Two months ago, many questions were asked of the standard of play of the fast-tracked AFL Women’s inaugural season. Fast forward to this weekend and it’s hard to argue that the most mouth-watering matchup of the season awaits since the first bounce at Princes Park in late January.
The pinnacle arrives as the two best sides of the season – Brisbane Lions and Adelaide Crows – go head-to-head at Metricon Stadium, Carrara on Saturday afternoon at 1:55pm AEDT (12:55pm local time on the Gold Coast) in the AFLW Grand Final.
Now-household names like the Crows’ Ebony Marinoff, Erin Phillips, Chelsea Randall and Sarah ‘Tex’ Perkins will fly as one to take on the Brisbane Lions stars Sabrina Frederick-Traub, Tayla Harris, Kate McCarthy, Emma Zielke and Emily Bates.
THE ROAD TO CARRARA
It’s been talked about of missed opportunities to shift the game as a standalone match rather than a double header before the men’s Q-Clash, however with the Gabba unavailable for use this weekend due to grass being sewn on to the turf, the Brisbane Lions will travel down the Pacific Highway to Gold Coast and play on a ground that neither team are familiar with.
The Lions remained undefeated all season with a final quarter slipup against Carlton last week see them ruin their perfect record and record a draw. They have however been the team to beat and have looked like an impressive outfit for much of the season.
The Crows on the other hand, have won five games this season and after trailing in the last quarter against Collingwood last week, produced a stunning patch to win by four goals and take momentum into the Grand Final. They’ve also combined an effort in the partnership with the Northern Territory showing a unique camaraderie from early stages playing for each other.
HOW THEY GOT THERE
Round 1: Defeated Melbourne by 15 points.
Round 2: Defeated Fremantle by 13 points.
Round 3: Defeated Collingwood by 4 points.
Round 4: Defeated GWS Giants by 34 points.
Round 5: Defeated Adelaide by 3 points.
Round 6: Defeated Western Bulldogs by 7 points.
Round 7: Drew with Carlton.
— Brisbane Lions AFLW (@lionsaflw) March 23, 2017
Round 1: Defeated GWS Giants by 36 points.
Round 2: Defeated Western Bulldogs by 25 points.
Round 3: Defeated Carlton by 3 points.
Round 4: Defeated Fremantle by 23 points.
Round 5: Defeated by Brisbane Lions by 3 points.
Round 6: Defeated by Melbourne by 2 points.
Round 7: Defeated Collingwood by 24 points.
— Adelaide Crows (@Adelaide_FC) March 23, 2017
HOW THE SIDES STACK UP AGAINST EACH OTHER
The Lions are ranked #1 in defence and equal 4th on hitting the scoreboard. The Crows are ranked #1 in scoring, and #3 in defence. However the one and only time they played each other was just three weeks ago in Round 5 when the Lions came from behind to get up 5.3.33 to an inaccurate 4.6.30 at Norwood Oval. Frederick-Traub was best afield while McCarthy kicked the winner as the Lions hung on in a thriller in front of more than 10,500 fans.
— Women's Health Aus (@womenshealthaus) March 23, 2017
CHANGES TO THE GRAND FINAL
It was announced late Wednesday evening that the match will run longer than originally thought compared to home and away games. A small change, each quarter remains at 15 minutes plus time-on after all scores, but now also includes when the ball goes out of bounds, blood rules, stretchers and injury time, and also for umpires to signal a score should there be a delay in the play in addition to the extended breaks.
Quarter time and three-quarter time breaks will be eight minutes in length and a half-time break of 20 minutes with a hot day forecast to reach 28 degrees and a possible shower.
SAT MAR 4 🙌 Get ready to watch the top two contenders for the flag as @adelaide_fc take on the @brisbanelions this Saturday at Norwood Oval. This is one you won't want to miss!! 😊 Gates open at 12:30pm with SANFL Women’s League curtain raisers and #AFLW kicking off at 6:40pm CDT! Watch the game LIVE on @channel7, @foxfooty or AFL.com.au or head to www.womens.afl/go for more info
The premiership side will win rings instead of medals. Inspired by their taste in jewellery, or from the Americanisation of sporting bling? You decide.
— AFL House (@AFL_House) March 20, 2017
The Lions have looked too good all season to let this go in their home state. Not only written off at the start of the season by many armchair experts before playing a game, the club is made up of predominantly Queenslanders giving it a real feel for what it means to play for a club that represents themselves. On top of the disappointing draw last week and ‘not playing the way they wanted to’ when finishing the game, they will be sure to come out with a fire in their belly from the opening bounce.
The Crows, while they’ve been the next best team on paper, might just fall short at the final hurdle. It took until the last few minutes last week to cement their spot and get the win last week against a side they should have put away sooner.
TV: Channel 7 from 2.00pm EDT Live Nationally, REPLAY: Fox Footy Match Replay 11.00pm EDT
RADIO: Triple M, Women’s Footy Radio, SEN, ABC.
MOBILE: Official App