Prolific ball-winner Ebony Marinoff enters the decider in peak form after collecting 27 disposals and two goals in the preliminary final. She is renowned as a rugged competitor and a tackling machine.
Star forward Tayla Harris will be one of Carlton’s big dangers, having shone and kicked a goal in last weekend’s preliminary finals – all in the wake of being the public face of the AFLW’s ongoing problem with social media trolls.
Blues skipper Brianna Davey, who missed most of last season because of a knee reconstruction, also turned in a powerhouse preliminary final display with 16 disposals.
Crows onballer Cramey suffered a head knock in their preliminary final romp against Geelong, while a solid bump left Harrington with a sore left shoulder in the last quarter of the Blues’ upset preliminary final win over Fremantle.
Adelaide co-captain Chelsea Randall says the Crows wouldn’t rely too much on the club’s grand final appearance two years ago.
“You just don’t know, in such a big game anything can unfold,’’ Randall said.
“Sometimes people say ‘yeah, they have had experience of being in a grand final’ but it’s just going to come down to game day and who is going to bring it more.”
Ominously, the Crows haven’t lost a game since their season-opening one-point loss to the Western Bulldogs and set up Sunday’s premiership decider with a 66-point preliminary final thumping of Geelong.
However, Randall is shunning the talk about overaul favouratism.
“Carlton have got some great big stars and big game players, so for me it’s anyone’s game,” she said.
The Crows defeated the Blues by 13 points in their sole meeting this season, a round-two clash in Melbourne.
But to get that win, Adelaide had to come from 17 points down late in the third quarter.
Carlton coach Daniel Harford said the club was focused on avoiding outside influences.
“One thing we’ve been able to do pretty well as a group this year is forget what’s happening outside the club – the opinions and the expectations,” said Harford, who this week was named AFLW senior coach of the year.
“I think it’s been a really positive thing for the girls this year that they’ve been able to narrow their focus building up to a game and not be concerned particularly with what other people are saying.
“I’d be loathe to change that approach at this stage.”
Carlton will take their own momentum into the grand final after getting the ball rolling with their first win in a year in round three against GWS, but it was a loss to Adelaide at Ikon Park the week before that proved pivotal.
“We’ve got a system that we think can work and the round two game, from a coaching perspective, was really important,’’ Harford said.
Scott Spits and AAP