A GUTSY fightback by South Australia saw it record a two-point victory over NSW/ACT at Adelaide Oval on Sunday in an AFL women's exhibition series match.
The low-scoring, hard-hitting affair, impacted by tough weather conditions, was close throughout, with both teams applying plenty of pressure and tackling relentlessly.
With her team down by nine points, a fired-up South Australian coach Narelle Smith gave her players a classic 'rev up' at the last change.
The address clearly had its desired effect, with goals from Lexi Edwards and Ebony Marinoff giving South Australian the lead.
The final minutes were hotly contested and a number of times it looked like NSW/ACT might sneak a goal to win.
However, Demi Varnhagen kept rebounding the ball out of the NSW/ACT forward line, showing great composure under pressure.
After the game, Varnhagen – who topped the disposal tally for South Australia with 20 kicks and five handballs – said the team had responded to the coach telling them to play for the "pride of their jumpers".
The home team came out of the blocks firing, having 13 inside 50s to five in the first quarter. South Australian captain Courtney Cramey provided class around stoppages and superb delivery by foot to her teammates.
However, tough defensive pressure from NSW/ACT kept South Australia to just one goal for the quarter.
NSW/ACT lifted in the second quarter, kicking two goals in quick succession to turn the game on its head and lead by four points at half-time.
In the third term, the physicality continued with both sides applying intense tackling pressure. It was NSW/ACT that capitalised, with Rebecca Mitchell booting the only goal of the quarter.
Cramey was named best on ground for South Australia, while Maddy Collier took the award for NSW/ACT.
The game was played as a curtain-raiser to the Adelaide-St Kilda match and a number of Adelaide players, including goalsneak Eddie Betts, watching from the stands.
SOUTH AUSTRALIA 1.1 2.1 2.3 4.3 (27)
NSW/ACT 0.2 2.5 3.6 3.7 (25)
SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Killian, McCarthy, Edwards, Marinoff
NSW/ACT: Wallet, Tucker, Mitchell
SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Cramey, Varnhagen, Marinoff, Killian
NSW/ACT: Collier, Beeson, Farrugia, Hollick