The Southern Saints have fallen short of a memorable interstate win after a 14-point loss to the NT Thunder.
The Saints made a strong start in Darwin to set up a three-point half time lead but were unable to fully capitalise on the weight of scoring opportunities.
NT’s contingent of AFLW talent stepped up in the second half, keeping the Saints goalless during the third term.
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The unfamiliar hot and humid conditions also took their toll, but the Saints managed to respond in the final term to limit the margin to 14 points.
Tilly Lucas-Ross was the standout for the Saints, showcasing her versatility and experience by playing a variety of positions throughout the afternoon.
Lucas-Rodd joined the Saints’ AFLW Squad through the free-agency period and has settled in quickly at the club.
Poppy Kelly was another to impress, playing close to 90 per cent game-time in sweltering conditions and competing well in the ruck against All-Australian Anne Hatchard.
Skilful Deanna Jolliffe is also showing great promise, with the midfielder booting the first goal of the match and unlucky to miss another shortly after.
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Midfielders Cat Phillips and Olivia Veseley had their moments against a formidable NT engine room.
Coach Peta Searle said her side were disappointed not to have taken their opportunities in the first half.
“The NT have only been defeated in Darwin once, so to be in a position to be further ahead in the first half and fail to make the most of those chances, was disappointing,” she said.
“Some of their better players stepped up in the second half and that was probably the difference in the end.
Overall, we were really pleased with the way the players embraced the challenge of travelling to Darwin for the match. - Peta Searle
“It’s the first time we have been able to get away as a group together and with so many new faces in the squad, it was a good opportunity for the girls that we will benefit from going forward.”