September 19, 2021

905 On the Bay

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AFLW Grand Final preview: Adelaide v Brisbane

4 min read

Saturday, April 17

2021 NAB AFLW Grand Final – Adelaide v Brisbane at Adelaide Oval, 1.30pm ACST

DESPITE all the upheaval and change in the NAB AFLW competition over its five-year history, it feels fitting we’re back where it all began, with Adelaide and Brisbane set to face off on Saturday.

The two teams played in the 2017 Grand Final, with the Crows triumphing by six points, and have had fierce battles and grudging respect for each other since then.

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They’ve both had their fair share of ups and downs in that time: Adelaide has won two flags and crashed down the ladder in the even-numbered years, while Brisbane backed up for another heart-breaking six-point Grand Final loss in 2018.

The Lions were hard hit by the expansion period, the Crows by injury, but now both are set for another chapter in the fascinating rivalry.


Apr 16. 2021. 9:08 AM

Nat Edwards and Daisy Pearce preview the 2021 NAB AFLW Grand Final between the Crows and Lions


Both sides come into the decider with an 8-2 win-loss record this year, recording seven victories each in the home and away season.

Adelaide earned hosting rights on the back of a superior percentage (208.4 to 195), finishing the season as minor premiers, while Brisbane finished in second place.

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The Crows were dominant in their preliminary final win over Melbourne, defeating the Dees by 18 points, with Erin Phillips kicking the opening two goals of the game.

By contrast, the Lions’ preliminary final was an absolute thriller, with Collingwood closing the gap to four points with just 30 seconds remaining, but the hosts held firm to record the win.  


Erin Phillips all eyes will be on the superstar, who already has two Grand Final best-on-ground medals under her belt. Stronger than just about any other player in the competition in a one-on-one situation, she can dominate up forward or win a crucial stoppage.

Eb Marinoff – has had another stellar season in the midfield, leading the club in disposals, contested possessions, clearances and metres gained, an important stat in AFLW. She’s a driving force out of the middle and a big reason why the Crows lead the comp in inside 50s.

Sarah Allan – the key defender’s rise through the ranks over the past few years has seen her now sit in fourth place in Adelaide’s disposal ranks this year, a remarkable feat from an important stopper. Given Brisbane’s multi-pronged attack, Allan’s composure and direction will be vital.


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Isabelle Dawes the Lions’ senior midfielders in Emily Bates and Ally Anderson are so consistent, it’s almost a given they’ll star on Saturday. But the team has been at its best when young midfielder Dawes has been firing, providing support with her neat kicks inside 50.

Dakota Davidson she caught the eye last year with her exuberant celebrations, but the bullocking key forward has improved her consistency in 2021. Davidson is a strong body up forward, but more importantly, is rarely out-marked, bringing the ball to ground for the small forwards if she doesn’t hold the grab.

Kate Lutkins a proven finals performer, Lutkins was unlucky not to be named best afield in the 2018 decider. She is calm under pressure and can dictate play from the back half. Her ‘Inspector Gadget’-like reach means she is rarely out of a contest and she has a booming kick out of defence.


























There’s not an awful lot separating the pair, with Adelaide a slightly higher scoring side who use more handball than Brisbane.

The Lions just shade the Crows in the number of marks taken per game, and both are high-pressure, tackling sides.


Adelaide dealt Brisbane its one ‘big’ loss for the year, defeating the Lions by 12 points in round four. Erin Phillips dominated, kicking four goals from 21 touches to be the difference in the end. The Lions were disappointed to concede goals in the final minute of the second, third and fourth quarters, with winger Orla O’Dwyer and defender Bree Koenen their best.


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Brisbane thrives on being an underdog, it’s become part of the perennially overlooked side’s DNA in the past few years. The Lions are a seemingly unflappable system-based side, they’ve won games anywhere at any time this year.

But there’s something intangible about the magic of Erin Phillips at Adelaide Oval in a final that makes them hard to overlook. Crows by nine points.

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