AFL

Adelaide Crows: AFL Women’s Preview

Justine Mules, Adelaide Crows. Image credit: @mulezzzy (Instagram)

The Coach: Bec Goddard

Co-Captains: Chelsea Randall and Erin Phillips

 

The Adelaide Crows women’s team have a unique setup having an “arranged marriage” joint-partnership with the Northern Territory and its separate training base in Darwin. While the state of South Australia will welcome the team as their historic club to join the competition, 18 players will train in Adelaide, and nine in Darwin. Coach Goddard has stated that the separate training bases will not hinder the performance, but it remains to be seen how the arrangement will benefit the club.

With co-captains being the marquee signing Chelsea Randall and former basketballer-turned rookie Erin Phillips, they are supported by joint-vice captains Sally Riley and Angela Foley who are in the Top End. Many of the players now have the chance to shine on the big stage having switched over from other sports and growing up playing in men’s football teams. As well as Randall, youth gold medal winning-Olympian Kellie Gibson joins as a marquee signing having switched from rugby sevens.

The Keys

Chelsea Randall

Leading the club in its first season, 25-year-old athletic forward Randall has been a leader both on and off the field for the club. Effective in the All Stars exhibition match last year, Randall had 11 disposals, 5 marks, 5 tackles, 4 hitouts and 4 inside fifties showing her exceptional skills she has displayed for the Melbourne Demons in exhibition games since 2013. In the recent practice match in Darwin against Fremantle, she also scored a goal and was named in the bests in the practice match against Fremantle in Darwin.

Originally from Western Australia where she captained the state side, Randall now also works for the Crows as the club Community Programs Officer. Since beginning her dream and pulling on the boots as a fill-in for her brother’s Under 11s team, Randall has made the All-Australian team three times on the back of her hard work and strong contested marking. She also holds the title of the youngest acting captain at just 17 years old during the 2009 Open Women’s WA v Victoria game until five minutes into the game she had a broken ankle and had eight screws and a plate inserted.

🔟 days to go until our @aflwomens season gets underway 😀! Here's our No.🔟 @ebmarinoff #weflyasone #AFLW

A video posted by Ebony Marinoff (@ebmarinoff) on

Ebony Marinoff

18-year-old inside-midfielder Ebony Marinoff was the seventh pick (first for the Crows) in what is destined to be a great move for the club. Marinoff represented South Australia at both senior and youth level as well as racking up 10 touches, six inside-fifties, five tackles and a goal in the All-Stars women’s match late last year. The former lifesaver and netballer began concentrating on football a year ago, but the Morphettville Park product has playing Under 18s since she was just 14 years-old.

Still young at just 18, Marinoff is in football for the long haul and has the ability to push forward, seen as the best afield in the South Australian exhibition match in April last year collecting 37 disposals and using her left foot to send the ball inside 50 seven times – adding to the 13 tackles accumulated that day. She also scored a goal and was named in the bests in the recent practice match against Fremantle.

Abbey Holmes

25-year-old Holmes was originally from South Australia, but more recently became known for becoming the first woman to kick 100 goals in a season, while playing Waratah in the NT. A fan-favourite, she starred in the EJ Whittens match, Holmes has a lot going for her as a state representative in netball, a body builder, real estate agent, businesswoman, and rising reporter as well. The key-forward kicked 16 goals in one match in 2014 and looms as a nightmare matchup if she’s set loose. She also scored one of the four team goals in the recent practice match against the Dockers in Darwin.

Once seen as a one-dimensional lead-out player, Holmes was overlooked in the 2013 and 2014 exhibition matches by Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs. Instead, she took her game to another level by improving her work up the ground and pushing into the midfield and a half-forward line.

Surprise Packet

Always good for a laugh!! #TheNoff @ebmarinoff @adelaide_fc

A photo posted by Erin Phillips (@erinphillips131) on

Erin Phillips

It may sound odd that the marquee signing would be a “Surprise Packet”, however, the basketball champion has only made the switch from basketball to football recently, having played in the WNBA and with the Opals in two Olympic games.

At 31 years old, there may be little left in the tank for the future, but what Phillips will bring to the squad will be maturity, competitiveness, expertise and playing sport at an elite level on an international stage. This experience will be crucial to the Crows’ chances of unity in two bases.

Interestingly, Phillips once played for Port Adelaide Power in a charity match at Adelaide Oval, lining up against Australian tennis champ Lleyton Hewitt in 2002. The young Phillips was the only female to play the match and was only 17 years old at the time. However, football runs in her blood, as many South Australians know, her father Greg Phillips the 1992 Port Adelaide Magpies premiership captain, as well as winning seven more premierships and representing the Croweaters 20 times.

Fixture

Like all teams, it’s hard to read in to the fixture and think what it may hold for Adelaide. The Crows begin their season at home against the GWS Giants before travelling to Whitten Oval in Round 2 in what looks to be a hard draw to begin with. Overall, they will play three games in Adelaide (two at Thebarton Oval, one at Norwood), and one match in Darwin at TIO Stadium.

Adelaide’s away games mean that they will travel to Melbourne twice, and Perth once, avoiding a trip to Brisbane or Sydney in the process. They finish their season at Olympic Park against Collingwood. It may be too early to call, but there’s potential for Traeger Park, Alice Springs to take a match in the coming seasons.

Ladder prediction: 5th

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