Contributed by: Tash Gunawardana
In hot conditions the Adelaide Crows were able to hold on to win in the heat by 4 points at the TIO Stadium in Darwin over the Fremantle Dockers. The match was a tale of two halves, because the Crows dominated the first half with there tackling, scoring and overall play. Then the Dockers owned the second half of the match, as they dominated the possession and overall play. In the second half the Dockers were coming hard at the Crows and tried to end the Crows season, but the Crows leaders such as Erin Phillips, Chelsea Randall and Sarah Perkins stood up when needed for their team. As a result, the Crows have a chance of winning back-to-back AFLW premierships.
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It was an evenly matched contest in the opening term. The Dockers could not stop Phillips early influence in the match, as she scored two of the first three goals in the first quarter. Phillips put through the first goal of the opening term after the football was turned over by the Dockers and Ruth Wallace gained possession of the football. Wallace kicked the football inside 50 and the football bounced over the heads of the Dockers defenders to Phillips who was waiting to pounce on the football. Phillips took the football and she slotted through the opening goal of the match just metres from the goal square for an easy goal.
The Dockers first goal of the match came after a 50m penalty was given to the Dockers and Lara Filocamo nailed through the goal from 20m out on a right angle. Phillips scored her second goal of the match after an inside 50 kick from Perkins to Phillips who was one out with the Dockers defender. The football dribbled past the two players, but Phillips utilized her footy smarts and won the foot race against her opponent and kicked the goal truly. The tackling by the Crows in the first quarter was elite. Late in the first term, there was one stoppage after another from the Crows in their forward half of the ground. As a result, Marijana Rajcic booted through a late goal in the term and it was her first goal for the Crows. The only thing that separated both the teams at quarter time was the Crows had an open forward line and this was how they outscored the Dockers three goals to one. At quarter time the Crows had a 10-point advantage over the Dockers.
The Dockers lifted their intensity and physicality in the second quarter, but could not capitalize with majors on the scoreboard despite having a lot of the football in the quarter. Phillips was the first goal scorer of the second term like she was in the first. This time she marked the football strongly after a kick inside 50. Phillips was about 15m out from goal, but she did the team thing and quickly hand passed the football of to Perkins who kicked her first goal of the AFLW season on the run. Hard nut midfielder Ebony Marinoff left the ground under the blood rule after a heavy knock. The Dockers first goal of the second term came via Ashlee Atkins who scored the major. Midway through the second quarter the Dockers challenged the Crows and placed the Crows under immense pressure especially as they dominated the gameplay. Rajcic played well in defense for the Crows in the second quarter. The pressure and intensity lifted in the second quarter. At the main break the Crows held an 8-point lead over the Dockers in trying conditions.
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It was a tight tussle in the third term. The Dockers started well with the first goal of the term within seconds of the start. Alicia Janz tapped the football to Hayley Miller who bursted out of the centre and kicked the football long into her forward 50. Ebony Antonio gained possession of the football. Antonio snap kicked and scored the goal. Antonio was so happy, because she moved forward after she played in defense for the first half. Marinoff gave away a 50m penalty, as she ran through the mark. As a result, Dana Hooker scored the goal from about 30m out. This was a significant goal for the Dockers.
The Dockers began the second half with a lot of intent, as they dominated possession and the inside 50 count. Jessica Sedunary nailed through a much-needed goal for the Crows, because she kicked the bouncing football out of mid air to gain back the lead for her team. There was a momentum shift to the Crows midway through the third term, as their leaders stood up when the Dockers came at them hard after the Dockers were all over the Crows in the first half of the term. As a result, the Crows hung onto a one-point lead at three quarter time.
The final stanza continued to be a tight contest from the Crows and Dockers, as both teams were able to score a goal each. Phillips was again everywhere in the fourth quarter like in the previous three quarters and as a result she slotted through the Crows first goal of the term. Phillips looked to have marked the football but the umpire said it was touched, but it did not faze Phillips who still had the poise to score the goal off a snap kick just metres from the goal square.
Randall had a huge second half for her side and to top it off she took a great solid mark in defense. Atkins helped set up the Dockers opening goal of the last term, as she kicked the football to Kara Donnellan who played on from about 35m out. So Donnellan kicked the football around her body to Hooker on the run who kicked a nice goal on the run. The dying minutes of the match were high-pressured and it was great to see how both the teams did not drop off in any intensity and continued to give it their all from the opening ball up to the final siren.
Fortunately for the Crows they held on in the heat to beat the Dockers who fought them till the end. The Crows keep their hopes alive of winning back-to-back premierships in the 2018 AFLW season. They now sit second on the AFLW ladder with one round left in the season.
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