SAFCW Match Report - Round 8 - South Adelaide vs Sturt
SAFCW Match Report
South Adelaide vs Sturt
Round 8 - Hickinbotham Oval - 25/03/18
Goals: Gum 5, Harvey, Rowe 2, Mencel, Walker-Murphy, Hatchard, McCarthy
Best: Hatchard, Williams, Northcott, Gum, Cavouras, Harvey
Injuries: Davison (back), Williams (back), Bosley (hand)
South Adelaide have secured their place in the SANFL Statewide Super Women's League finals with a convincing win over Sturt at Hickinbotham Oval on Sunday afternoon.
A free-flowing offence and miserly defence set up the Panthers record winning margin in a 13.9 (87) to 0.1 (1) beat down of the Double Blues.
With Glenelg claiming a maiden win over West Adelaide earlier in the day the Panthers can now finish no lower than third and are a certainty for finals action this season.
However, South still only hold a single game in hand over second-placed North Adelaide and top spot, which comes with the prize of automatic Grand Final qualification, is still very much up for grabs over the final two rounds.
Courtney Gum put on a classy display up forward on her return from AFLW duties.
Today crowned the AFLW Players' MVP, Gum also starred in her Panthers debut, kicking five goals against Sturt - the equal best individual haul for the 2018 SANFLW season.
South did take several minutes to settle, but once they started to click their pressure and ball movement quickly converted into scoring opportunities.
With Gum drawing two extra defenders from the first bounce, it was skipper Kristi Harvey who opened the scoring in the seventh minute with an opportune soccered finish from the goal square.
Harvey's link up work in tandem with Gum and her fellow forwards was brilliant throughout the afternoon, with the skipper collecting 18 disposals and kicking multiple goals for the first time this season.
Soon after athletic winger Leah Mencel opened her account for the season with a classy right-footed snap from the north-eastern pocket and Gum soccered home her first to open up a 19-point margin at the first break.
Adelaide Crows premiership player Anne Hatchard was in magnificent touch, gathering 29 touches (the most of any player in a single match this season) and also slotted a goal during the Panthers second quarter splurge.
That second quarter dominance, which included six goals (three of them to Gum - two in the first two minutes), was indicative of South Adelaide's dominance throughout the match and set up an unassailable 54-point margin at the major break.
Lightning quick Czenya Cavouras (18 possessions) also put on an eye-catching performance with her run and carry across the expanses at Hickinbotham Oval and could have easily added two goals to her name if not for some wayward finishing in the third term.
The penultimate quarter would prove to be a goalless one, with South only managing four behinds, but after a stirring address from Krissie Steen during the final break the Panthers came out firing again in the last quarter.
Louella McCarthy, Jorja Rowe and Mykala Walker-Murphy all hit the scoreboard in the first five minutes of the fourth, with Gum fittingly putting the final touches on a big win with her fifth in the dying stages of the term.
While South Adelaide's high scoring was certainly a highlight of the day, much credit must also be given to the Panthers stingy defence.
Led by the physical presence of Lucy Northcott and the rebounding prowess of Caitlin Williams, South conceded their lowest score of the season and quickly snuffed out all of Sturt's attacking forays.
The next chance to catch the ladder-leading Panthers women in action is at South's Good Friday triple header against Glenelg, with both men's and women's League teams playing for premiership points on the same day for the first time.
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