Ailish Considine’s Adelaide crows secure AFLW Grand Final crown

Crows win their third crown against Sinead Goldrick and the Melbourne Demons

The Adelaide Crows - featuring Ailish Considine - are the 2022 AFLW premiers after defeating the Melbourne Demons 4.5 (29) to 2.4 (16) in a gripping contest amid wild scenes at Adelaide Oval.

Chasing their third flag, the Crows were just a bit tougher and a cleaner all game, and despite a third quarter rally from Melbourne, the home team ran out worthy winners when Danielle Ponter broke away and goaled to seal it for Adelaide.

A dejected Melbourne captain Daisy Pearce, who was rumoured to be playing her final game in a glittering career, told her vanquishers: “We knew it would take a bloody good team to beat us, and that’s what you were.”

In a torrid opening quarter, the backlines of both sides duelled for early honours. However it was the Crows who looked better organised and when Jas Hewitt took a ripping grab on the goal line Adelaide opened their account. The Dees could take heart from denying Adelaide’s champion Erin Phillips a possession all quarter until, seconds before the siren, the Crows legend swooped and snapped cleverly with that celebrated left foot to put Adelaide further ahead and take a commanding 17-point lead into the first break.


Adelaide’s midfield stayed on top in the second stanza, with their bigger bodies proving too much for the Dees. Melbourne defended bravely to repel several Crows raids and keep the margin tight and it frustrated the home side who squandered some easy chances and allowed Daisy Pearce’s soldiers to seize back the momentum. When Demons forward Alyssa Bannan stole a ball from the kick out and raced into an open goal to split the big sticks one minute before the break, it was game on.

But Adelaide came back from the long break refreshed and refocused and made a perfect start to the second half when Danielle Ponter marked strongly in the goal-square and converted. With the grand final slipping away, Melbourne had to counter and did, stepping up the pressure and attacking through the corridor. Their reward was a vital major to Melbourne’s Kate Hore after a long ball from Tayla Harris. It narrowed the margin to 10 points and kept the crowd on the edge of their seats.

Entering the final quarter, it was the Dees running on top of the ground, launching wave after wave of attack and commanding repeat inside-50s. But, buoyed by a boisterous Adelaide Oval crowd of 16,712 and desperate to atone for last year’s grand final defeat to Brisbane, the Crows held on grimly.

Then came the goal that broke Melbourne and delivered Adelaide their third premiership. With five minutes to go and Melbourne pressing, a quick transition found Danielle Ponter who had been a menacing presence all afternoon. Ponter marked strongly, played on, and threaded a super goal to delirious crowd scenes.

In the end history will show Adelaide conquered Melbourne 4.5 (29) to 2.4 (16) to win the fifth AFLW competition and register the club a record third flag. Best on-ground was Adelaide’s Anne Hatchard who was relentless all day with 26 disposals, five clearances, six tackles and nine marks. It denied Adelaide legend Erin Phillips a third medal after claiming honours in 2017 and 2019.

Phillips, 33, has been tipped to finish her career in 2023 at her family club Port Adelaide (her father is former Port Adelaide SANFL star Greg Phillips), who will enter the AFLW competition next season. However, the former Opals basketballer and three-time All-Australian, wouldn’t be drawn on her future post-match.

“Honestly, my whole goal has been to win another premiership with this team,” an emotional Phillips told the Seven Network. “I haven’t thought about that (my future). There’s been a lot of noise, a lot of people talking about what’s next… right now I’m just so proud to be a Crow.”

Adelaide had cemented themselves as the greatest women’s team the AFLW has seen. Tougher, bigger, swifter and better organised down back they held their nerve and now hold the Cup. A roller coaster AFLW season of Covid scares, extreme weather, injuries and challenges, climaxed in a cracking Grand Final, with a worthy Premier.

- Guardian