Panthers claim top spot after tight tussle

GAINING an all-important home ground advantage for its first final, South Adelaide secured the SANFL Women’s minor premiership thanks to a six-point nail-biter over Norwood. In what was an arm-wrestle for the most part, the Panthers kicked the sealer in the final few minutes off a rare final quarter foray to record a 4.6 (30) to 3.6 (24) win.

Though South held at each break, the Redlegs kept at it and drew within two points early in the fourth quarter. Dominating forward-half possession, the home side arguably should have added a couple of majors but the staunch South defence held up against all odds. Then, with a rare chance going inside 50, Tasmanian Elise Barwick got on the end of a handball chain and snapped with the outside of her boot.

The shot on goal bounced over the hard-running Morgan Johnston‘s hand to make it an eight-point margin with three minutes left in the match. Johnston almost responded herself up the other end with a flying shot 90 seconds later, but a determined Esther Schirmer got a hand to it just before it crossed the line. Norwood kept attacking to the final bell, but could not get across the line, with Rosette Zerella‘s set shot after the final siren hitting the post.

In winning, it means South Adelaide gets to host Central District at Noarlunga next week in the major semi-final, rather than travelling up to Elizabeth in the SANFL Women’s longest road trip. Given that Central District won, the result does not change Norwood’s third-place standing, taking on Sturt in the minor semi-final next weekend.

Throughout the game, Norwood generally had more of the ball with 17 more disposals, six more clearances and 11 more inside 50s, but South Adelaide’s defence would not lay down. The likes of Schirmer, Jaslynne Smith, Alissa Brook and Charlotte Dolan stood tall and kept rebounding it clear, so the forward line could go to work.

Melissa Anderson kicked an early major from a free kick and 25m penalty, and would set up other players for scoring opportunities including a critical third-quarter goal to Jordann Hickey who put her side back in front. Through the ruck, Soriah Moon took control and the midfield of Barwick, Senna Gulden and Caitlin Couch went to work, though the latter copped a knock in the opening minute of the final term and had to be helped off.

Norwood top-age young gun Molly Brooksby produced her best game of the season largely playing off half-back and pushing up the ground with 26 disposals, while Tesharna Maher, Lana Schwerdt and Steph Simmonds were all strong through the middle. Ex-Panther Tahlita Buethke was again productive, but ultimately it would not be enough as the Redlegs went down narrowly.

NORWOOD 1.1 | 2.3 | 3.3 | 3.6 (24)
SOUTH ADELAIDE 2.3 | 2.4 | 3.6 | 4.6 (30)

Norwood: C. Hazelhurst, K. Lee, R. Zerella
South Adelaide: M. Anderson, E. Barwick, J. Hickey, L. Northcott

Norwood: M. Brooksby, L. Schwerdt, S. Simmonds, T. Maher, T. Buethke
South Adelaide: S. Moon. E. Barwick, J. Smith, C. Couch, S. Gulden


Sturt stamped its ticket into the 2023 SANFL Women’s finals series after winning the virtual elimination final, defeating Glenelg by 40 points. The Double Blues kept the Bays to two goals – and only two behind in the first half – and went on to win 9.2 (56) to 2.4 (16).

Isobel Kuiper and Kate Harris took control in the midfield with a combined 38 disposals and 17 clearances, while India Rasheed was lively around the ground and Georgia Swan brought the heat. For the Bays, young guns Piper Window and Poppy Scholz tried hard but their side was ultimately overwhelmed.

Central District enters its first finals series with a double chance after taking care of West Adelaide by 25 points. Four goals to one in the third term was the difference for the Bulldogs, holding off a second-term fightback from West Adelaide to win, 6.5 (41) to 2.4 (16).

The Bulldogs’ targets of Katelyn Rosenzweig and Chantel Reynolds combined for five goals in the win, while Lauren Young kicked both of the Bloods’ majors. Caitlen Teague, Elaine Grigg and Caitlin Wendland were prolific in the midfield, while Zoe Venning, Asha Dufour and Iilish Ross battled on for the losing side.

Woodville-West Torrens finished off its season on a high, recording its best SANFL Women’s result with a third win. The Eagles defeated reigning premiers North Adelaide who could not get it done for outgoing premiership coach Krissie Steen, and finished with seven points for the season, beating a previous best of six. It took until the final term, but a couple of fourth-quarter goals helped the Eagles get over the line, 4.9 (33) to 3.7 (25).

Captain Annie Falkenberg led from the front with 20 disposals, while youngsters Shineah Goody and Jemma Charity were busy once again. Forward Chantelle Mitchell booted two goals to be the only multiple goalkicker on the ground. For the Roosters, Isabelle Starmer (24 disposals, 40 hitouts), Kristi Harvey (28 disposals, six marks) and Jessica Edwards were all prolific, while Aprille Crooks continued her late-season form.

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