From inaugural GF to '21 decider: The evolution of Crows, Lions

INCREDIBLY, Adelaide and Brisbane are set to meet in a NAB AFLW Grand Final for the second time in the competition's short five-year history.

The Crows triumphed by six points when the two sides clashed in 2017 in a game infamously played at Metricon Stadium.

Originally scheduled for the Gabba, it was moved after an Adele music concert had damaged the cricket pitch, which the groundskeeper then re-laid ahead of the Ashes (in November), meaning footy couldn't be played until it settled.

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Five years is a lifetime in the evolution of a new competition: we've seen six teams enter over that period, the home-and-away season extend from seven to nine rounds (and 10 next year), and a three-week finals series introduced.

Adelaide has yo-yo'd its way back into finals several times, crashing down the ladder in 2018 and 2020 and winning a second flag in between.

The Lions backed up with a second Grand Final appearance in 2018 before expansion hit hard, sending the team plummeting to second-last overall in 2019.

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We began to see the fruits of their labour last year, losing a semi-final to Carlton, before this season's impressive run.

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Who will be crowned AFLW premiers when Adelaide and Brisbane meet on Saturday?

Brisbane coach Craig Starcevich and his team should be thrilled with the remarkable work they've done to quickly rebuild the side after the two years of expansion raids.

But it does mean a very different side will run out on Saturday compared to that of 2017.

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The Lions are likely to be unchanged from last week's preliminary final triumph, while Adelaide will have one forced change with Chelsea Randall set to miss with concussion.

HOW THE TWO SIDES HAVE EVOLVED

ADELAIDE

Still on list from 2017: Anne Hatchard, Deni Varnhagan, Ange Foley, Dayna Cox, Ebony Marinoff, Erin Phillips, Stevie-Lee Thompson, Rhiannon Metcalfe, Sarah Allan, Justine Mules, Chelsea Randall (will miss with concussion), Jess Sedunary (playing SANFLW of late)
Playing elsewhere: Georgia Bevan, Sarah Perkins, Kellie Gibson, Sally Riley
No longer in the AFLW: Heather Anderson, Talia Radan, Courtney Cramey, Rachael Killian, Abbey Holmes, Jenna McCormick

Additions since 2017 (based on preliminary finals team)

Debuted 2018: Marijana Rajcic
Debuted 2019: Hannah Button, Eloise Jones, Danielle Ponter, Chloe Scheer
Debuted 2020: Najwa Allen, Caitlin Gould, Rachelle Martin (injury top-up, officially listed the following year)
Debuted 2021: Teah Charlton, Ashleigh Woodland (club debut)

BRISBANE

Still on list from 2017: Shannon Campbell, Kate Lutkins, Breanna Koenen, Jess Wuetschner, Emily Bates, Emma Zielke, Ally Anderson, Selina Priest (has not been selected this year), Sharni Webb (pregnant)
Playing elsewhere: Sam Virgo, Leah Kaslar, Tahlia Randall, Kaitlyn Ashmore, Sabrina Frederick, Kate McCarthy, Jordan Membrey, Tayla Harris, Jamie Stanton, Brittany Gibson
No longer in the AFLW: Megan Hunt, Nikki Wallace, Nicole Hildebrand

Additions since 2017 (based on preliminary finals team)

Debuted 2018: Sophie Conway
Debuted 2019: Lauren Arnell (club debut), Jade Ellenger, Nat Grider, Jesse Wardlaw
Debuted 2020: Greta Bodey, Dakota Davidson, Belle Dawes, Tahlia Hickie, Orla O'Dwyer, Cathy Svarc
Debuted 2021: Courtney Hodder, Taylor Smith (club debut), Indy Tahau

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