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Crows sweat on superstar Phillips before AFLW GF against Lions

The Crows expect superstar Erin Phillips will be fit for Saturday's AFLW grand final against Brisbane.

The 35-year-old was slow to join in Wednesday's main training session at Adelaide Oval as she received treatment on her legs, sparking fears she is battling injury ahead of Saturday's premiership decider against Brisbane.

Crows coach Matthew Clarke was compassionate in considering former WNBA basketballer Phillips' plight:

"She's carrying 35 years of professional sport.
"But she just manages her body beautifully really.
"Clearly she's got some battle scars from a lifetime of pounding basketball courts but I think she'll be right."

Phillips looms as a key factor in her club's quest to claim three premierships in five years, having been adjudged best player on the ground in the Crows' grand final wins in 2017 and 2019.

Adelaide will be without skipper Chelsea Randall, who was concussed in a heavy collision last weekend in their preliminary final win.

Randall has since been cleared of any lingering effects from the knock but was ruled out of the game due to revised AFL concussion protocols, demanding a 12-day break from playing after suffering a concussion.

The two-time premiership player has won widespread praise for her acceptance of the heartbreaking situation, with Randall unwilling to set a bad example for grassroots footballers by attempting to challenge the rules in order to play. Randall said:

"I'm at peace with everything that has unfolded.
"I'm very much a believer that things happen for a reason.
"But I think in years to come I'll look back on this moment and in a weird way it's a gift to me and it's a gift to my players.
"I think in any organisation you want to be able to give all the tools and support to your team and when they're self-sufficient enough to be able to do it on their own … I can imagine it will feel like being a proud parent.
"The gift that it's given me is how immensely proud I am."

Two-time premiership defender Angela Foley will captain the Crows in Randall's absence, telling reporters on Friday she and Randall had discussed the significance of the occasion:

“We reflected on the five years we’ve had together.
"It's obviously a bittersweet feeling not having one of my best mates not be able to run out alongside me.
“I’m pretty honoured to just wear the badge for the day, and hopefully we can do her pretty proud.
“It’s been a massive five years, and to get that third one would be pretty amazing.”

Brisbane captain Emma Zielke responded to Foley's comments about the Adelaide Oval acoustics and home crowd that help get the Crows over the line, saying her side was up to the challenge:

“One of the biggest challenges will be blocking out the crowd and focusing on the job.”
“I think all of our recruiting staff has done a fantastic job in getting our list to where it is now.”

At the pre-match press conference, Brisbane coach Craig Starcevich reflected on his side's sole game against the Crows in round 4 - where the Lions stayed within a goal of the later minor premiers until Phillips' goal at the end of the match. It was the Lions' first loss for the season, their only other subsequent loss being by 2 points to Melbourne in the final round of the season:

“That was a turning point, definitely, round four.
“The majority of our list, it’s their first go (playing in the Grand Final).
“Our group at the moment is happy rising to most challenges that are put in front of them.”


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