worked hard to stop a Metro goal and rush through a behind, while Sienna Sharp and Hargreaves both had shots that narrowly missed, the latter coming off her shin in the goalsquare.

Metro did its best to try and make a charge home in the final term, with Baker-West spraying a shot and Hargreaves delivery into Lara Churchill just over her head through for another behind. The Sandringham Dragons forward would soon capitalise with a clever snap from a clean pickup close to goal. Though that cut the margin by to 20 points with three minutes remaining, it would not be the end of the story.

South Australia found a second wind in the final few minutes, with goals to talls, Zahlia Niemann and Maxwell, the latter coming after the final siren for the visitors to blow the margin out to a game-high 32 points.

Emma Charlton – the sister of Adelaide’s Teah – collected 22 disposals, three marks, four clearances, three inside 50s and two rebound 50s, while Eloise Mackereth helped herself to 20 disposals, three marks, three tackles and two inside 50s. West Adelaide’s Steph Tredwell, Maxwell and Tonkin provided making targets, while Eaton showed her class across the ground and Charlie Hazelhurst was impressive in defence.

For Vic Metro, Baker-West collected a game-high 30 disposals, as well as five marks, five clearances, five inside 50s, four rebound 50s and laid four tackles. McMillan (24 disposals, two marks, nine tackles, four clearances and four inside 50s) was also a standout, as was McLay (19 disposals, four marks, two tackles and four inside 50s). Graham and Hargreaves were their usual classy selves, while Johnson provided some movement in the forward half, and Alex McBride-Loane intercepted well.

VIC METRO 0.2 | 0.5 | 1.5 | 2.9 (21)
SOUTH AUSTRALIA 1.2 | 4.3 | 5.4 | 8.5 (53)


VM: P. Hargreaves, L. Churchill
SA: M. Wilmore 2, T. Maxwell 2, C. Tonkin, S. Taylor, Z. Niemann, S. Eaton


VM: C. Baker-West, T. McMillan, J. McLay, P. Hargreaves, M. Graham
SA: E. Charlton, E. Mackereth, T. Maxwell, S. Tredwell, S. Eaton

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