By Peter Argent
Meg Ryan, North Adelaide’s Irish recruit from Broken Hill football, and her Roosters teammates have finished the regular season as SANFL Women’s minor premiers despite losing their final game of the regular season.
Last Sunday, May 8, on a special day for the club, North Adelaide played Glenelg in a series of games to celebrate 100 years of football at Prospect Oval.
In a spirited match against the 2021 SANFL Women’s premiers, Glenelg, the Roosters women’s team were one point down at halftime, actually led by three points at lemons, but lost the match by 10 points, going down 4.2 (26) to 5.6 (36).
On a tight premiership table, the top three sides all finished with nine wins and three losses, but North grabbed the “Minor premiership” accolade with a superior percentage.
The Roosters had an eight-game winning streak before the last round loss to Glenelg and a superior percentage of 64.04.
After defeating Central District in the last minor round match, Sturt finished on 62.89 per cent.
Last year’s champions, Glenelg, has a percentage of 58.93.
Ryan, who wears the number 44 jumper, has been a consistent performer for North since she broke into the team in round three.
“Meg has quickly developed into an integral component of our midfield group,” North coach Krissie Steen confirmed.
“She’s a coach’s dream. Always prepared to do the work and follow instructions.
“Across the entire SANFLW competition, Meg is fifth in clearance and when you consider she is actually doing the ruck work, that makes it even more impressive.
“Unfortunately, she didn’t get to do much of our pre-season and with her improvement throughout the 2022 SANFL season, if I was an AFLW club, I’d be taking a punt on her.
“She has so much upside.”
Ryan has averaged 14.5 possessions a game across this season, along with averaging 12.3 hit outs a match playing as a ruck who doubles up as a big-bodied midfielder.
Robust in the contest, Ryan has enjoyed “double figure” disposal counts in nine of her 10 games, including season-high 19-touch games against Norwood in round six and South Adelaide in round nine.
In the round 10 fixture against Central District, Ryan collected a massive 33 hit outs and eight clearances.
“Her versatility is one of her major weapons,” Darryl Wintle, North Adelaide’s Football Manager, explained.
“Meg is capable of playing in ruck, as a big-bodied midfielder or up forward.
“Ferocity at the contest and love for a battle are other strengths she possesses.
“She has quickly connected to the group and adapted to the workloads of a SANFLW footballer.
“Meg is prepared to do the extras required.
“She needs to improve some of her footy IQ and understanding of her roles to be considered at the next level.”
By finishing minor premiers, North Adelaide has garnered the double chance. They play Sturt in the 2.10 pm second semi-final match this Sunday at Prospect Oval.
The Roosters have played Sturt just once during the minor round, back in Ryan’s first game in round three at Thebarton Oval, where they were inaccurate and went down in a low scoring thriller by three points.
Fellow Broken Hill girl in the squad Hannah Muscat played a game in round eight against the Eagles, while North talent Rebecca Deer has been on the brink of selection a couple of times.