By Peter Argent
With Broken Hill’s Irish export Meg Ryan as a key ingredient, North Adelaide has earned direct entry to the 2022 SANFL Women’s Grand Final on Sunday, May 29 at The Parade, Norwood.
The Roosters kicked three goals to one in the opening term against Sturt in the 2.10pm Sunday second semi-final fixture at Prospect Oval.
They increased the lead to 19 points at halftime and would go on to achieve an emphatic win, 11.5 (71) to the Double Blues 2.2 (14).
Ryan continued her strong season in the minor premiers’ midfield rotations, as well as leading the ruck.
She finished with 17 disposals, including 12 kicks, took two marks and laid a pair of tackles, along with having 19 hit outs and importantly winning an equal team-high five clearances at the stoppages.
She also played a key role in a handful of scoring opportunities in a game where the Roosters had 16 scorings shots to Sturt four.
The Double Blues were only able the kick one point in the second half.
“The game went in the ‘blink of the eye’ and the pressure around the ball was certainly a step up from the minor round,” Meg Ryan told the Barrier Truth post-game.
“My and the teams’ skills are improving so much and we’ve executed it so well that we enjoyed a strong win today.
“Our pressure and intent at the contest was where we wanted it to be.
“The coaching staff said the ‘Stats’ had shown we hadn’t won a first quarter during the regular season and that was a task we were looking to change in the final (North kicked 3.1 to 1.1 in the first quarter).
“Personally, I feel I’m getting better with each game.
“The coaching staff congratulated us post-game, but the one-on-one feedback on our performances will come during the week.
“Matt Downie, our midfield coach and (senior coach Krissie) Steen explained my primary role is just to contest the ball ups as the ruck and more importantly, to be the fourth midfielder in the group when the ball hits the ground.”
In a tough and feisty game, which was expected in a final, Ryan was involved in a ruck contest, where she collected Sturt’s young gun and Crows AFLW listed player Zoe Prowse with a swinging arm to the face during the second quarter.
“It happened absolutely by accident,” Ryan explained about the incident.
“I know I hit her, but there was no intention at all in my act.
“I was just trying to win the hit out.”
The Roosters will now play the winners of this weekend’s preliminary final (Sturt vs. Glenelg) on SANFLW Grand Final day, Sunday, May 29 at The Parade, Norwood.
Having previously played in the Grand Finals of 2017 and 2019 and winning the 2020 title against South, this will be the Roosters’ fourth season deciding appearance.
The Roosters have proved to be one of the strongest clubs across the SANFL Women’s program since its beginning in 2017.
They are building an association with Broken Hill football as well.