Match Report

Norwood falls agonizingly short to reigning premiers in R1

Norwood midfielder Sachi Syme. Photo: Maya Thompson NFC

Norwood’s Round 1 SANFLW game went down to the very last seconds, with reigning premiers Central District escaping with a two-point win in a thriller at Coopers Stadium on Friday night. 

It was always going to be a tough start for the Redlegs in the season opener – taking on the reigning premier and also the team that knocked them out of the finals race last year, but Norwood fought to the end in the 5.5-35 to 5.3-33 encounter.

It was also an emotional night for Norwood with a tribute to the late Ashleigh Young taking place before the first siren.

Norwood debuted three players, interstate recruits Emma Daley and Candice Belbin, and 15-year-old ruck Kate Alexander.

Jade Halfpenny was outstanding with 20 disposals, six clearances and six marks in a best on ground performance, while Sachi Syme had 18 disposals, six tackles and eight clearances.

Adrienne Davies kicked two goals, while Shai Hiscock, Kiana Lee and Amelia Rusden were the other goal kickers in a game that had four lead changes throughout.

Central District got off to a fast start, kicking the opening two goals through Jasmine Evans and Julia Teakle to make it a 2.1-13 to 0.0-0 lead at quarter time, despite Norwood leading the disposal, tackle and clearance counts.

2023 Norwood Best and Fairest Tahlita Buethke picked up where she left off with six disposals in the first quarter, while Halfpenny and Coby Morgan matched her at the first break.

Centrals looked slick at the beginning of the second term, linking up with handball and finding their leading full forward Katelyn Rosenzweig regularly.

Norwood was let off the hook with several shots at goal going through for a minor score, and others not making the distance in a breeze that was blowing towards the opposite northern end.

The ball was trapped in Central’s forward half, with a lop-sided inside 50m count of 16-7, and Norwood needed something special to break through. It came when the Redlegs transitioned from the wing and finishing with a running goal to Rusden – the opening goal of the season.

The Redlegs had back-to-back goals when Lee converted a set shot in the scoreboard pocket to make it a three-point ballgame.

Norwood was enjoying a purple patch with Sarah Branford breaking from the next centre bounce and surging her side forward once again.

It was three goals in five minutes when Davies snapped under pressure from close range, and suddenly Norwood was in front, 3.1-19 to 2.3-15.

Centrals steadied just minutes before the half time break to re-gain a two-point lead, 3.3-21 to 3.1-19.

Halfpenny had 10 disposals to half time, and Buethke nine.

The Bulldogs were dominating the marks column 38-13 at half time, wanting to maintain possession of the ball and move forward with precision. Norwood levelled the inside 50m numbers (16-17), and the clearances were also even (16-14), while the Redlegs led the tackle count 33-25.

Central’s first goal of the second half again came from a slow build-up of marks and precision kicks, resulting in a long set shot goal through Teakle to make it an eight-point advantage.

Again, Norwood managed to kick goals in pairs – this time through Davies’ second and Hiscock to put the hosts in front by three points at the last break, 5.2-32 to 4.5-29.

In what was the fourth lead change of the game, Centrals kicked the opening goal of the final term through Lauren Breguet.

Norwood pumped the ball forward from the re-start and a quick Halfpenny shot at goal hit the post.

Both sides threatened to score as the minutes ticked down, getting the ball deep in attack but couldn’t quite put it on the board.

The game was scoreless for a 14-minute period with Centrals holding a two-point lead 5.5-35 to 5.3-33.

It was trapped deep in Norwood’s forward 30m with repeated stoppages, but Centrals defence held firm.

Halfpenny took a strong mark but didn’t make the distance with the kick with seconds to go, being marked on the line by a Centrals defender.

Norwood has another challenge next Saturday when it heads to Noarlunga to take on South Adelaide.


Norwood 0.0, 3.1, 5.2, 5.3 – 33

Central District 2.1, 3.3, 4.5, 5.5 – 35

Goals: Davies 2, Lee, Rusden, Hiscock

Best: Halfpenny, Branford, Syme, Lee, Lineage

Development League: NFC 3.1-19 to CD 4.4-28

Norwood played a much-improved Central District in the opening round of the SANFLW Development League season.

The Redlegs won last year’s encounter by 52 points, but the Bulldogs turned the tables to claim a nine-point win, 4.4-28 to 3.1-19.

Norwood was kept scoreless for the first half and went into half time 20 points behind, but mounted a fightback in the third term, kicking three unanswered goals to make it a two-point deficit at the last break.

Centrals steadied, kicking the only goal of the final term to claim the opening round victory.

Norwood’s three third quarter goals came through Kaitey Whittaker, Alana Lishmund and debutant Mykaela Walker.

Norwood started the game well, and owned the play for the first five minutes of the contest.

Across half forward debutant Isabella Calvanese took two strong marks and provided a strong option ahead of the football.

Unfortunately, the Redlegs couldn’t capitalise on their early field position and Centrals made them pay, kicking the only two goals of the first term.

At quarter time the Bulldogs led by 14 points.

Norwood had its fair share of the ball once again in the second term, but it was the Bulldogs that kicked the only major of the quarter to take a 20-point lead into half time.

It didn’t take long for the Redlegs to finally get on the board after half time, with off-season recruit Mykaela Walker taking a strong mark in the goal square and converting.

Norwood locked the ball in its forward 50m once again from the re-start and threatened to get right back into the contest.

The Redlegs kicked their second goal at the eight-minute mark of the term when Kaitey Whittaker ran into an open goal to bring the margin back to eight points, 2.1-13 to 3.3-21.

It was three goals in a row for the Redlegs when Alana Lishmund took a diving intercept mark 20m out from goal, and kicked truly to make it a two-point game. It finished off a great play from Kiarra Leopold at half back, finding K. Whittaker in the midfield who surged the ball into the forward line.

The three quarter time score read Central District 3.3-21 to Norwood’s 3.1-19, capping off a three-goal quarter to the Redlegs.

Centrals managed the settling goal midway through the final term and it was enough to close out a nine-point win.


Norwood 0.0, 0.0, 3.1, 3.1 – 19

CD 2.2, 3.2, 3.3, 4.4 – 28

Goals: K. Whittaker, Walker, Lishmund

Best: Cameron, Fenton, Hiebner, Bigg, Smith

Norwood Development League captain Lindsay Bigg.