30/05/2024

Photo Credit: Adelaide Crows AFLW Twitter

The Adelaide Crows piled misery onto the Richmond Tigers, coming from behind late in the game to win 36-27. The loss is a tough one to swallow, as the Tigers dominated the contest through three-quarters but didn’t capitalise on the scoreboard.

For Richmond fans, it was a case of deja vu.

Last week, against Geelong, forward target Courtney Wakefield kicked two behinds from consecutive mid-range set shots. This week, against Adelaide, Courtney Wakefield kicked two behinds from consecutive mid-range set shots.

Last week it was an emerging star on the opposition, Georgie Prespakis, who scored her first two AFLW career goals, including the match-winner. This week it was an emerging star on the opposition, Abbie Ballard, who scored her first two AFLW career goals, including the match-winner.

A harbinger of things to come, Richmond had two early opportunities in the first quarter to goal through Wakefield, but managed just two behinds. Adelaide made the most of their opportunity shortly afterwards, Ashleigh Woodland finished clinically from a significant angle.

Zoe Prowse molly-grubbered a goal shortly afterwards to stretch the Crows’ lead to 10 and it looked like the reigning premiers would run away with the match.

Richmond’s Midfield Mastery

However, Richmond’s midfield took over the game and provided constant supply to the forwards. Emelia Yassir notched the first goal for the Tigers.

Courtney Wakefield then tallied her first goal of the season, kicking the ball along the ground through a crowd of legs, and Richmond retook the lead.

Richmond’s dominance continued into the second quarter, however both sides mustered a goal each.

First, Courtney Wakefield marked sensationally deep inside 50 to start the quarter. The forward provides a valuable forward target for Richmond. If she can build her confidence and improve her kicking accuracy, the team will prosper.

Wakefield made no mistake with her opportunity, doubling her goal tally for the day.

Champion teams find ways to answer, and the Crows did a minute later through Rachelle Martin, with an almost identical goal to Yassir’s.

Monique Conti, Sarah Hosking, and Grace Egan were excellent last week, and they were sensational in the second quarter.

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Adelaide defended valiantly and Chelsea Biddell was instrumental in breaking up Tiger attacks.

The third quarter provided a similar narrative, Richmond spent most of the quarter inside the Adelaide half. However, the Tigers only produced a single goal for their efforts.

The goal itself was excellent, a 50-metre bomb from Maddie Shevlin. It was worrying that for all the Richmond pressure from midfield and in the attacking 50, the goal came from a defender in Shevlin.

Crows forward Chelsea Randall was also deployed into defence by Crows Coach Matthew Clarke to frustrate the Tiger forwards. As the siren sounded at the end of the third quarter, Richmond held an eight point lead.

Richmond dominated the territorial contest for the first three quarters, leading 35-10 in inside-50s through to the start of the fourth quarter.

Illustrating the dominance of Richmond, the team record for tackles inside 50 was 20. At three-quarter time, the Tigers had recorded 23 tackles inside 50.

There was an undeniable sense that Richmond would pay dearly for their profligacy, and midway through the final term, those fears were realised.

A trio of rushed behinds brought the Crows within three, and a disastrous kickout was intercepted by Abbie Ballard.

The subsequent kick from a tight-angle split the goalposts, Ballard had her first AFLW goal, and Adelaide had their first lead since the opening quarter.

A second Ballard goal two minutes later sealed the win. In the final quarter, after being dominated in the inside 50 department, Adelaide led Richmond 10-3 in inside 50 opportunities.

Most importantly, the Crows converted on said opportunities. Champion teams find ways to win, and the Crows did just enough to stay within reach of Richmond before outclassing the Tigers when it counted.

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