ADELAIDE has inflicted Fremantle's first defeat of the AFLW season with an emphatic 42-point victory in Darwin on Saturday night.
The Crows led by just three points at half-time before booting six unanswered goals in the final two quarters to comfortably run away with the game – 9.11 (65) to 3.5 (23) – in front of a crowd of 1734 at TIO Stadium.
The result means the Crows (3-1) have moved above the Dockers (3-1) into second spot in Conference A on percentage.
Superstar Erin Phillips continued her fine season with 25 touches and two goals, while Anne Hatchard and Ebony Marinoff were also superb for the Crows. Forwards Eloise Jones, Danielle Ponter and Stevie-Lee Thompson kicked two goals each.
The only downside to the Crows was a hamstring injury to forward Courtney Cramey.
RACE FOR FINALS Where is your team placed?
Kiara Bowers never stopped trying for the Dockers along with Evangeline Gooch, Dana Hooker and Stephanie Cain.
It was over when…
The Crows dominated the first three quarters, but wayward kicking meant they only had a 12-point lead to show for it. Danielle Ponter's goal early in the fourth term opened the flood gates as the Crows booted five straight from then on to completely run over the top of the Dockers.
The game changer
Another game, another best-on-ground performance for Adelaide co-captain Erin Phillips. The 2017 AFLW best and fairest is on a different level to the rest of the competition. Phillips had 25 disposals (including 23 kicks) to go with 2.3 in an influential display.
One to watch
Danielle Ponter put on a show for her home fans in the NT, the Darwin teenager who hails from football royalty kicking two dazzling goals. The niece of Essendon great Michael Long and cousin of Cyril Rioli shone in Crows' colours in just her third AFLW game. After starting the season in defence, Ponter showed she is just as effective in attack.
The Dockers were averaging 59 points per game heading into the Darwin encounter, but couldn't find a way past the Crows' defence. Sarah Allan was outstanding, All Australian captain Chelsea Randall had a big third quarter and Marijana Rajcic was strong across halfback.
Get online now and watch this…
Goal umpire Emilie Hill got more than she bargained for when she was on the end of Stevie-Lee Thompson's first-quarter goal. Thompson ran into an open goal-square, smashing the ball straight into Hill, putting her on her backside. In a nice touch, Thompson checked Hill was OK and helped her to her feet.
"It was a great game. Up until three-quarter time it was an awesome contest. Clearly we ran a bit away in the last, but I thought Fremantle were really good and that made for a great game. The outcome was significant because it's a fairly short season and it's a fairly congested ladder, particularly on our side." - Adelaide coach Matthew Clarke
"It means a lot (to play in the NT). It's been a long journey, it was just good because it's one thing to get an AFLW game, it's another thing to play at home in front of your friends and family and have that support around you when you do have those lucky moments when you do kick goals. To hear them yelling out and shouting (was) very good." - Adelaide forward Danielle Ponter
"It's a good learning experience for us. We came up here (to Darwin) a few weeks ago (for a pre-season game against the Crows) and lost and we improved from that, so we want to do exactly the same from this loss. It's a tight competition, can't afford to learn too much from losing too many, but this is one we'll try to move on from quickly." - Fremantle coach Trent Cooper
"I thought we were in it for the majority of the game. We got smashed in the clearances, tried a few different things, but they were way better than us inside, flicked it out and got on top of us. Gave their forwards the best opportunity and put our backs under a lot of pressure. It's never great losing, but you've got to bounce back quickly. The competition's so quick and the turnaround's pretty quick. We've got the Bulldogs in eight days, which we'll be ready for." - Fremantle captain Kara Donnellan
The Crows have set up a massive top-of-the-conference encounter when they travel to Werribee to face unbeaten North Melbourne at Avalon Airport Oval next Sunday, 4.05pm AEDT. Meanwhile, the Dockers will aim to bounce back when they host the Western Bulldogs at Fremantle Oval next Sunday, 3.05pm AWST.
ADELAIDE 1.3 3.5 4.8 9.11 (65)
FREMANTLE 1.0 3.2 3.2 3.5 (23)
Adelaide: Jones 2, Ponter 2, Thompson 2, Phillips 2, Martin
Fremantle: Gibson, Antonio, Atkins
Adelaide: Phillips, Hatchard, Marinoff, Jones, Ponter, Allan
Fremantle: Bowers, Gibson, Gooch, Cain
Adelaide: Cramey (hamstring)
Umpires: Burns, Lewis, Bryce
Official crowd: 1734 at TIO Stadium