Match Report

Norwood left devastated as South Adelaide claims SANFLW Premiership

Norwood's Lana Schwerdt trying to break free during Saturday's SANFLW Grand Final at Norwood's Coopers Stadium. Photo: Maya Thompson NFC

South Adelaide has won the 2024 SANFLW Grand Final, defeating Norwood by five points at Coopers Stadium on Saturday evening.

Norwood trailed by as much as 17 points during the second quarter, before charging back into the game, holding the Panthers scoreless after half time.

Tahlita Buethke kicked a goal with seven minutes remaining in the match to bring it back to five points, but South Adelaide was able to hold on to a 3.0-18 to 2.1-13 victory in the decider.

South Adelaide finished the home and away season as Minor Premiers, and went on to secure the club’s third SANFLW Premiership – 2018, 2019 and 2024. Norwood was gunning for its second Premiership, having won the inaugural 2017 season.

The first five minutes was a stalemate as both sides tried to find their groove. Norwood had the first two inside 50m entries, but nothing that dangered the scoreboard.

Laquoiya Cockatoo-Motlap was wearing Buethke like a glove, but gave away a couple of free kicks early in the piece.

South Adelaide had a couple of chances down the other end, but Norwood’s defense rallied to ensure the game remained scoreless.

The Redlegs went end to end, and a ball was belted forward in the path of Amelia Rusden who soccered off the ground a couple of times before the Panthers eventually nullified the attack.

Kiana Lee nearly kicked goal of the year from the Wolf Blass Community Centre pocket. It was snapped high, into the swirling breeze, and bounced on the goal line before pitching back into play.

South had been let off the hook a couple of times, and cashed in with the first goal of the game. The Panthers went from end to end, and Melissa Anderson slotted a goal from 50m which dribbled through.

Anderson’s goal came at the 17-minute mark, and at quarter time it was 1.0-6 to 0.0-0.

Buethke had five disposals in the first term.

As expected, it was a high-tackle first term as Norwood laid 30-16 tackles and won clearances 9-7. But South started to get on top in the territory battle late in the term and went into quarter time with 9-5 inside 50m entries.

Norwood went forward from the centre bounce to re-start the second quarter, and locked the ball inside 50m for four minutes. Again, the Redlegs couldn’t generate any dangerous goal scoring looks.

The ball lived in Norwood’s forward half for the first 10 minutes, and had the first nine inside 50m entries of the quarter. South kept rebounding, and Norwood kept pumping it back in.

Lee drew a free kick, but missed the 35m set shot.

From the kick in, South again went end to end, finishing in a mark to Shae Archbold. Archbold went back and did what Lee couldn’t do – nailed the set shot to put the Panthers up by 11 points, 2.0-12 to 0.1-1.

It was a costly goal for the Redlegs, who had dominated territory in the second quarter.

The Redlegs were dominating clearance 15-9 and Charlotte Nenke came bursting out of the centre once again.

The game speed went up a tempo, and the ball was pinging between the 50m arcs like a yo-yo. Coby Morgan had a sensational run along the wing, but South was good enough to cause a turnover.

On the rebound, the Panthers made Norwood pay once again. Taking a couple of strong marks along the wing and half forward, and finding Lauren Clifton in the goal square for South’s third goal.

It looked like the Panthers were about to add another from the centre bounce when Emily Brockhurst marked 35m out. She surprisingly decided to play on, and Lee made an outstanding smother which saved another potential goal.

South was surging forward again, but were stopped by the half time siren.

At the main break, South Adelaide led the SANFLW Grand Final 3.0-18 to 0.1-1.

The Redlegs would have been disappointed to trail by 17 points, given they led disposal 97-85, inside 50m 15-12, clearances 18-13 and tackles 49-41 which showed they were well and truly in the game.

Norwood had most of the quarter on its own terms, but were caught out on turnover for two costly goals.

Candice Belbin had 12 disposals, six clearances and four tackles to half time, and co-captain Sophie Armitstead nine disposals.

Norwood again went forward from the re-start and enjoyed some time in forward half.

None of it would matter if the Redlegs couldn’t get on the scoreboard. But at the three-minute mark of the third term Adrienne Davies dribbled through Norwood’s first goal of the grand final.

The Redlegs were on a roll, and the Norwood fans were lifting in anticipation.

The Redlegs again had the first five inside 50m entries of the quarter, but still trailed by 11 points. South was absorbing all the pressure and hoping to strike on the counter attack, like the second term.

Davies ended up kicking the only goal of the third term, and the margin at the final break remained at 11, 3.0-18 to 1.1-7.

Could Norwood complete the fight back, or were South going to hang on?

The final quarter was scoreless for the first 10 minutes, which suited South, but the ball was trapped in Norwood’s forward 50m zone, which suited the Redlegs.

At the 11-minute mark, South Adelaide had an almighty brain fade, as Lee was lining up for goal from 40m out and an off the ball free kick went to Buethke in the goalsquare.

Buethke slammed it home to bring it back to a five-point ballgame, 3.0-18 to 2.1-13.

Like they did all day, Norwood won the centre clearance and belted it back inside 50m.

Lana Schwerdt had a running snap, which tumbled around high in the air and dropped just short.

A goal would put Norwood in front.

It was a tense finish as both sides gave it their all. As time was agonizingly running out, the ball was parked in South’s forward line.

The siren blew to break the hearts of Norwood players, coaches and supporters.

South Adelaide’s Jordann Hickey was awarded the best on ground medal, after her 21-disposal performance.

Candice Belbin had 19 disposals to go with 11 tackles and seven clearances for Norwood, while Jade Halfpenny had 17 disposals.

Norwood’s goal kickers were Davies and Buethke.


Norwood 0.0, 0.1, 1.1, 2.1 – 13

South Adelaide 1.0, 3.0, 3.0, 3.0 – 18

Goals: Davies, Buethke

Best: Halfpenny, Lee, Belbin, Armitstead, Arkun