A SERIOUS knee injury to Adelaide superstar Erin Phillips has cast a shadow over the Crows' emphatic 45-point victory over Carlton in the AFLW Grand Final at Adelaide Oval on Sunday.
Played in front of a record crowd for a women's game of Australian football of 53,034, the Crows lived up to their favourites' tag, demolishing the Blues, 10.3 (63) to 2.6 (18).
The attendance was the fifth-highest for a football match at Adelaide Oval.
After a one-point loss to the Western Bulldogs in round one, the Crows went on an eight-game winning streak under first-year coach Matthew Clarke to secure their second flag in three years.
Phillips was best on ground before tearing the ACL in her left knee in the third quarter, the crowd going silent while she was being treated before giving the 2017 AFLW best and fairest a rousing ovation as she left the ground.
She won the award for best afield despite missing all of the final term.
Anne Hatchard and Ebony Marinoff dominated the midfield, Eloise Jones was lively in attack and Danielle Ponter kicked three goals.
The Crows also lost forward Chloe Scheer to a suspected ruptured ACL.
Blues captain Brianna Davey was the best for the visitors, who gave themselves too much to do after trailing by 40 points at half-time.
- Crows supporters cheer during the 2019 AFLW Grand Final match between the Adelaide Crows and the Carlton Blues at Adelaide Oval on March 31, 2019.
- Tayla Harris of the Blues is tackled by Chelsea Randall of the Crows during the 2019 AFLW Grand Final match between the Adelaide Crows and Carlton.
- Alison Downie of the Blues competes with Jessica Foley of the Crows during the 2019 AFLW Grand Final match between the Adelaide Crows and Carlton.
- Danielle Ponter of the Crows celebrates during the 2019 AFLW Grand Final match between the Adelaide Crows and Carlton.
- Gabriella Pound (left) and Katie Loynes of the Blues celebrate during the 2019 AFLW Grand Final match between the Adelaide Crows and Carlton.
- Anne Hatchard of the Crows celebrates a goal with team mate Justine Mules during the 2019 AFLW Grand Final match between Adelaide and Carlton.
- Madison Prespakis (left) and Darcy Vescio of the Blues celebrate during the 2019 AFLW Grand Final match between the Adelaide Crows and Carlton.
- Stevie-Lee Thompson of the Crows celebrates a goal during the 2019 AFLW Grand Final match between the Adelaide Crows and Carlton.
- Jess Edwards of the Blues competes with Chloe Scheer of the Crows during the 2019 AFLW Grand Final match between the Adelaide Crows and Carlton.
- Danielle Ponter of the Crows marks the ball over Jess Hosking of the Blues during the 2019 AFLW Grand Final match.
This was a monumental day for AFLW, and women's sport in general, in many ways. A crowd of 30,000 was expected, but the Adelaide public arrived in droves for an official attendance of 53,034. It was easily the largest crowd for a women's game of Australian football and the fifth-biggest crowd at Adelaide Oval for any football game.
The first blow
The Blues got away to the perfect start within three minutes when young gun Madison Prespakis was awarded a 50m penalty and kicked the opening goal of the game from the goalsquare. It was a rare highlight for the Blues, with the Crows kicking the next nine goals of the game to have the match won by half-time.
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Crows forward Chloe Scheer took an absolute hanger, climbing on the back of Blues defender Kerryn Harrington in the second quarter. But that high turned to concern a few minutes later when Scheer went down on her right knee and was helped from the ground. Scheer missed all of last season with a torn ACL.
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It was attacking footy at its best as Crows speedster Eloise Jones found herself in plenty of space along the wing. After a couple of bounces, Jones delivered a pinpoint kick to Danielle Ponter just beyond the reach of her Blues defender and for her third goal of the game. Jones was influential up forward with her courageous marking and ability to hit targets by foot.
Work in progress
The Blues have been one of the feel-good stories of this season. After winning just two games last year, and a disappointing round-one loss to North Melbourne, they turned their season around under new coach Daniel Harford, playing an exciting brand of football. Led by captain Brianna Davey and NAB AFLW Rising Star favourite Madison Prespakis, the Blues can hold their heads high and have a bright future.
ADELAIDE 3.0 9.2 10.2 10.3 (63)
CARLTON 1.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 (18)
Adelaide: Ponter 3, Phillips 2, Hatchard, Considine, Martin, Thompson, Jones
Carlton: Prespakis, Davey
Adelaide: Hatchard, Phillips, Jones, Randall, Allan, Marinoff, J.Foley
Carlton: Davey, Stevens, Prespakis, S.Hosking, Downie
Adelaide: Scheer (knee), Phillips (knee)
Carlton: Harris (knee)
Umpires: Toner, Heffernan, McGinness
Official crowd: 53,034 at Adelaide Oval