17/04/2024

Sarah Allan in defence. (Photo: Jack Hudson)

Defenders young and old have stepped up to make Adelaide's backline the best in the league in the 2022 AFLW season.

The backline of the Adelaide Crows has always been feared by opposition teams, but this year it seems to have gone to another level. 

In last year’s grand final, veteran defender Angela Foley went down with an ACL injury. Foley, a member of the leadership team, left a gap in the backline with questions around whether the Crows would now be vulnerable. 

Coming into Round, 4 the Crows are showing that they have the loss covered. This season the Crows have only conceded 42 points, ahead of Brisbane, having conceding 67 points in one less game.

Sarah Allan, as the last line of defence for the Crows, has stepped and delivered some of her best performances in her career. The game against the Kangaroos saw her take a career high six marks. 

Allan’s ability to read the contest and transition the ball outside the defensive fifty is a key piece to the Crow’s attack.

The transition movement is being supported this year by the addition of Chelsea Biddell. 

Chelsea Biddell has taken her game to the next level in 2022. (Photo: Jack Hudson)

Biddell has been able to solidify a spot in the team this year, transitioning to the backline from her traditional forward spot. 

“She’s a great contested marking ability and it’s just really exciting to see how her form has come in,” Allan told media on Thursday. 

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Also impressing Allan this year is Najwa Allen, who has been dropping into the backline from the midfield, providing a link position for the Crows.

The 27-year-old state league stalwart will play just her 20th AFLW game this weekend, but has become an important member of the side.

“I am really liking what Najwa Allen has brought, she’s really developed over the past few years,” Allan said.

“She’s worked really hard on everything at training to the pre season.” 

The improvement from the less experienced players is backed up by the core group of Nikki Gore, Marijana Racjic and captain Chelsea Randall. The group has been able to develop and build experience together over the past few seasons. 

Chelsea Randall in the backline. (Photo: Jack Hudson)

Unlike a lot of other teams in the competition, the Crows have retained most of their original playing list, resulting in a strong team bond that is evident on game day. 

“We work really well as a unit and we have each other’s backs,” Allan said. 

“We really like to work together, I’m really excited that I always have my defenders have my back.

“We understand that it’s not about ourselves, it’s about how we can work as a group and how it really can affect everyone else up the ground.”

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