2023 Rookie Me Central SANFLW Team of the Year

A PAIR of inside midfielders who can also roll forward share the captaincy in Rookie Me Central’s 2023 SANFL Women’s Team of the Year. Glenelg’s Piper Window and West Adelaide’s Zoe Venning were named joint co-captains for our hypothetical team after being nominated in eight Team of the Weeks – seven starting and one emergency – in 2023.

The 2023 SANFL Women’s Team of the Year final selection was based around the most Team of the Week nominations, with a minimum of four earning automatic selection into the side. Another caveat was players must have played a minimum of seven games in the 12-week season to qualify, ruling out the majority of AFLW players who returned to clubs.

Window and Venning are two of the frontrunners for next week’s SANFL Women’s League Best and Fairest after wonderfully consistent seasons. Window played 11 matches – only missing one to captain her state at the AFLW Under 18 Championships – and averaged 20.3 disposals, 3.1 marks, 6.1 clearances, 4.0 inside 50s and laid 7.9 tackles, as well as booting seven goals.

Venning played all 12 and was the prime ball-winner in the league, averaging 23.3 disposals, 4.5 marks, 4.5 clearances, 3.3 inside 50s and laid 6.1 tackles to be a shining light in West Adelaide’s unlucky injury-affected season.

Not far behind the pair in terms of nominations were North Adelaide winger Katelyn Pope and Woodville-West Torrens’ skipper Annie Falkenberg with seven nominations each. Pope is the only AFLW-listed player in the starting team, while Falkenberg was sensational all season to go even better than past years which included a club best and fairest. The latter was named in the back pocket.

Still involved in the nomination of at least seven teams – six and one emergency – were retiring Glenelg captain Ellie Kellock and top AFLW Draft prospect Lauren Young. Kellock assumed her on-ball role in the centre, while Young was named at centre half-forward.

The other key position forward inside 50 was competition leading goalkicker Katelyn Rosenzweig who returned from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury and was dominant all season, earning her place at full-forward in the team. She is inside 50 alongside teammate Caitlin Wendland who also put her name into draft contention with an impressive 2023 season.

On the other side of the forward 50 was reigning Norwood best and fairest winner, Tesharna Maher and the versatile India Rasheed who had a late start to the season but ended up playing the required seven matches and booting a goal per game, while progressing into the midfield.

Rounding out the starting midfield is a trio of Panthers who have been the catalyst for an impressive season under coach Rick Watts. Ruck Soriah Moon recorded the most hitouts this season and was nominated as the starting ruck, while Senna Gulden (ruck rover) and Caitlin Couch (wing) worked their way into the side.

North Adelaide co-skippers Kristi Harvey and Jess Edwards also made it into the Team of the Year meaning North Adelaide produced a remarkable four players despite missing finals. Dual Roosters premiership coach Krissie Steen stepped down prior to the final week of the season, but has set up the team for success in the future.

Also in defence are a couple of State Academy members in top-age jet Shineah Goody and key defender Charlotte Riggs. Goody was named at half-back though has largely cemented her spot on the wing this season, but the strength of the midfield meant she was moved back to another role she can easily fill. Riggs was the sole player inside the team with just the three nominations, but has been close on a number of occasions and is the pure centre half-back.

Riggs’ Central District teammate Madison Lane is also in the defence, named in a back pocket behind West Adelaide’s Iilish Ross. The latter put in a consistent year through both midfield and defence to be another shining light for the Bloods.

Turning the attention to the bench, and Edwards is not the only captain there. Central District’s Shelby Smith headlines a strong inside presence, with South Adelaide onballer Brooke Boileau and Norwood’s Lana Schwerdt also on the six-player interchange.

Fellow clearance gun Isobel Kuiper remarkably returned from an ACL injury in last year’s finals series to step up and play a key role for Sturt, while North Adelaide ruck Isabelle Starmer had the same output at a new club in 2023.

The three emergencies for the 2023 SANFL Women’s Team of the Year were Central District’s Elaine Grigg, Glenelg’s Poppy Scholz and Norwood’s Tahlita Buethke.


B: Annie Falkenberg (WWT Eagles) – Kristi Harvey (North Adelaide) – Madison Lane (Central District)
HB: Shineah Goody (WWT Eagles) – Charlotte Riggs (Central District) – Iilish Ross (West Adelaide)
C: Katelyn Pope (North Adelaide) – Ellie Kellock (Glenelg) – Caitlin Couch (South Adelaide)
HF: Tesharna Maher (Norwood) – Lauren Young (West Adelaide) – Caitlin Wendland (Central District)
F: India Rasheed (Sturt) – Katelyn Rosenzweig (Central District) – Piper Window (Glenelg) (c)
R: Soriah Moon (South Adelaide) – Senna Gulden (South Adelaide) – Zoe Venning (West Adelaide) (c)
INT: Brooke Boileau (South Adelaide) – Jess Edwards (North Adelaide) – Isobel Kuiper (Sturt) – Lana Schwerdt (Norwood) – Shelby Smith (Central District) – Isabelle Starmer (North Adelaide)

EMG: Tahlita Buethke (Norwood) – Elaine Grigg (Central District) – Poppy Scholz (Glenelg)

The remaining 24 players from the full Rookie Me Central SANFL Women’s Team of the Year were put into a playable lineup. Grigg accrued the most Team of the Week nominations who missed out on the number one side so was named skipper of the second team.


B: Milli Gentle (West Adelaide) – Poppy Scholz (Glenelg) – Tamsyn Morriss (Glenelg)
HB: Morgan Johnston (Norwood) – Lucy Boyd (West Adelaide) – Jaslynne Smith (South Adelaide)
C: Tahlita Buethke (Norwood) (vc) – Julia Clark (North Adelaide) – Laitiah Huynh (Central District)
HF: Georgia Bevan (Sturt) – Britt Perry (North Adelaide) – Monique Bessen (Sturt)
F: Najwa Allen (Norwood) – Jemma Charity (WWT Eagles) – Jasmine Evans (Central District)
R: Leah Cutting (WWT Eagles) – Kate Harris (Sturt) – Elaine Grigg (Central District) (c)
INT: Sarah Branford (Norwood) – Lily Baxter (South Adelaide) – Madisyn Freeman (Glenelg) – Ashlee Gould (Norwood) – Ella Quinn (North Adelaide) – Georgia Swan (Sturt)

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