Adelaide Crows young defender Madison Newman (Picture: Adelaide FC AFLW, Design by Will Cuckson)

Despite the performances of some usual suspects, the Adelaide Crows have quietly topped up their list with talent. This shift has come with more opportunity, which has given some second and third year Crows some time to show their wares at AFLW level.

One of these young and more inexperienced Crows is Madison Newman, who has only managed 18 games in four seasons to date. After being recruited in the 2019 draft, she has not been a particularly consistent member of the side in recent years.

Fast forward to season seven, and she has played every game so far. Her last two matches against the GWS Giants and Collingwood have been career-best outings for the 20-year-old.

In Round 5 against the Giants she had 21 disposals, seven marks and three tackles, while against the Magpies she racked up 17 disposals, two marks and a tackle.

Speaking to Newman exclusively after the Crows’ giant demolition of Greater Western Sydney, she talks about how missing the season six flag was a catalyst in her current run of form.

“I think I just kept working hard, [I] obviously didn’t play in the grand final and that just fuelled me to make sure I had a great pre-season,” Newman told The Inner Sanctum.

“[I] just kept running and working on my craft, which is contested possession and stuff like that, so I think I was just really hungry this year to cement my spot and the team has just been awesome.”

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When looking at the Crows’ list, there is a plethora of top-end experienced talent, however as is the case with Newman, many young Crows are starting to shine.

Teah Charlton, Hannah Munyard, Abbie Ballard and Montana McKinnon have been consistent performers that have been showcased in Adelaide’s season to date.

Charlton has played a great role, gaining experience alongside the best one-two punch midfield combination in Ebony Marinoff and Anne Hatchard. She currently averages 13 disposals, 1.2 marks and 3.2 tackles.

Munyard, Ballard and McKinnon have all played roles up forward pairing with Ash Woodland without Danielle Ponter as a focal point in particular.

While Jasmine Simmons, Brooke Tonon and Amber Ward are players that need more game time to be able to adjust to the level, they have all showed in glimpses that they are more than capable.

“I think it’s just really exciting, we are finally putting what we can do on show and the future looks really exciting,” Newman explained.

“We are not just relying on the more mature age players, we are making sure we are playing our role and being a part of games, I think going forward that’s just really exciting.”

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When looking at those experienced teammates that the younger Crows are learning from, it’s the likes of Marinoff, Hatchard and captain Chelsea Randall that come to mind.

Asking Newman about what it’s like to learn from the best in the league, she insists that what makes them great is how they bring others into each game.

“I think it’s really important, it’s just so great because they are great leaders on the field,” she said.

“I think they really lead by example and when they are on everyone just follows them and everyone just gets a real confidence boost out of them.

“They share the ball around as well, [they] bring others into the game, that’s really important.

“It was really good to just get some goals on the board and be accurate in front of goal, that’s something that we’ve been working on the last couple of weeks.

“[For us] to get some confidence around goals is great, I think everyone’s played their role and it was a really great team win which gives us some great confidence going into the Showdown.”

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Another teammate that has helped Newman in her development this season is Sarah Allan.

Winning multiple All-Australian honours in the backline, Allan is the perfect mentor for Newman, having started at the club as a teenager before becoming one of the best defenders in the league.

“She’s also someone that leads by example,” Newman said.

“She’s a girl of few words but definitely leads by example, I could really take a leaf out of her book just with the way she goes about it and she’s just such a solid player, [she’s] a rock in defence for us.”

When considering the record-breaking 96-point win against the Giants, it’s a great sign of a solid team when midfielders are getting on the scoreboard and there are multiple avenues to goal.

These haven’t been hallmarks of the Crows side this year so far so it would please the Adelaide faithful to see this step up.

Kicking 15.7 in Round 5 against GWS, the Crows had eight players kick a goal with three being multiple goal kickers (McKenzie Dowrick, Anne Hatchard and Ash Woodland). Newman says this more even spread of contributors is a testament to the team’s effort to work together.

“I think it’s great unselfish football to have multiple goal kickers like that [and it’s] just great reward for effort and sharing the ball around,” she explained.

“[It] shows how much we are working as a team and willing to get others into the game, [so] that’s great.”

One of those to hit the scoreboard in this match was Jess Waterhouse, a former Adelaide United player who played three seasons for the Reds. Making her debut, the goal was just as sweet, but it’s what testament to her effort off the field says Newman.

“I’ve thought all pre-season she’s been such a goal-sneak and really exciting in front of goals so for her to kick her first AFLW goal is just amazing,” Newman explained.

“It’s just a credit to her effort, she’s very, very talented also works very hard to get in the vision and support those taller players on the ground.”

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