How each team can win the Grand Final

CARLTON has a monumental task on its hand this week when it attempts to beat the rampaging Adelaide in Sunday's NAB AFL Women’s Grand Final.

The Crows have won their last two matches, by 10 and 11 goals respectively, while the Blues overcame the Dockers by 36 points to qualify for the Grand Final.

What does each team need to do to ensure they're the ones holding the cup on Sunday afternoon at Adelaide Oval. 

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Round two, 2019
Adelaide 9.3 (57) defeated Carlton 7.2 (44) at Ikon Park

In one of the most entertaining matches of the season, Carlton dominated the opening half before pushing out to a 17-point lead in the third term.

In a complete turnaround, the Crows wrested control, quickly piling on five goals to ultimately win by 13 points.

Adelaide's Stevie-Lee Thompson (the competition’s eventual leading goalkicker) kicked four goals, while Carlton's Maddy Prespakis received a NAB AFLW Rising Star nomination for her 20 disposals and six marks in the midfield. 

AFLW Match Highlights: Carlton v Adelaide

04:49 Feb 10. 2019. 7:36 PM

The Blues and the Crows go head to head in round 2 of the AFLW

Round five, 2018
Adelaide 8.7 (55) defeated Carlton 2.8 (20) at Norwood Oval

Round three, 2017
Adelaide 2.5 (17) defeated Carlton 2.2 (14) at Thebarton Oval

HOW CARLTON CAN WIN

Stopping the destructive Crows is the biggest task in women's football.

Carlton looks set to employ noted tagger Jess Edwards on one of the Adelaide midfield trio of Erin Phillips, Ebony Marinoff and Anne Hatchard. 

Phillips is incredibly difficult to tag, given her physical attributes and the amount of time she spends up forward.

Tagging Marinoff might be Carlton's best option. She leads the Crows in disposals, clearances, kicks, tackles and is second at the club in metres gained, contested possessions, score involvements, handballs and inside 50s.

Curbing Marinoff will go some way to limiting entries inside Adelaide's forward 50. Stopping the Crows’ supply will be incredibly important, as they have five players – Thompson, Danielle Ponter, Phillips, Chloe Scheer, Eloise Jones – who have kicked at least eight goals this season.

Versatile skipper Brianna Davey can play on all three lines but will be needed in the midfield – along with Prespakis and Sarah Hosking – to counter the Crows' stars.

Carlton's forwards will need to force Adelaide's defenders from their traditional zone set-up to a one-on-one defence.

The Crows' backline, led by Sarah Allen, Marijana Rajcic and Chelsea Randall, are all comfortable sitting off their players and intercepting at will.

Carlton has only two big marking targets in Tayla Harris and Breann Moody. Smalls Darcy Vescio, Brooke Walker and Chloe Dalton are talented and quick enough to engage Adelaide's defenders and break around the zone.

The verdict: The Blues will have to beat the Crows around the ball and force the Adelaide defenders to be accountable if they are any chance of winning. 

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

HOW ADELAIDE CAN WIN 

Key forward Tayla Harris is arguably Carlton's most important player.

When her confidence is up, she flies for her marks, crashes packs and brings the ball to ground for her smaller teammates to pounce on.

Harris didn't play the last time these two sides met, missing with a shoulder complaint. Her likely opponent, Randall, also missed with hamstring tightness.

The two have had some fierce battles over the past few years, although Randall comfortably shut down Harris in the 2017 Grand Final when the forward was playing for Brisbane. Putting Harris off her game will be crucial for an Adelaide win.

Forcing Davey and Prespakis to defend in the middle of the ground will diminish their impact at stoppages. If they're more concerned about their direct opponents, they'll be less likely to have an impact forward of centre.

Adelaide's spread of goalkicking options gives it the edge over Carlton's defence.

Getting the ball inside 50 quickly will stretch a Carlton backline that isn't overly tall (18-year-old Charlotte Wilson, at 177cm, is the only player over 173cm).

Thompson's hard running is often rewarded with goals, but it's her ability to create space for her fellow forwards that can be even more damaging.

If the Crows' midfielders spot forwards moving into open space – as they have for the vast majority of the season – they will continue to find avenues to goal.

The verdict: Adelaide set a club record of 83 tackles last week, with Marinoff, Hannah Martin and Justine Mules laying 10 each. If the Crows apply pressure in a similar way, they should win comfortably.