AFLW Grand Final – Brisbane v Adelaide: You’re The Voice
2.00 pm (EST), 25 March 2017
Metricon Stadium, Gold Coast
The Crows’ presser prior to the grand final whetted the appetite. Coach Goddard again had the lines:
- “We won’t tell people our plans, we’ll just show them our results.”
- “I think it was Nelson Mandela who said ‘I don’t lose – I win or learn.’ ”
- And the old chestnut: “We don’t get nervous. We get ready.”
And so they all did. Craig Starcevich for Brisbane was studious and serious. Nothing was being taken for granted.
There was a bit of rain threatening so Megan Washington, who provided the pre-match entertainment, was rugged up in a coat. She was magnificent, but clearly she’s a Queenslander as the rest of us southerners would have liked to don our bathers as the humidity and heat were stultifying!
Teams introduced, ground cleared, coin tossed*, and it was on. The roar was huge as Rhiannon Metcalfe and Sabrina Frederick-Traub competed in the ruck. It was to be Rhiannon’s day in the centre, although overall the Lions had one more hit out than Adelaide.
It took 20 seconds for Kellie Gibson to score for Adelaide. A significant proportion of the crowd of over 15,000 cheered and yelled, waking Erin Phillips’ twin babies who were behind us. A couple of minutes later and everything was even with Jessica Wuetschner kicking truly for the Lions. Another goal towards the end of the quarter by Deni Varnhagen saw the Crows head into the huddle ahead at the first quarter.
I had forgotten that the rules for the grand final were different – there was some time-on allowed (for scoring shots, out of bounds and significant delays such as a blood rule). The first quarter went for just over 19 minutes, which tested players and fans alike.
The second quarter had Adelaide spraying at everything, kicking six behinds, while the Lions scored 1.1 courtesy of Jessica again. Because of the low scoring, the quarter was just slightly longer than that played under the old rules.
Pies and hot chips were offered at half time, but I couldn’t eat anything. A six point margin is hardly the time to pop the champagne corks, or the tomato sauce for that matter.
Did you see the magnificent Erin Phillips’ two goals in the third quarter? She deserved every accolade from the Gold Coast to Adelaide and back again. I know her upbringing was about AFL but she is one of the few players who has her orientation versus the goal posts all sorted without actually looking. I think coaches and experts would call that a “football brain”. I call it red raw talent. The third quarter ran for just over 20 minutes and there were just two kicks in it. This was a grand final that would be fought to the bitter end.
Again, the Lions held the Crows goal-less in the last quarter. The defence was significant on both sides. The game was hard and fast with nothing being given away. The Crows kicked just two behinds in the final stanza, while Brisbane kicked 1.2. The crowd was loud towards the end. The ball was in the Lions’ 50, and it was sheer tenacity on the part of players like Randall and Phillips that held the Lions at bay. The siren sounded. Erin did a face palm as she was already on the ground. The Crows cheered with delight. The media scrum formed to my left as they rushed to get footage of Greg Phillips, Erin’s proud dad.
Yet again, based on the statistics, the Crows should have won this match easily. It was inside their 50 on many more occasions (43 to 27) and, of course, they had the best of the scoring shots (15 to 9). Perhaps these statistics are indeed the way the coach described them in her presser on 9 February after the first match: “they’re like a light pole to a drunk; they’re there to help you stand up but they’re not going to illuminate your life …”.
The camaraderie of the Crows’ players and the families at the post match celebrations was just a joy to behold. As I have said previously, these women are like sisters to one another. They have done it hard with at least half the team having to travel each week given that some are based in Adelaide and some in Darwin. I was worried at the outset of the competition that this would be unsustainable. But perhaps it drove them harder.
The coach had promised to sing a song for the players if they won the grand final. Sarah Perkins held her to that promise and so she belted out Tina Turner’s You’re Simply The Best with all of us singing along. Of course, there had been many renditions over the week of John Farnham’s You’re The Voice, which the coach invoked at the launch of the season – and she used those words at the end of the season noting that the Crows had the chance to turn the pages over and to write the story.
Starcevich was magnanimous in defeat, commenting that it would have been “a steal” if Brisbane won. All power to him for his enormous work in bringing Brisbane to the grand final without a defeat. Remember, neither Brisbane nor Adelaide were expected to be in the final wash up. They were there to make up the numbers. Someone should have told the coaches and the players!
Brisbane: 1.0 2.1 3.3 4.5 (29)
Adelaide: 2.1 2.7 4.9 4.11 (35)
Brisbane Wuetschner 2, Frederick-Traub, Harris
Adelaide Phillips 2, Gibson, Varnhagen
Phillips 3, Frederick-Traub 2, Cramey 1
And ½ for Perkins who was well held but continued to hunt and harass fabulously.
Rodger, Bryce, Cheeve.
CROWD 15,610 (at least 100 from Canberra supporting the coach, Heather Anderson, Talia Radan, Rhiannon Metcalfe and Jenna McCormick!)
*The coin was tossed by a bloke: I think it was one of the NAB people, but you’d think for the inaugural AFLW grand final, a female could have been found in this vast brown land? The NAB has a lot of female tellers!