SANFLW MOTR: Redlegs kick clear in final term

BOOTING the final four goals of the match and the only three of the final term, Norwood got on the board in season 2024 with a memorable 20-point victory over South Adelaide at Noarlunga. In a classically tight SANFL Women’s clash for the most part, a strong breeze played a role in the result, with the Panthers kicking 2.6 with it, compared to the Redlegs’ 5.8.

Two minutes into the third term when Melissa Anderson kicked a classy goal on the run the Panthers lead by nine points nad had the momentum early in the half. Following a late major to Laquoiya Cockatoo-Motlap just before the half-time siren, the home side had turned a four-point deficit into a nine-point lead in the equivalent of four minutes gameplay.

Few would have predicted that Anderson’s major would be the last South Adelaide score for the match, especially with the Panthers having the breeze behind them in the third term. Instead, the magic of Shai Hiscock, the class of Najwa Allen and the performances of Sachi Syme and Elle Lineage in particular guided Norwood to victory.

Earlier in the match, South had sprayed a few genuine chances with the breeze, kicking 1.5 in the opening term to lead by 10 points despite having six scoring shots to one. Emily Brockhurst was the sole goalkicker in the term, though Jess Waterhouse almost had a brilliant return to SANFLW football with a shot that cannoned into the post.

It was a case of so close yet so far for South Adelaide, with the Panthers able to match the Redlegs around the contest despite being well beaten in the hitouts. Missing two first choice rucks in skipper Brianna Cleggett and youngster Jacinda Schunselaar to respective foot injuries, the job was left up to 172cm Nicole Mark and 171cm Chelsea Farr who combined for 19 hitouts against the athletic duo of second gamer Kate Alexander and versatile inclusion Rosie Boon.

The return of Caitlin Couch (six clearances from 19 disposals and nine tackles) was a good one as she combined with fellow inside midfielder Brooke Boileau (19 disposals, 12 tackles and four clearances), while ex-Redleg Morgan Johnston (15 disposals, five clearances) stood up around the ground and Nikki Nield was arguably the Panthers’ best.

Unfortunately for the home side, they could not capitalise on their chances, with Lineage having some sort of game in midfield alongside Syme, with the former kicking an important goal in the second term following a high free kick, her first in SANFLW. Fittingly, she would ice the game with her second later on in the last minute of the match.

When South hit the front early in the third, it looked likely that the Panthers would run away with the contest. Instead, Norwood held up defensively, and when the Redlegs got their chance, they took it. A miss by Hiscock that got caught up in the breeze went close, but her next chance was always going to be one to pencil in with Amelia Rusden dancing around opponents and releasing it to Hiscock by hand to close the gap to three points at the last chance.

Though not rewarded with massive stats, Nicola Burns had some team-lifting tackles on Brockhurst, including one goal-saving moment, and a run-down on the wing late in the third term. Sarah Branford and Steph Simmonds also played their part stepping up when required.

Coming home with the breeze in the final term, the Redlegs got off to the perfect start three and a half minutes in when Rusden and Adrienne Davies got on the same page. Davies won the ball in the two-against-two, with Rusden ducking back towards goal. A quick handball to the moving Rusden allowed her to run into the open goal. When Davies had her chance, she made no mistake and the Redlegs were out by nine.

Another chance by Davies missed, but the pressure was getting to the Panthers as they struggled to clear the defensive zone. Then back-to-back anti-density free kicks handed the ball to Norwood midfielders Syme and Lana Schwerdt to put more pressure on the Panthers’ defence. Though South Adelaide held up well and Norwood did miss some chances – two behinds to Jade Halfpenny and one to Candice Belbin – the dame wall would break via Lineage who iced it running in to make it a 19-point lead.

When the siren sounded, 20 points was the margin and Norwood had got up, 6.9 (45) to 3.7 (25). The Redlegs had 11 more disposals, 28 more hitouts, two more clearances and critically, 17 more inside 50s. The forward half possession was key for the visitors, who denied South field position in the final term, and kept the Panthers scoreless for the best part of 40 minutes.

Syme finished with an outstanding 20 disposals, nine inside 50s, two clearances and a goal, while Lineage booted two majors from 15 touches, four clearances and five tackles. Hiscock (19 disposals, five tackles, three clearances and three inside 50s), Belbin (14 disposals, five marks, three clearances and two inside 50s) and Branford (10 disposals, six tackles, six clearances and three inside 50s) were all among the best.

The win meant Norwood moved to an even 1-1 in the season, handing new coach Brad Ferrall his first SANFLW win in the role, bouncing back form a Round 1 defeat to Central District. For South Adelaide, the Panthers slipped to 0-2 in the season, and last year’s grand finalists will hope to rebound against fellow winless side North Adelaide next Saturday night back at Noarlunga.

SOUTH ADELAIDE 1.5 | 2.6 | 3.7 | 3.7 (25)
NORWOOD 0.1 | 2.4 | 3.4 | 6.9 (45)

South Adelaide: M. Anderson, E. Brockhurst, Laq. Cockatoo-Motlap
Norwood: E. Lineage 2, A. Davies, S. Hiscock, A. Rusden, S. Syme

South Adelaide:
N. Nield, C. Couch, M. Johnston, B. Boileau, T. King
Norwood: E. Lineage, S. Hiscock, S. Syme, N. Allen. N. Burns

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