Crows to host Brisbane in AFLW GF
Adelaide has beaten Melbourne to reach the AFLW grand final, but the Crows are poised to lose Chelsea Randall as they chase a third premiership in five years.
The Crows progressed to the Grand Final with an 18-point preliminary final win over Melbourne at Adelaide Oval on Saturday, but the victory was soured by a head injury to Randall.
The two-time premiership player left the field in the first quarter of the 18 point victory, after she collided heavily with Melbourne's Eliza McNamara, who also took no further part in the contest.
The league's strict protocols dictate Randall must not play for 12 days if she is deemed to have suffered a concussion.
Coach Matthew Clarke conceded Randall will almost certainly miss the Grand Final on April 17, saying:
"We'll wait and see, but it doesn't look great.
"We'll go through the protocols and find out in due course.”
"To lose her early was obviously challenging for the group but they adapted really well.”
"If it plays out that (she is ruled out) then clearly we're going to miss her, but she has a big presence around the group and I'm sure she'll be doing everything she can to help.
The Crows, premiers in 2017and 2019, will host the AFLW Grand final at Adelaide Oval next Saturday afternoon after finishing the home-and-away season on top of the ladder.
Ebony Marinoff and Anne Hatchard were pivotal for Adelaide with 35 and 27 possessions respectively.
The Demons, inspired by Karen Paxman and Tyla Hanks, were left to rue missed opportunities.
Daisy Pearce’s absence was clearly felt, as the Demons were unable to replicate the brilliant victory they achieved against the Crows by 28 points in round seven.
The Demons, who were shooting for their sixth win in a row, had the upper hand for long periods of the first half but could not take their chances.
Adelaide countered well, with Erin Phillips kicking a goal in the first and second terms to give her side a 10-point halftime lead.
A notable increase in intensity from the Crows after the break allowed Chloe Scheer and Hatchard to hit the scoreboard, the home side leading the goalless Demons by 21 points at three-quarter time.
Eloise Jones provided a highlight for the home crowd early in the final term with a clever finish.
Kate Hore booted one back to give Melbourne a glimmer of hope, but it was to be her side's only goal in their last match of the season
Demons coach Mick Stinear said his side was incredibly disappointed:
"This group definitely wanted to win a premiership, but the key positive is what we've built this season.
"Hopefully we're back in a preliminary final next year, we've learned from today and can earn our way into a Grand Final."
In the competition’s other preliminary final, Brisbane defeated Collingwood by four points in a thriller.
The lead changed several times in the even affair, but it was a resolute Brisbane team who were more accurate in front of the big sticks.
Brisbane's win means they now face the daunting task of playing minor premiers, the Crows, at the Adelaide Oval. Brisbane will play in their third AFLW Grand Final, including losses in 2017 to Adelaide and in 2018 to the Western Bulldogs.
Brisbane coach Craig Starcevich admitted the Lions' inexperienced players would have to cut down on their errors to beat a tough Crows outfit:
"Our young ones tonight made some horrible blunders, but they're going to learn from those experiences and get better, so that's been the case all year."