West strikes first Blood in opening trial match
AFTER a long off-season, the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition kicked off with a series of trial matches over the weekend as the first of two practice matches before the official first tip-off on 17 February.
WEST ADELAIDE vs GLENELG
In the first game of the round played under lights, 2022 wooden spoons West Adelaide caused what would be considered an upset by coming from behind to defeat provisional finalists Glenelg by two points. After a goalless opening term where the teams felt each other out, Glenelg kicked away to lead by 14 points at the main break. West Adelaide – who welcomed back top young gun Lauren Young for the clash – kicked the only major of the third quarter to cut the deficit to eight points.
Although Glenelg held the upper hand heading into the last, West Adelaide – in front of home fans at Hisense Stadium – scored three straight goals to Glenelg’s 1.2 to run over the Bays. In the end, inaccuracy hurt the visitors, with the Bloods enjoying a 5.4 (34) to 4.8 (32) victory.
Potential top draft pick West Adelaide Lauren Young has returned from an ACL injury. | Photo credit: Lisa West Adelaide footy
Adelaide first-year player Keeley Kustermann played for the home team, as did recruits Allani Dawes (Sturt), Kelly Barltrop (originally retired North Adelaide), Milli Gentle (Glenelg), Maddie Fitzgerald (Old Scotch) and Kendell Saffin (Mount Gambier).
Glenelg unveiled its two Northern Territory recruits in Serena Waters and Andi Moliere, while Rani Grant (Gunnedah Bulldogs) also took the field. Matilda Scholz did not play in the trial but Adelaide young gun Brooke Tonon did. Just before the game, the Bays announced that Samantha Franson will join premiership captain Ellie Kellock as co-captain.
ABOUT THE GROUND
South Adelaide set itself up for a big season by taking down grand finalists Sturt by the same two-point margin. In what would be an inaccurate score, the Panthers would win 35-33. From the start the Panthers were red hot, and although the teams were level at quarter-time, South Adelaide managed to kick away in the second half and take a 12-point lead at the main break. That margin would remain the same heading into the final as both teams rallied from two behinds each, before South would withstand a late charge from Sturt to hold on by two points.
Central District recruits Elaine Grigg in her new colors against the Eagles. | Image credit: Carly Grant Photography
Central District got off to a blistering start in its clash with Woodville-West Torrens Eagles at Elizabeth, then survived a comeback to win by 15 points. The Bulldogs held the Eagles scoreless in the opening term, then stormed back 5.1 to 2.2 to lead by 32 points at the main break. Had they maintained their momentum, the Dogs might have scored one of their highest ever scores, but the Eagles fought back to kick the last three goals of the game – and the only three of the second half – to cut the deficit to 15 points back, 7.7 (49) to 5.4 (34).
In the final game of the round, reigning premiers North Adelaide had a big win over Norwood, 19 shots to three in the clash. The Roosters ran up 7.12 (54) to the Redlegs’ 1.2 (8) to dust off the cobwebs of a long off-season and try to become the first club to go back to the SANFL Women’s.
WEEK 2 TRIAL MATCHES:
Friday February 3:
South Adelaide vs. North Adelaide @ Flinders University Stadium (7.45pm)
Norwood vs. Glenelg @ The Parade (8.15pm)
Saturday 4 February:
Woodville-West Torrens Eagles vs. Sturt @ Eastern Parade Reserve (9.30am)
Central District vs. West Adelaide @ X Convenience Oval (11am)