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Adelaide defeats Melbourne to win third premiership


AFLW Grand Final teams art
AFLW Grand Final teams art

The Adelaide Crows are AFLW premiers for the third time in six seasons, Danielle Ponter kicking two goals in a pressure-packed 13-point grand final win against brave Melbourne on Saturday.

Prolific onballer Anne Hatchard claimed the medal for the best player on the ground as the Crows held off a late charge by the Demons to score a tense 4.5 (29) to 2.4 (16) win in front of 16,712 fans at Adelaide Oval.

Hatchard gathered a game-high 26 possessions, with Ebony Marinoff finishing with 22 in an influential display.

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As they had done for most of the season, the Crows set up the win with their pressure trapping the ball inside their forward half for long periods, with Sarah Allan and Chelsea Randall mopping up when the defensive zone was pierced.

Karen Paxman and Sinead Goldrick fought hard, but the Demons struggled to find avenues to goal.

“I feel top of the world, that was just insane to hear that final siren,” Hatchard said on ABC Radio.

“This is the best f…ing feeling ever!”

Anne Hatchard was named best on ground for her prolific match in the middle, recording a game high 26 disposals, nine marks and six tackles.

EARLY CROW

Melbourne had 19 players taking part in their first grand final, while the Crows’ line-up was littered with premiership winners.

That difference in experience perhaps played a part early as Adelaide launched repeated attacks inside 50 in an intense opening term.

Melbourne’s defence held firm, but the inaccuracy that hampered Matthew Clarke’s side so often this season reared itself once again.

Jasmyn Hewett marked strongly and converted from close range, but Adelaide should’ve been more than seven points up at the first change.

Marijana Rajcic handballs.
Marijana Rajcic handballs.
Alyssa Bannan of the Demons competes with Stevie-Lee Thompson.
Alyssa Bannan of the Demons competes with Stevie-Lee Thompson.

50 UP

Erin Phillips only had one handball in an uncharacteristically quiet first quarter, but the superstar booted her 50th career goal to stretch the margin to a game-high 17 points in the second term.

The Demons hadn’t registered a score with just over two minutes left in the first half, but went into the main break with their tails up.

A rushed behind came off the back of some desperate Adelaide defending and Alyssa Bannan swooped to slash the margin to 10 points.

Caitlin Gould was a key contributor in the first half but the ruck telegraphed an ill-advised pass that hung in the air on its way to Marijana Rajcic.

The quick-thinking Bannan cut it off and strolled into an open goal.

Melbourne took that momentum into the third quarter, Paxman and Daisy Pearce prominent as Mick Stinear’s side controlled the tempo for long periods.

Kate Hore got on the end of a monster Tayla Harris kick to deliver her side’s second major to set up a grandstand finish.

Crows fans enjoy their side’s third flag.
Crows fans enjoy their side’s third flag.

PONTER-IFIC

The result was in the balance as the Demons pressed in a frantic finale.

But the Crows hand one hand on the premiership cup after a moment of Ponter brilliance.

With just under six minutes remaining, the star forward took a strong mark over Gabrielle Colvin 40m out from goal.

With the defender still scrambling to regain her feet, Ponter sprang from the turf and took off for goal.

She took a bounce, settled over the ball and booted the sealer before celebrating with jubilant fans on the boundary.

CROWS 1.1 2.5 3.5 4.5 29

DEMONS 0.0 1.1 2.2 2.4 16

PHELAN’S BEST CROWS: Hatchard, Marinoff, Ponter, Phillips, Randall, Allan. DEMONS: Paxman, Goldrick, McNamara, Birch, D Pearce, Mithen.

GOALS CROWS: Ponter 2, Phillips, Hewett. DEMONS: Hore, Bannan.

INJURIES CROWS: Nil. DEMONS: Sherriff (wrist).

UMPIRES: Adair, McGinness, Pearson

CROWD: 16,712 at ADELAIDE OVAL

POST-MATCH REACTION

Daisy Pearce (Melbourne captain): On behalf of Melbourne at the Melbourne football club I’d like to thank NAB and AFL for putting together this competition. I know these last couple of years have been really difficult for everyone in the community so for this comp to keep getting better, amid that is credit to all the hard work you guys do. We couldn’t do what we love without you. To the Adelaidefootball club…congratulations on another amazing season. And a great game today. We came here knowing that we’d improved a lot. Had a real crack. We knew it was going to take a bloody good team to beat us. That’s what you guys are and were today. You guys keep setting the bar. We’ll have to go away and get better again so we can have another game like this next year.

To the Melbourne football club, and our sponsors, Zurich, Hertz and Furfy again, we thank you for the support of our team and the club, we couldn’t do what we love without your help. To our girls I’m so proud of our season and the steps forward we took this year. And the fact that we gave it an absolute crack together. I think we can walk off proud of our efforts knowing we have to go away and get to work and get better. Well done. I’m proud of all of us.

Anne Hatchard (best on ground): First of all I’d like to thank NAB and the AFL. Without you guys we wouldn’t be here. We wouldn’t be living our dream. So thank you so much. I just like to thank Melbourne, you’ve had such a great season. Doing a CJ. You put up a great fight. I’m just, yeah, thank you so much for, you know, bringing

out a good game. Next I’d like to thank the club sponsors and just everyone that is able to give us this opportunity. Thank you to the girls. Without you here, I wouldn’t be standing up here. So I’d like to thank you guys so much. The club, you just have belief in me from the

start. Six years with you. It’s been a fun journey. Thank you for always believing in me and having my back. I just like to thank my family. You know, you’ve been there for me the whole time. And especially my partner Georgie. I love you so much. I wouldn’t be here without you. Thank you so much.

Chelsea Randall (Adelaide captain): Firstly I just … want to thank Melbourne to Daisy

and to the Mick and players and coaching staff. An unbelievable season. Thanks for today. You guys have gone from just an incredible way. Really well done to you guys. To the AFL, to NAB, you guys thank you so much for giving over 400 girls the opportunity to play in an

AFLW competition. We’ve had for six years knew. It’s bloody awesome. We love being a part of it. Thank you for providing that option, that opportunity. To our Crowe sponsors BHP and the work skill, thank you very much for all the support you guys give us and all our other sponsors that are with us. Thank you to our club, to our board members, who continuously text me all the time and wish me luck and all the time and wish me luck and all our players. To our coaches, to all our players. To our coaches, to all our support staff, you guys are amazing. To all our men’s players our men’s team, SANFL and AFL. They get behind our girls. We’re so forever grateful. Thank you very much for each and every single individual. Also just thanks to the umpires. Without the umpires we wouldn’t have a game. Thank you very much to you guys. We really appreciate it. To our players, gee, this lot here, this good-looking bunch. They’re pretty inspiring bunch. They’re pretty inspiring bunch. I’m very proud to captain them. We worked so dam hard over them. We worked so dam hard over the last eight, nine months. I’m so forever proud of each individual. We’ve on a rollercoaster. You guys really deserve this. To our nonplayer players, they’re Premiership players. They deserve all the accolades that the playing players do as well. They’re part of the reason why we’re here today and why we’re standing here. Massive thank you to them.

And to Doc our main man, Matthew Clarke our head coach, you’re one of a kind mate. We love you. Thank you for everything that you do in making us the best version of ourselves. Finally to our supporters. You guys rock. We love you. That you so much for coming out here today.

Matthew Clarke (Adelaide coach): I reiterate pretty much what Chelsea said. 12 months ago we were sitting over there. So we know the pain that you’re feeling. Nothing I’m going to say will change that. In time, you reflect about you’ll be absolutely proud of your season. I know your coaches and families would be immensely proud of what you have done. To the Melbourne football club, well done. I will quickly mention the support team. The team behind the team. Coaches, high performance, medical, trainers, administration, unbelievable. Sacrifice and commitment of that group is unprecedented. Also to their families who do without them, their families who do without them, the families of the partners-the families of players, we really appreciate that. Chels mentioned in the lead up to the game there was fair bit of talk to individual players. Footy is a team game. It’s not the way we roll. So to the 21 that were lucky enough to play. Well done. To the nine that weren’t able to play today, just the same, yeah. Well done. You’re Premiership players. If anyone tells you different walk away. Finally to the supporters, the fans. What’s happened over the last six years is an absolute revolution. It’s been inspirational to be involved with. So to all the women out there, grandmas and little kids, get involved. Get involved in this. Because it’s an amazing community. They’ll welcome you with open arms. It’s safe and inclusive. It’s something that I’m so glad I’ve been involved with.

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SCROLL DOWN FOR THE KEY TALKING POINTS FROM EVERY QUARTER

Erin Phillips celebrates her first half goal.
Erin Phillips celebrates her first half goal.

FOURTH QUARTER

ADELAIDE ARE AFLW PREMIERS

Adelaide has won its third AFLW premiership, withstanding a second half challenge from Melbourne.

Danielle Ponter celebrates with the crowd after kicking the sealer.
Danielle Ponter celebrates with the crowd after kicking the sealer.

THAT COULD BE THE SEALER

After being pinned in their defensive half for almost five minutes, Adelaide sweeps the ball forward and Danielle Ponter kicks her second. Melbourne needs a miracle to deny Adelaide a third flag now.

CROWD CONFIRMED

There are 16,712 people at Adelaide Oval today and they are being treated to a tense finish. Crows lead by eight with seven minutes remaining but the last quarter has been played almost exclusively at Melbourne’s end. Chelsea Randall has been incredible in defence.

DEMON OFF WITH ARM IN SLING

Demon Casey Sherriff has been taken from Adelaide Oval screaming with what appeared to be a potentially broken left wrist.

The defender was felled as Melbourne attempts to launch a last-ditch effort at a premiership with the Crows standing firm and cradled her right wrist as she left the ground.

She is being assessed by medical staff but appears unlikely to return at this stage.

Sheriff broken wrist AFLW GF
Sheriff broken wrist AFLW GF

THREE-QUARTER-TIME: ADELAIDE 3.5 (23) LEADS MELBOURNE 2.2 (14)

THIRD QUARTER

THE GRAND FINAL HAS GONE UP A FEW GEARS

From nowhere, Melbourne is bossing this game. There’s been a huge lift in intensity, in particular from the Demons, but they need to put it on the scoreboard. Lily Mithen had a shot to cut the margin to three but it landed short and was repelled by the Adelaide defence.

DAISY SWITCH GETS DEES BACK INTO THE GAME

Just as she did against Brisbane in the preliminary final, Daisy Pearce has headed to defence with immediate effect. Melbourne looks a much better side with its skipper behind the ball and is controlling possession for the first time in this game. Had Karen Paxman kicked truly a few minutes ago the margin would be four points. It stands at nine but Melbourne has a foothold in the game for the first time.

CHARLTON HELPED OFF

Adelaide’s Teah Charlton might need to undergo a concussion test after she headed from the field holding her head after a heavy collision with a teammate.

HALF TIME STATS LEADERS

Disposals

Anne Hatchard 15

Ebony Marinoff 11

Caitlin Gould 11

Erin Phillips 10

Karen Paxman 10

Marks

Hatchard 7

Gould 3

Paxman 3

Libby Birch 3

Alyssa Bannan 3

Tackles

Marinoff 5

Stevie Lee-Thompson 3

Ash Woodland 3

Hannah Button 3

Teah Charlton 3

Gabrielle Colvin 3

Eliza West 3

Kate Hore 3

HALF TIME: ADELAIDE 2.5 (17) LEADS MELBOURNE 1.1 (7)

Alyssa Bannan kicked Melbourne’s only goal of the first half.
Alyssa Bannan kicked Melbourne’s only goal of the first half.
Jasmyn Hewett keeps her eyes on the ball as she is brought to ground in a tackle.
Jasmyn Hewett keeps her eyes on the ball as she is brought to ground in a tackle.

HALF TIME: LAUREN WOOD’S TAKE

It’s going to take something big in the second half but these Demons know just how that’s done.

Melbourne came out in the second term with a lot more pressure and aggression and finally hit the scoreboard via speedster Alyssa Bannan, but could count themselves lucky that the Crows were inaccurate in front of goal.

Tayla Harris has been quelled by Crows stopper Chelsea Randall and the Demons simply have to look for other avenues to goal if the clamp stays on.

It won’t be the first time this season that Melbourne is forced to come from behind, with skipper Daisy Pearce adamant this week that the Demons had the tools to counter any situation.

Now’s the time to draw on them – or it’s never.

Dan, Corey, Kim and Hayden Kelliher, came from Melbourne for the AFLW Grand Final. Picture Dean Martin
Dan, Corey, Kim and Hayden Kelliher, came from Melbourne for the AFLW Grand Final. Picture Dean Martin
Crows fans stream into the Adelaide Oval.
Crows fans stream into the Adelaide Oval.

MATT TURNER’S TAKE

Has Adelaide left the door open for a Melbourne fightback?

The Crows have had five more scoring shots, 15 extra disposals and two additional clearances to half-time of the grand final, but a turnover deep in defence late in the second quarter gave the Demons a cheap major that would give them confidence heading into the long break.

Caitlin Gould tried to chip to a teammate across the face of goal, only for Alyssa Bannan to intercept and open the visitors’ account.

It remains to be seen if that is a blip for the Crows or the start of a Melbourne resurgence. Adelaide has been the better side so far, but its inaccuracy means the game is still very much there for the taking.

SECOND QUARTER

BOOST FOR DEMONS

Maddy Gay has returned to the field with a few minutes before halftime in a pleasing sign for Melbourne fans.

Anne Hatchard wins another possession in the Grand Final.
Anne Hatchard wins another possession in the Grand Final.

HATCHARD RUNNING HOT

Adelaide has stamped its authority on the AFLW Grand Final and midfielder Anne Hatchard is at the forefront of its dominance. Hatchard leads all comers with three minutes left in the second term with 14 disposals and seven marks.

KEY DEE LIMPS FROM GROUND

Key Demons ballwinner Maddy Gay limped off at the beginning of the second quarter and is being assessed by medical staff. She had the job of watching prolific Crow Anne Hatchard. Gay’s right knee was heavily strapped and she underwent a fitness test

QUARTER-TIME: ADELAIDE 1.1 (7) LEADS MELBOURNE 0.0 (0)

It’s been all the Crows early at Adelaide Oval as the Demons shake off some early grand final nerves.

The weather is hot and so is the contest, with Crows midfielders Anne Hatchard and Ebony Marinoff on fire early.

But the Demons have been unable to capitalise and were forced to work hard to even get the ball forward but remain scoreless.

Adelaide ruck Jasmyn Hewett, who is playing just her third game of the season, is the only goalkicker for the game thus far with the Crows up by seven points.

Hewett converted from a tight angle on the goalline to edge the Crows – who are hunting a third premiership in six years – in front at the first break.

Jasmyn Hewett celebrates the opening goal of the AFLW decider.
Jasmyn Hewett celebrates the opening goal of the AFLW decider.
Karen Paxman of the Demons and Marijana Rajcic collide.
Karen Paxman of the Demons and Marijana Rajcic collide.
Sarah Allan of the Crows fends off Alyssa Bannan.
Sarah Allan of the Crows fends off Alyssa Bannan.

PRE-GAME

AFLW BOSS: THIS HAS BEEN OUR TOUGHEST SEASON

Lauren Wood

TODAY’S grand final marks the full stop on the most challenging season of AFL Women’s history, Nicole Livingstone says.

But either outcome will be a moment to celebrate not only a premier but a great of the game.

Livingstone, who thanked football competition manager Laura Kane for ensuring the season was eventually completed, said the premiership decider should be a source of pride.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the resilience and efforts of everybody involved in the W community in the role that they’ve played to be able to reach today’s grand final,” she said.

And after “flexibility”, “agile” and “health and safety protocols” became part of the vernacular as Omicron swept the nation and the competition, she thanked the entire football community.

“Our women’s football community remained flexible and focused and delivering this biggest and best season so far,” she said.

Erin Phillips and Daisy Pearce loom as brilliant stories and icons of the game.

“It’s an honour to be here today to witness both of them playing,” Livingstone said.

“Daisy, a pioneer of women’s football, a leader and a trailblazer on and off the field. She’s taking the Dees to new heights this year.

“And Erin, the most decorated player in AFLW history. Already a dual AFLW best and fairest, today she has the opportunity to become a triple premiership player and confirm the Crows’ dynasty and her own lasting legacy.”

DAISY’S SPECIAL FAMILY MOMENT

So much of the build-up has been about Demons skipper Daisy Pearce and her shot at an elusive AFLW premiership. It would cap an incredible return to the sport after she took a break to give birth to her twins Sylvie and Roy. They were on hand to head out onto the oval with their mum pre-game. Could it be a sign this might be her last AFLW match? The expectation was the twins wouldn’t be heading to South Australia.

COLLINGWOOD’S GRAND FINAL DAY WIN

The Magpies might not have made it to the final day of the season but they have a winner on the big stage after Alana Porter won a closely-fought Grand Final sprint.

Alana Porter of the Magpies wins the Colgate grand final sprint.
Alana Porter of the Magpies wins the Colgate grand final sprint.
Chelsea Randall will be a key player for the Crows.
Chelsea Randall will be a key player for the Crows.
Erin Phillips warms up.
Erin Phillips warms up.
Eyes on the prize for Lily Mithen.
Eyes on the prize for Lily Mithen.
Daisy Pearce leads the Demons out onto Adelaide Oval.
Daisy Pearce leads the Demons out onto Adelaide Oval.

WHO TO TIP

Our experts are tipping a Daisy Pearce and Demons fairytale — but only just.

In one of the most-anticipated Grand Finals in AFLW history, Pearce will lead Melbourne out for what will potentially be the last game of her incredible career.

She has said several times this week that fairytales mean nothing in footy and powerhouse Adelaide will be out to deny her a perfect finish, if this is the end.

The Crows will almost certainly embark on a new era from next season with their list expected to be split once Port Adelaide joins AFLW.

Follow all the build-up and talking points, plus see our expert tips below.

AFL GRAND FINAL EXPERT TIPS

CHRIS CAVANAGH 63

Adelaide 1

Last week 2

MATT TURNER 61

Adelaide 8

Last week 2

GLENN McFARLANE 60

Melbourne 1

Last week 2

LIZ WALSH 60

Adelaide 25

Last week 2

SARAH JONES 59

Melbourne 2

Last week 1

EBONY MARINOFF 59

Adelaide

Last week 2

MARK ROBINSON 59

Adelaide 18

Last week 2

KATH LOUGHNAN 57

Adelaide 6

Last week 1

REBECCA WILLIAMS 57

Melbourne 5

Last week 2

CHLOE MOLLOY 54

Melbourne

Last week 2

LAUREN WOOD 54

Melbourne 4

Last week 2

ELLIE BLACKBURN 53

Melbourne

Last week 1

CHLOE DALTON 53

Melbourne

Last week 2

KATE McCARTHY 50

Adelaide

Last week 2

KISS OF DEATH 14

Melbourne 13

Last week 0

FINAL TALLY

Adelaide 7

Melbourne 8

AFLW Grand Final teams art
AFLW Grand Final teams art

NAB AFLW FINALS RECORDS

Awarded best on ground in the AFLW Grand Final:

2017 – Erin Phillips, Adelaide Crows

2018 – Monique Conti, Western Bulldogs (now Richmond)

2019 – Erin Phillips, Adelaide Crows

2021 – Kate Lutkins, Brisbane Lions

Opening goal kicker in the AFLW Grand Finals

2017 – Kellie Gibson, Adelaide Crows

2018 – Sophie Conway, Brisbane Lions

2019 – Madison Prespakis, Carlton

2021 – Courtney Hodder, Brisbane Lions

Most goals in a final:

3 – Alyssa Bannan, Melbourne (PF 2022)

3 – Danielle Ponter, Adelaide Crows (PF 2019)

3 – Danielle Ponter, Adelaide Crows (GF 2019)

3 – Georgia Gee, Carlton (SF 2020)

3 – Sabreena Duffy, Fremantle (SF 2020)

3 – Dakota Davidson, Brisbane Lions (PF 2021)

Most disposals in a final:

35 – Ebony Marinoff, Adelaide Crows (PF 2021)

Most marks in a final:

8 – Megan Hunt, Brisbane Lions (GF 2017)

8 – Ebony Antonio, Fremantle (SF 2020)

Most tackles in a final:

17- Catherine Svarc, Brisbane Lions (PF 2022)

17 – Kiara Bowers, Fremantle (QF 2021)

Most kicks in a final:

26 – Erin Phillips, Adelaide Crows (GF 2017)

Most handballs in a match:

17 – Anne Hatchard, Adelaide Crows (GF 2019)

17 – Brianna Davey, Carlton (now Collingwood) (QF 2021)

Melbourne

Lauren Wood is an AFL and AFL Women’s reporter for the Herald Sun. She also covers a range of other sports across the busy Melbourne sporting calendar.

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