AFLW Round 4 – Fremantle v Adelaide: Take a chance; double your luck
The undefeated Adelaide Crows visited the winless Fremantle Dockers with two WA players in their team. In two of the first three games, the Dockers had faced some of the best talent to leave the state to play for the Lions and Giants; Sabrina Frederick-Traub and Aimee Schmidtt among them. I’m trying to come up with a AFLW GST and hope the dividends are seen in AFLW2018. But back to the here and now: it seemed a sparse crowd sitting in the outer as the game got underway but West Australians are pretty sun smart and I suspect most of the 4578 at the Oval were in the shade of the other wing to watch a promising first quarter.
A couple of free kicks awarded to Fremantle in the opening minutes resulted in marks just missed and kicks not quite hitting the target. It seemed the ball was predominantly in the Dockers attacking zone until the slick Crows moved it toward the Sarah Perkins forward line, before it was back to Freo’s Big Old Morton Bay Tree end*. A relayed free kick resulted in the first goal of the game to Rising Star nominee Ashely Sharp (who kicked 3 goals last week against GWS).
The Crows star Chelsea Randall intercepted an attempt to clear by the Fremantle defence but the Kellie Gibson shot on goal almost landed in the Freo Markets. Maybe the soothing sea breeze was playing havoc, it certainly was to the advantage of the home team. With a 7 point lead halfway through the quarter, the Dockers defenders held the Crows at bay but could not score goals of their own. Gabby O’Sullivan and Bea Devlin were in everything. Ebony Marinoff and Randall fought on. Hard tackling Amy Lavell’s sixth kick was the Fremantle’s second goal. Cassy Davison took a fine defensive mark before turning it over in the attempt to attack in the final seconds of the quarter but the Adelaide kick didn’t reach the goal line.
The second quarter began with a clearance from Erin Phillips who looked to make the most of the wind assistance to send the ball deep in the Crows scoring zone. Hayley Miller’s clearing kick was intercepted and the following passage of play saw Jessica Sedunary collect both a knock to the head and goal assist to Erin Phillips. It wasn’t as spectacular as the crucial goal against Carlton in round 3 but it was a beauty from 40: one step and goal!
The Crows looked likely to score another when Courtney Cramey sent the ball forward from the centre of the ground but the Rachael Killian kick was picked off. Marinoff and Docker Kara Donnellan were pushing their sides forward at every opportunity and tempers were tested. Sedunary missed a shot on goal, Stacey Barr missed a shot on goal at the other end. Angela Foley and Killian missed the goals entirely to kick out of bounds on the full before Fremantle’s best chance to kick a major through a wide open forward line became unstuck.
The Adelaide Crows cleared through Stevie-Lee Thompson, Randall and Georgia Bevan. Sarah Perkins was on the end of neat chain of passes but could not convert. Fremantle 2.2 (14) to Adelaide 1.3 (9) three minutes from half time. The Crows were under pressure when Ebony Antonio’s kick on the wing was trapped by Kira Phillips and presented Gemma Houghton an open goal. Missed! With 40 seconds left in the quarter, Kirby Bentley had a free kick on the 50 metre arc but her pass to Phillips was (just) too high and the Crows kept the score to 2.3 (15) to 1.3 (9).
The Adelaide Crows kicked the opening goal of the third quarter through the combination of Perkins and Jenna McCormick (and some pretty ordinary defence). Tussle after tussle followed, including some push and shove before Melissa Caulfield’s kick into the fifty was intercepted by Cramey and the Crows looked dangerous. Perkins kicked a good looking behind and Sedunary collected a goal from close range after fighting hard for the ball and outworking her opponents. It looked like the floodgates were about to open when Gibson was the last in a chain of slick moves but the miss was rectified when Abbey Homes scored the Crows’ 4th. Even as their respective sides best players, Antonio and Randall could only register behinds and at 3QT the Crows had a 14 point lead. Fremantle 2.4 (16) Adelaide 4.6 (30).
The final term began with a desperate forward surge by Fremantle to no avail. Perkins showed why she is such an important part of the Crows success with another display of clever football and on another day might have scored 3.1 instead of 1.3. Her opposite number 23 Kirby Bentley kicked the Dockers 4th and reduced the deficit to 18 points. The Crows were winning across the ground with cleaner possession and were stronger in the push and shove stakes. Kellie Gibson appeared to keep her ol’ Swan Districts mates aware of the scoreboard at all times. Final score Fremantle 3.5 (23) lost to Adelaide 6.10 (46)
Fremantle: 2.1, 2.3, 2.4, 3.5 (23)
Adelaide: 0.0, 1.3, 4.7, 6.10 (46)
Fremantle: Sharp, Lavell, Bentley
Adelaide: McCormick 2, Phillips, Sedunary, Holmes, Perkins
Fremantle: Donnellan, Hooker, Antonio, Lavell
Adelaide: McCormick, Randall, Phillips, Perkins, Marinoff
Our votes: McCormick (3) Phillips (2) Ebony Antonio (1)