Evans’ triple treat sends Dogs into decider

THREE consecutive goals from Central District youngster Jasmine Evans has helped the Bulldogs secure a grand final spot after defeating Norwood in yesterday’s SANFL Women’s Preliminary Final. The Bulldogs bounced back from a tough loss to South Adelaide in the semi-final last week, to book their place in the decider with a commanding 40-point win.

The victory included five consecutive goals from the fourth minute of the third term through to the sixth minute of the final quarter, to blow the lead out from 16 points to 48. While the Redlegs managed to kick the final goal of the game – fittingly to retiring skipper Alison Ferrall – the Bulldogs were just too good, winning 9.8 (62) to 3.4 (22).

Central District skipper Shelby Smith won the toss and elected to kick with the breeze, and though the Dogs had all the play in the first half – including 13 inside 50s to three – could only muster 1.4 (10) to lead by that exact margin. Both Evans and competition leading goalkicker Katelyn Rosenzweig looked dangerous, with the latter kicking her side’s first majors of the preliminary final, but the likes of Morgan Johnston, Molly Brooksby and Emily Bartsch were holding up well in defence.

Bartsch was moved onto Rosenzweig after the dominant Dog won a number of one-on-ones against Ashlee Gould, with Gould freed up to create some run for the Redlegs. Though the visitors looked set to score early as Tesharna Maher ran inside 50, Lauren Breguet laid a brilliant run-down tackle to set the tone. Not long after, the ball went up the other end and Rosenzweig converted her second major.

Hard work down the forward end from the Redlegs saw Ferrall and Rosette Zerella get it to Alana Lishmund for a scrappy yet effective first goal, and Norwood was back within 10 points. Though it looked like the game would be neck-and-neck at the main break, Chantel Reynolds had other ideas, bobbing up for a couple of majors in the space of two minutes to extend the lead out to 22 points.

Back with the breeze in the third term, Central District was confident it could apply serious scoreboard pressure in the third, even though the Norwood midfield was getting its hands on the ball. Brooksby, Maher and Lana Schwerdt all had 11 disposals at the main break, while six Dogs had eight touches, including Evans who also had five marks.

It was Norwood who kicked the first goal of the second half after Zerella marked in front inside 50, cutting the deficit back to 16 points. Enter Evans. Over the next 10 minutes, the bottom-age talent booted three goals to snatch the game away from the Redlegs. Her first was indicative of Central’s team play with Breguet winning a crucial one-on-one at half-back, delivering to Elaine Grigg at half-forward and Evans won a free kick from a great tackle inside 50.

Evans’ second goal came from a snap, and her third was a soccer on the goalline as the rapturous crowd was up and about. Everything was going right for the Dogs, and when 51st gamer Demi Sonneman won a free kick 15m out from goal and converted, the margin was 40 points and the icing was lathered onto the cake.

Though the game was done and dusted at three quarter time, Central District coach Ben Hunt implored his chargers to not take the foot off the pedal, and keep up the intensity for a full four quarters. They did just that, as Evans peppered the goals with no less than three more chances, though only scored two behinds out of it. It would instead be the potent left foot of Caitlin Wendland who scored from a snap on her preferred side from the pocket after being thrown over the goalline.

The last 10 minutes of the game was largely played in the Norwood half of the ground, and it was perhaps fitting that with the final play of the day, Ferrall would fly in from the side and take an outstanding mark. Though not a great deal to cheer about in the second half, coach Brad Snell was ecstatic on the boundary line, and when the skipper put the set shot straight through the middle after the siren, the game result was largely put aside and the Redlegs mobbed her to celebrate an incredible SANFLW career.

Evans was a clear best on ground, booting 3.3 from 16 disposals and clunking eight marks, while Wendland (14 disposals, three marks, four clearances, seven tackles and a goal) and double bottom-ager Sophie Eaton (13 disposals, three tackles and two inside 50s) was lively. Shannon Murphy out of defence was impressive, while skipper Shelby Smith also worked hard.

The half-dozen players who ran out in Central’s first game – Rosenzweig, Reynolds, Laitiah Huynh, Madison Lane, Georgia Madigan and Caitlen Teague – also played their parts in getting their side into the grand final.

For the Redlegs, the likes of Brooksby in the first half (14 disposals, three marks and five rebound 50s), Johnston, Schwerdt and Tahlita Buethke all stepped up when required, with Steph Simmonds working hard around the ball and Maher providing run. Bartsch was strong in defence with some crucial one-on-one wins and putting her body on the line.

Central District now sets its sights back on minor premiers South Adelaide, with the grand final to be held at Prospect Oval next Sunday, June 11.

CENTRAL DISTRICT 1.4 | 4.5 | 8.6 | 9.8 (62)
NORWOOD 0.0 | 1.1 | 2.2 | 3.4 (22)

Central District:
J. Evans 3, C. Reynolds 2, K. Rosenzweig 2, D. Sonneman, C. Wendland
Norwood: A. Ferrall, A. Lishmund, R. Zerella

Central District:
J. Evans, K. Rosenzweig, S. Murphy, S. Smith, C. Reynolds
Norwood: T. Buethke, L. Schwerdt, S. Simmonds, E. Bartsch, M. Johnston

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