Finals Week 1 Friday 4 November

Ikon Park
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    Dee whiz: Melbourne overcomes shaky start to book prelim spot

    MELBOURNE has stamped its premiership credentials with a confident 21-point victory over reigning premier Adelaide in a high-quality affair at Ikon Park.

    Just as they did in last season's Grand Final, the Crows got the jump, however the Demons slowly but surely worked their way back into the match in the 7.6 (48) to 4.3 (27) result.

    Melbourne hadn't conceded a score in the first quarter for its past four matches, but that was quickly forgotten when Danielle Ponter booted a goal in the first 19 seconds (the fastest start in AFLW history), followed by Caitlin Gould three minutes later.

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    The Demons and Crows clash in the qualifying finals of the 2022 NAB AFL Women's Competition

    The Demons almost looked to be a player short in their handball chains, the Crows – smartly playing a one-on-one defence – always managing to get a hand in there at the vital moment.

    Sarah Allan had barely put a foot wrong in the first quarter and a half, but Liv Purcell's snap bounced just centimetres above her hand for Melbourne's first goal, before a rare Sarah Lampard major just minutes later got the Dees within touching distance.

    DEMONS v CROWS Full match coverage and stats

    Despite their fiery start, it was a scoreless second term for the Crows as the Dees righted the ship, getting better bang for its buck in its run out of defence as the match wore on.

    Lampard was the surprise hit up forward, kicking two goals from the wing/half-back, while Alyssa Bannan kicked a creative goal to give the Dees a comfy 16-point buffer in the last term, starting her set-shot approach before accelerating around the mark and saluting in style.

    Bannan fools everyone in candy-selling special

    00:45 Nov 4. 2022. 8:46 PM

    Alyssa Bannan shows some more tricks with this clever move catching the Crows by surprise

    Tayla Harris was the standout ruck on the night, with Adelaide edging its Melbourne counterpart for clearances, but the Crows struggled to capitalise on its control as the game wore on, its forward line subsequently struggling to fire a shot after quarter-time.

    Liv Purcell (26 disposals, eight tackles) provided plenty of dash for Melbourne, while Ebony Marinoff (18 and 12) and Anne Hatchard (16 and eight) fought hard but were a little down on their usual output.

    Second-quarter stunner
    Bannan kicked off Melbourne's second term with a scintillating six-bounce run from arc to arc, and while her kick was intercepted by Allan, it was a sign of things to come. Melbourne had been 5-10 adrift in the inside 50s, but turned that around to read 16-15, kicking three goals and taking the lead. They did so without making a significant dent in the clearance differential. 

    Bannan activates jets in one of the best runs you'll see

    00:35 Nov 4. 2022. 7:46 PM

    Demons speedster Alyssa Bannan goes on a remarkable run along the wing and is only let down by the finish

    Randall watch
    Adelaide skipper Chelsea Randall had returned at least one (possibly three) weeks early from an ankle injury that had been given a timeframe of 3-5 weeks. She played primarily forward for the first three quarters but got limited supply. With the game on the line, Randall was moved into the middle for the start of the last quarter. She suffered a head knock late in the game, and was taken from the field following a stumble when attempting to take her free kick.

    "She's okay, she's with the medical team, they'll have a look. Because it was late in the game, they didn't go through the process of reviewing the footage, but they'll do that now," coach Matthew Clarke said.

    "But she's fine, she's very adamant she tripped on her lace, she had a little blood nose, obviously, but we'll wait and see. She should be right. We were pushing the envelope there a little bit (with the ankle), but I thought she played a really strong game, I think it was a reasonable call."

    Brave and battered Randall comes off following latest blow

    00:54 Nov 4. 2022. 9:05 PM

    Crows skipper Chelsea Randall leaves the field following a tough night at the office featuring a series of knocks and niggles

    Say what?
    "It was really pleasing in the end. Adelaide is a really strong side, and [the Crows] brought their best round the contest, and overwhelmed us, really. It was pleasing at quarter-time, the players were a little set back, it was a sharpen-up, but they weren't panicked, and we knew what it was going to take to get us back in the game. Probably didn't expect it to turn around so quickly in the second quarter." – Melbourne coach Mick Stinear

    "We couldn't have been happier with the first quarter, but in the end, Melbourne responded really strongly. We were able to shut down that outside band a little bit in the first quarter, but after quarter-time, they were able to release it to their runners. They had the better of the game from then on." – Adelaide coach Matthew Clarke

    Up next
    Melbourne has a week off and will host a preliminary final against one of Brisbane, Richmond, North Melbourne or Geelong. It's a sudden-death semi-final for Adelaide, playing the winner of Collingwood-Western Bulldogs.

    MELBOURNE      0.2     3.4     4.6     7.6     (48)
    ADELAIDE          3.2     3.2     4.2     4.3     (27)

    Lampard 2, Bannan 2, Purcell, L. Pearce, Zanker
    Adelaide: Gould 2, Ponter, Woodland

    Melbourne: Purcell, Lampard, Bannan, Mithen, Hanks, Harris
    Adelaide: Marinoff, Allan, Gould, Ponter, Hatchard

    Melbourne: Nil
    Adelaide: Randall (head knock)

    Reports: Nil

    Crowd: 2555 at Ikon Park

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