Norwood fell agonisingly short of knocking off the benchmark team of the SANFLW competition in its Round 1 clash on Friday night, going down to reigning premiers North Adelaide by two points at Coopers Stadium.
In what was a high-quality, tough, thriller it was the Roosters who came away victors 7.10-52 to 7.8-50.
On a perfect night for football at Coopers Stadium, five Norwood players made their SANFLW debuts – Meghan Gaffney, Courtney Neale, Emily Bartsch, Georgie Jaques and Georgina Birchall, while Tahlita Buethke made her Norwood debut (after crossing from South Adelaide this season).
It was also Brad Snell’s first match as Norwood’s SANFLW Head Coach.
Gaffney, who is a GWS Giants-listed player, kicked two goals and gathered 15 disposals in a best on ground performance, while Jaques had 31 hitouts, 13 disposals and four clearances in her first run with Norwood.
The Roosters got off to a flying start, kicking a goal from the first centre clearance of the game through former Redleg Mattea Breed.
It was debutant, Neale, who kicked Norwood’s first goal of the 2023 season at the seven-minute mark, but from that stage the ball lived in North’s forward line.
Redlegs defenders did a gallant job repelling from defensive 50m, and restricted the Roosters to two majors in the opening term, with North’s second goal coming in the final minute, a set shot through Isabelle Starmer.
North led 2.2-14 to 1.0-6 at the first break.
2022 Norwood best and fairest Tesharna Maher came storming out of the centre square to start the second quarter, and found plenty of the ball early in the term which helped Norwood lock the play in its forward half.
It was the Roosters however who responded with the first goal of the second term, through Sky Jansen.
They had another one a minute later when Brittany Perry goaled from the centre clearance and suddenly North was out to a 19-point lead.
Norwood forward Rosette Zerella was beginning to have an influence, taking several strong marks, but the Redlegs couldn’t make the most of set shots, booting four behinds in the opening 10-minutes of the second term.
After locking the ball in their forward line for five minutes, R. Zerella finally put Norwood’s second goal through.
The home side had back to back goals when Jade Halfpenny nailed a set shot and it was back to a four-point game.
Jansen kicked her second in the final minutes of the half to extend North’s lead to nine points and counteract some of Norwood’s dominance in the second quarter.
At half time, Lana Schwerdt led all players on the ground in disposals (15) and clearances (4), while Maher had 10 touches, and Jaques 7 disposals and 12 hitouts, dominating the ruck battle. Jess Edwards had 14 touches for North at half time.
It took eight minutes into a fiery third quarter to find the first goal, but it was a Norwood one through Gaffney, who benefitted from a down-field free kick. Gaffney’s goal brought the margin back to six points.
Young gun, Coby Morgan ran into an open goal to boot her first SANFLW major and Norwood had all the momentum, trailing by one point.
As expected North answered immediately, kicking two straight goals before the three-quarter-time break to make it a 13-point lead.
Norwood again had the better of the final term, and Gaffney’s second goal reduced the margin to six points early in the quarter.
A noisy Norwood crowd were cheering the home side over the line, but it was North that led by seven points with five minutes to go.
Alana Lishmund took a strong pack mark at the top of the goal-square and converted to reduce the margin to one point with five minutes on the clock.
In a rampant final five minutes North was able to control the clock, not letting Norwood into its forward line, which helped the Roosters cling to a desperate two-point win.
Schwerdt finished with 20 disposals, Maher 17 and Halfpenny 16 for Norwood.
Norwood – 1.0, 3.6, 5.7. 7.8-50
North Adelaide – 2.2, 5.3, 7.8, 7.10-52
Best: Gaffney, Maher, Jaques, R. Zerella, Halfpenny, Schwerdt
Goals: Gaffney 2, Halfpenny, Morgan, Neale, R. Zeretta, Lishmund
Norwood’s Development League side has got its season off to the perfect start with a commanding 41-point win over North Adelaide on Friday night at Coopers Stadium, 6.11-47 to 0.6-6.
Following a scrappy opening five minutes the Redlegs took control of the game, and Kaitey Whittaker got the home side on the scoreboard with the first goal of the season.
Grace Mulvahil followed up with Norwood’s second major at the nine-minute mark of the first quarter, giving her side a 13-point lead going into quarter time.
Norwood continued to dominate into the second term, and Grace Whittaker booted an early season contender for goal of the year.
G Whittaker capitalised on a turnover at half back, gathering the ball at 60m, running to the paint of 50m and booting it to the goalsquare. The ball took a Redlegs bounce and rolled through for a goal.
Norwood led by 24-points at half time (3.6-24) and leaving the Roosters scoreless.
The game was again played in Norwood’s half during the third term, but again struggled to put the dominance on the scoreboard.
North started to gather possession and drive the ball forward, but it ended up in five-third-quarter behinds, which hurt when Norwood’s Amelia Rusden kicked her side’s fourth goal to stretch the margin to 26 points at the final break.
Alice Winter put the nail in the coffin at the three-minute mark of the final term, snapping her first goal from 30m out.
Mulvahil kicked her second goal with one minute to go to make it a 41-point win.
Norwood – 2.1, 3.6, 4.7, 6.11-47
North Adelaide – 0.0, 0.0, 0.5, 0.6-6
Best: Rusden, Lineage, Rossi, Nenke, Nation
Goals: Mulvahil 2, K. Whittaker, Rusden, Lee, G. Whittaker.