DYNASTY: Crows exorcise Grand Final Demons to win third premiership

JUST in case there was any lingering doubt, Adelaide has firmly cemented its claim as the first dynasty of the NAB AFLW competition, defeating Melbourne by 13 points to win its third premiership.

As they say in the classics, the 4.5 (29) to 2.4 (16) result at Adelaide Oval was a game of high intensity halves.

Adelaide reigned supreme in the first, but didn't fully capitalise on the scoreboard, while Melbourne's pressure and hard work got them back into the contest in the second.

AFLW Match Highlights: Adelaide v Melbourne

05:08 Apr 9. 2022. 3:05 PM

The Crows and Demons clash in the AFLW Grand Final

The Dees had closed the gap to seven points in the final term, but Adelaide found a rare bit of space on the open side of the ground, coolly and calmly finding targets before Danielle Ponter's second – accelerating away from her defender – sealed the deal.

CROWS v DEMONS Full match coverage and stats

The inclusion of Jasmyn Hewett as ruck cover for the suspended Montana McKinnon paid immediate dividends, taking a mark on the goal-line and converting a set shot for the opening goal, 10 minutes into the game.

Unlikely Crow crashes through for super opener

00:46 Apr 9. 2022. 1:01 PM

Adelaide's Jasmyn Hewett snares the opening goal of the 2022 NAB AFLW Grand Final after a mega mark and finish

Adelaide was playing with the maturity and discipline that comes with being in your fourth Grand Final. That's not to say Melbourne was panicking – not by any stretch – but the Crows were well structured both in defence and around the stoppages.

On many occasions, the Dees looked in-board for their well-used 45-degree kick, but the Crows were wise to the maneuverer, pushing a midfielder into the hole.

THE MOMENT Under pressure, Ponter seals the game for the Crows

Erin Phillips brought up her 50th career goal in style, snapping truly after two behinds from teammates at the start of the second quarter.

Melbourne broke through in a meaningful way in the dying minutes of the second quarter, when last week's hero Alyssa Bannan intercepted a kick across goal, hitting the contest with speed and kicking truly, and taking the margin to just 10 at the main break.

Bannan brilliance picks apart careless Crows

00:33 Apr 9. 2022. 1:25 PM

Demons gun Alyssa Bannan reads the play to perfection and charges forward for a much-needed goal

In fact, it looked like Melbourne's best way to score was with speed – pushing Tayla Harris high up the ground and letting the smalls feast out the back, as Kate Hore did.

Melbourne owned the remainder of the quarter, but as hard as they pushed, Adelaide's formidable backline clung on for dear life, and it was nine points the difference at three-quarter time.

WASH UP GF done and dusted, but what's next for Daisy and Erin?

Anne Hatchard's work-rate and clearance dominance was key to the win, while Sinead Goldrick and Gabby Colvin were highly impressive in defence for Melbourne.

Important Demons playmaker Maddi Gay sat out most of the second quarter with a right knee injury but returned, while both Teah Charlton and Najwa Allen's days ended after a head collision in the third. Casey Sherriff suffered a suspected broken left arm in the final term.

Sherriff suffers cruel injury blow

00:50 Apr 9. 2022. 2:16 PM

Casey Sherriff is assisted off the field in agony after being swung in tackle

Heartbreak for Daisy's Dees
If indeed Daisy Pearce hangs up the boots at the end of this season, she can do so in style. The skipper was swung to defence in the second half and was a key conduit in turning up the pressure gauge, and even finished the match on the wing. Harris' record of three Grand Finals for three different sides (coincidentally all against Adelaide) has resulted in three losses.

Melbourne's Tayla Harris and Daisy Pearce react after losing the 2022 NAB AFLW Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

Undermanned Crows hold up
On a very hot day in Adelaide, the Crows' tenacity in holding up under Melbourne's incredible pressure was the key to the win. What was even more impressive was the fact the Crows held on with just three on the bench from halfway in the third quarter onwards.

Three-time champions
Seven Crows have reached rarefied air after Saturday's result, having played in each of the 2017, 2019 and 2022 premierships. Anne Hatchard, Ebony Marinoff, Justine Mules, Erin Phillips, Chelsea Randall, Sarah Allan and Stevie-Lee Thompson have set a record that will be very difficult to beat.

Adelaide players pose with the premiership cup after winning the 2022 NAB AFLW Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

ADELAIDE        1.1     2.5     3.5     4.5     (29)
MELBOURNE    0.0     1.1     2.2     2.4     (16)

Adelaide: Ponter 2, Hewett, Phillips
Melbourne: Bannan, Hore 

Adelaide: Hatchard, Marinoff, Ponter, Martin, Allan
Melbourne: Paxman, Goldrick, Colvin, Hanks, Mithen

Adelaide: Charlton (head knock), N. Allen (head knock)
Melbourne: Gay (right knee), Sherriff (fractured left wrist)

Reports: Nil

Crowd: 16,712 at Adelaide Oval

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