Crows cruise past premiers as key stars suffer big injuries

ADELAIDE has sent an ominous warning to their NAB AFLW rivals, opening its 2022 campaign with a powerful 30-point defeat of reigning premier Brisbane.

Sunday's Grand Final rematch was a tight contest in the first half, but the Lions ran out of steam after injuries to key duo Kate Lutkins (knee) and Dakota Davison (ankle).

The Crows took full advantage, electric forward Ashleigh Woodland booting four goals to lead her side to a comfortable victory - 6.3 (39) to 1.3 (9) - at Flinders University Stadium to the delight of coach Matthew Clarke.

AFLW Match Highlights: Adelaide v Brisbane

04:46 Jan 9. 2022. 4:12 PM

The Crows and Lions clash in round one of the NAB AFL Women's competition

"(The Lions) are a high-quality opponent and suffered two significant injuries in the first half, which impacted the game," Clarke said.

"It's really good for us to start our season strongly with a great win.

"In terms of motivation from last year, that day has been and gone."

The Crows had six changes from the team which lost to the Lions by 18 points in last April's decider at Adelaide Oval.

The most notable was the return of inspirational skipper Chelsea Randall, who missed the Grand Final with concussion.

CROWS v LIONS Full match coverage and stats

Youngster Chelsea Biddell was another addition, justifying her selection with an impressive performance across half-back.

Gun midfielders Anne Hatchard (26 disposals) and Ebony Marinoff (23 disposals) found plenty of the ball, and superstar Erin Phillips was influential shifting between the midfield and up forward.

Ally Anderson (22 disposals), Orla O'Dwyer (21) and Emily Bates (20 disposals, 12 contested) tried hard for the Lions, who were missing only retired duo Emma Zielke and Lauren Arnell from last year's premiership side.

The Lions' hopes took a massive blow when Lutkins - a three-time All-Australian and best on ground in the 2021 decider - injured her knee just five minutes into the game.

Lions cop huge blow as Lutkins goes down

00:24 Jan 9. 2022. 2:36 PM

Brisbane's Kate Lutkins had to be carried off the ground after suffering a suspected serious knee injury

Things went from bad to worse with Davison's ankle injury late in the second quarter.

"I thought our people stuck at it reasonably well, but the opposition set the game up early from a pressure perspective and got us out the back with some scoring opportunities as well," Lions coach Craig Starcevich said.

"But the chaos that comes with losing two key players goes a fair way to trying to steady the ship and manage a team with 19 fit players.

"It became a little bit difficult from that point onwards."

Davidson carried off after ankle injury

00:44 Jan 9. 2022. 3:11 PM

Dakota Davidson had to be helped off the ground after she suffered an ankle injury late in the second quarter

Starcevich said the injuries "didn't look good", with both Lutkins and Davison getting caught in the ground and suffering non-contact injuries.

Phillips put the icing on the cake for the Crows with a superb goal from hard in the right-hand pocket at the start of the fourth quarter.

The Crows will look to make it back-to-back wins when they host the Kangaroos at Norwood Oval next Sunday, while the Lions host Carlton at Maroochydore on Saturday.

Woodland slams home four in super start

01:34 Jan 9. 2022. 4:03 PM

Ashleigh Woodland's four-goal haul has ensured her side would get their revenge in the Grand Final rematch

ADELAIDE    1.0     2.1     3.1     6.3     (39) 
BRISBANE    0.2     0.2     0.3     1.3     (9) 

GOALS 
Adelaide: Woodland 4, Gould, Martin
Brisbane: Bodey

BEST  
Adelaide: Woodland, Hatchard, Marinoff, Jones, Phillips
Brisbane:
O'Dwyer, Bates, Conway, Anderson  

INJURIES  
Adelaide: Nil
Brisbane: Lutkins (knee), Davidson (ankle)

Reports: Nil 

Crowd: 1,805 at Flinders University Stadium

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