'I wasn't finished': Former Dee stars in Crows debut

WHEN Ashleigh Woodland left Melbourne at the end of the 2019 season, she wasn't satisfied with her time in the game but needed to return to South Australia to be around family.

The move paid off on Saturday when the versatile forward produced an excellent debut performance with her new club Adelaide, booting two goals in a thumping 38-point win against West Coast.

Recruited by the Demons as a free agent ahead of the 2019 season, Woodland played four games and went goalless before returning home at the end of the season. 

She joined SANFLW club North Adelaide but didn't give up on her dream of playing again at the top level. 

R2 RESHUFFLE Two games postponed due to COVID restrictions

"I wasn't finished, I didn't finish my job," Woodland told womens.afl.

"Yes, I lived the dream and I played AFLW, but I wasn't satisfied with that.

"I missed my family a bit too much and I just wanted to play at North Adelaide where I've got my friends and family around me and could get my confidence back up.

"Just have a good season of footy and see where it takes me."

AFLW Match Highlights: West Coast v Adelaide

04:21 Jan 30. 2021. 7:29 PM

The Eagles and Crows clash in round one of the NAB AFL Women's competition

Woodland's season with North Adelaide put her straight back on the radar of AFLW clubs after she led the competition goalkicking with 17 majors, including two bags of four.

The Roosters went undefeated and won the premiership, with Woodland growing as a player under coach Krissie Steen, showing an ability to play on all three lines.

"She put me into the midfield and told me to start pre-season there," Woodland said.

"I'd never played midfield in my life, but she said you're playing midfield and you've got to run.

"She pushed me to my limits and if it wasn't for her I probably wouldn't have pushed myself as much as I did and gone out of my comfort zone."


Woodland now has a bigger tank and has grown in confidence, knowing she can move into the midfield when required.

Her performance against the Eagles, kicking two first-half goals, was praised by both coach Matthew Clarke and captain Chelsea Randall this week.

"I loved her game," Clarke said, with the coach planning to use Woodland forward for the time being.

"She's one who's been in the system, came out, played really good SANFLW football last year and has worked so hard over the off-season to get herself fit and ready to play.

"Really pleased for her. It was a really good performance."

Did you head to the footy over the weekend? Tell us your thoughts! Take the survey now