South Australians still buzzing from the Crows’ historic AFL Women’s premiership will get another dose of elite women’s football this weekend with the inaugural SANFL Women’s Grand Final.
Unley Oval is the venue, where top of the table North Adelaide will clash with Norwood which made the big dance after defeating Glenelg in the final round.
The two sides have met each other twice during the home and away rounds, with the Redlegs victors in game one by 40 points, but the tables turned in their second meeting with the Roosters winning by 29 points.
Speaking to Girls Play Footy, North Adelaide captain Jess Edwards said she’s counting down the hours until Saturday afternoon’s big game.
“The nerves are pretty settled at the moment, but I would say leading into the game they’ll raise up a little bit higher,” Edwards said
“We’re just mainly excited, it’s buzzing around here [at North Adelaide] at the moment, so it’s very good.”
Although they finished top of the ladder with five wins in a row, the Roosters’ season got off to a less than ideal start when thrashed by Norwood in the opening match.
Edwards put the change in fortunates down to the coaching staff, who reviewed and then simplified the game plan.
“We just needed to take five steps back,” the Roosters captain explained.
“We went into that [Norwood] game with a lot of knowledge and everyone needing to know these structures.
“Our coach was very open about it, he said we’re going to pull it back and we then just took little baby steps throughout each game.
“I think if you look back we definitely progressed each game and became more one as a team.”
Despite being the minor premiers, Edwards said her side had a big challenge ahead if they were to get the better of the Redlegs on Grand Final day.
“They’re a quick team and they know what they want to do and how they want to achieve it.
“We’re a team that can’t seem to be playing all four quarters, I’m not sure why.
“I think if we keep winning our 50-50s against the player were on, and playing our role, and sticking to our structures, I think we can definitely be competitive against them.”
On the other side of the big battle is Norwood captain Rebekka McMahon. Speaking to the SANFL website while at Unley Oval, she said the venue was perfect for the inaugural Grand Final.
“First impression is the deck looks pretty good and it looks pretty big, which is always fun for two fast paced sides.
“We’re obviously looking to move the footy pretty quickly this weekend, but I’d imagine there’s going to be some times it will be quite congested.
“[But] the big spaces suit us well, so we’re looking forward to it.”
When asked if it was best to keep preparation the same or change things up when heading into a Grand Final, McMahon said she preferred to keep things consistent.
“For me personally I keep things pretty much the same.
“Same that I’ve been doing the last six weeks and I guess same what I’ve been doing for the last eight years.
“I guess the role of being skipper and heading into the team is trying to work out those who need pumping up and those who need their quite time.
“So that’s been a learning curve for me in the past six weeks, and now I know who needs what and how to go about that.”
Despite being on the losing end of their last encounter, the Redlegs captain said she was confident her side could deliver their best on Saturday and take the flag.
“We’re really confident with what we can provide across the three lines.
“We’ve got some really good strength across each section, and we know that if the timing’s right, and we can take off and really utilise the ball, and execute our game style, then we’re in pretty good stead.”
For fans attending the SANFL Women’s Grand Final at Unley Oval on Saturday, entry is free with gates open at 1:15pm.
A select number of Adelaide Crows AFLW premiership players will also be in attendance for a meet and greet prior to the opening bounce.
North Adelaide Roosters vs Norwood Redlegs
Saturday, April 1 @ Unley Oval – 4:30pm (ACDT)
F: (9) Kyesha Christensen, (15) Lesley Burrows, (13) Lauren Daniel
HF: (10) Paige Allan, (16) Ashleigh Woodland, (14) Chloe Scheer
Centre: (19) Brittany Perry
HB: (2) Jessica Edwards, (12) Nicole Mark, (22) Marinet Morgan
B: (17) Sarah Ellis, (23) Katelyn Rosenzweig, (21) Margaret Varcoe
R: (28) Kelly Barltrop, (4) Leah Tynan, (3) Kathryn Reynolds
INT: (18) Lauren Bungey, (25) Courtney Jensen, (26) Jenna Maloney, (24) Hannah Pavlovich, (8) Jessica Schulz
IN: Lauren Bungey, Lesley Burrows, Sarah Ellis, Jenna Maloney, Nicole Mark, Kathryn Reynolds
OUT: Tara Anderson, Courtney Roberts, Shae Pacifico-Hart, Jayme-Lee Sonneman, Tyrell Yarran
F: (28) Tess Maple, (30) Whitney Benson, (16) Stacey Huddleston
HF: (13) Tara Robertson, (8) Ellen Maple, (14) Michele Reid
Centre: (32) Marijana Rajcic
HB: (9) Rebekka McMahon, (22) Lucy Northcott, (14) Sophie Li
B: (10) Nicola Burns, (27) Georgia Taylor, (23) Tilly Van Riel
R: (21) Leah Cutting, (31) Kristi Harvey, (15) Ruth Wallace
INT: (6) Cherie Bamford, (7) Ebony O’Dea, (20) Kayla Edwards, (29) Jane Fitzgerald
EMG: (18) Caitlen Teague, (4) Aajiah Jericho
IN: Kayla Edwards
OUT: Cassie Tsoumbris (injured)
*Squads as listed on the SANFL website. Subject to change.