The Crows have provided nearly a quarter of the first-ever AFL Women’s All-Australian team.
All five Crows included in the preliminary squad of 40 – co-captains Erin Phillips and Chelsea Randall, young midfielder Ebony Marinoff, forward Sarah Perkins and versatile veteran Courtney Cramey – were selected in the best 22 at the AFLW Awards on Tuesday night.
Grand Finalists Adelaide and the Brisbane Lions each had five representatives in the team.
A global basketball star, Phillips was a revelation in the inaugural AFL Women’s Competition.
The game-breaking midfielder/forward was best on ground in Adelaide’s Grand Final win over the Brisbane Lions, and received the AFLW Most Valuable Player award from her peers. She also won the AFLW Goal of the Year for her match-winning long bomb against Carlton in Round Three, and was a finalist in Mark of the Year.
Named at half-forward, Phillips finished the home and away season ranked No.1 in the League for score involvements (38), effective kicks (61) and contested possessions (91).
The 31-year-old was second in hard-ball gets (36), clearances (34) and inside 50ms (26), and collected 132 disposals to be the sixth-biggest ball-winner.
Phillips also kicked eight goals in the minor round (ranked fifth in AFLW) including two bags of three, and match-winning majors against Carlton and Collingwood.
Randall led the way with her physical and uncompromising approach, which earned her the Most Courageous Player Award at the AFLW Players’ MVP presentation on Monday.
Playing across half-back with stints in the midfield, the 26-year-old marquee signing routinely threw herself at the contest and in front of bigger-bodied opponents.
She finished the home and away season ranked second in the League for intercept marks (12), and top 10 for inside 50ms (fifth), tackles (seventh) and contested possessions (10th).
Randall, who was picked on a half-back flank in the All Australian team, finished second in the voting behind Phillips for the best player on the ground in the inaugural AFLW Grand Final.
Rising Star nominee Marinoff, who was named on the interchange bench, showed football maturity well beyond her 19 years.
Adelaide’s first draft pick in the AFL Women’s Draft, Marinoff was the League’s top tackler with 70 in the home and away season – a staggering 21 more than the next-best player.
The bubbly onballer ranked equal-third in AFLW for inside 50ms (25), fourth for effective kicks (45) and hard-ball gets (34), equal-sixth for contested possessions (62) and 10th for disposals (108). She was also No.2 in AFLW for total pressure acts (112).
Signed by the Crows as a Free Agent after being inconceivably overlooked by all Victorian clubs at the draft, Perkins emerged as one of the cult heroes of the competition.
Named at full forward, the imposing 23-year-old finished second in the AFLW goalkicking after seven rounds with 11 goals.
A noted big-game performer, Perkins equalled the competition record of four goals in a dominant display against Collingwood in the last round to help propel the Crows into the Grand Final.
She took eight contested marks in the home and away season (ranked equal-fourth in AFLW), and led the Crows for score assists alongside teammate Phillips (six).
Perkins was just as effective without the footy, leading the League in forward 50m tackles with 19 – nearly double that of the next-best players, teammates Erin Phillips and Ebony Marinoff (10). She forced the second-most turnovers of any player during the season (22).
Cramey, 31, provided a cool head in defence and the midfield throughout the AFLW season.
The highly-respected South Australian state captain, who was selected in the back pocket, ranked equal-sixth in competition for rebound 50ms (17) and led the Club for spoils (14) and smothers (7) through the home and away season.
All eight clubs competing in the NAB AFL Women’s Competition were represented in the final team of 22. The team was selected with 16 players on the field and six interchange players, replicating the composition of AFLW team line-ups.
The 2017 Virgin Australia AFL Women’s All-Australian squad selection panel was Simon Lethlean, Josh Vanderloo, Jennie Loughnan, Kevin Sheehan, Grant Williams, Peta Searle, Darren Flanigan, Kelli Underwood, Ros Lanigan and Shelley Ware.
The All-Australian Team is:
B: Nicola Stevens (Coll), Courtney Cramey (Adel)
HB: Chelsea Randall (Adel), Brianna Davey (Carl), Karen Paxman (Melb)
C: Elise O'Dea (Melb), Daisy Pearce (Melb), Emma Kearney (WB)
HF: Erin Phillips (Adel), Sabrina Frederick-Traub (Bris), Ellie Blackburn (WB)
F:Darcy Vescio (Carl), Sarah Perkins (Adel)
RUCK: Emma King (Coll), Kara Donnellan (Freo), Emily Bates (Bris)
INTERCHANGE: Jess Dal Pos (GWS), Kate McCarthy (Bris), Ebony Marinoff (Adel), Tayla Harris (Bris), Mel Hickey (Melb), Sam Virgo (Bris)