Jenna McCormick is elated after winning the 2019 AFLW Premiership with the Adelaide Crows (Picture: Jenna McCormick/Twitter; Design: Madeline Irwin)

Having played elite sport since she was a teenager, Jenna McCormick has been around long enough to know what makes a successful team.

Those characteristics were present from the beginning of the AFLW team’s inception at the Adelaide Football Club, from the key figureheads installed within the club such as head coach Bec Goddard and captains Chelsea Randall and Erin Phillips to the overall buy-in from the group.

The culture and camaraderie was important to their growth as a team but also to the premiership success that we’ve come to see in later years.

Speaking exclusively to The Inner Sanctum, former Crows forward Jenna McCormick described how the club set up the Women’s program for success from the start. She attributed that success to Bec Goddard, the inaugural coach who brought the maiden premiership to the club in 2017.

“Not one individual [was responsible for establishing the culture], [it was] just the group in itself, it is a special group,” McCormick told The Inner Sanctum.

“We had a lot of challenges in the first year because of the group being split in half, half in Darwin and half in Adelaide [but] Bec Goddard, our coach was amazing at bringing the two groups together and was an amazing leader herself, she really drove the standards.

“I think the club gave us everything we needed to be able to succeed but I really think it was driven by Bec, the coaching staff, and the leadership group.”

Former Adelaide Crows AFLW head coach Bec Goddard (Picture: Adelaide Football Club/Twitter)

McCormick went further in depth about the selfless team culture created in 2017, which we see remain at West Lakes over seven seasons later.

“We really knew that from the beginning, everyone was on the same page [and] we had players that were willing to risk everything to play for the teammate beside them,” she said.

“It was never about individual efforts, it was always about the team, there would never be anyone looking to score a goal if someone was in a better position, it was selfless acts all along.

“I think selfless is the word that ties it all up and being prepared to sort of do anything for your teammates was I think what we used for that success. [We have] a really special bond that we all created in that first year because I think we really know how special it was.”

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The Crows looked to the leadership of star basketballer turned cross-coder and AFLW-listed ‘rookie’ Erin Phillips and three-time All-Australian and Melbourne exhibition player, Chelsea Randall, appointing the pair as co-captains for their maiden premiership campaign.

Randall’s acquisition was as shrewd as Phillips with the former being one of the most highly talented female footballers at the time. McCormick explained their role in the development of the club’s Women’s football program and how they established this through their captaincy.

“We were so lucky to have Chelsea Randall and Erin Phillips [as co-captains]. (They are] two amazing people,” McCormick described.

“With Erin’s sporting experience as well internationally, she just brought invaluable lessons to all of us and really worked the group together well.

“[There was] great talent across the team and when you are successful and winning games it adds that extra drive to the team as well. It was a mix of people that contributed to the success not just some people but everyone sort of contributed in their own way.”

Erin Phillips and Chelsea Randall (Picture: Adelaide Football Club)

From being over-looked at the beginning of the season due to the Northern Territory/South Australian list split as well as the talent not being as clearly on display, the Crows went on to take the inaugural AFLW Premiership.

Winning the Grand Final over the Brisbane Lions at Metricon Stadium, the Crows etched their names into the history books in an instant. McCormick described being a part of that historical moment and how it relates to her sporting achievements in her career.

“That was really, really special [to be a part of],” she said.

“I often reflect on that year that we had and all the firsts that we were able to participate in individually and as a group, and to win that first league [premiership], that will never be erased from history, no-one else will be able to say that they won the first AFLW championship.

“I hold that [achievement] very dear to my heart and of course, that [grand final] win in 2019 was also special but there’s nothing quite that compares to the elation and the significance of that win in 2017 and how seriously the club took it and the league took it.

“It sits very high in my experience book, probably behind debuting for the national team definitely.”

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