2023 SANFLW Grand Final preview: South Adelaide vs. Central District

ONE of the titans of SANFL Women’s football battles the big improvers of 2023 on Sunday, with the winner set to add silverware to its cabinet. The SANFL Women’s Grand Final sees two-time premiers and three-time grand finalists South Adelaide back in the decider, taking on a fresh Central District side in its first finals series in club history. We preview the big clash.


South Adelaide 7 | Central District 1

It has been a dominant period for the Panthers over the Bulldogs, but that also came with the extra couple of years of experience in the League. Central District broke its winless drought against South Adelaide in Round 4 this year, before going down two weeks ago in the first final between the sides.


South Adelaide 1.1 | 2.2 | 3.2 | 4.4 (28)
Central District 0.0 | 2.1 | 2.3 | 2.5 (17)

In an impressive defensive display, South Adelaide held the high-scoring Central District scoreless in the opening term, and while the Bulldogs hit back in the second quarter, could not generate the goals in the second half, and South Adelaide ground out a tight 11-point win at Flinders University Stadium.


South Adelaide enters the grand final off the back of three consecutive wins, and eight of the last nine matches. Funnily enough the only two matches the Panthers lost were to Central District, and then at Prospect Oval to North Adelaide, one the opposition, the other the venue for Sunday’s grand final. However, the win over the Bulldogs in the semi-final meant the Panthers have the most recent success over their opponents.

Central District also had a good finish to the year, winning six of the last seven gams leading into the finals series, before going down to South Adelaide. The Bulldogs bounced back with a big win over Norwood last Sunday. Of the Bulldogs three regular season losses, two were against Glenelg, and one was against Sturt. At Prospect Oval, the Bulldogs won a five-point thriller against North Adelaide after going down by 29 points at one stage.


South Adelaide:

B: Jaslynne Smith (35), Sam Pratt (22)
HB: Mel Anderson (52), Esther Schirmer (23), Tiffany Copley (14)
C: Elise Barwick (24), Caitlin Couch (8), Holly Ifould (2)
HF: Alissa Brook (53), Jorja Hooper (38), Lily Baxter (56)
F: Jordann Hickey (4), Lucy Northcott (12)
R: Soriah Moon (32), Brooke Boileau (37), Senna Gulden (25)

INT: Czenya Cavouras (11), Charlotte Dolan (28), Lauren Clifton (41), Bri Cleggett (27), Cailtin Radbone (34)

EMG: Nicole Mark (16), Sarah Wright (5), Gypsy Schirmer (36)

Central District:

B: Laitiah Huynh (41), Karissa Searle (22)
HB: Caitlen Teague (17), Charlotte Riggs (9), Tess Gerhardy (33)
C: Dakota Williams (38), Shelby Smith (1), Sophie Eaton (12)
HF: Jovanka Zecevic (23), Georgia Avery (18), Elaine Grigg (8)
F: Shannon Murphy (10), Lauren Breguet (28)
R: Katelyn Rosenzweig (2), Jasmine Evans (27), Georgia Madigan (7)

INT: Caitlin Wendland (42), Demi Sonneman (20), Madison Lane (40), Shelby Raven (36), Chantel Reynolds (30)

EMG: Tiarna Grovermann (45), Jessica Schulz (11), Nicola Biagi (31)


South Adelaide has brought back Caitlin Couch who missed the semi-final due to injury, with the talented midfielder replacing Sarah Wright. As always there are tough luck stories in grand finals and one is reigning co-best and fairest winner Gypsy Schirmer who was named as an emergency with Wright and experienced defender, Nicole Mark.

Central District has remained unchanged from its preliminary final win over Norwood, not picking up any injuries and the three emergencies remain the same in Tiarna Grovermann, Jessica Schulz and Nicola Biagi.


South Adelaide:

Brooke Boileau (18.2 disposals, 3.2 marks, 4.3 clearances, 6.8 tackles)

The inside midfielder has enjoyed a wonderfully consistent year for the Panthers, and after overcoming a foot injury from Round 11, came back in the first final and stood tall. She played 11 games in season 2023 and has been critical to the on-ball group.

Soriah Moon (13.7 disposals, 1.4 marks, 4.0 clearances, 3.8 tackles, 24.2 hitouts)

The number one ruck in the league earned Team of the Year honours on Tuesday night and looms as a crucial player in the decider. She will have multiple opponents but has met all challenges set for her this year.

Esther Schirmer (9.8 disposals, 2.0 marks, 3.1 tackles)

Often utilised in a shutdown role while still able to provide some drive, Schirmer also earned Team of the Year honours alongside Boileau and Moon. Schirmer did a fantastic job in nullifying the dangerous Grigg in the first final and will likely be handed that role again.

Central District:

Katelyn Rosenzweig (10.6 disposals, 3.1 marks, 2.3 tackles, 1.9 hitouts, 23 goals, 12 behinds)

Enjoying a strong season returning from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, Rosenzweig took out the competition leading goalkicker in 2023. She particularly found her form late in the season, and has been a handful for any opposition, particularly in marking contests.

Shelby Smith (21.4 disposals, 2.5 marks, 4.3 clearances, 8.7 tackles)

The skipper had another remarkable year at the helm, making the Team of the Year and finishing Top 5 in the SANFLW League Best and Fairest despite missing three games due to suspension. She returned for the finals series and built on a solid first game to be a standout in game two last week.

Charlotte Riggs (12.8 disposals, 3.9 marks, 2.8 tackles, 2.9 hitouts)

An aerial specialist, Riggs is a player who South Adelaide is keen to stop dominating the air. Capable of plenty of highlights, the bottom-age talent has also been thrown into the ruck at times, but reads the ball so well behind the play and has safe hands.


Lily Baxter (South Adelaide)

The double bottom-ager has plenty of potential for the future and has wasted no time asserting herself in the League. She won the Macca’s Moment for her match-winning goal against Glenelg, and has booted eight goals to be second to only Jordann Hickey this season.

Jasmine Evans (Central District)

A crunch time specialist, Evans has broken Norwood hearts twice this season, with the match-winning goal back in Round 3, and then three consecutive goals last week to sink the Redlegs. Capable of winning a gam off her own boot, she is just as dangerous in the air as she is at ground level.


South Adelaide has a number of top-age draft hopefuls, headlined by Boileau. Ranked inside the Top 20 in the Rookie Me Central Power Rankings, Boileau is a strong inside player who works hard to the outside and is a clearance specialist. Tall defender Alissa Brook, midfielder-forward Melissa Anderson and winger Holly Ifould are other top-age prospects.

For Central District, Elaine Grigg is the main draft chance, rated inside the Top 10 in the same Power Rankings, with her explosive speed and evasion, as well as defensive pressure the highlights. However outside of Grigg, a trio of mature-age talents have earned draft interest from across the country in Caitlin Wendland, Madison Lane and Georgia Madigan.


The game will go down to the wire, with a single digit margin likely. Expect the match to be a low scoring tussle if South gets its way as the Panthers love to stifle the opposition’s attacking movements, and retain possession.

Central District, on the other hand, throws caution to the wind and attack wherever possible to catch the opposition off guard, and it led to the Bulldogs earning the number one offence tag in season 2023. It is a classic case of offence against defence and seeing which team will come up trumps.

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