Phillips gets the Crows over the line on return
Saturday, February 17 2018 @ 05:30 pm ACDT
Contributed by: Tash Gunawardana
The Adelaide Crows were able to get over the line against the Western Bulldogs by 7 points in an absolute heart stopper of a match at Norwood Oval in front of 4,900 die hard football fans. Erin Phillips made her highly awaited return from a quad injury this afternoon in perfect conditions and what a wait it was as Phillips single handedly was able to get her Crows over the line with 4 goals in a ripper of a performance.
This match was a physical contest with heaps of pressure and very high intensity. Also it was a great match by two superstars of the AFLW Katie Brennan and Phillips.
Image Source: Twitter @Adelaide_FC
The Dogs were fast starters in this match and they put the Crows defense under siege for most of the first quarter with their long kicking into their attacking 50. It was with this immense pressure and intensity the Dogs kicked the first goal of the match via Emma Kearney who soccer kicked the football of the ground in the goal square. This opening term was a tight tussle, despite most of the game being played in the Dogs forward half of the ground as the Crows did not allow the Dogs to score easy even though the football was in their forward 50.
Every time Phillips was near the ball the crowd went wild. Aisling Utri slotted through the Dogs second goal of the match. The Dogs held up well all over the ground over the Crows. There work rate and intensity was great to watch, as they beat the Crows everywhere on the ground in the first term. Unfortunately the Dogs were unable to capitalize and make the most of their opportunities in their forward half and slot through majors. The talking point of the first term was when Dayna Cox from the Crows was undisciplined, as she was reported for open palm striking the Dogs Ellie Blackburn in the stomach. After this incident, Cox became frustrated and went high with a hit on Kearney. Phillips was able to boot through the Crows first goal of the match and a much needed goal from a Bulldogs turnover. This match began as a pretty frantic and physical game so far with the Dogs only up by a goal at quarter time.
The second term begun as the first ended with both teams playing tight football in and under the contest. At the start of the second the Dogs Lauren Spark placed a great bump on Brennan. This quarter was a tight tussle with neither team able to break clear with possession from the contest with one stoppage after another. The Dogs Monique Conti was everywhere in the second quarter. Neither team was able to score and the first score of this quarter came off Brennan’s kicking boot in the second half of the quarter. Brennan started to become livelier up forward for the Dogs this term with her strong contested marks and she was able to slot through her first goal from her second kick. Phillips too was livelier up forward for the Crows, as she took a great mark and slotted through her second goal of the match. It looked like the match was Phillips against the Dogs. The two captains Phillips and Brennan were playing well for their teams. It was a great spectacle as both captains led from the front for their respective teams. In the second, Phillips was everywhere in the forward line and as a result all over the Dogs defender Libby Birch. Phillips is a ball magnet. Each time Phillips goes near the ball something positive happens for the Crows. First half was tight and the ferocity and intensity was high like finals type football played by both teams. The Crows were down by 5 points at the main break.
At the beginning of the third term, Jenna McCormick from the Crows slotted through the goal after the ball swung in from about 45m out. Early in the third term the Crows had a lot of the ball and they were growing in confidence. As soon as the Crows gained the lead the Dogs were able to get in front with their fourth goal of the match via Brooke Lochland who marked the ball in the forward pocket and booted it from there.
In the third term, the Crows slowed the contest down and were playing the game to their game plan. It was goal for goal in the third quarter. The tempo really slowed down in the third term by the Crows and the Crows did not allow the Dogs to maintain possession and play the game on their terms. Conti kicked the football to Brennan the leading forward target who marked the football and was able to nail the Dogs second consecutive goal of the third term. The Dogs were beginning to look dangerous towards the end of this quarter and started to take control of this match with a 12-point lead.
There were bodies flying everywhere in this quarter and all the players looked to be exhausted in the hot conditions. When you think the Dogs were going to win this match, Phillips was able to steady the ship for the Crows after she held off Birch again and booted through a much needed goal for the Crows to get them within 6 points. Randall put her body on the line and was crunched, as she took a courageous mark. Both teams played high quality football and both teams had “A Grade” superstar forwards. At the end of the third quarter Brennan had 2 goals and Phillips had 3 goals. This match developed into an enthralling arm wrestle and Brennan and Phillips were both in a shootout at Norwood Oval.
The Crows headed into the final stanza with their season on the line. It was a tight and frenetic start to the last quarter, as the tackling pressure and intensity was very high from both teams. This quarter was tense and it was awesome to watch. Phillips the superstar slotted through a beauty of a snap goal from a stoppage. It was absolutely amazing to watch Phillips play pretty much on one leg. She is an incredible player who put on an incredible show this afternoon and she was a class above the rest today ending the match with four goals in a dominant performance. In the last few minutes, the match had tightened right up and neither team was able to score a goal. Brennan tried to run towards an open goal but three Crows defenders tackled her hard. McCormick nailed through the goal after the siren in one of the games of the AFLW season.
This was such a great women’s match of football, because the pressure on the football at the end of the match was still high like at the start and this was phenomenal. The final term was a pulsating one from both teams with only two goals scored by the Crows and the Dogs only managed to score a point. This match surely has to be up there as one of or the best AFLW match ever.
The Crows were able to notch up their first win of the second AFLW season and keep their finals hopes alive. Phillips was an absolute superstar this afternoon with 4 goals and 2 behinds. The Crows missed Phillips in the opening first two rounds. Phillips added another dimension to the Crows forward line and team as a whole. She is surely still the best player in the AFLW, because she carried her Crows over the line this afternoon in front of their home crowd.
ADELAIDE 1.1 2.2 4.4 6.5 (41)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 2.1 3.1 5.3 5.4 (34)
Adelaide: Phillips 4, McCormack 2
Western Bulldogs: Brennan 2,Kearney, Utri, Lochland
Adelaide: Phillips, Randall, Marinoff, Perkins, S Allan, Metcalfe
Western Bulldogs: Blackburn, Kearney, Utri, Conti, Lochland, Brennan
Western Bulldogs: Brennan (leg)
Reports: Dayna Cox (Adelaide) for striking Ellie Blackburn in the first quarter
Umpires: Matthew Young, Jamie Broadbent, David Newell
Official crowd: 4,900at Norwood Oval