After a disappointing cancelled season last year, Saturday’s AFLW Grand Final between Adelaide and Brisbane is set to be bigger than ever.
With murmurs of a possible 50k strong crowd, it speaks volumes to the growth of the women’s competition and its impact on footy fans nation-wide.
Last time these two teams played, it was an Erin Phillips masterclass as she kicked 4 goals and led her side to a 12-point victory at Hickey Park. With a star Crow midfielder ruled out of the big dance, it’s setting up to be a nail-biter right to the end.
3. Battle of the Mids
It goes without saying that games are won through the midfield. Throughout the season, both Adelaide and Brisbane’s midfielders have dominated the competition.
The Crows, with the likes of Marinoff, Phillips and Randall, bring a wealth of experience, strength and size that teams have struggled to contain all year.
Comparatively, the Lions boast an equally tough midfield, who may worry the Crows with their speed. The likes of Cathy Svarc have been a handful for opposition teams, while young guns Belle Dawes, Sophie Conway and Orla O’Dwyer will provide plenty of grunt in the engine room.
2. A Captain Down for Adelaide
Possibly the biggest news story leading into Saturday’s match will be the absence of Adelaide skipper, Chelsea Randall.
Following her head clash with Demon Elizabeth McNamara last week, the Crows medical staff confirmed she had suffered a concussion, ruling her out for a 12-day period under the new protocols.
While she’s “devastated” to be missing the Grand Final, Randall has been nothing short of inspirational in her attitude towards the situation.
Speaking to Crows Media, the skipper said she knows she has a responsibility to send an “important message” to grassroots football about concussion.
The Lions will be licking their lips at the opportunity to take on a potentially under-manned Adelaide midfield, however, in true Crow’s form, watch for the likes of Phillips or Marinoff to embrace the challenge and step up to another level.
1. Third Time Lucky for Lions?
Since the AFLW’s inception, the Brisbane Lions have always been a competitive side.
Saturday will be their third grand final in five years, a testament to the 2021 AFLCA Coach of the Year, Craig Starcevich and his team’s consistency, the Lions will be looking to finally take one step further and taste Premiership glory.
Adelaide Oval has been a fortress for years and the Lions come in firm underdogs, but they will take that in their stride and look to silence the doubters.
Hope you’ve got your popcorn; Saturday is going to be one hell of a show.