SANFLW Crows Connections: Round 3

Former Adelaide Crow Renee Forth. (Picture: WWTFC)

When the Adelaide Crows AFLW side has only lost one game all season, spots within the team are hard to come by but competition for spots comes from the SANFL players hoping to plead their case.

In the South Australian National Football League Women’s competition, there were a number of exceptional performances from two former players and two 2021 recruits.

The Inner Sanctum breaks down the best performances in Round 3.

Abbie Ballard

After being dropped three weeks ago, Abbie Ballard has done nothing wrong in her push to get back into the AFLW side.

She had another fantastic game for West Adelaide when it played Central District. The Bloods were behind early, but made a late charge – which Ballard was instrumental in – in the third and fourth quarter to fall short by 10 points.

The 19-year-old kicked her only goal in the third quarter, while winning a centre clearance to help convert another major and close the gap. Her influence was felt all over the ground, with two marks and 20 disposals, second behind only Keeley Kustermann for the Bloods.

What stood out over anything else, however, was Ballard’s 13 tackles. This was the most of any player on the field, and will be sure to give coach Matthew Clarke something to consider come selection.

Adelaide Crows recruit Abbie Ballard (middle). (Picture: SANFL)

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The next two performances came from the Woodville-West Torrens Eagles in their eight point loss in a low scoring match against the Norwood Redlegs on Friday.

Norwood only scored a rushed point in the last quarter, preventing what could have been a blow out. Midfielders Renee Forth and Jasmine Simmons were a big part of the Eagles’ comeback.

Renee Forth

Before Renee Forth started her AFLW career at GWS and then Adelaide, she was playing for the WAWFL Coastal Titans team. She played in both their 2012 and 2015 premierships.

In 2016, with the birth of the AFLW around the corner, Forth captained the Fremantle side in the women’s AFL exhibition series. She then became the WA State Female Football Ambassador in the same year.

In the lead up to the 2017 AFLW season, Forth was taken as one of the Giants’ marquee list spots. However in August, she ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and was ruled out of the inaugural season. Forth was then appointed as an assistant coach for the Giants in that year.

In 2018, she made her debut for the Giants and played five games in the season. She was then traded to Adelaide and was awarded the Education and Training Excellence Award at the AFL Players’ Associations MVP Night in the same year for her contributions in 2017.

Playing in the Crows’ 2019 premiership was one of the highlights for her reasonably short AFLW career.

In 2021, after 17 games and two goals for the Crows, she was not offered a contract for the 2022 season.

Former assistant coach Narelle Smith was a big influence on Forth, and after she was appointed head coach of the women’s program at the Eagles, she lured her across for 2022 on a more permanent basis.

During her time with the Crows, she played 12 games for the Eagles’ SANFLW team after missing out on selection. Her experience around the club has shown this year, with Forth eyeing off the AFLW 2022 draft.

On the weekend she helped propel her team as close as she could to a win. She was pressuring the ball carrier with six tackles on the day, as well as taking back possession with three marks.

Forth was everywhere, racking up 23 disposals, which was the most for the Eagles.

Former Adelaide Crow Renee Forth. (Picture: WWTFC/Facebook)

Jasmine Simmons

Jasmine Simmons’ journey to represent the Crows in the AFLW has been a whirlwind.

The 22-year-old rookie was returning to Australia after spending time chasing her basketball dream in the United States. Although she is a cross-coder, Simmons was not truly new to the game, having played in Broken Hill since she was a child.

After a seven-year break from football, she made her AFLW debut for the Adelaide Crows in Round 1this year against the Brisbane Lions. She played four games before being omitted from the side.

Simmons played her second match of the year for the Eagles this week. Her tackling pressure was a feature of her game, which is surprising given her height.

She had a game-high 11 tackles, winning back the footy in an almost comeback game.

Simmons also found the ball herself, having 19 disposals as well as taking two marks. She has shown that she has the ability to rack up the touches for both the Crows and the Eagles.

Adelaide Crows recruit Jasmine Simmons (left) with Adelaide Crows midfielder Ebony Marinoff. (Picture: Adelaide Football Club)

Georgia Bevan

Georgia Bevan is a former Crows AFLW player, who played 13 games over two years for the club in 2017 and 2018. Playing as a winger who was often around the ball, she was always able to out-run and out-work her direct opponent.

As a teenager, she made the switch to Aussie rules football after playing softball growing up.

Her team was Morphettville Park and they were hugely successful in that period, she won three premierships with the club before being drafted to the Adelaide Football Club in 2017.

While she was a part of the 2017 premiership with the Crows, she was not offered a contract at the end of 2018.

Bevan moved to the Sturt Football Club in 2019, and she played as captain until being picked up by the Gold Coast Suns as an injury replacement in 2021. She played three games for the Suns before being delisted at season’s end, returning to South Australia and back to the Double Blues.

She was prolific in the very low-scoring affair against North Adelaide on Saturday. Importantly for the game and spectators alike, she provided the assist for Alysha Healy, who kicked the only goal for the match with five minutes to go in the final quarter.

During the entirety of the game she was a big ball winner and distributer with the highest disposal tally for both teams with 22 disposals as well as two clearances to get the ball forward for her team.

Bevan took marks all over the ground, with nine for the game, and was running both ways with three inside 50 entries and five rebound 50s.

Four tackles were also included in her efforts, while she kicked a goal to help to lift the scoreboard in her team’s favour.

Former Adelaide Crow Georgia Bevan (left) (Picture: Sturt Football Club/Facebook)

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