ADELAIDE has clinched the minor premiership and booked a home preliminary final in the second week of the 2021 NAB AFLW finals series with an impressive 14-point triumph over Collingwood at Norwood Oval on Sunday afternoon.
It was a dominant performance throughout from the 2019 premiers as they outclassed a fellow premiership threat to register the 4.7 (31) to 2.5 (17) victory and earn a week off in the first week of the finals series.
CROWS v MAGPIES Full match coverage and stats
Conversely, the disappointing Magpies drop from first to third on the ladder and will now have to re-group before they face the dangerous Kangaroos in a cut-throat elimination final next week.
The Crows had plenty of contributors, with experienced trio Anne Hatchard (22 disposals), Ebony Marinoff (18) and Erin Phillips (16) leading the way in what was an excellent team performance.
Jaimee Lambert (25 touches), skipper Brianna Davey (22) and Brittany Bonnici (22) tried hard for the Pies, who will be sweating on the fitness of Sophie Casey after she was ruled out of the second half with concussion following a big hit from Stevie-Lee Thompson.
The Crows got off to a fast start when Justine Mules snapped truly early in the contest and Ashleigh Woodland kicked a beauty moments later to ensure the hosts opened up a narrow seven-point buffer at the first change.
Hatchard displayed her dominance by kicking a goal at the start of the second term to increase the Crows' advantage and it was all one-way traffic as the Pies struggled to get the game played on their terms.
Ash Brazill was swung forward to start the final term and she helped setup Chloe Molloy reduce the margin to just 15 points as the Pies attempted to fightback and hold on to their top two spot.
But the usually reliable Molloy missed one moments later that she normally would slot as the Crows held their nerve to ensure they finished the regular season on a high.
Did you see that?
Dynamic forward Ashleigh Woodland has been one of the finds of the season and she showed her prowess with a superb snap during the first quarter that helped set the Crows on their way. The former Demon collected a loose ball, sold a bit of candy to her opponent, before producing a magnificent banana goal that thrilled the pro-Adelaide crowd in Norwood.
The Crows have many excellent attacking options at their disposal and it's often a different player each week that gets the job done. We have seen Erin Phillips, Chloe Scheer, Danielle Ponter and Ashleigh Woodland stand up in the past and on Sunday it was Anne Hatchard's turn. The 23-year-old showed her class against the Magpies to finish with 22 telling disposals and a goal in what was arguably a best-on-ground performance on the eve of the finals.
It was over when…
The move to swing the versatile Ash Brazill into attack at the start of the final term almost paid off as the Magpies started to move the ball more quickly and with intent. The Pies still had hope of holding on to second place on the ladder midway through the quarter when Chloe Molloy had a shot from 30m out that she would usually kick, but her kick was wide and the Crows ran the clock down expertly from that point on.
ADELAIDE 2.2 3.4 4.5 4.7 (31)
COLLINGWOOD 1.1 1.1 1.2 2.5 (17)
Adelaide: Hatchard, Mules, Woodland, Charlton
Collingwood: Lambert, Molloy
Adelaide: Hatchard, Randall, Marinoff, Phillips, Woodland
Collingwood: Davey, Lambert, Bonnici, Chiocci, Rowe
Collingwood: Casey (concussion), Fowler (shoulder)
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