State Academy notes: 2023 SANFLW Preliminary final

CENTRAL District stamped its ticket into the 2023 SANFL Women’s Grand Final with a 40-point win over Norwood. The Bulldogs earned a second crack at South Adelaide for the title with the impressive win. As always there were State Academy members running around for both sides with a total of seven taking their place in last Sunday’s preliminary final.

  • Team
  • Central District
  • Norwood

Central District:

#8 Elaine Grigg

The tenacious top-age made a fast start to the game, winning six touches in the opening term and hitting the scoreboard with a behind. After a quieter second term, Grigg got back involved again in the third term and finished strongly. Though she might not have had as many touches as she can do, she laid five tackles in the final term, not dropping her guard. She also set up a terrific goal to Evans in the third term and looked to run wherever possible.

#9 Charlotte Riggs

The highlight of the day was Riggs’ towering mark at half-forward, and she had another one moments before that came agonisingly close. That turned out to be a precursor though, with Riggs providing a nice intercepting force in defence. Not always doing it in the air like she can tend to, Riggs won a lot of the ball at ground level, and impressively laid six tackles. As she has the past month, Riggs also went into the ruck and held her own with nine hitouts, showing off her impressive leap.

#12 Sophie Eaton

The classy double bottom-ager provided plenty of crucial moments, stepping up with a big performance after a quieter first final. She would finish with 13 touches, three tackles and two inside 50s, but it was her clean hands and ability to put the ball into dangerous spots that really counted. Even if she did not mark the ball, she forced a contest leading out at half-forward, and worked up the ground when required.

#27 Jasmine Evans

The star of the show, Evans drove the dagger into Norwood hearts for the second time in a season, but instead of the winning goal, this time it was a three-goal burst in the third term. She kicked them in three different ways – a set shot, snap and soccer – and realistically should have had six or seven on the day, but her performance was the difference when Central District needed someone to give the Bulldogs some breathing space. Not only the 3.3, but 16 disposals, eight marks – one contested and four inside 50s.


#18 Molly Brooksby

One of Norwood’s standouts in the first half, Brooksby helped herself to 11 touches and was driving the transitional play from defence to offence. She even spent time in the middle and won a couple of clearances, but ultimately the Norwood on-ball brigade was beaten and could not get her hands on the ball as much in the second half. Still, Brooksby finished with a handy 14 touches, three marks, three tackles, two clearances and five rebound 50s in her final SANFLW match for the year.

#39 Charli Hazelhurst

The double bottom-age tall held her own around the ground, and though when in the ruck stoppages had to go up against the stronger Georgia Avery or the incredibly athletic Riggs, Hazelhurst was still able to win a few hitouts. She clunked four marks and provided a target for a quick kick down the ground, and with two years left in her development before being draft-eligible, Hazelhurst has some great potential for the future.

#51 Coby Morgan

It was a tougher day for the Norwood forwards at times, and Morgan was no exception. It did not stop her working hard up and down the ground to provide a bit of flair and even won it in defence at one point. She had the seven disposals, three tackles and one rebound 50 in the loss.

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