State Academy notes: 2024 SANFLW – Round 1

FOOTY returned to South Australia over the weekend, with the first round of SANFL Women’s action for the 2024 season. That means the State Academy prospects got their first look of senior footy for this year, and we took note of how they performed across the board.

  • Team
  • Norwood
  • Central District


#2 Coby Morgan (Wing)
Stats: 10 disposals, 2 tackles, 2 clearances, 2 inside 50s

As indicated by coach Brad Ferrall during the week, Morgan has been training as a wing this off-season, and she started with a blaze of glory in that role. Providing some great run and carry, Morgan stepped up to impact between the arcs. She is still developing some areas of her fundamentals, but her competitiveness and speed allows her to apply plenty of pressure at ground level.

#39 Charli Hazelhurst (Defender)
Stats: 6 disposals, 1 mark (1 contested), 2 tackles, 1 hitout, 2 rebound 50s

Able to play anywhere, the tall defender actually set up a goal in the second term by producing a timely spoil. It will not get a stat, but it allowed Norwood to run on and find space ahead of the ball for Adrienne Davies to slot one of her two majors. She did a lot of one percenters and team acts, so while her stats may not look fantastic, her impact for her side was enormous.

#55 Emma Daley (Defender)
Stats: 7 disposals, 1 mark, 3 rebound 50s

Unfortunately Daley’s day ended early after going down in a tackle over the boundary line. Prior to that, the former Bendigo Pioneer fitted in well, often taking the kick outs. Though her first couple of touches were a little rough including one out of the full, once she got going she was able to hit targets going down the ground. Plays an aggressive running style when up and about.

#61 Kate Alexander (Ruck)
Stats: 7 disposals, 2 marks, 3 tackles, 11 hitouts, 1 clearance, 1 inside 50

Alexander was thrown in the deep end for her first game, with the 2008-born talent having to go up against Olivia Levicki in the ruck. Though Levicki unsurprisingly won that battle, Alexander had some moments around the ground, and fought hard against fellow double bottom-ager Miyu Endersby when the pair faced off. She was clean at ground level for a tall, but is still developing her craft.

Central District:

#3 Miyu Endersby (Ruck/Defender)
Stats: 6 disposals, 2 marks (1 contested), 2 tackles, 12 hitouts, 1 clearance, 1 rebound 50

The highly touted double bottom-ager did not disappoint on debut, starting in defence and getting some ruck minutes during the match against fellow 2008-born Alexander. She has a nice leap and straight away it is evident she knows how to kick the footy. Able to read the play, take a mark and kick the ball, Endersby ticks a lot of boxes, and will be one to watch in the future.

#9 Charlotte Riggs (Defender)
Stats: 4 disposals, 2 marks (1 contested), 1 tackle, 3 hitouts, 3 rebound 50s

Riggs had an interesting game. She started really rusty, dropping a couple of marks and mistiming a spoil in the middle of the ground. But once she got going and took a reliable intercept chest mark, she found her rhythm and ended up being a match-winner. Her intercept mark on the goalline in the final few minutes saved the day for the Bulldogs, and she even had a couple of stints in the ruck.

#12 Sophie Eaton (Forward)
Stats: 6 disposals, 1 mark, 2 inside 50s

A quieter day from Eaton who was too unselfish for her own good early, having the space to take a shot on goal but opting to handball to Levicki. It did not work out, but shows her team mentality mindset. Her hands are just as clean as they were last year, and her skill is just as high. A match she can build on going forward.

#27 Jasmine Evans (Forward)
Stats: 5 disposals, 2 marks, 2 tackles, 1 clearance, 2 goals, 2 behinds

Evans just loves playing Norwood and that continued on Friday night where she had four scoring shots, including a couple of great goals. Her first was a clean handball through traffic then second effort to snap around her body for a goal, then her second came on the edge of half-time, marking between three opponents in the goalsquare, just reading it better than anyone else. Evans had a couple of chances back-to-back in the third term including a soccer off the deck and then a set shot, but both missed.

  • Team
  • West Adelaide
  • South Adelaide

West Adelaide:

#2 Lucy Boyd (Defender)
Stats: 12 disposals, 2 marks (1 contested), 3 tackles, 1 inside 50, 2 rebound 50s

Returning to her familiar defensive role, Boyd held her own with a couple of strong marks and good positioning. She worked hard to get from one side of the ground to the other, and those her kicking was a bit hit or miss on the night, she was still getting involved in transition, picking up a handy 12 disposals.

#14 Chloe Tonkin (Ruck)
Stats: 5 disposals, 4 marks (4 contested), 2 tackles, 7 hitouts

Boasting velcro-like hands, the bottom-ager took some ridiculous marks, with all four of her grabs being contested. Once she stuck the mits up it was near-impossible to try and spoil her, and though she did not always feature, it was evident it was her once the mark was taken. A good down-the-line option for the Bloods defence.

#15 Asha Dufour (Midfielder)
Stats: 14 disposals, 1 mark, 7 tackles, 3 clearances, 3 inside 50s, 1 goal, 1 behind

Played a reliable, consistent role across four quarters and was rock solid through the midfield. With an experienced on-ball group around her, Dufour showed some great traits, including a ripping running goal in the fourth term. She had a chance to put her side in front – kicking the winning goal but it narrowly missed from the set shot just six minutes later. Overall her kicking can still tidy up but she was fantastic defensively, and gets into space so well.

#22 Ruby Ballard (Forward/Midfielder)
Stats: 12 disposals, 1 mark, 5 tackles, 3 clearances, 3 inside 50s

Another top-ager who just played her role well. The sister of Abbie did well to keep the ball moving in transition, winning it as high up as half-back, and then getting forward to put pressure on her opponents. Ballard was named among the Bloods’ best due to the pressure she creates and the skill she shows by hand or foot.

#27 Emma Kilpatrick (Wing/Defender)
Stats: 13 disposals, 3 marks, 6 tackles, 1 clearance, 3 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50, 1 goal

The most talked about player this weekend, Kilpatrick broke her goal drought with the match-winner after the siren. The former pure defender spent significant time up the ground this week in that new flagged wing role. It paid dividends for coach Bruce Dawes, with Kilpatrick – who had a relatively quiet first half – coming to the fore late and being one of the best-on in the final term. Ran harder than most out there, showing off an improved endurance base.

#44 Emily Mableson (Defender)
Stats: 5 disposals, 1 tackle

Making her debut, the 2008-born Mableson is not afraid to compete, chasing the ball and getting into the right spots. She did not win a lot of it, but sold some tasty candy in the final term to get around an opponent and hit up a target at half-back.

South Adelaide:

#20 Layla Vizgaudis (Forward)
Stats: 6 disposals, 1 mark, 3 tackles, 2 inside 50s

It can often be tough being a small forward on debut, but Vizgaudis made the best of it. She has clean hands and can take a mark, and while only small, provides great pressure. Her tackling technique was superb, and with a nice burst to-boot, expect the 2008-born talent to keep improving.

#23 Esther Schirmer (Defender)
Stats: 14 disposals, 4 marks, 6 tackles, 5 rebound 50s

Had a tough first half at the office matching up on Lauren Young and being beaten – as most people stepping on a footy field would be – but once she was freed up in the second half, Schirmer provided some nice rebound and ended up playing more offensively, and mopping up in defence. It might not have been her best game, but Schirmer did well to compose herself and change tact in the second half.

#29 Zoe Flesfader (Forward)
Stats: 2 disposals, 1 tackle

Another debutant, Flesfader made an unassuming entrance, able to pick up a couple of touches and lay a good tackle. She will be better for the performance against League opponents and is still a bottom-ager. Her nice gather in the first term pushing up the ground to dish off by hand was strong for a first touch.

#56 Lily Baxter (Forward)
Stats: 12 disposals, 2 marks, 1 tackle, 1 clearance, 2 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50

The exciting second season player showed some flashes of brilliance, and while they did not always work out, she is one to always try things. That includes deft taps or putting the ball to space in front of her, including in the first term where she set up a goal to Mel Anderson. She spent some time helping out the defence, covering the ground well.

  • Team
  • Woodville-West Torrens
  • Sturt

WWT Eagles:

#3 Bianca Portaro (Defender/Midfielder)
Stats: 13 disposals, 2 marks (1 contested), 2 tackles, 2 clearances, 2 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s

The tough defender showed a high work rate running from the defensive 50 to get involved at times, including producing a nice pinpoint kick to half-forward. She set up at some stoppages as part of the midfield rotation, and her second and third efforts were notable. Can improve further but a solid first game covering the ground and working hard defensively.

#7 Grace Martin (Midfielder)
Stats: 17 disposals, 2 marks, 4 tackles, 4 clearances, 6 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50, 2 behinds

A really strong first-up game for Martin who became more of a bonafide midfielder compared to a forward-midfielder. She racked up plenty of the ball, and produced the play of the day in the third term when midway through the quarter she won it at speed, took the game on with multiple bounces to run inside 50. She missed the shot on goal, as well as her set shot on the siren later in the term, but was working hard to get forward. Strong in close and great defensively.

#18 Klaudia O’Neill (Defender)
Stats: 13 disposals, 6 marks (1 contested), 1 tackle, 5 rebound 50s

Her new role down back worked a treat for the former marking forward who was strong in the air and got into the right spots. She has a thumping kick, protects the ball drop when one-on-one, and had a nice spoil late in the third term. Certainly looked a nice role change that will suit O’Neill.


#6 India Rasheed (Midfielder/Forward)
Stats: 15 disposals, 3 marks, 2 tackles, 2 clearances, 4 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50s, 1 goal, 1 behind

Added her touches of brilliance through the game, and while the top AFLW Draft prospect has had better games, Rasheed still impacted the game. She showed class with spins or quick handballs, while reading the ball well all around the ground. She did cop a hit that left her winded midway through the third term but bounced back to kick a critical goal in the fourth. She looked very dangerous when inside 50, and though she only kicked the 1.1 – both from set shots – she always had to be tightly guarded by the opposition.

#16 Monique Bessen (Forward/Midfielder)
Stats: 14 disposals, 2 marks, 2 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50, 1 behind

A really clean and smooth operator, Bessen did not have huge numbers, but she rarely fumbles and just gets into space consistently. She had a nice play in the second term where she sidestepped inside 50 to get back to her right side but unfortunately the kick went out on the full. She reacts quickly to ground balls and is one who usually makes great decisions, and though the pressure was sky high at times, she fought through it to play a role.

#17 Sophie Thredgold (Defender)
Stats: 11 disposals, 3 marks, 1 clearance, 5 rebound 50s

Thredgold did not waste much time making her mark literally, taking a great intercept mark after laying a good tackle and kicking clear to the wing, all in the opening minute. When called upon, Thredgold stepped up and loved to take grass, also applying defensive attributes well to her game.

#25 Edwina Thornquest (Defender)
Stats: 8 disposals, 1 mark, 2 tackles, 1 clearance, 3 rebound 50s

Similar to Thredgold, Thornquest was making her debut as a bottom-ager and held her own in defence. She has a thumping kick and took a strong intercept mark on the defensive side of the wing. She puts her head over the football and boasts a nice kicking action. Looks like a player who will get plenty of time to further hone her craft.

  • Team
  • North Adelaide
  • Glenelg

North Adelaide:

#7 Jemma Charity (Defender/Midfielder)
Stats: 15 disposals, 5 marks, 6 tackles, 1 clearance, 3 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s

The usually skilful Charity had a shaky start to her Roosters debut, making some uncharacteristic mistakes by foot. However the cream would rise to the crop in the second half where she would begin to get going and used it far better from then on. She played a combination of defence and then midfield, and was clean at ground level while applying enormous defensive pressure which is what stood out in her game.

#9 Laela Ebert (Defender)
Stats: 19 disposals, 4 marks (1 contested), 2 tackles, 1 clearance, 4 rebound 50s

Having usually been deployed as a lockdown defender in the past, Ebert was freed up and it was glorious. Boasting elite skill and decision making, her disposal is aesthetically pleasing and she rarely wasted a touch. Her marking was also a feature, even taking a contested mark in the fourth term. The kick that stood out between all others was her ability at half-back to kick into the middle and nail the one Rooster between three Bays. An incredibly exciting prospect with enormous upside.

#52 Sarcha Taylor (Forward)
Stats: 6 disposals, 1 mark, 4 tackles, 1 clearance, 1 inside 50, 1 rebound 50

The small forward applied fantastic pressure both inside 50 and up the ground as she worked hard to get involved. Though restricted of many chances on goal, Taylor did what you would expect of a small forward and still brought the heat. She did well to force a dropped mark against the red-hot Scholz in a one-on-one, then gathered quickly to dish off to a teammate for a shot on goal.


#6 Violet Patterson (Wing)
Stats: 19 disposals, 3 marks, 8 tackles, 3 clearances, 4 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50

The fierce winger brought every bit of her renowned aggression to the Round 1 game. She laid eight tackles and then with ball-in-hand, cruised around the ground creating some run and carry. Still ironing out some fundamentals on the execution side, Patterson was lively and among the better players on the ground, particularly for her release disposals and ridiculously quick hands under pressure.

#9 Eloise Mackereth (Forward)
Stats: 8 disposals, 3 marks (2 contested), 1 tackle, 2 goals

Mackereth is a special talent, having played some games last season, but is now ready to be a focal point inside 50. For a player of her relative inexperience compared to her rivals, Mackereth’s hands were outstanding, and she clunked a couple of contested marks. Her first goal came outmarking the experienced Kristi Harvey and slotted the goal, and she did it again in the final term against two opponents. Her kicking is superb, and could play higher up as well if required.

#19 Matilda Wilmore (Forward)
Stats: 10 disposals, 6 tackles, 1 clearance, 2 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50

Another youngster with a high pressure rating, Wilmore brings the contested head to the game. She looks to burst away whenever she can, and while she is not the finished product just yet, shows promising signs for the future. The bottom-ager does not take a backwards step and she is quick to flick out handballs to teammates on the move.

#20 Poppy Scholz (Defender)
Stats: 20 disposals, 8 marks (1 contested), 4 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50

Our SANFLW Player Focus for Round 1, Scholz was a star across the match against North Adelaide. After a shaky first kick in the opening minute, Scholz barely put a foot wrong, producing elite passes over multiple distances, and clunking anything that came her way. Her presence in the defensive 50 as a huge difference for the Bays, and was a key reason why Glenelg came away with the four points in the match.


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