Top Eight: Predictions for the 2020 SANFLW Season
After months of waiting, the time has finally arrived, the South Australian National Football League Women’s (SANFLW) competition is back.
And if you’re anything like us, then you have probably spent a lot of time pondering about what the 2020 SANFLW season has in store for us.
From the improvement of teams to the influx of talent; we thought we would save you some time and come up with our Top Eight: Predictions for the 2020 SANFLW season.
#8 We will see a much-improved Eagles outfit
This one comes in at number eight because it is probably the safest prediction for this season. Let’s face it, the Eagles didn’t have the best inaugural season, and despite coming close to beating West Adelaide twice, they finished the 2019 season winless. However, the Eagles have already proven that 2020 will be a different story, with the side claiming some significant victories during their trial games. In saying that, they are just trial games, but their fitness and pressure around the ball has certainly improved which was one of their major weaknesses last season.
Will they be the Glenelg of the 2020 season? Probably not, but they will certainly be a team that no club can afford to take lightly.
#7 The Tigers will be Up and About
Thanks to their performance last season, the Tigers won’t have the element of surprise for the 2020 SANFLW season, however, we doubt that they will need it. The Tigers, with a few exceptions, have managed to retain their main core of players. The same core of players that managed to help the side reach the Qualifying Final in 2019. But with 2020 looking as if it will be even closer than the previous season, the Tigers cannot afford another mid-season slump, as it nearly cost them a final’s berth last season if West Adelaide had won their round ten match.
#6 Westies to Break the Drought
Both in 2018 and 2019, West Adelaide finished right on the fringe of playing finals. With 2019 certainly being the most agonising, as the side sat in a finals spot practically all season until they lost the final game to South Adelaide. Can West Adelaide finally overcome the Westie Wobbles? Well, we reckon they certainly can, as the Bloods still have a strong side, not to mention some of the best young players in the SANFLW.
And if they can get Biddell and Newman back in time for finals, they could potentially do some damage. However, as with Glenelg, West cannot afford to let their guard down at all during the 2020 season, because they nearly lost to the Eagles twice last season, which would have ruled them out of finals long before round ten.
#5 The Central’s Pups will Shine
The Bulldogs are a very unpredictable side, but the most obvious thing about the team, is the talent of their pups. When we say pups, we mean their younger players, and Central’s certainly don’t have a shortage of young guns. With the likes of Laitiah Huynh, Maddy Lane, Kimberly Fry and Aisha Thomas all donning the blue, red and white; the Bulldogs are on par with some of the serious Premiership contenders in terms of their young talent.
Add to this, some of their more experienced players, most notable would be Katelyn Rosenzweig up forward, and it equals a team that cannot be taken lightly during the 2020 season.
#4 North to Overtake Norwood?
This one is pretty out there, but considering Norwood’s losses to the AFLW and the fact that the construction at Coopers Stadium has forced their women’s team to play away for most the season, the door has been left wide open for the Roosters.
North, who have lost some key players, have certainly recruited well and with Krissie at the helm, they can certainly do some damage. In saying this however, Norwood will certainly not be weak, with players such as Hollick, Armitstead, Cutting and Smith all still at the club. But North Adelaide can certainly capitalise on Norwood’s circumstances.
#3 South Isn’t Going Away Anytime Soon
What is the Panthers biggest weakness? Well, obviously in a team that has won back to back Premierships there are very few big weaknesses. However, if we wanted to be very picky, over the last two years the only main one we could say is their inaccuracy, or in more general terms their forward line.
But the Panthers have recruited extremely well over the off season, with the most notable recruit being Talia Meyer, who has already shown how she can contribute to the side. And it these same recruits that were on fire during the Panthers second trial, with the side putting together arguably one of their best forward performances ever. But this was just a trial, so only time will tell if they can back this up during the 2020 season.
#2 AFLW Game Changers
For those who are unaware, SANFLW teams can retain their players that were drafted to the AFLW, with most coming back to their respective sides in the final few rounds.
Why are we telling you this?
Well in a season that is shaping up to be very close, it is these AFLW draftees that made hold the key to finals. Now it does depend on availability at the end of season, but in the final few rounds and if they are match fit, we could, just to name a few, see the return of Caitlin Gould and Lucy Bellinger to Glenelg or the return of Hannah Dunn, Najwa Allen and Hannah Priest to Norwood. Likewise, Jaimi Tabb could go back to the Eagles while Maddi Newman and Chelsea Biddle could return to the Bloods. And finally, Nikki Gore, Montana McKinnon, Nicole Campbell, Hannah Munyard and Cheyenne Hammond could all end up back at the Panthers.
#1 It is Going to be a Close Finish
As we have mentioned several times already, the 2020 SANFLW season is shaping up to be the closest yet. Most would say there are five serious Premiership contenders for a start, keeping in mind there are only four finals spots, with most people saying Glenelg, North Adelaide, South Adelaide, West Adelaide and Norwood being the main five.
However, Sturt and Central’s have some of the youngest talent in the league, so if they can gel together, they may do some serious damage, particularly midway through the season. And as the Eagles, well they have already proven that they won’t be a push over during the 2020 season, so they could potentially be the surprise packet of 2020. Regardless, it is going to be a close finish, and only time will tell who will lift the cup at the end of the season.