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AFLW R7: What we learned

Max Phillips  March 20, 2017 12:45 PM

AFLW Highlights: R7 v Collingwood Highlights from our R7 AFLW clash with Collingwood at Olympic Park

Clutch Crows learn from losses
Sunday’s comeback win over Collingwood proved the Crows have learned from their losses and are a better side than three weeks ago. The match followed a familiar and concerning path through the first three quarters. Adelaide dominated the inside 50m count 21-6 and had 13 scoring shots to Collingwood’s five to half-time, yet only had a 13-point advantage to show for it. The home side then slammed on three goals and held the Crows scoreless in the third term to storm into the lead, and it seemed inefficiency would once again be Adelaide’s downfall. But the Crows showed great maturity to right the wrongs that had cost them in the previous two rounds to reset themselves at three quarter-time. Adelaide’s intensity couldn’t be matched after the final break as the Crows kicked five goals to Collingwood’s solitary behind in a stunning finish to book their place in the inaugural AFLW Grand Final.

Perko plays the game of her life
Sarah Perkins produced one of the most dominant performances by a forward all season in the victory over the Pies. Determined to respond after a quiet outing against Melbourne last week, Perkins collected a season-best 15 possessions, including 13 contested, claimed five marks (four contested) and booted four goals, equalling the biggest haul by any player in the AFLW competition. ‘Tex’ also had two score assists, but her influence extended well beyond the stats sheet. Perkins commands the opposition’s best defender every week and often attracts a crowd in the forward line, creating space and opportunities for her teammates to find the footy. Fans love her, her teammates adore her, and her coach knows just how important an in-form Perko could be heading into the biggest week on the AFL Women’s calendar.

“She’s amazing. The great thing about her is it’s not actually about her statistics, it’s about what she does for the other forwards, it’s about what she does for the midfield, it’s her positivity, her football IQ and whether she’s kicking goals or not, someone in the forward line is as a direct result of her work.” - Crows women’s coach Bec Goddard.

What more can be said about Erin Phillips?
Just when you think you’ve seen the best of Erin Phillips, she lifted her game to another level against the Magpies on Sunday. The Olympian kicked the first goal of the game to settle her side with a slick crumb and snap around the body in the opening term. Phillips stood up again with the game on the line in the final quarter, slotting two crucial majors including an incredible goal from long range to seal Adelaide’s spot in the decider. Phillips collected eight possessions (seven contested), three clearances and two tackles along with her two goals in the final quarter alone. Labelled a ‘freak of nature’ by Crows coach Bec Goddard, the 31-year-old finished as the game’s top possession-winner with 22 touches - the most by a Crow in AFLW. She’s a big-time player made for the big moments, and you get the feeling there’s still a few more to come from ‘Flippa’ on Saturday.

Thompson’s time to shine
Stevie-Lee Thompson continues to improve with every game and was one of Adelaide’s most important players at a crucial stage on Sunday afternoon. The dashing defender, who only picked up the sport just over a year ago, was one of the reasons the Crows remained in the game when Collingwood made its charge. Thompson had seven possessions in the third quarter - the most of anyone on the ground for the term – and was crucial in the absence of injured teammate and regular defender Courtney Cramey. She showed off her sweet sidestep, a lasting trait from her touch footy background, on several occasions to evade opponents in traffic and repel the Pies as they piled on the pressure heading into three-quarter time. Without Thompson’s resilience and rebound from half-back, the Crows could’ve crumbled in the heat at Olympic Park.

A chance for redemption
The Crows and Lions played one of the games of the season in Round Five at a packed Norwood Oval. Described by Crows coach Bec Goddard as the most physical game she’d witnessed this season, Brisbane prevailed by three points to hand Adelaide its first AFL Women’s loss ever. The result was particularly tough to take given the home side had led for much of the contest and held an eight-point buffer in the shadows of three-quarter time. But the Crows are a different side to the one that lost to the Lions three weeks ago, and will leave nothing on the table to deal Brisbane its first loss on the biggest stage of the season.

“We hoped after that narrow Brisbane loss that we would get a chance to meet them again.” – Crows women’s coach Bec Goddard.