CARLTON has rained on superstar Erin Phillips' parade to gain revenge on the Crows in an epic AFLW Grand Final rematch.
The Blues conceded the opening three goals, but rallied magnificently to snatch a vital eight-point victory at Hisense Stadium in front of a crowd of 7281 on Sunday.
CROWS V BLUES Full match coverage and stats
The Blues (3-1) sit equal with Fremantle and Melbourne at the top of Conference B, while the Crows (2-2) remain fourth in Conference A, behind third-placed Greater Western Sydney on percentage.
Blues young gun Madison Prespakis (20 disposals) was immense through the midfield, key forward Tayla Harris was a dominant force in the second half, kicking two goals and taking clutch contested marks, while Charlotte Wilson and Vaomua Laloifi rebounded strongly out of defence.
Dual AFLW best and fairest Phillips had a big impact in her first game since tearing her ACL in last year's Grand Final, splitting her time in the midfield and forward and finishing with 13 disposals.
Ball magnets Anne Hatchard and Ebony Marinoff led the Crows with 26 and 20 disposals respectively.
Last year's decider was over at half-time before the Crows romped to a 45-point victory to claim the premiership.
The Crows made the early running again, but the Blues refused to wilt, kicking five of the final six goals of the contest.
Their game plan was built on stretching the ground by constantly switching the ball out of defence, in stark contrast to the Crows who went down the corridor at every opportunity.
The Blues had a mountain of chances in the first half with 20 inside 50s to 11, but could muster only two goals to trail the Crows by five points at the main break.
Crows ruck Jess Foley failed to finish the game with a left ankle injury.
Adelaide co-captain and dual AFLW best and fairest Erin Philips made her long-awaited comeback from a torn ACL sustained in last year's Grand Final win. Phillips had some touches of class, including a one-handed mark, and was busy through the midfield and dangerous in attack.
Blues defender Charlotte Wilson played a magnificent game in the backline. Her intercept marking was superb and she was pivotal in the Blues switching the ball and repelling the Crows when they went forward.
This was a game of two contrasting styles. The Crows went long and direct through the corridor, while the Blues moved the ball from side to side and used the entire width of the ground. The Blues found plenty of space on the wings, controlling possession and giving their forwards plenty of service.
The Crows lost ruck Jess Foley in the third quarter to an ankle injury. That forced Rhiannon Metcalfe, in her first game back in more than 12 months after a torn ACL, to play extended minutes as a sole ruck against the Carlton duo of Bri Moody and Alison Downie. The Blues dominated the hitout count 26-10.
"While it wasn't ideal to be three goals down against Adelaide on the road, we never worried about it being the same thing again that happened in April last year. We've never beaten Adelaide until today. We were zip and four coming into today. To beat an opponent that you've never been able to beat is a real confidence boost." – Carlton coach Daniel Harford.
"From half-way through the second quarter I thought Carlton owned the game. We worked really hard and tried to hang in there, but they were certainly the deserving victors today." – Adelaide coach Matthew Clarke.
The Crows face Conference A rivals North Melbourne at North Hobart Oval next Saturday at 3.10pm AEDT. The Blues return home, hosting St Kilda in a Conference B encounter at Ikon Park on Saturday night at 7.10pm AEDT.
ADELAIDE 1.2 3.2 4.3 4.4 (28)
CARLTON 0.2 2.3 4.5 5.6 (36)
Adelaide: Metcalfe, Jones, Considine, Hatchard
Carlton: Harris 2, Stevens, Prespakis, Vescio
Adelaide: Hatchard, Marinoff, Phillips, Mules
Carlton: Prespakis, Wilson, Egan, Harris, Lalofi, Vescio
Adelaide: Jess Foley (ankle)
Crowd: 7281 at Hisense Stadium