South survives Sturt scare

IT was billed as one of the matches of the round and it did not disappoint, with the ladder-leading South Adelaide surviving a last quarter fightback from Sturt to post a one-point win at Wigan Oval. After both sides went toe-for-toe for three quarters in an armwrestle, before the Double Blues kicked three consecutive goals to remarkably hit the front, only for Jorja Hooper to kick the match-winner in the final few minutes of the match.

In a match where the Panthers largely dominated forward half territory in the first half, the Double Blues kept their composure and after breaking their goal drought in the third term, stormed home to hit the front with about four and a half minutes left on the clock. The momentum swing came off the back of an outstanding second half from India Rasheed who got in on the action to draw her side within a point, before double bottom-ager Monique Bessen incredibly put the home side in front after trailing for 73 minutes of the 80-minute match.

Though it seemed the perfect end to a fairytale finish for the Double Blues, the top of the table Panthers had other ideas. South Adelaide won a free kick from the stoppage for the 5-6-5 rule after Sturt’s goal, and got it forward where Lucy Northcott won a free kick into the pocket after going in hard, she put it up to the hotspot where a charging Hooper clunked a terrific contested mark above opponents.

After missing one of the easier sets shots a forward could have just 15 metres out early in the quarter, the longer distance proved no issue for the teenager who kicked truly and put her side back in front. While Sturt desperately tried to drive the ball forward in the dying moments of the match via Georgia Bevan putting it to the hotpot, the siren sounded before a flying Georgia Swan – or anyone else – could take it cleanly.

The win was a relief for the Panthers who have guaranteed a double chance in finals ahead of a massive Round 12 clash with Norwood. Had they lost, South Adelaide could have dropped out of the top two with defeat to Norwood, but instead guarantee a top two spot. For Sturt, the Double Blues drop to fifth, but still have a top-four spot in their destiny, playing Glenelg in the final round with the winner to lock in fourth spot.

Despite dominating the hitouts through Soriah Moon and debutant Jacinda Schunselaar (55-38), South was on the receiving end of a clearance differential (40-22). After the Panthers had the majority of the play in the first half, Sturt had its fair share of the play in the second half and finished with five more inside 50s (28-23) and laid eight more tackled 83-75).

Brooke Boileau was enormous with 20 disposals, five marks, eight tackles, two clearances and two rebound 50s, but finished the game on crutches after going down in a tackle from the opening centre clearance of the fourth quarter. Moon (18 disposals, 32 hitouts) took control in the ruck, while Caitlin Couch and Senna Gulden were consistent through the midfield.

For the Double Blues, Isobel Kuiper put up an extraordinary statline of 27 disposals, three marks, nine tackles, 13 clearances, two inside 50s and four rebound 50s, working hard with skipper Kate Harris in the midfield. Harris finished with 23 disposals, five marks, 14 tackles, seven clearances and three inside 50s. Rasheed – who largely played forward in the first half, moved into the midfield and dominated with most of her seven clearances in a half, as well as 18 touches, five marks – two contested – six inside 50s and a goal.

STURT 0.1 | 0.1 | 1.6 | 4.6 (30)
SOUTH ADELAIDE 1.3 | 3.4 | 3.5 | 4.7 (31)

Sturt: A. Healy 2, I. Rasheed, M. Bessen
South: J. Hooper, M. Anderson, L. Baxter, L. Northcott

Sturt: I. Kuiper, I. Rasheed, K. Harris, A. Healy, M. Bessen
South: S. Moon, B. Boileau, C. Couch, S. Gulden J. Smith


Norwood cemented its finals place with a 16-point win over West Adelaide at Coopers Stadium on Friday night, and in the process became the first team to fight back from 0-3 in the season to make a SANFL Women’s finals series. The match was an armwrestle for three quarters and the Bloods even lead by three points at the final break, but 3.2 to 0.1 in the final term resulted in the home team running over the top of West Adelaide to record a memorable 6.7 (43) to 4.3 (27) win.

Tahlita Buethke and Lana Schwerdt combined for 40 disposals, 11 clearances and 14 tackles in the win, while Tesharna Maher got forward to kick a couple of goals from 15 touches. For the Bloods, Iilish Ross and Zoe Venning again tried hard in the middle, while Georgie Pater was rock solid in defence.

Glenelg ended the finals hopes of reigning premier North Adelaide on Saturday, holding off the Roosters to win by eight points, 4.5 (29) to 2.9 (21). Though the visitors kept coming until the final siren, inaccuracy, and the incredible Bays’ defence prevented North Adelaide from kicking a winning score and Glenelg moved back into fourth to play off for a finals spot next week.

Piper Window and Tessa Kohn combined for 37 disposals, nine clearances and 12 tackles in the win, as Tamsyn Morriss continued her form in defence with six rebound 50s to go with 17 touches and four marks. Second gamer Eloise Mackereth also came up big with 15 disposals, three marks and three inside 50s. North Adelaide’s co-captains Jessica Edwards (28 disposals, eight marks and five clearances) and Kristi Harvey (24 disposals, 10 marks and eight rebound 50s) were again their side’s best, with Brittany Perry and Aprille Crooks also among the top ball-winners.

In the final game of the round, Central District guaranteed itself at least one home final and moved one step towards the minor premiership with a high-scoring 19-point win over Woodville-West Torrens. The Bulldogs trailed by as much as nine points late in the first term, but back-to-back goals to Jasmine Evans spurred a run of four consecutive goals. Though it was fairly even after that, the Bulldogs’ run ultimately helped them to a 10.5 (65) to 7.4 (46) victory, and one win away from a double chance.

Laitiah Huynh continues to build into the best form of her career with 18 disposals, three marks, four clearances, two inside 50s and two rebound 50s, while Elaine Grigg and Caitlen Teague were lively in midfield. Evans (three goals from 14 touches) and Katelyn Rosenzweig (two from 15) did the most damage on the scoreboard and up the ground. For the Eagles, Jemma Charity and Kayleigh May both kicked three goals, while teenagers Shineah Goody and Marlie Fiegert were prominent around the ball.

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