2021 Academy Watch: SANFL Women’s Round 11

IN the ultimate round of regular season action, there were a number of standout performances from the current South Australian State Women’s Academy members. In our latest Academy Watch edition, we look at those talented state representatives who ran out for their respective South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s sides in Round 11. All notes are the opinion of the individual writer.
NORWOOD vs. WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS  By: Liam Badkin Norwood: #15 Alana Lishmund A quiet day statistically but did some good things defensively. Pressured opponents constantly and the effort never dropped. While she had only the four disposals, her mark on the game couldn’t be measured on the stat sheet. #22 Jade Halfpenny Rotated through the midfield and the forward line as expected, and was damaging for the majority of the game. Had the first set shot of the game early in the first quarter, but pushed it across the face of goal, and missed another to open scoring in the second quarter. Her tackling pressure and attack on the ball were as prevalent as ever as she pushed her way to 11 disposals and four tackles in a solid outing for the Academy player. #30 Sarah Branford Did some nice things with her eight disposals, including launching the ball inside 50 three times as she hit targets on multiple occasions during crucial passages of play. Kicked a nice running goal to end the second quarter to find her highlight of the day. The goal displayed her speed and evasiveness as she gave her side a commanding lead. WWT Eagles: #8 Charlotte Dolan Did most of her work defensively, as she laid an impressive five tackles throughout the match. With the opposition constantly having the ball in their hands, Dolan was ruthless with her attack on the ball and the player, with her crunching tackles even earning her a couple of free kicks. Eight disposals in what was an ugly day at the office for her side. #25 Jamie Parish The defender was constantly under the pump as the ball was constantly driven inside the opposition’s defensive 50. Only had the seven touches, but a promising sign came as she took a strong contested mark on the wing in the first quarter when the game was still up for grabs. Will only get better for the experience.
SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. WEST ADELAIDE By: Michael Alvaro South Adelaide: #1 Tahlita Buethke The athletic midfielder showed good explosive traits out of congestion, as she constantly looked to get on the move at stoppages and spark some forward momentum for South. While she fumbled a touch when over ground balls, Buethke proved an active participant at the contest and naturally faced forward once she prized the ball, which meant she could also wheel around and kick down the line. Kicking to targets and getting more purchase on each disposal are areas of development, but Buethke’s intent and effort cannot be faulted. She had a couple of key disposals late in the piece, with one a kick within the forward 50 which went towards the hot spot, but was intercepted. #36 Gypsy Schirmer Schirmer was a player who proved relatively consistent throughout the contest, but seemed to lift when the game was on the line. Roaming the wing, she was able to set up on the defensive side and was not sucked into South’s forward 50, but worked back well to win a good amount of ball. She was clean and effective with most of her touches and used her size to impact defensively when required. One such instance resulted in a free kick against, where Schirmer laid a heavy tackle as she hunted a loose ball on the wing at the start of term three. She hit the scoreboard with a quick shot on goal in the next quarter, sailing the ball home to bring South within striking distance of a remarkable comeback win. Another good moment late in the piece came as she got to a loose ball out of defensive 50 and showed great poise to help her side start a new chain of possession under pressure. West Adelaide: #3 Abbie Ballard Part of the Westies midfield rotation, Ballard was competitive and made her mark going both ways. She consistently dug in at ground level and was quite clean in her distribution having prized the ball out of congestion. While a lot of her good work was done early, Ballard tried to put her side on the front foot to begin term four, reacting first at the centre bounce to soccer the ball forward in a makeshift clearance. #7 Scarlett Griffiths It was quite a quiet day in terms of pure numbers for Griffiths, but she still managed to have a couple of nice moments. The forward showed good initiative to actively man the mark, within the rules, during term two and was quick off the mark to pressure the ball carrier once play on was called. Later in the same quarter, she impacted in the air up at half-back to spoil her opponent and force a spill. #8 Keeley Kustermann It was a relatively steady return game for Kustermann, whose last outing was also against South Adelaide in April. While she was not as prolific in a ball winning sense from defence, Kustermann tried her best to impact at contests with tackles and some competitive acts when the heat was on. She tracked back well on a few occasions to help mop up ground balls, and was also seen taking a nice mark from the kick-in during term four, but unfortunately turned the ball over with her kick inboard. #9 Zoe Venning A prominent part of West Adelaide’s midfield rotation, Venning showed once again that she just knows how to find the ball. Working hard to impact at either end of the ground, she hit the ball at speed and looked to drive her side forward with trademark long kicks on the end of her runs. Venning’s accumulative factor was high in this outing, credit to a bunch of ground ball gets and plays where she would gather some momentum going Westies’ way. She also used that run to get involved in possession chains, continuing them with repeat efforts and good intent on the attack. Kicking to targets and lowering her eyes on the move could pose as ways to get full value from each disposal. #30 Lauren Young The superlatives will soon run out for Young, who was again outstanding for West Adelaide as her side clinched a finals berth. While she built into the contest, Young impacted immediately with repeat tackle efforts which saw her earn a holding-the-ball free kick at half-back. Once moved into the centre bounces, she was able to get first hands on the ball and would have learned plenty while running alongside Adelaide young gun, Teah Charlton. While she already boasts a solid built and is able to win the ball with strength, Young’s aerial marking was arguably the highlight of her day. She rose to take four marks overall and competed for plenty more, showing plenty of courage to go back with the flight or stand tall in packs. Her second contested mark came at a crucial time during the last quarter, proving clutch as Westies scrambled to hold onto their lead. She was dominant during a third term purple patch and managed to find the ball in all parts of the ground, also finding the goals with a well-struck set shot.
STURT vs. NORTH ADELAIDE By: Liam Badkin Sturt: #3 Georgia Swan While she didn’t get the scoreboard impact that she deserved, her hard work up the ground caught the eye as she pushed hard to win the ball for her side. 12 impressive disposals were the highlight as she worked up the field of play and launched the ball inside 50 on numerous occasions. Missed a shot on goal that would have capped off an impressive performance, but can still hold her head high. #19 Alex Ballard Once again displayed her knack for delivering strong leads that prove hard to ignore for teammates, clunking the ball four times as she has so many times before. Didn’t get rewarded with the win, or an amazing amount of disposals, but played to her strength on the lead and showed some promising signs going forward. #20 Hannah Prenzler Had a tough day being assigned to the backline, and competed a number of times in the air to thwart some North Adelaide attacks. Provided an option on the switch when Sturt were able to get their hands on the ball, and wasn’t afraid to push up the ground to provide a contest. Seven disposals for the day. #30 Zoe Prowse One of her side’s finest performers, essentially doing it all in the tough loss against a quality opposition. Kicked 1.2 up forward, but pushed up into the contest on countless occasions, where she won seven hitouts, five clearances and laid five solid tackles around the ball. Can play essentially anywhere on the ground and demonstrated this during the match. Opposition sides will certainly be mindful of her in the future. North Adelaide: #38 Kate Case Worked her way around the ground, ending up in defence, as she has displayed the ability to play anywhere in the past. Had five touches in the defensive half of the ground and continued her reputation of harassing opposition players into causing turnovers. Her three tackles echoed this perfectly. #43 Ameile Borg Once again locked down Sturt forwards as she built on last week’s performance. She has shown in the past that she can play on opponents of all sizes and did this once again during the match. Five disposals for the match and even won a pair of hitouts as she didn’t shy away from taking stoppages in the defensive 50. Her talent for locking down an opponent catches the eye on a weekly basis and this round was no exception. A promising performance to end the season.
GLENELG vs. CENTRAL DISTRICT By: Michael Alvaro Glenelg: #7 Brooke Tonon Arguably the pick of this bunch on the day, Tonon was her usual productive self off half-back. The Bays youngster got involved early with a holding-the-ball tackle and was persistent with her pressure game, before coming to life with ball in hand. Tonon positioned well on the last line of defence in a couple of instances to cut off long kicks towards goal, then looked to take the game on immediately with some dash and long kicking. She constantly looked to spark Glenelg’s forward momentum via handball receives, or even by forcing the ball on through paddles or kicks off the ground. One of her final acts for the day was a nice read and sliding intercept touch on the wing, showing good courage. #12 Tamsyn Morriss Morriss may not have finished with a flattering statline, but contributed some important plays in defence amid the hard-fought contest. She built into the game, trailing a touch to her direct opponent but making a couple of crucial contest splits in term three. The first was a one-on-one spoil deep inside defensive 50, and the second was a ground ball win in a one-on-two situation, which ended up yielding a stoppage. Morriss went on to lay a solid lock-down tackle on fellow academy member Lauren Breguet, one of her two tackles on the day. Central District: #28 Lauren Breguet Starting forward, Breguet made a splash early with some explosive work around the contest. She looked to bustle away and create space out of tight situations, proving quite lively and difficult to stop at full pelt. Her aggression at ground level matched the overall tone of the game and helped Centrals gain a spark inside attacking 50, as she constantly tried to get her legs pumping and make things happen. Breguet slotted into the midfield group in the second quarter and while she fumbled a touch at ground level, attempted to bring similar intent. She showcased her speed with a nice run-down effort on Brooke Tonon in term three, and capped her game with a solid overhead mark from front position in the corridor, during the fourth quarter. #41 Laitiah Huynh Playing almost exclusively in the forwardline, Huynh worked well up the ground and looked to get involved in play all the way up to half-back. She competed at ground level but in the heat of a largely contested game, did much of her work under a great amount of pressure. The zippy mover could not quite generate her usual speed on the outer, instead having to dispose of the ball quickly from more contested situations. She copped contact to hold onto a solid mark on the defensive side of the corridor during term three, and generally made good decisions by foot when given the time, if not for airing her kicks a touch.
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