The opening round of the SANFLW Statewide Super League season saw us host competition newcomer Central Districts. Both teams had strong form coming into Round 1 winning both trial games played.
We had 5 SANFLW debutants including 15yo Zoe Venning, 16yo Niamh Davis, Gretel Ramsey, Bridie Stouppos, 198cm basketball convert Leah Swain and Helen Maidment, making her debut for West Adelaide after transferring from South Adelaide.
The first quarter started off with Centrals scoring a goal within the first 2 minutes. Our girls responded well and showed some determination, dominating play and locking the ball inside F50 having the next 7 scoring shots for the quarter. Mel Elsegood was influential early having 3 scoring shots but failed to make the most of her opportunities kicking 1.2. Kasia Culhane was also able to sneak a goal and we went to 1/4 time with a 10 point lead.
The 2nd quarter began as the first quarter finished with our team holding up well structurally and again having a significant advantage in F50 entries. Mel Elsegood was again influential kicking 2 early goals. Maddi Newman was outstanding across half back with her kicking and support run racking up double digit possessions. The midfield tandem of Rachelle Martin and Abbie Ballard were again winning numerous possessions around the stoppages and Bec Owen was showing her dash on the wing. Despite having control of the game we couldn’t take full advantage of our time in possession and went to the 1/2 time break with a 22 point lead.
The 3rd quarter saw our opponents lift their intensity and attack on the ball and the body. This saw a bit of an arm wrestle between both sides to seize control. Midway through the quarter our captain Lauren Rodato launched at a high pack marking contest on the wing and lost her feet from underneath her, hitting her head on the ground. Play was stopped for a period while Lauren was assisted from the ground. In seeing Lauren removed from the ground, the team, without their fearless and courageous leader lost some focus, concentration and structure finding it hard to score. Late in the quarter Zoe Venning showed good running ability to get on the end of some quick ball movement and run in to score a goal on debut. This extended our lead to 27 points at the 3/4 time break.
The last quarter was disappointing, particularly early, with the team having to be reshuffled with the loss of Rodato in an attempt to regain momentum. We became reactive, second to the ball and failed to apply consistent pressure. Central took control of the game and scored 2 goals within the first 6 minutes of the quarter bringing them within 14 points. Midway through the quarter our young team settled and started to wrestle back possession. A goal late in the quarter to Rachelle Martin put the match beyond doubt and we ran out 20 point winners.
While the win was a great way to start the season, it showed we have a lot to work on, however, we also went away with the knowledge that when we play our style and brand of football we will be very competitive this season.
Newman, A. Ballard, R. Martin, M. Elsegood, R. Owen
Elsegood 3, Culhane, Venning, R. Martin
Images thanks to Deb Curtis Photography https://www.facebook.com/SANFLfootyphotos/