Match Report

King’s Birthday Loss Sets Up Final Round Showdown

Norwood leading goal kicker Kiana Lee is stopped in her tracks during Monday's King's Birthday clash with Sturt. Photo: Maya Thompson, NFC

It will come down to this Saturday’s final match of the season to decide whether Norwood will progress through to the SANFLW Finals Series.

The Redlegs needed just one win from their last four matches to qualify for the post season, but have lost three on the trot to leave the door wide open for either West Adelaide or Sturt to snap up the all-important fourth place.

Fitting to the script, Norwood takes on the Bloods at Richmond Oval this Saturday at 12pm, while the Double Blues take on the bottom of the table North Adelaide at Unley Oval.

If the Redlegs win (or draw), they are in. If they don’t West Adelaide or Sturt will take their place. Simple as that.

At Unley Oval on King’s Birthday Monday, Norwood took on Sturt in a must-win SANFLW clash for both sides. Norwood wanted to lock in its finals berth, while the Double Blues were desperate to keep their season alive… and the home side prevailed in a two-point thriller, 4.3-27 to 3.7-25.

Naturally it came down to the final kick, after the siren. With Charlotte Nenke marking near the centre circle with 10 seconds on the clock, before Sturt’s Ruby Cunningham ran through the mark to give away a 25m penalty to bring Nenke 45m out.

A second potential 25m penalty wasn’t paid, and Nenke’s kick dropped short to allow Sturt to claim the two-point win which kept its season alive.

Earlier in the match, Sturt started the better side, kicking the only two goals of the first quarter.

Amy Brooks-Birve kicked both goals and at quarter time the home side led by 10 points.

Despite the early deficit on the scoreboard, Norwood had dominated possession in the first term, going +31 in disposal. Norwood also led hitouts +6, and clearances +8 but inside 50m entries, marks and tackles were even.

Jade Halfpenny had nine disposals and four clearances in the first quarter.

Norwood again pushed hard to start the second quarter, but couldn’t find a goal as the scoreboard read 2.0-12 to 0.4-4 after five minutes.

The Redlegs had another golden chance to score their first goal of the afternoon, causing a turnover in their front half, and from which Sarah Branford found Adrienne Davies 35m out.

Davies nailed the set shot and Norwood finally had a major on the board, it was 2.0-12 to 1.4-10 and it felt like the Redlegs had all the play.

Against the grain, Sturt won the centre clearance and belted it long inside 50m and found the instant reply as Molly Fletcher snapped and bounced it through the big sticks.

The Fletcher goal got the margin back out to eight points at the eight-minute mark.

Norwood leading goal kicker Kiana Lee hit the post to make it a costly 1.5 in front of goal in the first half, but she made up for it not long after with a mark and set shot goal to bring it back to one point.

A good crowd was building at Unley Oval, and at half time it was game-on with Sturt leading 3.0-18 to 2.5-17.

Norwood was +39 in disposal at half time, and also led marks +4, tackles +4, clearances +10, inside 50m +5, and scoring shots +4, but had spent the large majority of the first half behind on the scoreboard.

Halfpenny had 13 disposals to half time, while Emma Clark had 11.

The first half of the third term was a tight tussle, before Norwood found some repeated forward entries, which led to three consecutive shots on goal. Again, the first two missed which levelled the score, but Norwood had been wasteful in front of goal at 2.7-19 to Sturt’s 3.1-19.

The third shot finished in a goal to Nenke, but set up off the back of a strong tackle from Shai Hiscock at half forward.

The Nenke goal helped Norwood into the lead at three quarter time, 3.7-25 to 3.1-19.

It was parked in Sturt’s forward 50m zone for most of the final quarter, and Norwood’s defense was standing strong.

A rushed behind helped the Double Blues back to a five-point margin, and now all Sturt needed was one goal to hit the lead.

While the Redlegs were wayward in front of goal in the first half, it was the Double Blues that now had their difficulties converting.

They had two early behinds on the board and another shot didn’t score. It was just a four-point margin at the 11-minute mark.

A free kick gave Alisha Gepp a set shot 12m out and she snuck it through to put Sturt back in front with less than six minutes to play.

The score was 4.3-27 to 3.7-25 and Norwood’s season was on the line once again.

Norwood’s last roll of the dice ended in Nenke’s long shot after the siren, and now it all comes down to an intriguing final Round of the SANFLW competition.

Redlegs Premiership defender Nicola Burns was chaired off post match to celebrate her 50th SANFLW match.


Norwood 0.2, 2.5, 3.7, 3.7 – 25

Sturt 2.0, 3.0, 3.1, 4.3 – 27

Goals: Lee, Davies, Nenke

Best: Branford, Armitstead, Belbin, Nenke, Buethke

Norwood co-captain Sophie Armitstead fights her way through traffic.