AFLW Round 4 – Adelaide v Fremantle: Drought Breakers…almost.

By Caspar McLeod.
Adelaide Crows vs Fremantle Dockers, TIO Stadium.

At least one drought will end tonight. That is, my first write up of a footy match since round 20 of the men’s competition last year when, watching from the couch in Dubai, my beloved Bombers fell short against the hated enemy (hate is a strong word, really, its mostly envy).


Now living with family friends in Preston, Melbourne getting ready to start my first year studying Journalism at RMIT, I hope for a couple of more to end very soon. One is that I hope I manage to submit a report I’ve written for the Almanac for the first time in years (why I haven’t done so since being published in the 2015 despite writing loads of stories since, I have no idea), and the other is for Fremantle to beat the Crows for the first time in the AFLW competition.


I love a competition that has parity. Hence why the last few years since Hawthorn’s domination of the AFL have been amazing to watch. Who at the end of 2015 thought the Eagles would win their next flag after the Bulldogs and Richmond? Likewise with the AFLW, I have enjoyed how the first two seasons have produced two different premiers. And because neither of my two AFL teams have a women’s team representing them in the competition (for some bizarre reason), I don’t have to worry about being bias (except, of course, against Carlton and Collingwood). Adelaide already has their flag at AFLW level and two in the men’s competition. Fremantle? Nothing so far. Tonight the women in white and purple could take a step forward in rectifying this situation.


They’ve done a good job at doing such so far this season. Who could have foreseen and predicted correctly how strong Fremantle was going to be in the first three rounds? Hands up! No? No one outside of optimistic Freo supporters? Yeah, me neither. They’ve taken the competition by surprise. Adelaide have bounced back after blowing away chance after chance to win round 1. Their score line of ELEVEN BEHINDS FROM 12 SET SHOTS meant they shot themselves in the foot. Since, Carlton and Geelong didn’t provide much by the way of competition. Fremantle should. I’m excited. Footy is not only underway, the comp is heating up!


A brilliant chaos ball in front of the goal-square leads to Gibson kicking the first for Fremantle. It is evident early that both teams have come to play early, as to be expected from two premiership contenders. Both sides struggle slightly with the slippery ball, with fumbles leading to turn overs. Adelaide respond with a goal by Stevie Lee Thompson that comes from Foley putting her body on the line and Erin Phillips using her remarkable abilities to place the ball brilliantly in front of Thompson and ends with the goal umpire recovering quite well from a ball to the face. Phillips again proves her football smarts by taking a great contested mark that almost leads to another quick goal for the Crows, only to be denied by the Dockers defense. Her accurate kicking in the corridor then leads to her taking a mark in the forward line only a possession or two later. A point is all she gets as a reward on the scoreboard but she gains even more admiration with her workhorse-like running. The tackling is ferocious. Adelaide manages to eke out a couple of shots on goal through the pressure tsunami, but it only results in points. Memories of round one are flooding back in my mind, as they might be in the mind of the Crows forwards. They certainly are in the minds of the commentators, who cannot help but mention the score line from that game and how it builds pressure. Speaking of pressure, it seems that we have a thriller on our hands! Three points the lead for Adelaide despite a whitewash in their favour for inside-50s. Fremantle’s lowest score of the season so far is 51 points. They’ll have their work cut out making that mark again tonight if the first term is any indication of the rest of the match.


Term two. Adelaide quickly kicks two more behinds. Fremantle are almost continuously breathing sighs of relief. Danielle Ponter, the cousin of Hawthorn royalty Cyril, finally breaks the goal drought. Antonio responds for Fremantle with a goal that shows the purple haze at their best. Atkins reaps the benefits from a 50 metre penalty. Freo hit the front. Then extend the lead by an audacious behind. Then give it up via a converted free kick by Erin Phillips, who kicks truly despite the commentator’s curse attempting to make her fail. She stares the curse down, just like how Adelaide stares down the Dockers surge. The margin at half time has not changed from 15 minutes earlier, and Fremantle’s progress in the quarter is for naught.


Third quarter. Phillips is proving influential. If she had kick accurately thus far, Fremantle would be in deep trouble. Instead, she kicks a point to bring up her tally at one goal, three points. Adelaide get another poster, and extent their lead to five. The number of sighs of relief from Fremantle continue to increase. Jones extends that by a goal as she shows off her soccer skills. Adelaide nearly get another before a brilliant smother from Miller denies them. Still, things are not looking great for Fremantle. A scoreless quarter for this highly revered team. They have one term to prove that they can match it with a team that knows what it takes to win.


Last term. They are desperate, the players. Desperation nets Ponter her second goal. Adelaide tighten their grasp. Jones helps by adding to Freo’s pain. Hannah Martin kicks another one for Adelaide. What was a good contest earlier has turned into a white wash. The purple haze has been fazed out. Adelaide are so cool under pressure. So smooth with their ball movement. Stevie Lee Thompson adds another. Fremantle have still not kicked a goal this second half. What happened to the team who have kicked more than 50 points in each of the first three games of the year? Adelaide’s pressure, that’s what has happened. Erin Phillips gets Adelaide above the 60 point mark.


In the end, Adelaide were too strong. 42 points too strong. They’re the real deal, and could very well win another AFLW flag this year. And Fremantle proved that they are human and far from flawless.


The Crows take a step towards proving that the 2018 season was just a fluke for them and proving that this league is theirs. The Dockers trudge off the ground, defeated but not deflated in spirit, for they know that their season has a lot of light yet still in it. They had a chance to end one drought and missed it. Dockers fans would be hoping they don’t blow the chance to end the bigger, more pressing drought at the end of March.


Checking social media during the final quarter for the AFLW page, I come across a photo they’ve posted taken by Michael Wilson. It’s of two indigenous kids laughing and smiling, having fun at the footy. It makes me smile. This is what footy is about. For everyone.


ADELAIDE               1.3      3.5       4.8      9.11 (65)
FREMANTLE            1.0       3.2       3.2      3.5 (23)

Adelaide: Jones 2, Ponter 2, Thompson 2, Phillips 2, Martin
Fremantle: Gibson, Antonio, Atkins 

Adelaide: Phillips, Hatchard, Marinoff, Jones, Ponter, Allan
Fremantle: Bowers, Gibson, Gooch, Cain 

Adelaide: Cramey (hamstring)
Fremantle: Nil

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Burns, Lewis, Bryce 

Official crowd: 1734 at TIO Stadium


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About Caspar McLeod

Third Culture Kid at Heart. Grew up in Asia, discovered footy at age 9. AFL has since been my burning passion. Ask me who were the winners all the grand finals between 1938 and last year's decider, and I'll be happy to tell you. I'm a footy nut with a passion for writing and acting. All though I love writing and acting, during the footy season, AFL is my true passion. Waiting ever so patiently for the day when Essendon Next win the flag.


  1. Great to see you break your drought Caspar. Look forward to reading your write up when the Bombers break theirs!

  2. If not for the Kangaroos holding on, we’d have had an extraordinary round of ladder-shaping results! Even still, with Adelaide shifting through the gears after Round 1’s misfire, GWS leaving Collingwood as the only team on zero wins for the year as they make an improbable run at the top 2 and Brisbane getting over a Conference A team (only took 10 attempts from the B-teams!) there was plenty to shake things up between the bookends of North-Tassie and the Pies.

    Good write up Caspar, hope it’s not as long between drinks for the next installment.

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