The Adelaide Crows continue their strong start to the season, with a comprehensive win over the West Coast Eagles on the road at the Swinburne Centre in their Round 3 Pride Round clash.
Leading by just a solitary point at quarter time, the Crows would kick five goals to none thereafter to cruise to a 33-point victory, with the warm Melbourne conditions not a factor in the Crows’ dominant display.
The Eagles were competitive in the opening term despite having less of the attacking play but would fade away in the second half as Adelaide finished the game with 43 more disposals and 13 more inside 50s to help set up the 42-9 win and go the first three rounds without a loss.
Crows coach Matthew Clarke felt that despite his side cruising to a comfortable win, the game was evener than the scoreboard suggested and was pleased to come away from the game 3-0.
“I thought it was a really good contest actually, the score, in the end, was [a] healthy win, but right throughout it felt a really even game, I thought West Coast brought really good pressure around the contest,” he said post-game.
“I think contested possessions was just about even, so to come away with a good victory after that is really pleasing and we all know it’s a short season so you just got to win whenever you can, and to get to three and zip is really pleasing.”
The midfield duo of Eloise Jones and Ebony Marinoff was impressive throughout the day, with Jones, in particular, playing her best game thus far of the 2022 AFLW season.
After a relatively quiet game in Round 2 against the North Melbourne, Jones bounced back against the Eagles and finished the day with 20 touches and a goal. Marinoff put in a complete performance as she finished the game with a game-high 23 disposals while also playing well defensively with a game-high six tackles.
Veteran Erin Phillips was also once again in fine form, given more minutes up forward this season, Phillips would finally open her account to season 2022, kicking her first goal of the season with the opening goal of the contest, finishing the day with 18 disposals, and was amongst the star performers for the Crows.
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Having started the season in fine form up forward kicking eight goals in her opening two games of the season, Ashleigh Woodland was again amongst the goal scorers in Round 3 finishing the game with two goals to take her tally to 10 goals for the season. Having struggled to have an influence in the early going, she’d eventually work her way into the game.
Clarke commented on his star forward after the game saying that her impressive start to the season has been a result of a big preseason.
“Obviously she’s a second-year [player] on our squad but she’s a little bit more mature, so was sort of ready to go last year,” he said.
“Obviously [during] the preseason…her capacity to get herself super fit [and] work really hard, and that’s helped her get to more contests and she’s got talent obviously, she’s just maximising that by working hard.
Justine Mules would open her account for 2022 and also finish the day with two goals, scoring the opening goals of the second and third term to firm the Crows’ grip on the game.
Stevie-Lee Thompson was also influential up forward, despite finishing the game goalless was influential around the contest and finished the game with 17 disposals.
Adelaide would make several changes during the week with the Crows pick 34 from last year’s draft Abbie Ballard making her debut, while Jasmyn Hewett and Aiish Considine came into the side for their games of the season.
All three were solid contributors in the side’s win with Clarke after the game complimentary of the three, saying all three who came in had an impact in the game.
“Abbie had a great day, her family was able to get to the game which was awesome and she played really well, [put in a] crunching tackle, [had a] couple opportunities at goal, so really good debut for her,” he said.
“Also pleasingly Jaz Hewett came into the side and really contributed and [so did] Ailish Considine on the wing.
“To get three players into the squad and give them some game time was really important, obviously it’s that sort of season everyone is having to use their full squad, so we’re pleased they all came in and had a good day…in particularly a debutant.”
In a day with a lot of highs for the Crows, there would be one negative the side will take out of the game with midfielder Anne Hatchard injuring her foot in the final quarter.
Like many of her Crows teammates, Hatchard had been in fine form in the opening two rounds of the season and was beginning to relish her role as a midfielder, having made the transition from defence, averaging 27 disposals a game, and was amongst the top performers for Adelaide in the opening two rounds.
She was a solid contributor against the Eagles before being struck down with an injury, gathering 12 disposals before having to come off the ground.
The Adelaide Crows will be looking to make it four wins from their opening four games when they take on the in-form Melbourne Demons at Norwood Oval in their AFLW Round 4 fixture next week.
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