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AFLW: Crows go down in opener

Lee Gaskin, AFL Media  February 3, 2018 9:57 PM

AFLW 2018 Rd 01 - Adelaide v Brisbane

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 3: Ruth Wallace of the Crows celebrates a goal with team mate Ebony Marinoff during the 2018 AFLW Round 01 match between the Adelaide Crows and the Brisbane Lions at Norwood Oval on February 3, 2018 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by AFL Media)

A dominant performance from powerhouse forward Sabrina Frederick-Traub has helped the Brisbane Lions spoil Adelaide's AFLW premiership party.

The Lions gained a small piece of revenge for last year's Grand Final loss with a 12-point victory against the Crows at Norwood Oval on Saturday night.

Frederick-Traub was outstanding for the Lions, with her overhead marking and physical presence a highlight of the game.

Crows skipper Chelsea Randall was just as inspirational for her side, lifting in the absence of fellow co-captain Erin Phillips, the reigning AFLW best and fairest ruled out pre-game with a quad injury.

But the Lions booted 3.3 in the second half while keeping the Crows scoreless to get their season off to the perfect start.

After unveiling their premiership banner, the Crows had little to cheer about early when they failed to score in the first quarter.

But goals to first-gamers Eloise Jones, Ruth Wallace and Randall - awarded a free kick after spectacularly putting her body on the line, and then a 50m penalty to have a shot at goal from 10m out directly in front, - gave the Crows all the momentum at the main break.

The tide slowly started to turn.

The Crows were penalised twice for the last touch out of bounds rule in quick succession, the Lions taking advantage with Jess Wuetschner kicking truly from 40m to narrow the gap to four points.

Wuetschner's second – courtesy of a 50m penalty for a Crows' infringement - at the 14-minute mark of the third quarter put the Lions back in front.

The game-changer

Sabrina Frederick-Traub was incredible for the Lions. She was unstoppable over-head and hauled in 10 marks to be the focal point of the Lions' attack. Tayla Harris's move to Carlton has put all the emphasis on Frederick-Traub, and she relished the increased spotlight. It didn't matter who the Crows put on her, Frederick-Traub won the battle.

The key

The Crows struggled without the AFLW's reigning best and fairest Erin Phillips, who was a late scratching with a quad injury. Without Phillips, the Crows couldn't win any ball through the midfield and lacked touch with their disposal. The Crows also had to throw the outstanding Chelsea Randall into the midfield, which left a hole in defence that Frederick-Traub exploited. The Crows will desperately want to hope Phillips is right to return for next week's clash with Melbourne.

The hero

In a game where goals were at a premium, Jess Wuetschner's two majors were extremely valuable for the Brisbane Lions. Wuetschner kicked two of the Lions' three goals in the second half, while the Crows were kept scoreless.

At the end of the day

The Crows couldn't play much worse, given the amount of ball they turned over and hacked kicks out of defence. A fit Erin Phillips is an absolute must, but they will also be hopeful of regaining All-Australian defender Courtney Cramey and forward Abbey Holmes from injury, while forward Jenna McCormack will be available to return from W-League soccer duty. Don't write off the premiers just yet.

Say what?

"It's absolutely enormous that you can plonk the ball on your key forward's head and she can contest like that."

- Brisbane Lions coach Craig Starcevich talking about Sabrina Frederick-Traub's performance.

"Across the board we didn't beat our opponent one-on-one. Instead of having a sense of urgency and be clean about it with our decision making, we're panicking and chucking it on the boot without even looking. There's some great lessons for us to look at this week."

-  Adelaide coach Bec Goddard.

What’s next?

The Lions have their first home game of the season when they host the Western Bulldogs at the South Pine Sports Complex next Sunday, from 3.35pm (AEST). Meanwhile, the Crows fly across the border to face Melbourne at Casey Fields next Saturday, from 5.05pm (AEDT).


BRISBANE LIONS                1.2          1.3          3.6          4.7 (31)

ADELAIDE                 0.0      3.1          3.1          3.1 (19)


Brisbane Lions: Wuetschner 2, Conway, Ashmore

Adelaide: Jones, Wallace, Randall


Brisbane Lions: Frederick-Traub, Lutkins, Zielke, Stanton, Ashmore, Wuetschner

Adelaide: Randall, Marinoff, Varnhagen, Foley


Brisbane Lions: Nil

Adelaide: Nil

Reports: Nil

 Andrew Crosby, Trent McPhee, Cameron Dore

Official crowd:
 11,120 at Norwood Oval