ADELAIDE is off to its fourth Grand Final after registering a controlled win over a heartbroken Fremantle side on Saturday afternoon.
As anticipated, it was a tight match as both sides looked to close down space and prevent any clean ball use from their opponent, with the Crows ultimately prevailing 6.4 (40) to Fremantle's 4.2 (26) at Adelaide Oval.
Early in the game it was the stars who came to the fore, Erin Phillips for Adelaide, Ebony Antonio for Fremantle. Phillips opened the goal kicking, winning the ball inside 50 and splitting the Dockers' defence to snap around her body, while Antonio covered the ground beautifully gaining plenty of ground with each of her disposals.
CROWS v DOCKERS Full match coverage and stats
Adelaide dominated territory for much of the first three quarters, getting plenty of ball close to goal, but the Dockers' defence stood up strongly on the goal line to limit their opportunities to score.
The Crows' defensive line was also vital, setting up beautifully behind the ball and often presenting as an impenetrable wall as Fremantle desperately attempted to win some ground, but Adelaide's interceptors mopped up all day.
Captain Chelsea Randall led the way in that respect, leading the field with 12 intercepts, including a stunning contested mark back with the flight of the ball as Fremantle was surging.
Who kicked it?
In the second quarter a free kick for the Crows set up a set shot from superstar Erin Phillips 40 metres from goal. A beautiful kick from Phillips looked to have gone through, but in fact had bounced on the goal line and come back into the field of play. With all players stopped after assuming a goal, Woodland struck, kicking a casual goal around her body for her 20th of the season - the first AFLW player to kick 20 in a season.
An interceptor's dream
This season Adelaide has built its game style off the back of intercepting the ball and bringing its defence high up the ground, controlling territory in the process, and it was no different against Fremantle on Saturday. Led by Chelsea Randall with 12 intercepts, the Crows' backline read the ball beautifully as Fremantle tried to desperately exit defence, and then stood very strong in the one-on-one. Sarah Allan looks a certainty to win another All Australian guernsey, with her ground level pressure immense throughout the game.
What are you doing there?
In the final round last year defender Emma O'Driscoll was moved into the forward line to play a defensive forward role for her Dockers and despite taking a shot on goal was unable to convert. In the final quarter of this preliminary final, she once again found herself in the attacking arc and after winning the ball at ground level, straightened up to slot her first ever AFLW goal and give her team a sniff with time still on the clock.
For the Dockers, that's season over after an impressive season up against some tough obstacles. Adelaide will look toward a fourth Grand Final appearance, at home against Melbourne on Saturday afternoon.
ADELAIDE 2.1 4.1 5.3 6.4 (40)
FREMANTLE 1.0 3.0 3.0 4.2 (26)
Adelaide: Woodland 2, Phillips, Gould, Thompson, Ponter
Fremantle: Hyde, K. Antonio, Runnalls, O'Driscoll
Adelaide: Marinoff, Thompson, Phillips, Randall
Fremantle: E. Antonio, Strom, Miller, Cuthbertson
Crowd: 5,452 at Adelaide Oval
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