The key players that will decide the 2019 Grand Final

Ahead of Sunday’s NAB AFL Women’s Grand Final at Adelaide Oval, our AFLW expert looks at three key players from each team and how they reached this point.

WATCH THE GF LIVE Catch all the action on from 12.30pm ACDT on Sunday

How the Blues can cause a major boilover

04:49 Mar 27. 2019. 12:22 PM

Nat Edwards and Sarah Black preview the AFLW Grand Final


Key players

Erin Phillips
One of the true superstars of the competition, Phillips is a noted big-game player who already has a Grand Final best-on-ground award under her belt from 2017. Back to her best after an injury-interrupted 2018, Phillips is a strong ball-winner who is also capable of hitting the scoreboard. 

Ebony Marinoff
Marinoff has taken her game to a new level, averaging 23 disposals, seven more than last year. No longer just a tackling machine, Marinoff is a genuine all-round midfielder who is strong in the clearances. Goalless in the competition’s first two seasons, she broke her duck in round seven before adding another two goals in the preliminary final.

Stevie-Lee Thompson
One of the big surprise packets of 2019, Thompson has thrived since being moved forward from the half-back line. The speedy mid-sized forward won the competition's goalkicking award and commands the opponent's best defender. She opens up the forward line with her hard running, to the benefit of her teammates.

How they got here 

To find the Crows’ low point, you have to go all the way back to round one. Although they put in a strong defensive effort they struggled in front of goal, kicking 1.11 to eventually lose by one point. Adelaide produced a 30-point turnaround to overrun Carlton in round two before really hitting form. Four wins – including impressive efforts over fellow pacesetters North Melbourne and Fremantle – by an average of 35 points followed. The Crows' last two were nothing short of extraordinary – they defeated Melbourne by 10 goals and Geelong by 11, the latter in the preliminary final. 

KEYS TO VICTORY How the Crows and Blues can win the flag


Key players

Brianna Davey
The skipper is back to her best after rupturing her right ACL in round two last year. Having started the season forward, Davey is now predominantly playing on the ball, interspersed with stints down back. One of the most powerful players in the competition, she is averaging 16 disposals and three marks a match. 

Madison Prespakis
The emerging star has been outstanding in her first season at AFLW level, averaging an impressive 20 disposals and 309m gained in eight games. She does her best work forward of centre, is usually involved in Carlton's goal sequences, and is steady under pressure.

Tayla Harris
Has taken her game to new heights after a slow start to the season. When on song, Harris is one of the best contested marks in the competition, capable of flying from three deep and bringing the ball to ground. The forward has also found her radar after a shaky few games in front of goal.

How they got here 

It looked like Carlton was in line for a miserable season after a 36-point loss to North Melbourne in round one, but the team quickly found its feet. The Blues led by 17 points against Adelaide in round two, playing quick, free-flowing footy, but tired late as the Crows overran them. The club's highest ever AFLW score of 65 followed in round three against Greater Western Sydney, before a hiccup five-point loss to Geelong. The Blues rounded out the season with three straight wins to lock up top spot in Conference B. Carlton saved its best till last, comprehensively beating Fremantle by 36 points in the preliminary final.