South Australia Crows at AFLW U16s Championships

A STRONG performance after quarter time saw South Australia run away with the AFLW Under 16s Championships Pool A title after defeating fellow undefeated state Western Australia by 29 points. The home team booted the opening goal of the contest, but South Australia kicked six of the next eight goals to open up a 27-point deficit at the final break before winning 9.8 (62) to 5.3 (33).

The opening term saw the home crowd get up and about early as Mia Russo led her team in the opening few minutes out of the stoppages and Alicia Blizard had the Sandgropers’ first in just 31 seconds. Western Australia was on top in the contest with the defence holding up and then a nice chain down the ground lead to the classy Lucy Greenwood kicking a major despite interference as she kicked it.

Though it looked like Western Australia might build an early lead, South Australia hit back and controlled the majority of proceedings for the rest of the first term. They answered with goals through Eloise Mackereth and then she hit up Zahlia Niemann all alone inside 50. By the first quarter siren, the scores were level at 2.1 (13) apiece.

The second quarter was a counter contrast to the first in terms of the opening minute, with West Adelaide forward Steph Tredwell kicking one of the opening clearance just 38 seconds into the quarter. Central District talent and Croweaters skipper Sophie Eaton was the catalyst for a strong 20 minutes as she racked up nine touches in the quarter as well as numerous inside 50s.

Continuous deep entries for South Australia saw Taya Maxwell capitalise, before it was Western Australia’s turn to have some forward half dominance. Peppering the goals, Greenwood almost had her second but was marked on the line, then West Perth teammates Samara Sallie and Sophie Fisher combined for an important goal. Just as they had closed the gap though, South Australia found a way with Eaton helping set up another Mackereth goal for South Australia to lead by 13 points at the main break.

Yet again a fast start from South Australia in the third term saw Mackereth kick her third thanks to a lovely passage of play from Lily Baxter, stretching the visitors’ lead to 19 points. Isabella Hill almost kicked a long-range goal not long after but it was touched on the line and stayed in play, before Fisher put through her second goal at the eight-minute mark of the term.

After holding firm for the next 10 minutes, the West Australian defence could not managed to stop Tredwell from a great set shot 25m out from goal, and then a passage of play which lead to Mackereth clunking a grab at the top of the goalsquare and slamming home her fourth. The siren sounded with South Australia 27 points up and looking set to record a memorable win.

The West Australian crowd showed their displeasure at an umpiring decision regarding a run-down tackle two minutes into the contest. The free kick was paid against the Sandgroper and with a 50m also paid for getting in the protected area, Emma Charlton iced the game. To the home side’s credit, they fought to the final siren with Hill kicking a major after a free kick to get the crowd up and about. Russo had a late chance to run in but her shot faded and collected the post for a behind.

Eaton finished with a game-high 23 disposals as well as eight clearances and three inside 50s, while Chloe Tonkin (19 disposals, four marks, four tackles, 17 hitouts, seven clearances and four inside 50s was influential across the four quarters. Mackereth booted the four goals from 14 disposals and took five marks, while SANFLW experienced players Bessen and Tredwell were also impressive.

For Western Australia, Russo was a standout with 24 touches, six clearances, three inside 50s and two rebound 50s, while Blizzard (17 disposals, one goal) and India Bonadeo (17 disposals, four clearances) both found plenty of the ball. Ruby Morgan was lively in the defensive half of the ground, while Greenwood created plenty of opportunities going inside 50.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA 2.1 | 3.2 | 4.2 | 5.3 (33)
SOUTH AUSTRALIA 2.1 | 5.3 | 8.5 | 9.8 (62)

WA: S. Fisher 2, I. Hill, A. Blizzard, L. Greenwood
SA: E. Mackereth 4, S. Tredwell 2, Z. Niemann, T. Maxwell, E. Charlton


WA: M. Russo, L. Greenwood, I. Bonadeo, A. Blizzard, R. Morgan
SA: S. Eaton, E. Mackereth, C. Tonkin, M. Bessen, S. Tredwell

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