State Academy notes: 2024 SANFLW – Grand Final

SOUTH Adelaide booted the only three goals of the first half, then held on against a fast-finishing Norwood to deliver a third flag to Noarlunga on Saturday. They had six State Academy members out there, while Norwood had three and we took note of each of them. As always notes are the opinion of the individual author.

  • Team
  • South Adelaide
  • Norwood

South Adelaide:

#17 Shae Archbold (Forward)

Stats: 5 disposals, 1 mark, 2 tackles, 1 goal

Had to get her knee looked at early in the second term but returned back to show it was fine by kicking a crucial goal midway through the quarter. She clunked a good mark and drilled the set shot to perfection, before setting up a hard-running Lauren Clifton for the third goal of the match late in the term. Did not have a huge involvement outside of that term, but her efforts helped them win the game, and she had a nice handball off the deck midway through the third quarter on the defensive side of the wing getting back to help out.

#19 Taya Maxwell (Forward/Ruck)

Stats: 14 disposals, 2 marks (1 contested), 2 tackles, 17 hitouts, 5 clearances, 1 inside 50, 2 rebound 50s

The surprise packet of the grand final, the 2008-born Maxwell rewarded the faith shown by coach Rick Watts to produce an ultra-impressive performance as Soriah Moon‘s backup and then working hard around the ground. She was too strong in the ruck for her opponents, and won a number of clearances taking the ball out of the ruck contests, or following up with determined efforts. She most importantly got involved in transition around the ground, presented and found her fair share of the ball, while having a flying shot on goal midway through the third term. She hit the behind post with the attempt, but had 12 touches by the final break, and took a huge contested mark on the wing late in the match to settle her side down.

#20 Layla Vizgaudis (Wing/Midfielder)

Stats: 12 disposals, 2 marks, 7 tackles, 2 clearances, 1 rebound 50

Got some important inside minutes to go with her outside running and applied plenty of tackling pressure at the coalface. She won the first clearance out of the middle after Norwood drew within five points, which was a great show of faith from Watts at what was such a critical juncture of the game. Has that touch of class and did not get overawed by the big day to become a premiership player.

#23 Esther Schirmer (Defender)

Stats: 16 disposals, 5 marks (2 contested), 3 tackles, 3 rebound 50s

Was rock solid all game, and as she has been all season. Had a couple of tough moments on Kiana Lee at times when Lee got in front on the lead, but any aerial ball she was able to swat away or clutch safely. Laid a few good tackles and showed safe hands, intercepting both on the wing and in the back 50, while applying pressure on the ball carrier and any opponent she was on, making life difficult for them.

#25 Emma Charlton (Forward)

Stats: 5 disposals, 2 marks (1 contested), 4 tackles, 1 inside 50

Though a quieter day from an offensive perspective, Charlton still crashed and bashed her way to impact defensively with some strong tackles. She won a touch midway through the second term after being dumped in a tackle then set up the chain that led to the Clifton goal after beating multiple opponents at half-forward. Winning a couple more touches in the third term, Charlton kept presenting in the front half of the ground.

#56 Lily Baxter (Wing)

Stats: 3 disposals, 4 tackles

Baxter’s stats might not jump off the page but her job was largely looking to quell the impact of Lee when between the arcs and stop her getting loose inside the respective 50s. She did quite well on that front even though Lee did have some good moments, and while Baxter only had the three touches, she worked hard up and down the ground and was consistent defensively.


#2 Coby Morgan (Wing)

Stats: 7 disposals, 1 tackle, 2 clearances, 1 inside 50

Had a couple of touches early with a smart play behind a stoppage to burst forward and have a shot on goal for the first score seven minutes in, but came off hands and was paid a free kick to the Panthers. She had a one-two late in the second term trying to run down the wing but unfortunately just spilt it which resulted in a turnover and a goal up the other end. Still, she looked to take risks with her explosive speed and kept working hard to gather the ball and provide run in transition coming along the wing.

#39 Charli Hazelhurst (Defender)

Stats: 5 disposals, 6 tackles, 2 inside 50s

Though the aerial specialist did not clunk a mark in the grand final, Hazelhurst still brought the heat and was able to apply some fantastic pressure both in the back 50 and up the ground. She made life tough for any opponent she went against, and was a part of the back six that kept the Panthers to just three goals for the game and none in the back half. Hazelhurst copped a bump midway through the first term but bounced back to run out the game and have a number of strong defensive actions.

#61 Kate Alexander (Ruck)

Stats: 4 disposals, 2 tackles, 16 hitouts, 1 clearance, 1 inside 50

Had a tough day in the office against the league’s best ruck in Moon, as well as an ultra-impressive Maxwell, but still had her moments. The Under 16s State Academy member won a clearance and had a few quick touches around the ground, though her best work was done in the hitouts, still amassing 16 in a stoppage-heavy game and sharing the load with Rosie Boon.

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