ADELAIDE is yet to officially reveal its Grand Final captain, after a "gutted" skipper Chelsea Randall was ruled out due to concussion.
It's the second time in four years an AFLW captain has been ruled out before the decider, after Katie Brennan missed the Western Bulldogs' 2018 triumph due to suspension.
It's also a devastating personal blow for Randall, who sat out the 2020 season due to a torn ACL, but had returned in excellent shape this season.
The 29-year-old already missed a game earlier this year due to concussion.
Adelaide's leadership group consists of Ange Foley, Sarah Allan and Eloise Jones. Erin Phillips has also previously captained the side.
"I think we have exceptional leaders here at our footy club and in our women's team, our girls have really stepped up," Randall said, speaking for the first time since she was ruled out.
"They themselves have done the work, so it's just me reinforcing that belief in them, just how good they are.
"I feel like a proud parent, it's like watching – not that I have kids, but I can imagine what it would be like watching your young son or daughter drive away as an 18-year-old and going off into the world after you've done everything you possibly can to help them and support them.
"I get to watch from the side and be that proud parent."
Relieving the collision between herself and Demon Eliza McNamara, Randall said she had been hoping to wear the contact and continue moving forward with the ball, but ended up with concussion and a bloody mouth.
"Concussion is a serious topic and as much as I'm gutted, devastated, sad that I won't be taking the field with my teammates in the Grand Final this weekend, the last six months, the last 10 games, it hasn't been about me," Randall said.
"It hasn't been about one sole individual, it's been about this group and how special they are and the journey we've been on together."
Randall said she wants to be a messenger to the side's fans this week, encouraging them to attend Saturday's decider at Adelaide Oval. She has requested a role on the bench on match day, to be an "Energizer Bunny" on the sidelines.
"One thing I'm super proud of in our group is when an opportunity arises, they embrace it and they don't take it for granted. They've done that and they've shown that all season. I have no doubt they'll do just that," she said.
"We play footy for one another. Last week's game was very much about the players who couldn’t play, and that's not just me, it's the ones who are injured or not selected.
"We're a squad of 30, a murder of Crows, and they're a damn good bunch, I'm super proud of them."
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