SANFLW Team of the Week - Round Eleven
SANFLW Round Eleven has set up a massive finish to the home and away season, meanwhile, Wendland, Kustermann, Kuiper and Bates all starred for their respective sides.
Sturt has made a statement heading into their debut finals campaign. Playing on their home deck at Wigan Oval, the Double Blues managed to hold off a fast-finishing Norwood outfit to record a resounding win, 6.6 (42) to 5.3 (33).
The Double Blues’ young talent was on full display: Kiera Mueller and Izzy Kuiper were easily their main standouts, while Amy Brooks-Birve managed to record 2 goals from her 3 kicks. Leah Cutting and Jade Halfpenny were among the Redlegs' best performers, who now have to win their final match of the season to ensure their spot in the finals.
Central District looked to be headed for a shock defeat during their clash against Woodville-West Torrens at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval. But the Bulldogs, who were spurred on by Caitlin Wendland’s best SANFLW display to date, managed to record 3 final term goals to snatch a comeback win, 6.5 (41) to 5.5 (35).
Besides Caitlin Wendland’s breakout performance, the Bulldogs had many strong performers such as their all-star midfield combination of Shelby Smith and Isabelle Starmer. Lauren Breguet and Laitiah Huynh were also impressive. As for the Eagles, Shineah Goody continued her amazing season, while Annie Falkenberg continued her run of solid games.
North Adelaide wasn’t troubled much by West Adelaide during their 27-point win at Hisense Stadium, 6.12 (48) to 3.3 (21). The only real trouble they faced was finishing off their work: since they kicked 2.7 (19) in the final term—much to the relief of the Bloods.
Keeley Kustermann certainly stole the show for West Adelaide. On the flip side, Jess Edwards, Hannah Ewings and Jade De Melo were among the Roosters' many standout players.
The smallest of margins separated Glenelg from South Adelaide during their thrilling clash at ACH Group Stadium. Overcoming a slow and inaccurate start, the Tigers kicked 3 behinds in a row to record the nail-biting 1-point win, 4.11 (35) to 5.4 (34).
Jess Bates was at her usual brilliance for the Tigers, and she is no doubt a contender for the SANFLW Best and Fairest by this stage. Ellie Kellock was also impressive, as was Glenelg’s developing star ruck, Matilda Scholz. The Panthers found a great supply through Cheyenne Hammond, while their usual names of Jess Kirk and Nicole Campbell were also strong contributors.
Scroll down to see the Team of the Week, plus a small breakdown of the squad.
Captain: Jess Bates
Vice-Captain: Keeley Kustermann
Most Valuable Player: Izzy Kuiper
The race for this week’s Most Valuable Player title was intense, but eventually, Sturt’s Round Eleven standout Izzy Kuiper (31 votes) narrowly out pipped her opponents to claim this week’s MVP. Glenelg’s ever-consistent performer Jess Bates (30 votes) followed closely behind, while the state captain and Bloods star, Keeley Kustermann (26 votes), rounded out the leadership squad for Round Eleven.
We are kicking off this week’s team with the ‘game changer’ and, of course, this means Caitlin Wendland. This young gun Bulldog finished with 21 disposals, 7 tackles and 3 goals, which makes it her best SANFLW game to date.
There were plenty of other exciting young talents on display during the weekend. But it is Jade Halfpenny (19 disposals, 9 tackles, 5 clearances), Hannah Ewings (22 disposals, 4 tackles), and Abbey Rigter (7 kicks, 2 goals) that stood out the most for their respective sides.
No forward line is complete without that little bit of x-factor, and that is what Jade De Melo brings to the table. This North Adelaide forward was at it again on the weekend, this time finishing with 13 disposals, 6 marks, and 2 goals.
Rucking duties have been earnt once again by the Bulldogs’ star ruck, Isabelle Starmer. She continues to repay our faith in her having had 29 hit-outs, 22 disposals, 5 marks and a goal on the weekend.
The middle is where the stars come to play. And this week’s team is no exception with Jess Bates, Izzy Kuiper and Keeley Kustermann: now how’s that for a name drop.
Bates, this week’s captain, was brilliant again for Glenelg with 27 disposals and 13 tackles. Then there is Kuiper, this week’s MVP, who was amazing for the Double Blues. No surprise that she was voted as the MVP since she had 21 disposals, 14 tackles and 7 clearances. Last but not least is Kustermann, our state’s captain and newly named All-Australian. Kustermann was voted in as vice-captain on the back of her 26 touches, 3 clearances and 3 tackles.
Supporting this midfield on the outside is South Adelaide’s Cheyenne Hammond who has continued to show her AFLW class upon returning from the Suns. Hammond had 13 disposals, 13 tackles, and a goal.
Rounding out this week’s midfield is the Bulldogs’ classy small, Laitiah Huynh. In her best game of the season, this fast-paced player had 24 disposals, 5 clearances and 4 marks.
This week’s defence has a youthful spin to it as some of the competition’s best and brightest young defenders are featured within it. The youngest of which is Kate Grady, the third gamer from the Bulldogs, who played her best SANFLW match so far. She finished with 12 disposals and 6 rebound 50s and, with a quick pace and a booming kick, she’s a promising rebounder in the making.
Speaking of rebounding, South Adelaide’s Sam Pratt (14 disposals, 4 marks and 4 tackles) earns a spot this week. She has not missed a beat since making her long-anticipated return to footy—and her weekend’s display was another example of this.
Shineah Goody, the Eagles’ rising star and recently named All-Australian, finds herself a little more behind the ball than usual but we had to have this player as a starter. This highly draft-worthy prospect finished with 23 disposals, 9 tackles, and 6 marks.
It is tough being a defender during a one-sided clash, even more so when it is against North Adelaide. But Madison Russell made the most of it with 18 touches, 6 rebound 50s and 5 marks.
Rounding out the defence this week is our pick for the competition’s best young defender, Kiera Mueller. This Double Blue defender had a game-high total of 23 disposals to go along with her 9 tackles and 4 marks.
Leah Cutting doesn’t need an introduction at this stage, but she still deserves one. This classy AFLW-experienced ruck has continued to show what got her drafted in the first place. On the weekend, Cutting collected 39 hit-outs, 18 disposals and 3 clearances.
A Doggies’ duo makes the rotations this week. Continuing to play at a class above on the weekend was Shelby Smith (34 disposals, 8 tackles, 4 clearances) while Lauren Breguet, a rising Bulldogs prospect, showed her potential by collecting 21 disposals and 6 tackles.
Another star midfielder of the SANFLW joins the rotations this week. Having finished with 25 disposals and 4 tackles, North Adelaide’s Jess Edwards was at it again for the Roosters on the weekend.
South Adelaide’s Jess Kirk showed another side to her game on the weekend. The usual goalkicker was turned into a tackling machine for the Panthers, finishing with 15 disposals and 10 tackles.
Rounding out this week’s team is a superstar of the weekend and an underrated star. Ellie Kellock has continued her reliable and impressive run for the Tigers by collecting 22 disposals, 7 clearances and 4 tackles. Likewise, Lily Johnston stepped up for the Bloods with 18 disposals, 11 marks and 3 tackles.
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Special thanks to all those who nominated players for our Team of the Week.
All of these images have been taken by the MWM team.