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AFLW: Gibbo's grand start

Matilda Conlon  March 27, 2017 2:28 PM

AFLW GF: Gibson's dream start to GF Kellie Gibson kicks a sensational goal in the opening seconds of the AFLW Grand Final
That’s when I did a bit of an ‘Eddie Betts’ (celebration) to the crowd

Kellie Gibson has written herself into the AFLW history books again, kicking the first goal in the Crows’ Grand Final win on Saturday.

It was a critical start for the Crows in the opening 15 seconds of the game, giving them an early boost in what would become a nail biting six-point premiership victory at Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast.

At the opening bounce, reliable veteran Courtney Cramey grabbed a loose ball in the centre circle and booted it out onto the wing in the Crows’ forward half.

After starting behind her opponent, Gibson streaked ahead, gathered the ball and snapped the goal from a tight angle, 40 metres out.

“I didn’t realise how far out I was! I remember as it came off the boot, it just looked straight. I was like, ‘it’s through!’” Gibson said after the game.

“That’s when I did a bit of an ‘Eddie Betts’ (celebration) to the crowd.

“It was amazing.”

It was a fitting Grand Final storyline for marquee player Gibson, who also kicked the Crows’ first ever goal in Round One against Greater Western Sydney.

Back on February 4 at a drizzly Thebarton Oval, she put on a similar display – using her pace to outrun her opponent and firing off a goal from long-range, right on the 50m arc.

Fast forward two months to a Grand Final fairy tale made of moments and one-percenters, including a sensational spoil from Gibson in the third quarter after she’d given away a free kick.

“I knew I had to get back on that because I obviously took her high in the tackle,” Gibson said.

“I knew she was a little bit too close and the umpire called play on, so I was like, ‘this is my chance to redeem myself.’”

It was an act that typified the Crows’ relentless, physical approach, hanging on to win against a surging Lions side in the frantic final minutes of the game.

“Our runner came out and said ‘90 seconds’, and it was the longest 90 seconds of my life!” Gibson said.

“I was thinking ‘is it up yet?’ and I remember just busting to get to the other side of the field.’”

The effort from the women’s team had never been more intense than in the Grand Final, nor had their spirit and belief.

“We knew we had one more game to go, and we played as a team. We fought every single battle and we never gave up,” she said.

“We’re all playing out there for ourselves and each other. We did it for everyone else too – the coaching and support staff, the crowd that came along and the crowd back in Adelaide and Darwin.”

The magnitude of the moment and the mayhem after the game was something the 20-year-old struggled to put into words.

“I think if I actually try to describe it, I’d probably burst out crying,” Gibson said.

“The moment when that siren went and we all flooded to Erin Phillips … she’s a great player and a great inspiration for our girls, and this game.”

After the historic AFLW flag win in Queensland, the Crows finished the season with an incredible four wins from four away games – a record that is rarely achieved in football.

“We liked the idea of being an underdog and coming through, similar to what the Bulldogs did in the men’s game last year,” Gibson said.

“Winning away from home makes it so much better.”

Hundreds of family members and friends joined the players to celebrate after the game, including ‘Team Gibbo’ who flew in from Western Australia.

“It’s incredible! Just having everyone here is just amazing. I can’t believe it’s happening.”

“The winning feeling is just the best.”