Crows head to another Grand Final, but skipper will miss

ADELAIDE has booked its place in the 2021 AFLW Grand Final with an impressive 18-point victory over Melbourne at Adelaide Oval on Saturday.

Ebony Marinoff (35 disposals and 13 tackles) and Anne Hatchard (27 disposals and one goal) starred for the Crows in the 5.3 (33) to 1.9 (15) win, which sets up an Adelaide Oval Grand Final against either Brisbane or Collingwood.  

CROWS v DEMONS Full match coverage and stats

But it seems the Crows will have to enter the decider without captain Chelsea Randall, who copped a heavy knock in the first quarter and was ruled out of the rest of the match with concussion. 

It was a frenetic start to the game with good pressure from both sides early making it difficult for either team to score.

AFLW Match Highlights: Adelaide v Melbourne

03:52 Apr 10. 2021. 4:32 PM

The Crows and Demons clash in the NAB AFLW Preliminary Final

Despite leading the inside-50 count 11 to five at quarter-time, Melbourne was unable to penetrate Adelaide’s strong defensive setup and went into the first break goalless.

Adelaide’s strong midfield took control in the second term, with Marinoff (20 disposals) and Hatchard (18) both racking up mountains of possession in the first half.

Meanwhile, up forward Erin Phillips proved difficult to contain, with the superstar kicking the only two goals to half-time.        

The Crows started to overwhelm the Demons in the second half, with a lively Rachelle Martin helping drive repeated inside 50s, which led to impressive third-term goals to Hatchard and Chloe Scheer.    

Rachelle Martin was in blistering form for the Crows. Picture: AFL Photos

Melbourne finally kicked their first goal in the final term through Kate Hore, but by then it was far too late.

Injury carnage early
The ferociousness of the contest became apparent early on, with Demon Eliza McNamara and Crows skipper Chelsea Randall involved in a big collision in the first quarter. It left both players unable to finish out the game and will potentially have huge ramifications for next week’s Grand Final. Given the league’s minimum 12-day return to play protocol for concussion, it looks as if Randall will be forced to miss the decider and a chance to win a third AFLW premiership.

Bone-crunching clash rules out star Crow, young Demon

00:45 Apr 10. 2021. 3:51 PM

Chelsea Randall and Eliza McNamara ruled out with concussion after hard contest

The first blow
With Adelaide and Melbourne struggling to hit the scoreboard in the first term, both sides were desperate for a goal to settle the nerves. Enter Erin Phillips. The veteran won a free kick inside 50 and duly converted to give the Crows the early advantage. With a wasteful Melbourne finishing the game with 1.9, Phillips’ two first half goals were pivotal to Adelaide’s victory.

Anne Hatchard helps Erin Phillips celebrate a goal. Picture: AFL Photos

It was over when…
While they led by 21 points at three quarter time, the Crows would have been wary of a last term fightback from the Demons. But Eloise Jones put the game beyond reach with a classy goal in the opening minutes of the final term. The youngster crumbed the ball in the forward pocket, tapped it forward and soccered it through from a tight angle for an impressive goal that crushed any remaining hope for the Demons. 

Jones channels her inner Sam Kerr to kick unbelievable soccer goal

00:28 Apr 10. 2021. 4:15 PM

Eloise Jones ices the game with great knock on & soccer from tight angle

What’s next?
The Crows are heading to the Grand Final and have secured hosting rights, meaning they will play the winner of Brisbane and Collingwood at Adelaide Oval next Saturday. For the Demons, their season is now over.

The Melbourne players leave Adelaide Oval after their preliminary final loss. Picture: AFL Photos

ADELAIDE        1.0    2.1    4.2    5.3 (33)
MELBOURNE   0.2    0.3    0.5    1.9 (15)

GOALS
Adelaide: Phillips 2, Scheer, Hatchard, Jones
Melbourne: Hore

BEST 
Adelaide: Hatchard, Marinoff, Phillips, Martin, Thompson
Melbourne: Paxman, Hanks, Hore, Gay, Scott

INJURIES  
Adelaide: Randall (concussion)
Melbourne: McNamara (concussion)

Crowd: TBC at Adelaide Oval

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