History was made at Adelaide Oval on Friday night but it wasn’t the entry that goalless Port Adelaide wanted to write into the history books, Chelsea Randall leading the charge as the ruthless Crows smashed their cross-town rivals by 60 points in the inaugural AFLW Showdown.
Just over 25 years since the Power’s AFL side shocked their local rivals in the first-ever Showdown at Football Park, Matthew Clarke’s side was too experienced, too methodical, and just too good to suffer the same fate.
The well-established Crows were playing their 59th AFLW game, three of those winning grand finals, in their seventh season and Port just its sixth match, and that gulf in experience became obvious after a tense opening.
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A week after Adelaide inflicted an AFLW record 96-point beatdown on GWS, the Crows had weapons all over the ground that combined in impressive fashion to keep the Power goalless for the first time.
Randall inspired with three goals and a game-high 27 possessions to claim the Showdown Medal, while Ebony Marinoff and Anne Hatchard starred with 24 and 23 disposals.
Sarah Allan was matched up on superstar Erin Phillips when she was up forward and she kept her former teammate goalless.
Phillips finished with 14 touches to be one of her side’s best players, with Alex Ballard finishing with a team-high 18
The high-flying Crows’ fifth win in a row improved their record to 5-1, while the Power slipped to 1-4-1.
Phillips and Randall shared a hug before the coin toss, won by Randall, but that was the end of the niceties with the rivals going toe-to-toe in a pressure-packed opening.
The Power had been held goalless in four of five first quarters going into the match and the miserly Crows made it five opening terms without a major for Lauren Arnell’s side.
Port wasn’t without chances, Jade de Melo barely failing to gather a loose ball with no defender between her and goal and later hitting the post, but Randall had no such problems.
The fired-up skipper scooped up a loose ball deep in attack and slotted a superb goal across her body three minutes in, then passionately grabbed her beloved tri-colour guernsey after she slotted her second to put her side up by 14 points at the first break.
TURNING THE SCREWS
Adelaide appeared to have weathered the early storm as the second quarter unfolded and, but for some inaccuracy in front of goal, should have been further up than 35 points at half-time.
Hatchard continued her happy knack of hitting the scoreboard of late after marking strongly, Randall added a third and Ash Woodland bagged her ninth goal of the season as the Crows dominated the contest.
By half-time Adelaide was well on top in a host of key stats including disposals (121-79), clearances (16-5), marks inside 50 (11-1) and hitouts (15-4).
The onslaught continued in the third when Adelaide went inside attacking 50 11 times to Port’s two, with both of those forward forays coming inside the last minute of the quarter.
The Power at least mustered a shot at goal, but Ange Foley couldn’t grasp the opportunity to kick a goal against her old side, Port trailing by 50 points at the last change.
The Power had one last chance to boot a goal after the final siren, but Kate Surman’s free kick fell well short.
One of the few downsides for dominant Adelaide was an injury to youngster McKenzie Dowrick midway through the third quarter.
Dowrick tussled with Amelie Borg in a marking contest until her right leg buckled under her.
She clutched at her knee in pain, was helped from the ground by trainers and took no further part in the game.
POWER 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.3 (3)
CROWS 2.4 5.7 7.11 8.15 (63)
POWER: Ballard, Phillips, Foley, Yorston, Dunn, Boag.
CROWS: Randall, Marinoff, Hatchard, Gould, Charlton, Munyard, Allan.
CROWS: Randall 3, Ballard, Woodland, Waterhouse, Marinoff, Hatchard.
CROWS: Dowrick (knee).
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
JASON PHELAN’S VOTES
3 Randall (Adel)
2 Marinoff (Adel)
1 Hatchard (Adel)
HAWKS COMPLETE MAJOR COMEBACK
Jess Duffin hadn’t kicked a goal for three-and-a-half years, but a second quarter masterclass in the Hawks’ three-point win changed that.
With the Hawks falling behind by four goals in the first quarter, they needed someone to stand up and make the most of a strong wind blowing to the bay end of Skybus Stadium.
The 33-year-old stationed herself deep inside 50 for the Hawks and used every ounce of her experience to find space where it often looked like there was none to kick three goals for the quarter.
With the ball carrying extra distance, Duffin was simply too smart for her opponents, reading the ball through the air to take two strong marks resulting in goals.
Her performance proved to be the difference, and when kicking into the wind the level-headed Duffin dropped behind the ball to assist the Hawthorn defence to finish best on ground.
Tahlia Fellows is proving one of the hottest forwards in the competition at the moment with her speed causing opposition teams big problems.
It was a big week for the 22-year-old. Last weekend she kicked three goals in her second game of AFLW, and on Wednesday night Fellows was at Casey Demons’ best and fairest night, where she came second.
But she was able to refocus to put together another potent performance for the brown and gold, finishing with seven disposals, a goal assist and 1.1.
The performance was made all the more impressive as Fellows’ grandfather passed away during the week.
After kicking her first goal, where she sped off out the back of the Eagles’ defence and slammed through a goal from the line, she pointed to the sky in tribute to her late grandfather.
Kicking into a stiff Frankston breeze, the game plan was simple for the Hawks — get it to Aileen Gilroy.
The Irishwoman was instrumental in gaining territory for Hawthorn with her daring dash, often from defence.
It was typified by a third-quarter adventure off halfback from the 29-year-old which almost resulted in the goal of the year.
It had all the shades of Phil Manassa and Mick McGuane – the running bounces, the little bursts of speed away from opponents, the little dart inward before the kick – until the final product, which bounced just wide.
But without Gilroy and her 491-metres gained, the Hawks would have been staring down almost insurmountable margins at the end of the first and third terms into the breeze.
Tegan Cunningham was cited for a fourth quarter bump on West Coast’s Charlotte Thomas.
The game was stopped while the umpire made an on-field report against the 34-year-old for a late bump on the 18-year-old emerging star.
Initially it looked as though Cunningham would find herself in serious trouble, with Thomas staying down and looking in trouble.
But replays appeared to show the heavy hit didn’t catch the Eagle high, and she was able to take her kick and remain on the ground.
HAWKS 1.2 5.4 5.6 6.8 44
EAGLES 4.2 4.2 5.5 6.5 41
Hawks: Duffin, Gilroy, Fleming, Lucas-Rodd, Eardley.
Eagles: Swanson, Lewis, Thomas, Roberts, Lakay.
Hawks: Duffin 3, Fellows, Lucas-Rodd, McDonagh.
Eagles: Roberts, Swanson, Western, Lewis, Britton, Schmidt.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
JAMES MOTTERSHEAD’S VOTES
3 J. Duffin (HAW)
2 A. Gilroy (HAW)
1 E. Swanson (WCE)