ADELAIDE'S NAB AFL Women's premiership defence gathered more momentum on Sunday with a gripping 11-point victory over Geelong at GMHBA Stadium.
Danielle Ponter (four goals) and Ebony Marinoff (25 disposals) did the heavy lifting as the Crows held off a spirited second-half effort from the Cats to win 8.1 (49) to 6.2 (38).
A thrilling snap from ‘Rocky’ Cranston put Geelong within five points with less than three minutes to play before the Crows peppered their goals.
With the ball bouncing towards Adelaide's goal with 60 seconds on the clock, Cats defender Maddy McMahon conceded a behind, only to be called for a controversial deliberate rushed behind.
The resulting free kick gifted Ponter her fourth major from the top of the goal square, clinching the Crows' second win of the season.
CROWS GET THE POINTS Full match coverage and stats
Despite kicking the highest score in their two-year history, the Cats' loss against their Conference A rivals leaves their season on the ropes at 0-3 with five matches to play.
Adelaide’s ferocious tackling pressure caught the young Geelong side off-guard in the first-half, as the reigning premiers took a 12-point lead into the main break.
After two poor second-half efforts to start the season, the Cats came out all guns blazing in the third term, but could only bridge the margin to five points at the final break.
Eloise Jones broke the deadlock 11 minutes into the fourth quarter, before Cranston gave the Cats a glimmer of hope to no avail.
Ponter's speed in the front half forced three match-up changes between Geelong defenders Millie Brown, the returning Meg McDonald and captain Mel Hickey.
Exciting Cats teenager Olivia Purcell (18 disposals) and fellow midfielder Danielle Higgins (19 disposals) gave their side a chance late.
Good luck to the umpires splitting Adelaide pair Ebony Marinoff and Danielle Ponter for the three votes. Marinoff was in everything in the midfield, collecting 25 disposals (17 contested), 12 tackles and 11 clearances – only four less than Geelong combined. Ponter's four goals was ultimately the difference to go with 10 disposals and an equal game-high four marks.
Taken at pick No.102 in last year's NAB AFL Draft, mature-age forward Chelsea Biddell showed she'll provide plenty of opposition headaches with two first-half goals in her third AFLW match. The booming kick gives the Crows' attack something different around Ponter, Stevie-Lee Thompson and Eloise Jones.
Meg McDonald defied the odds to lead Geelong's defence in her first match of the season, three weeks after finger surgery. Fellow All-Australian defender Courtney Cramey had several crucial moments late to seal the Crows' victory in her first match of 2020 following an adductor strain.
Work in progress
After a -60 inside 50 differential across their opening two matches, the Cats attempted a different look going forward on Sunday. Phoebe McWilliams provided a strong target playing further up the field to allow Maddie Boyd to play her first game of the season closer to goal. The Cats were more dangerous, but could still only manage 18 entries for eight scoring shots.
"I'm gutted for the players. It might be the best game Geelong's AFLW team has ever played today. If there's a word for a cross between disappointed and proud, that's where I'm at."
- Geelong coach Paul Hood
"By the letter of the law it was probably there (deliberate rushed call). When you saw it live it didn't feel quite right. I wasn't a mad fan of the decision." - Adelaide coach Matthew Clarke
Geelong travels to Bendigo to face Richmond on Saturday at 3.10pm AEDT with both sides still searching for their first win of the season. The Crows return to Hisense Stadium to host Carlton at 12.40pm ACDT on Sunday.
GEELONG 2.0 3.0 5.2 6.2 (38)
ADELAIDE 3.0 5.0 6.1 8.1 (49)
Geelong: Higgins 2, McWilliams, Boyd, Purcell, Cranston
Adelaide: Ponter 4, Biddell 2, Gore, Jones
Geelong: Higgins, McMahon, Purcell, Ivey, A.McDonald, M.McDonald
Adelaide: Marinoff, Ponter, Hatchard, N.Allen, A.Foley, J.Foley
Crowd: 3195 at GMHBA Stadium