ADELAIDE has sent an ominous warning to AFLW rivals, opening their 2022 campaign with a powerful 30-point defeat of defending premiers Brisbane.
Sunday’s grand final rematch was a tight contest in the first half, before the Crows flexed their muscles to run away easy winners, 6.3 (39) to 1.3 (9), at Flinders University Stadium, where forward Ashleigh Woodland starred with four goals.
The Crows had six changes from the team which lost to the Lions by 18 points in last April’s decider at Adelaide Oval.
The most notable was the return of inspirational skipper Chelsea Randall, who missed the grand final with concussion.
Youngster Chelsea Biddell was another addition, justifying her selection with an impressive performance across half-back.
Gun midfielders Anne Hatchard (26 disposals) and Ebony Marinoff (23 disposals) found plenty of the ball, while superstar Erin Phillips was influential shifting between the midfield and up forward.
The Lions went in with a more settled team, missing only former captain Emma Zielke and Lauren Arnell of their premiership team after both retired.
Ally Anderson (22 disposals), Orla ODwyer (21) and Emily Bates (20 disposals, 12 contested) tried hard for the Lions.
Their hopes took a massive blow when defender Kate Lutkins – the best-on-ground in the grand final, suffered a knee injury five minutes into the game.
Even with Lutkins on the sidelines, the Lions had plenty of scoring opportunities in the opening quarter with 11-4 inside 50s, but were unable to capitalise.
Phillips set up the games opening goal for Adelaide, delivering a long kick to the goalsquare with Caitlin Gould doing the rest with a strong contested mark.
The Crows really grabbed the momentum in the second term, Woodland kicking a clever 30m snap to give the hosts an 11-point lead at the main break.
A tough task for the Lions became all that much harder when forward Dakota Davison sustained an ankle injury just before halftime.
With goals like gold in the low-scoring contest, Woodland’s second major at the four-minute mark of the third term put the Crows in a strong position, leading by 17 points.
Phillips put the icing on the cake with a superb finish from hard in the right-hand pocket at the start of the fourth quarter.
Greta Bodey kicked a consolation goal for the Lions in the last quarter.
The Crows will look to make it back-to-back wins when they host the Kangaroos at Norwood Oval next Sunday, while the Lions host Carlton at Maroochydore on Saturday
(C) AAP 2022
ADELAIDE 1.0 2.1 3.1 6.3 (39)
BRISBANE 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.3 (3)
GOALS: Adelaide: Woodland 4, Gould, Martin
BEST: Adelaide: Hatchard, Woodland, Marinoff, Jones, Phillips
Brisbane: O’Dwyer, Bates, Conway, Anderson, Campbell