EIGHT teams became four over the past week, with South Adelaide, Central District, Norwood and Sturt taking to the field in post-season action. As always, we took a look at each of the state academy athletes running around in the League competition, and made notes on their individual performances.
#2 Holly Ifould
The winger worked hard around the ground and got into space, though was not always rewarded due to it being a largely inside contest. Early in the fourth term, Ifould marked at the top of 50 and delivered a pinpoint pass into Jorja Hooper in an otherwise quieter outing. Ifould still picked up nine disposals, three marks and two inside 50s in the win.
#23 Esther Schirmer
The defender was one of the more prominent Panthers for her one-on-one work often opposed to Chantel Reynolds or Grigg. While Reynolds did kick a goal, Schirmer was largely competitive and able to even clunk a few marks and negate the dangerous Grigg. She held her positioning well and kicked long down the ground, and was a rock all day long. Schirmer had eight disposals, four marks and three tackles.
#37 Brooke Boileau
Returning from a week off due to injury, Boileau continued with her consistent numbers around the stoppages, racking up six clearances and laying eight tackles to go with her 18 disposals. Boileau was not quite as influential as she has been in other weeks, but cracked in and was able to win the majority of her touches in congested situations, then took a couple of strong contested marks in the third term and cleared from half-back to the wing. Totalling up 18 disposals, two contested marks and three inside 50s, Boileau was solid across the four quarters.
#52 Melissa Anderson
Anderson had a lively game in the forward half, pushing up the ground and often pumping it inside 50 to give her forwards opportunities, while getting deep at times herself. She was a little fumbly at ground level, but applied great defensive pressure and took a terrific contested mark early in the opening term. She set up Lucy Northcott with a nice pass in the final term and also handed Charlotte Dolan a goal before the three quarter time siren but just missed the handball connection. Anderson managed 10 disposals, one mark, six tackles and four inside 50s.
#53 Alissa Brook
The athletic defender was prominent throughout the match, with some nice rebounding out of the back 50 and from the defensive side of the centre square. Good at ground level if she did not take the mark, Brook recovered well and was ale to mop up and use it relatively consistently under pressure. She was pinged for holding the ball in the final term but was sold into trouble already in strife, and otherwise was able to apply her own pressure across the course of the game. Brook had a hand in 14 disposals, one mark, three tackles and two rebound 50s.
#56 Lily Baxter
A quieter game from Baxter who still worked up and down the ground, but only had the five touches and laid three tackles. She applied good pressure to her opponents even when she was not rewarded with a tackle, and got involved in a handball chain on the wing during the fourth term.
#8 Elaine Grigg
It was a tough day for Grigg who tried hard all game but was just one of the matches where she could not get her hands on the ball. Only the five disposals for the game, she had a couple of quick kicks off the deck, and was sore in the final term, but often found herself opposed to Schirmer. Though offensively Grigg did not win too much of the ball, she brought her trademark pressure, laying seven tackles.
Rotating between defence and the ruck at times, Riggs could not utilise her aerial presence as much with the hard slog mostly played at ground level. She still competed in the air and often brought the ball to ground. When moved into the ruck. Riggs competed admirably against quality opponents, picking up eight hitouts and clunking two marks from six touches.
#12 Sophie Eaton
Eaton does not need a lot of touches to hurt an opposition and though she had the three, she was able to deliver an elite pass into Lauren Breguet in the second term and soccered the ball off the deck a few minutes later to gain territory. Her clean hands in the wet was on display and she showed class, albeit from three touches, two tackles and two inside 50s.
#27 Jasmine Evans
Similar to Eaton, Evans only had the three touches, but showed class in a tough day for skilful outside players, laying a couple of strong tackles and taking a couple of good marks. Early on in the opening minute it looked like Evans would have an early shot on goal but was it not paid. Got her first taste of SANFLW finals action and will be better for the run next week.
#18 Molly Brooksby
After a breakout game for 2023 last week, Brooksby built on that in a knockout final with a starring role playing off half-back. Though her best work in the match was done in defence, the top-age draft prospect kicked the opening goal of the game with a clever snap around her body from long-range which curled around the post. She fond the ball with ease throughout the game, getting into the right spots and was able to mop up in defence, while also taking the kick outs thanks to her booming and accurate kick. Brooksby picked up 26 disposals, two marks, three tackles and 10 rebound 50s in the win.
The double bottom-ager competed well against the far more experienced Jasmyn Hewett and had some eye-catching moments through the ruck. She only had the six disposals, but looked to clear the ball long in challenging conditions and even won the odd hitout against Hewett, using her body well. Along with the six touches, Hazelhurst took two marks, had 10 hitouts and laid three tackles.
#51 Coby Morgan
Morgan won the first touch inside 50 and had to shuffle out a handball as she was tackled and unfortunately the speedy top-ager could not get her hands on it cleanly again. She was often under pressure and only had the one touch, but flew for a couple of marks in the forward half, and brought her trademark pressure, laying seven tackles.
Starting in the middle, Rasheed was outstanding around the clearances, racking up nine in the match to go with 19 disposals, two inside 50s and laying seven tackles. She won a number of free kicks for getting to the ball first, and showed her footy smarts with neat taps or toepokes forward. Her elite kicking skills were on display with pinpoint passes in wet conditions, while having quick and clean hands all across the ground. It was another four-quarter performance from the bottom-ager to finish off her year.
#16 Monique Bessen
In her first SANFLW final, Bessen held her own and spread well around the ground to take four marks from 10 disposals. She kicked a great goal late in the first term, showcasing off her footy smarts and work rate. Marking on the wing in the 16th minute, she delivered the ball well to half-forward then kept on running to be the first goalside from the next possession, and beating her opponent to the ground ball to soccer it off the deck for a major in the goalsquare. Her ball use was effective and she stood out in the forward half, continuing some great form.
#24 Lily Whitcombe
Given another tough assignment on Rosette Zerella, Whitcombe did her best in the contest and though Zerella caught her on the hop early, tightened up throughout the match. She took a number of good marks and showed composure with ball-in-hand, finishing with six disposals, three marks – one contested and a rebound 50 in her final SANFLW match of the season.
#57 Zara Walsh
Capping off her top-age SANFLW season, Walsh had an early chance in the opening term with a shot off a quick step but was rushed across the line, before a set shot five minutes later also missed to the right. She set up a goal with a mark on the forward side of the wing, and kept working hard up the ground with strong intent. Though she had a quieter second half and only had the six touches, Walsh got into dangerous positions and laid five tackles signalling her defensive potential.