Adelaide Crows fly into AFLW grand final


Such was the Crows’ dominance, coach Matthew Clarke rotated his players throughout the second half. The Cats kept contesting but struggled to hold possession, unable to match the elite skills of Adelaide’s best players as Ebony Marinoff (25 possessions, two goals), Erin Phillips and countless others repeatedly sent the Crows forward.

Meg McDonald and Cassie Blakeway were ever present for the Cats but the visitors couldn’t create attacking chances.

Erin Phillips and Ebony Marinoff celebrate after the siren.Credit:AAP

Former Australian Opal and WNBL championship winner Jess Foley, 35, has made a splash in her first AFLW season in the ruck for the Crows and she showed poise with some deft touches and a late goal.

What should give the Blues the most concern is the Crows’ balance up forward as Danielle Ponter (three goals), Chloe Scheer (two goals) and Ailish Considine all looked dangerous while the likes of Phillips, Marinoff and others midfielders snuck forward to further stretch the Cats.

Crows defender Chelsea Randall was rotated in short stints after reports of soreness from last game while Phillips played on despite a cut above her right eye.

Cats forward Richelle “Rocky” Cranston broke a goal drought stretching back to the third quarter of the last round for her side with a goal four minutes from full time.

Richelle Cranston scored her side's only goal.

Richelle Cranston scored her side’s only goal.Credit:AAP

Phillips loved being part of the first AFLW game at Adelaide Oval, which saw 13,429 fans turn up to cheer on the Crows.

“We have been there and won it but we want that feeling again,” Phillips told Channel Seven after the match.

“It is not going to be easy, Carlton will be very tough as they showed in beating Freo – anything can happen.

“The scoreline didn’t reflect the game as I felt every bump and bruise today.

The Crows will host Carlton next Sunday in the grand final.

The Crows will host Carlton next Sunday in the grand final.Credit:AAP

“Geelong is such a young and upcoming team that they will be around the mark in a few years.”

Goals for Marinoff

Marinoff has enjoyed countless possessions since winning the Rising Star award in the first AFLW season but she has added goalkicking to her game in the past two weeks.

She kicked her first goal of the season in the last round and backed that up with the opening goal in Sunday’s win and a second in the dying minutes.

The affable left-footer has always had a damaging kicking game and she clearly loves a goal, judging from her celebrations, which helped fire up the Crows early.

Strong debut season for Cats

While many people will argue the shortcomings of the conference system, what shouldn’t be ignored is the success Geelong has enjoyed in their first AFLW season.

Three wins and a preliminary final appearance is an excellent start for an expansion side, especially when they lost No.1 pick Nina Morrison to a knee reconstruction after her stellar debut game.

This game showed the Cats need much more run and attacking quality, and Morrison should help them with both. More forward options will also be top of their shopping list after being pinned down in defence for so much of this game.

Phoebe McWilliams was out due to a dislocated finger although McWilliams, who works in Geelong’s media department, worked on social media for the team even with her hand heavily strapped up.

Ponter’s Rioli links

Crows forward Danielle Ponter provided some stellar skills in the Adelaide forward line headlined by a brilliant banana kick from the forward pocket in the third term.

With Ponter’s family links, that goal should be no surprise – her uncle is Essendon great Michael Long and she is cousin of Cyril and Willie Rioli.

She follows in their footsteps into a grand final next week and if her exploits on Sunday are any indication, she will be a player to watch when the Crows get close to goal.

Roy Ward is a Sports writer for The Age.

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