AFLW Grand Final – Adelaide v Carlton: A classic example


AFLW Grand Final
Adelaide v Carlton
31 March 2019 at 1.00 pm ESST
Adelaide Oval, Adelaide


If, after three seasons, you are still in any doubt that AFLW is a different game from AFLM, today’s Grand Final between Adelaide Crows and the Carlton Blues was a classic example of the differences.


How lovely was it to watch Bri Davey give Erin Phillips and Chelsea Randall a hug before the coin toss?  It was a scene-setter for a particularly one-sided match which was disappointing for footy generally, but marvellous for we Crow supporters.  The generosity of spirit shown by both teams when Erin Phillips was carried off with a suspected torn ACL in the third quarter was especially heartening and something you don’t see very often in the AFLM.


But to the footy first.  My anxiety levels were high within the first few minutes when St Erin gave away a 50-metre penalty to Carlton and Prespakis kicked truly for the first score of this much anticipated game.  Two more 50-metre penalties were awarded against the Crows and I just couldn’t understand the ill-discipline from a team that is usually much better in its focus.  Indeed, Carlton received 25 free kicks compared with a paltry ten to the Crows.


It took a few minutes for the Crows to find their mojo, but they didn’t look back once they sorted themselves out.  Hatchard kicked truly following a huge effort of hustling and kicking from my fave, Eloise Jones.  Considine found the big sticks (they seem to be easy pickings for the Irish recruits), again following a team effort.  Martin finished the first quarter off for the Crows with a goal about a minute out from quarter time:  three goals straight to the Crows with the Blues having more shots at goal but finishing with just 1.3 (9) for the quarter.


Stevie-Lee Thompson came out firing in the second quarter, with another goal to the Crows.  She has an interesting history, having played in both the Northern Territory and the ACT.  Phillips followed quickly with another goal and then the Ponter Party began:  Danielle kicked three goals in the second quarter from three touches.  You don’t need to do much more than that.  Eloise Jones was on fire feeding Ponter and anyone else who wanted to kick a goal, including herself.  Ponter is just 19 years of age and in her first season of AFLW.  Jess Foley did a great job everywhere, especially in the ruck.  Davey scored Carlton’s second, and last, goal with five minutes to go before half time.  The third quarter is usually the premiership quarter, but not today:  Adelaide scored 6.2 to Carlton 1.1 in the second quarter and this was where the game was won.


The thing that was really satisfying was the skill level:  the overhead marks were fabulous to watch.  There were a couple of extraordinary speckies – especially from Chloe Scheer in the second quarter.  That thrill turned to misery a few minutes later when she left the ground with a suspected torn ACL.


Most of the highlights of this match were with the scoring in the first half.  Carlton at least stopped the unfettered goal fest by the Crows in the second half, holding them to 1.1.  Unfortunately for Carlton, though, Sarah Allan regards the opposition goal square as a place where no opposition should be, and she all but single-handedly stopped Carlton from getting anywhere near Adelaide’s match winning score.  So, the second half saw the Blues kick a paltry two behinds.


Unfortunately for the Blues, Tayla Harris had a difficult day.  She seemed to injure her leg early on and just couldn’t get into the match.  Bri Davey led from the front and was well supported in the second half by Darcy Vescio.  The second half was a dour and low scoring affair but none of this seemed to matter a jot to the more than 53,000 people who came to see AFLW at its best.


And then, the season was over.  At least we had a Preliminary Final this year.  And more teams.  If the season is to continue to be short, then we need a conference system.  Unfortunately, though, the progress of teams to the final was unfair given that four of the five teams in Conference A finished with a better win and percentage result than any of the teams (including Carlton) in Conference B.


I still think it’s unfair if each team doesn’t play one another at least once.  The season does need to be extended to accommodate this.  If we are going to continue with the Conference system, here’s my suggestion based on results from the end of the home and away games:


Conference A Conference B
Adelaide Fremantle
North Melbourne Melbourne
Carlton Geelong
Western Bulldogs Greater Western Sydney
Brisbane Collingwood


In relation to the new teams for 2020 (West Coast, Gold Coast, Richmond and St Kilda), four practice matches should be held amongst them before the end of 2019.  The team winning the most matches should be allocated to Conference A, the next team to Conference B, the next to Conference A and the last team to Conference B.


I’m sorry the AFLW season is over.  It was thrilling and marvellous to watch.  Now what?


Adelaide:   3.0     9.2     10.2     10.3 (63)
Carlton:     1.3      2.4     2.5        2.6  (18)


Adelaide:     Phillips, Randall, (Jess) Foley

Carlton:       Davey, Vescio, Prespakis

UMPIRES:  Toner, Heffernan,McGuiness

CROWD:  A record 53,034 (and they said no one would ever attend!)



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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. Good coverage of the match, Anne. Also like your suggestion about how to integrate the new teams into the 2020 season. Hopefully Headquarters is listening.

  2. Anne Cahill Lambert says

    Thanks, Ian. It would be great if HQ listened but they don’t tend to hear we interstate travellers!

  3. John Butler says

    Anne, the Crows set a new benchmark for AFLW this season. Just outstanding.

    They were far too good for the Blues. I suspect they were far too good for anyone else this year, conferences or not.

    I thought it a shame Bri Davey felt the need to be slightly defensive about Carlton being in the GF. She shouldn’t be. The Blues didn’t come up with the conference arrangement, and all you can do as a footy team is play the opponent in front of you. After a tough season in 2018, Carlton should be proud of their rebound.

    And now on to trade period….

  4. Dave Brown says

    It was a great day, Anne, and if it improves the mood at all the TV commentators got the first 50 wrong. It was actually Dayna Cox allegedly running through the protected area that gave it away, not St Erin.

    The Crows were so dominant this year, a level above the rest of the competition, playing a new version of women’s footy. A possible 2020 without Erin and Chelsea (if she goes back home) could be a very different prospect, though.

    It was also great to see your niece awarding the coach’s medal. She got an appropriately appreciative reception from the crowd – that was her squad out there blitzing them.

  5. Excellent report. Thanks Anne.

    The ball is now well and truly in the AFL’s court:
    show the players (and all involved in AFLW) the respect of a longer and better scheduled competition!

  6. Jean Christie says

    Let’s make it a total women’s competition and have only female coaches,
    Like the men’s comp has only male coaches…..
    Just an idea

  7. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    A very perceptive summary Anne, thanks. The next few years will be interesting as the youngsters come through, given that many of the existing players have come from other sports (I’m not including St Erin in that)

  8. Yvette Wroby says

    Great report Anne. I did think of you when Bec handed the medal to the winning coach. I wonder how that felt for her? Erin Phillips and Chelsea’s Randall were super. They were so focused and tough. Miss it already …. feels too long to wait til next year. Back to VFLW for me! Next year… the Sai ts. Yay. Like your conference suggestions too

  9. Anne Cahill Lambert says

    Thanks everyone for the great feedback and terrific suggestions. And thanks also for the comments about *our Bec*!

  10. Jarrod_L says

    Very good overview, Anne. Thanks for putting your thoughts together.

    I think conferences we rightly baked by all and sundry, but I doubt we’ve seen the end of them. The always exceptional Chyloe Kurdas offered a pragmatic middle ground in the semi-professional times the AFLW lives in. Keep the conferences, skip the two ladder system. Just have one ladder to reduce the risk of lower-ranked teams taking finals spots from teams that had better seasons.

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