Sturt survives slog in one-point thriller

STURT has survived a scare against last placed West Adelaide to come away with the four points in Round 10 of the SANFL Women’s competition. The Double Blues needed every minute of the match to get it done, as the Bloods continued to charge, but a Lauren Young set shot after the siren fell short and she ran off her line, sending relief through the Double Blues camp.

Vying for a top four spot with three rounds remaining, last year’s grand finalists trailed early in the match, then managed to get back on top, and had to engage in an almighty battle, with a late West goal levelling the scores midway through the final term. A go-ahead behind to Georgia Swan with seven minutes remaining proved to be the difference in the 3.9 (27) to 4.2 (26) victory, but it was not the final twist in the tale.

With just a few minutes left, Ruby Ballard was running goal side over the back with a kick headed in her direction. Unfortunately she got a horror bounce and her subsequent tackle was deemed high, which saved the Double Blues for the time being, but another late charge in the final moments saw the ball deep inside the Bloods’ forward 50.

As the siren sounded the Double Blues began to celebrate before hearing a whistle with the umpire calling a rare anti-density free kick against them. Though unlike a downfield free kick where a player – in this case Young who was closest to the ball – might have the set shot from where the ball was just 15m out from goal, the free kick has to be taken from the top of the 50m arc meaning at best, the teenager would need to launch a 55m goal with just about every Sturt player inside the defensive 50.

Naturally Young has a tendency to run around the mark to gain more distance on her kick but on this occasion – post-siren – that was deemed play-on and the game ended. The kick would fall about 15 metres out anyway, marked by Georgia Bevan who triumphantly kicked it into the air to celebrate snapping a two-game losing streak, while West Adelaide moved to eight games without a win.

It was the latest heartbreaking result in a long line of frustrations for West Adelaide coach Bruce Dawes, who has his charges competitive each and every week despite being severely depleted through injury. After a draw with Woodville-West Torrens last round, the Bloods went right to the final siren with a premiership contender, but ultimately fell short again by a point.

West Adelaide lead by a goal at quarter time, but late inclusion Tahlia Walker – who replaced a player who would have thrived in the muddy conditions in Isobel Kuiper – levelled the scores in the eighth minute of the match via a set shot. Neither team would get too many clean looks, but a goal in the final minute of the first half to Swan gave the Double Blues some breathing space heading into the main break.

Trailing by eight points at the half, West Adelaide – spearheaded by Young – came out firing as the top-ager booted two third quarter goals having spent the majority of the match through the midfield. By the final break, the visitors trailed by just three points.

In fairness to the home side, Tessa Doumanis could have put the result to bed in the first 10 minutes of the final term with three shots on goal for three behinds – including two posters – which just kept the door ajar for the the Bloods. That door was blown right open when in a rare forward foray up the other end, Kendell Saffin nailed a set shot from 40 metres to level the scores.

Again, Sturt had the chance to go a goal clear with Swan having a set shot which missed, then it was West Adelaide’s turn to do all the attacking. Unfortunately the couple of chances that were almost there just did not pan out with Ballard and Young going right to the final buzzer before the result could be declared, and Sturt would be declared the winner.

Captain and midfielder Kate Harris was outstanding in the win over West, teaming up well with young gun Monique Bessen as the pair did the bulk of the heavy lifting in the absence of Kuiper through the middle. Harris had 27 disposals, seven marks, 15 tackles, eight clearances and five inside 50s, while Bessen picked up 26 disposals, seven marks – three contested – 11 tackles, five clearances, five inside 50s and three rebound 50s in an equally important role. Swan and Alysha Healy were lively in the front half, while Alex Pearce (32 hitouts) was strong in the ruck.

For West Adelaide, Young helped herself to 27 disposals, seven marks – five contested – seven tackles, three clearances, two rebound 50s and 2.1, while Zoe Venning continued her remarkable consistent year with 24 touches, three marks, seven tackles, eight clearances, three inside 50s, four rebound 50s and the first goal of the game. Milli Gentle (18 disposals, seven marks and four rebound 50s) was sensational in defence, while Asha Dufour and Emma Kilpatrick also worked hard to find their fair share of the ball.

STURT 0.1 | 2.4 | 3.5 | 3.9 (27)
WEST ADELAIDE 1.1 | 1.2 | 3.2 | 4.2 (26)

Sturt: A. Ladas, G. Swan, T. Walker
West: L. Young 2, K. Saffin, Z. Venning

Sturt: K. Harris, M. Bessen. G. Swan, A. Healy, A. Pearce
West: L. Young, M. Gentle, Z. Venning, A. Dufour, E. Kilpatrick


The biggest upset of the weekend was North Adelaide keeping its finals hopes alive with a sensational 22-point victory over ladder leaders South Adelaide yesterday. The Roosters lead from start to finish, keeping the Panthers goalless in the first half and controlling play to win 5.3 (33) to 1.5 (11) with the co-captains again leading from the front.

Jess Edwards (22 disposals, five marks, 10 tackles, five clearances and four inside 50s) and Kristi Harvey (22 disposals, five marks, five tackles and seven rebound 50s) were the standouts, while Brittany Perry (20 disposals, five marks, four clearances, three inside 50s and a goal) also stepped up. For South Adelaide, Taylah Levy and Brooke Boileau tried hard with 19 and 18 disposals apiece in the loss.

Glenelg also snapped Central District’s winning streak with an important five-point win over the Bulldogs at The Bay to ensure the Tigers kept a win clear of the Roosters. Trailing by three points at half-time, Glenelg went as much as 19 points clear five minutes into the final term, before the Bulldogs made their charge. Having been able to overcome remarkable deficits in recent weeks – including an identical 19-point deficit early in the fourth term against North Adelaide last week – this time the Bulldogs fell five points short, 6.1 (37) to 4.8 (32).

Sarah Goodwin had a team-high 20 disposals, as well as four marks and five rebound 50s providing run and carry for the Bays, while Tamsyn Morriss continued her outstanding form with 18 disposals, four marks – one contested – and 14 rebound 50s. Piper Window (19 disposals, nine clearances and 12 tackles) picked up where she left off before the AFLW Under 18 Championships and skipper Ellie Kellock was consistent as always. For Central District, Elaine Grigg was the standout with 23 disposals, six clearances, eight tackles, four inside 50s and two rebounds, while the likes of Under 16s MVP Sophie Eaton, Caitlin Wendland, Madison Lane and Laitiah Huynh all battled through four quarters.

In the other match, Norwood took hoe the four points against a determined Woodville-West Torrens outfit by 12 points to maintain third spot on the ladder. The Redlegs kicked 4.1 to 0.0 in the opening term, but only managed three behinds over the next two quarters as the Eagles booted 3.2 to draw within eight points at the final break. A goal to youngster Coby Morgan settled the nerves, as the Redlegs secured a 5.4 (34) to 4.2 (26) victory.

Lana Schwerdt was a standout in midfield for the Redlegs with 16 disposals, seven clearances, five tackles and four inside 50s, while Tahlita Buethke (21 disposals, four marks, three tackles and three rebounds 50s) did well on the outside. Morgan had 12 disposals and five tackles to go with her goal, while Shai Hiscock also worked hard. For the Eagles, Leah Cutting had another strong game with 22 hitouts from 15 disposals, four marks, three clearances, three rebound 50s and seven tackles, while top-agers Shineah Goody and Marlie Fiegert worked hard alongside skipper Annie Falkenberg.

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