The Crows women’s team had an impromptu campfire-style singalong in a unique Grand Final build-up.
The Crows, who have players based in both Adelaide and Darwin, managed a ‘long-distance relationship’ of sorts throughout the inaugural AFL Women’s Competition.
In a typical week, the players trained in their respective states before at least part of the group travelled to meet the rest of the team interstate the day prior to a game.
Coach Bec Goddard made the decision to bring the whole squad together a day earlier than usual ahead of the Grand Final, with the players jetting into the Gold Coast on Thursday.
The team spent two nights together, enjoying some rare down time as well as preparing for the game against the Brisbane Lions. A ‘jam session’ started when a guitar was produced on both evenings.
Co-captain Chelsea Randall, forwards Jenna McCormick and Rachael Killian, and ruck Rhiannon Metcalfe were among those to strum a few chords, as the whole group listened and sang along.
Watch the jam session in the video player above
Randall described the unique build-up as a bonding moment for the already tight-knit group.
“The first night, we came together and our head trainer Shelley brought out a guitar. We found out we’ve got quite a few musicians and some really good voices in the group!” Randall said.
“We just jammed on the guitar, played a few good tunes and were just sitting around in each other’s company. It was kind of like kumbaya on the bean bags!
“I think that put a lot of positive energy amongst the girls.
“I remember looking around at all the players while Jenna McCormick was playing the guitar and thinking, ‘How special is this? How special are these people?
“We’ve had an incredible journey and I’m not ready for this to be over’.”
The good vibes carried into game day.
Randall sensed her team was ready when they arrived at Metricon Stadium.
“Coming off a really strong finish against Collingwood led us into a good week,” she said.
“It was just around the warm-up time before we went out onto the field when we all just started smiling at each other.
“It was like, I’m doing this for you, you’re going to have my back and I’m going to have yours.
“There was just so much love in our team.”
Whether it was the togetherness, tactics, talent or a combination of everything, the Crows produced an inspired team effort on Saturday to hold off the Lions and claim the inaugural AFLW premiership.
Second in the best-on-ground voting behind fellow co-captain Erin Phillips, Randall played a game-saving role in defence.
For the second time this season, the competitive utility blanketed Lions marquee player Tayla Harris, who didn’t have a possession in the first half and finished with only three for the game.
Randall also dropped off her opponent to help her teammates and repel numerous Brisbane attacks, particularly in the tense final term.
The ball was in Brisbane’s attacking half when the final siren sounded with Adelaide six points ahead.
“The siren went and I was like, ‘Oh my God, is it over?’ I couldn’t believe it at first and then everyone just started jumping on each other,” Randall said.
“‘Flip’ (Phillips) was on the ground and I thought she was actually injured, so I was saying, ‘Guys, guys, give her some room!’ But I pulled her up and she was just there crying - she realised it was over.
“It was just an incredible moment that I’ll cherish forever with this group.”
The enormity of the achievement still hadn’t sunk for Randall when the team returned to the hotel to celebrate on Saturday evening.
“I’m a bit speechless. I’m just so proud and so honoured to have led this Club with Erin Phillips and this football team into a Grand Final,” she said.
“They’re an incredible group of girls and I couldn’t be prouder.”
“To be premiers in the first-ever AFL Women’s Competition is just surreal.”
West Australian Randall was courted by a few AFLW clubs when the competition was being formed.
The talented and respected 26-year-old opted to leave her home state and sign with the Crows as a marquee player. As part of her role, she also heads up the Club’s female football programs.
Some in Perth questioned Randall’s decision to join the Crows, who were tipped to be in wooden spoon contention prior to the season starting. No one is mocking that move now.
“It was the Club culture that really brought me across to Adelaide, the people and the genuine support that was there. I think that’s had a flow-on effect into our women’s team,” she said.
“I’m just so incredibly proud to be part of the Adelaide Football Club, to be a Crow.
“I just love this football club. I love our fans – I love everything about it.
“That was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”