Controversial call gets Crows over the line against gallant Cats

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).

AFLW Match Highlights: Geelong v Adelaide

05:11 Feb 23. 2020. 7:09 PM

The Cats and Crows clash in Round 3 of the AFLW

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.

Was this rushed behind deliberate?

00:26 Feb 23. 2020. 7:02 PM

Geelong's Maddy McMahon gets pinged for a deliberate rushed behind, sealing victory for the Crows

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.

Rocky's rolling ripper gives Cats a sniff

00:34 Feb 23. 2020. 6:58 PM

Richelle Cranston kicks a brilliant goal to keep the Cats alive


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.

Ponter's poise puts Crows in strong position

00:40 Feb 23. 2020. 6:26 PM

Danielle Ponter kicks a clever goal while being tackled


Exciting Cats teenager Olivia Purcell (18 disposals) and fellow midfielder Danielle Higgins (19 disposals) gave their side a chance late.

Slick snap gives Cats purr-fect start

00:30 Feb 23. 2020. 5:24 PM

Danielle Higgins gets to the right spot for Geelong's first goal

The votes
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.

Who's that?
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.

Chelsea Biddell could be a great late draft pick find for Adelaide. Picture: AFL Photos


Guns return
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.

Say what?
"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

What’s next?
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.

The Cats will hope to open their account against Richmond next round. Picture: AFL Photos

GEELONG        2.0       3.0       5.2       6.2 (38)
ADELAIDE       
3.0       5.0       6.1       8.1 (49)

GOALS
Geelong:
 Higgins 2, McWilliams, Boyd, Purcell, Cranston
Adelaide: Ponter 4, Biddell 2, Gore, Jones

BEST 
Geelong:
 Higgins, McMahon, Purcell, Ivey, A.McDonald, M.McDonald
Adelaide: Marinoff, Ponter, Hatchard, N.Allen, A.Foley, J.Foley

INJURIES 
Geelong:
 Nil 
Adelaide: Nil

Reports: Nil

Crowd: 3195 at GMHBA Stadium