AFLW Round 3 – Adelaide Crows v Western Bulldogs: A Few Monty Python Moments

17 February 2018, 1.35 pm CDT (yes it was hot)
Norwood Oval, Adelaide


It didn’t occur to me for one minute that my weekend in NE Victoria would come without a free to air broadcast of the AFLW match between the Adelaide Crows and the Western Bulldogs. It was a challenge to watch on my tablet with a dirty screen.


What a thrill to see Erin Phillips run out. Interestingly, the commentators suggested that she would line up at full forward as she’s still unfit. I don’t think Phillips is that kind of player. Nor do I think Adelaide would select someone who didn’t have the legs. I thought about Sarah Perkins being in the centre and on the ball, and that’s what happened. And it was magnificent.  Perko had more impact and disposals in the first quarter than she had all year.


While the Crows were behind at quarter time (only by a goal), there was much to be enthusiastic about. Erin was playing brilliantly, but she wasn’t on her own. If you ever want to study the impact of strong leadership, this is the game to analyse. Erin lifted her team mates and they rallied. They fed her the ball and she had the Crows’ entire score by quarter time.


The Bulldogs gave Crow supporters much to be nervous about. This was a see-sawing game full of stars and brilliance.  Emma Kearney got the first goal, just over one minute into the match. She was followed by Utri before the Crows had scored a major.  Utri is a really interesting and stunning player, having played elite level hockey. Other elite athletes in the AFLW come from soccer or basketball, so Aisling Utri is fairly unusual as well as someone to watch.


Katie Brennan continued to give the Bulldogs the upper hand, scoring the first goal in quarter two. I wiped the screen clean and that seemed to do the trick: just one goal for the Doggies in the second quarter. Meanwhile, Erin kicked on and there was nothing much in it by half time. Well, I guess five points to the Bulldogs probably gave them heart.


My heart, however, was pounding as this was truly tough footy. The intensity was extraordinary, and it was out there on the park for all to see.


Spirits and heart beat lifted as Jenna McCormick kicked a goal for the Crows. They led for the first time all year!


And then my heart sank: Brooke Lochland kicked truly. She has an interesting background too, she’s an ice-skater, for heavens’ sake. What on earth is she doing in 30 degree heat kicking a goal for the Doggies?


The Dogs’ second goal for the quarter came from their stellar captain, Brennan. Only to be matched by Captain Courageous, Captain Inspiration, Captain All-Around Mentor, Erin Phillips. There are still five points separating these two clubs at three quarter time.


A fourth goal to Erin Phillips and the Crows are in front by just one point. A few stabs at the goal miss, but behinds are as important as goals in a match like this. The last few minutes are when supporters have to be reminded to breathe.


Breathe in.


Breathe out.


Adelaide’s defence is iron clad with Sarah Allan performing brilliantly in that backline. The Crows are a point up as Jenna McCormick takes aim for the last kick of the day. Adelaide by seven points.


Breathe in.


Breathe out.


They’re back.


A few problems along the afternoon though:

  • It was a hot day in Adelaide and the scheduled start of play was 1.35 pm CDT. Can’t I get any of the footy administration people interested in the severe impact on players in such heat? And also ,the supporters – there were just under 5,000 people at Norwood Park, well under the 11,000 in Round 1. It’s too hot in summer at 1.30 pm!
  • As a general rule, I love umpires. But I presume we all thought, “Oh, it’s only a flesh wound!” when Erin Phillips all but had her head lopped off near the goal square and didn’t attract a free kick. I guess the players were able to tap her head back onto her neck so it didn’t matter. But seriously, Erin could have kicked another two goals had the umpires been on the ball.
  • Dayna Cox (Adelaide) was reported for using an open hand into the stomach of her opponent; I think winding her. The comments from the TV people were that it would be ok in the AFLM (my descriptor) but not a good look for women. C’mon. The rules are the rules.  I hope we don’t start going down the route of women needing to be ladies on the field.


I’ve been watching Eloise Jones and Ruth Wallace this year, as debutantes, and they didn’t disappoint. Wallace especially was in the thick of a whole heap of action. Randall, again, played like a woman possessed.  She’s the workhorse of this Adelaide outfit.  Perkins has her mojo back and impacted positively on the match. I’ve been critical of Ebony Marinoff’s disposal efficiency this year, but she lifted and was a key component in turning the Crows into a winning team.


Coach Goddard made a quip in her pre-match presser about 2018 being the year of the dog, but she hoped this week would be the week of the crow. Could I add that it wasn’t a dead parrot? There were quite a few commentators prepared to say that Adelaide’s season was over after the first two matches.


But the parrot isn’t dead: it’s a live Crow!

If you want to see why people are raving about the thing that is AFLW, go and watch a replay of this match. My description doesn’t do it justice.


This was a game that will keep AFLW at the forefront for a long time to come.



Adelaide Crows:                      1.1       2.2       4.4       6.5 (41)
Western Bulldogs:                  2.1       3.1       5.3       5.4 (34)

Adelaide Crows           Phillips 4 (should have been 5 or 6), McCormack 2
Western Bulldogs       Brennan 2, Kearney, Utri, Lochland

Phillips 3 (would like to give her 12), Randall 2, Perkins 1 with honourable mentions to Wallace and Marinoff

Adelaide Crows           Hewett (knee)
Western Bulldogs       Brennan (leg)

Dayna Cox (Adelaide)

Young, Broadbent, Newell

4,900 but if this had been played at 6 pm or so, the ground would have been filled to capacity.


About Anne Cahill Lambert

One of the first females to be admitted to membership of the G. Thank you Mr Cain. Nicknamed The Hyphen by Alamanac Editor, despite the fact I don't have one.


  1. Dave Brown says:

    Agree wholeheartedly, Anne. It’s just a terrible timeslot for summer footy. And, yes, Erin made quite the difference on the weekend. Re. the Cox report, in the end she was suspended for the subsequent high hit on Kearney but the TV commentary on the initial contact was hyperventilational based upon what was little more than a shove to put her opponent off balance and get towards the ball.

  2. Kasey Symons says:

    Great report Anne, love the Monty Python reference!

    It is WAY too hot to be playing footy at that time – I don’t know how the players can do it but it certainly didn’t stop the women in this match from putting on an absolute nail-biter. I was just so impressed with all the players in this game, I was on the edge of my seat the whole time! It made the exorbitant amount I pay to foxtel worth it but I wish very much that this game was on free to air.

  3. Yvette Wroby says:

    Well done Anne,

    I watched on TV and your report brings it all back with the glory of story telling. Now all teams will live the next four weeks in fear of the Erin factor.

    Anne, look at Bobby’s report and there is video of her highlights as a young person. You have to check it out.

    If we have something to say about what time and where games are played, it’s up to us all to contact the people in charge.

    I am channeling my late mother Elfie who had a folder full of letters she wrote to those she had issue with. We have a voice. Let’s use it reasonably and for a good cause.

  4. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    Thanks Anne.

    Adelaide’s form in the games without Phillips was a bit of a worry, but the weekend’s results all fell the Crows way. There were some very desperate efforts in defence that really helped.

    I’d written them off, I thought they’d joined the choir invisible, so I can’t squawk too much. Counting down the weeks until they play back in Melbourne.

  5. Yvette I thought I would send my article to Steve and Nicole but the Steve Hocking email address bounced ( love your passion Anne and Erin Phillips 25 per cent fit is better than any alternative absolute superstar )

  6. John Butler says:

    Anne, this was a great game.

    Many of the timeslots for AFLW games seem to have been decided without thought for players or spectators.

    That Erin can play just a bit. :)


  7. Great write up ACL. I didn’t see this game except for a couple of highlights but I have watched more than my fair share of AFLW this season on my phone screen. The timeslots, grounds, TV access etc combined make the going tough for fans and teams. Yet, as you point out with an incisive analysis, the footy being played has been brilliant. Tough, relentless and skillful.

    And I fully support this point: “I hope we don’t start going down the route of women needing to be ladies on the field.” We (the collective fan-base) won’t allow it regardless of whether some (male) administrators and footy experts raise it as another in their long tired line of non-issues.


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