WITH THE AFL Grand Final to be played on Saturday, womens.afl thought it was a good opportunity to take a trip down memory lane.
There have been three NAB AFLW Grand Finals played (this year's finals series was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic), but who – aside from Erin Phillips – starred?
2017 – ADELAIDE 4.11 (35) defeated BRISBANE 4.5 (29), at Metricon Stadium
There was controversy around the inaugural Grand Final before the ball had been bounced.
Initially slated for the Gabba – as Brisbane had earned hosting rights by finishing first – damaged turf and re-laid wickets after an Adele concert a few weeks prior saw the game shifted to Metricon.
The Lions had won the previous match against the Crows by just three points.
Adelaide got off to a flyer courtesy of Kellie Gibson, who snapped a goal from 35m after the first clearance.
The Crows – led by Phillips (26 and two goals), Ebony Marinoff and Courtney Cramey in the engine room – dominated general play, although a pair of Jess Wuetschner goals cut the margin to six points at the main break.
The third term was the Phillips show, interspersed by an inspirational Sabrina Frederick major.
Tayla Harris, who had been blanketed up until that point by Chelsea Randall, stood tall to kick the only goal of the final quarter, but a resolute Crows defence then held strong under enormous pressure to win by six points.
BRISBANE LIONS 1.0 2.1 3.3 4.5 (29)
ADELAIDE 2.1 2.7 4.9 4.11 (35)
Brisbane Lions: Wuetschner 2, Frederick, Harris
Adelaide: Phillips 2, Gibson, Varnhagen
Brisbane Lions: Bates, Frederick, Virgo, Kaslar, Hunt, Ashmore
Adelaide: Phillips, Randall, Marinoff, Cramey, Gibson, Bevan
Best on ground: Phillips
2018 – WESTERN BULLDOGS 4.3 (27) defeated BRISBANE 3.3 (21), at Ikon Park
It was a hotly contested round seven to earn qualification for the Grand Final.
The Western Bulldogs clawed a win over Melbourne, while Brisbane needed to upset GWS and for Collingwood to be unlikely victors over Adelaide, both of which occurred.
Rain had bucketed down on Ikon Park for hours leading up to the match. Just one goal was kicked in the opening half, and like the 2017 Grand Final, it came in the first passage of play.
A quick clearance found first-year player Sophie Conway, who duly converted her set shot.
The Bulldogs peppered their forward 50 throughout the first half, but they were pressured and ill-directed entries, which the tireless Kate Lutkins mopped up time and time again.
The rain cleared at the main break, and the Dogs rallied in drier conditions. Deanna Berry stunned with a long bomb from outside 50, which was quickly followed by Kirsten McLeod and Monique Conti.
Conti's third term was one to remember, the 18-year-old continually finding space in stoppages and marking well overhead.
The teams traded goals in the final term, with Jess Wuetschner adding two herself. With the margin at just six points, a Lions shot after the siren looked to be on the cards until a courageous intercept mark by the unheralded Naomi Ferres.
Dogs skipper Katie Brennan – who missed the match after cumulative reprimands for rough conduct resulted in a one-match suspension – was called up on stage by acting captain Ellie Blackburn to celebrate the win.
WESTERN BULLDOGS 0.1 0.1 3.2 4.3 (27)
BRISBANE LIONS 1.1 1.1 1.1 3.3 (21)
Western Bulldogs: Berry, McLeod, Conti, Kearney
Brisbane Lions: Wuetschner 2, Conway
Western Bulldogs: Conti, Blackburn, Kearney, Birch, Spark, Bruton
Brisbane Lions: Lutkins, Stanton, Wuetschner, Zielke, Ashmore
Best on ground: Conti
2019 – ADELAIDE 10.3 (63) defeated CARLTON 2.6 (18), at Adelaide Oval
The rampaging Adelaide capped off an outstanding 2019 with a thumping premiership win in front of a record crowd of 53,034.
The Crows had destroyed an outclassed Geelong in the preliminary final to the tune of 66 points, but the early signs from the Blues - who had improved out of sight after a wooden spoon in 2018 - were good.
Young gun Maddy Prespakis converted a set shot after a 50m penalty, before the Crows piled on three goals in quick succession.
And that was all she wrote.
Adelaide took complete control of the match from the quarter-time break onwards, piling on a whopping six goals in a second quarter that went for around 17 minutes.
Ominously for the rest of the competition, it was the work of young stars Anne Hatchard and Ebony Marinoff in the middle, Danielle Ponter and Chloe Scheer up forward and Sarah Allan in defence which set the tone.
Erin Phillips was dominant wherever she played, whether that was in the middle of up forward, but her day – as did Scheer's – ended early with a torn ACL. Phillips left the ground to a standing ovation.
Blues skipper Brianna Davey fought well in what turned out to be her final match for the club.
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: Phillips, Hatchard, Jones, Randall, Allan, Marinoff, J.Foley
Carlton: Davey, Stevens, Prespakis, S.Hosking, Downie
Best on ground: Phillips