Highlighting the state league action this weekend were the penultimate clashes for the Premier Division of both the men’s and women’s competitions in the Northern Territory, with a grand final spot on the line.
Game cancellations, shocking weather conditions and old rivalries made for another entertaining week of state footy.
Read it all in the first edition of Around the States.
Northern Territory – NTFL
Pint vs Nightcliff – Women’s Premier League Preliminary Final
It was a big week for Territory footy, with the Premier Division preliminary final action kicking off on Saturday afternoon before topping off the weekend with the glamorous league awards night.
Now a league-best and fairest winner, AFLW Sun Jasmyn Hewett was crucial in Pint’s victory over the Tigers. She gave the electric midfield brigade at her feet first use through her excellent tap work from the first bounce to the final siren, while moving across the ground like an extra midfielder and adding to the scoreboard.
The six-goal first-half onslaught from the Queenants left Nightcliff scratching its collective head, never really recovering. The Tigers made a push through Kristy Irvine and Emily Casey in the third, but only registered the one major, being wasteful with the last kick inside 50.
The match up to watch was that of Pint full-forward Jessie Baumer and Nightcliff full-back Hannah Turnbull, two of the strongest players on the ground. While Baumer is a proven goalkicker, with multiple bags of three this year, Turnbull held her goalless while taking a slew of excellent intercept marks to keep her team in it.
Other strong performers for Nightcliff included the prolific Eliza Morrison and Andi Moliere running through the midfield, while for Pint, Katie Streader was dominant out of the centre bounce while forwards Amy Chittick and Casey Morris made the ball their own at ground level.
Pint will face last year’s fellow semi-finalists, Darwin, in what is set to be a tense and explosive grand final at TIO Stadium on Saturday.
Final score: Pint 7.3.(45) defeated Nightcliff 1.4.(10)
Wanderers vs St. Mary’s – Men’s Premier League Preliminary Final
There were plenty of names footy fans would recognise taking part in the men’s penultimate clash. Five Motlops (including former Port player Marlon), one Rioli, one Yarran and a Long, as well as former AFL players Shaun Edwards and Raph Clarke did battle at TIO Stadium on Saturday night.
St. Mary’s took the early lead into quarter-time, which they never quite gave up for the rest of the night. The big ruckman in Brandyn Grenfell was dominant early, while Dylan Landt and Kieren Parnell pushed out of the backline to create play and provide options for their midfielders.
Despite the Wanderers finding the first goal of the second quarter through Aaron Motlop, they only managed a further two behinds off repeated inside 50 entries and strong transition play from Dane McFarlane and Simon Bates.
With the Saints only taking an 11 point lead into half time, something big needed to happen. In this case, it was someone big.
Bustling key forward Jack Calder had kicked two goals in the first half, but absolutely broke the game open in the second. Calder kicked five of Saints seven goals in the second half, backing up his bag of six against the Waratahs last week and kicking his side into a grand final rematch against reigning premiers Nightcliff.
Though they stumbled at the final hurdle, the Wanderers will have plenty to take away from the year, having improved drastically from their seventh place finish in 2020.
Final score: Wanderers 8.5.(53) defeated by St. Mary’s 11.14.(80)
Division 1 Men’s Preliminary Final
Nightcliff 2.6.(18) defeated by Banks 9.14.(68)
Division 2 Men’s Preliminary Final
Waratah 7.5.(47) defeated Banks 6.7.(43)
Division 2 Women’s Preliminary Final
Pint 4.4.(28) defeated Tracy Village 2.1.(13)
Victoria – VFLW
Essendon vs Hawthorn – Round 3
The old rivals met for their first game of the footy calendar, with the Bombers getting the chocolates after a dominant and attacking first half performance.
While Meg Hutchins and Erin Byrnes battled for the Hawks in the backline all day, it wasn’t enough to quell the Bombers offensive onslaught. Three multiple goalkickers, including three for the experienced Mia-Rae Clifford were enough to sink Hawthorn after half time.
Nat MacDonald was best on the ground for the home side, finding plenty of the ball in the middle and slotting two first half goals off her strong running and clean ball movement from her teammates.
Bec Goddard will have plenty of feedback for her side, despite a gutsy final quarter which saw them put up two of their three goals. Wasteful forward 50 entries, not working back hard enough on team defence and poor conversion in front of goal will be on the top of the agenda.
The Bombers move into the top four after two straight victories, while the Hawks sit in eighth position with just the one win.
Final score: Essendon 8.7.(55) defeated Hawthorn 3.9.(27)
Western Bulldogs 3.0.(18) defeated by Collingwood 10.10.(70)
Casey Demons 9.11.(65) defeated North Melbourne 1.6.(12)
Geelong 2.4.(16) defeated Southern Saints 1.2.(8)
Port Melbourne 6.9.(45) defeated Williamstown 3.1.(19)
Carlton 3.9.(27) defeated Darebin 3.2.(20)
Western Australia – WAFLW
East Fremantle vs Swan Districts – Round 4
The only undefeated team in the competition, Swan Districts kept the ball rolling with a big win over the Sharks at home.
A hotly contested and defensive first half saw the two sides only put up two goals apiece to half time, with the game breaking wide open at the start of the third quarter. 10 goals across both sides in the second half saw the tune of the game change completely from a hard, contested slog into a free-flowing and quick scoring affair.
Fremantle AFLW-listed Mikayla Morrison was a livewire for the Swans, kicking two of her three goals in the second half, while Sarah Wielstra played second fiddle with two of her own.
Evie Gooch tried to break the Swans momentum at the end of the third, slotting two goals for the Sharks in quick succession to add to her total of three for the day.
The Swans now sit a game clear at the top of the ladder with a huge percentage, while the Sharks have just the one win, and will be looking to avoid dropping out of the top four next week against the bottom of the ladder South Fremantle.
Final score: East Fremantle 5.4.(34) defeated by Swan Districts 9.8.(62)
Subiaco 4.2.(26) defeated by Claremont 7.4.(46)
Peel Thunder 13.6.(84) defeated South Fremantle 7.1.(43)
South Australia – SANFLW
Central District vs South Adelaide – Round 3
A winless South Adelaide side put on an incredibly brave performance to take home its first win of the 2021 season over last year’s wooden spooners Central District.
Grand finalists last year, nerves were beginning to run high at the Panthers camp, having suffered back-to-back losses to the Roosters and the Redlegs. The Bulldogs were similarly coming off a devastating two-point loss to Sturt.
Signs were looking good for the Bulldogs in the first half, despite inaccuracy. A late first quarter snap from the boundary to Chantel Reynolds and an early second quarter goal to Caitlen Teague had them in good stead going into half-time, with the Panthers held goalless.
A switch flicked after half-time, with the Panthers kicking 5.2 in a display of accuracy and resilience. Two goals in two minutes to Jess Kirk and Jorja Hooper was all it took to swing the momentum completely their way.
The Bulldogs couldn’t capitalise on their dominant clearance work, with Shelby Smith having five of her own to go along with eight tackles.
With both teams sitting on the bottom half of the eight-team ladder, round four is shaping up as a season-defining weekend. Central District has a Friday night clash with fellow cellar-dwellers Woodville-West Torrens, while South Adelaide will take on Sturt on Saturday.
Final score: Central District 4.8.(32) defeated by South Adelaide 5.7.(37)
Norwood 3.2.(20) defeated Sturt 2.6.(18)
Woodville-West Torrens 2.3.(15) defeated Glenelg 1.6.(12)
West Adelaide 1.3.(9) defeated by North Adelaide 4.4.(28)
Queensland – QAFLW
Coorparoo vs Maroochydore – Round 3
It is hard to believe these two sides were winless going into this match, as they put on an exciting affair decided by the slimmest of margins.
Maroochydore found themselves on top early, going into the half-time break with a 13 point lead, off the back of strong defensive work from Taya Bowman in her first year in the QAFLW, while Jacqueline Dupuy put on a show in the ruck.
Proven goalkicker Ellie Bowden wrenched the game back in Coorparoo’s favour after the long break, the tall forward kicking two goals in the third quarter to bring the margin back to just a singular point for Maroochydore.
A 20-minute last quarter did no favours for the pulses of spectators, with the arm wrestle winding up in an unforgettable Coorparoo victory.
Final score: Coorparoo 5.2.(32) defeated Maroochydore 4.7.(31)
Aspley 7.10.(52) defeated Wilston Grange 3.3.(21)
University of Queensland 10.2.(62) defeated Yeronga South Brisbane 5.6.(36)
Coolangatta Tweed vs Bond University postponed