Adelaide superstar Erin Phillips has led the Crows to a 12-point AFLW win against Brisbane on a scorching Sunday afternoon.
The two-time AFLW best and fairest winner kicked four goals, including a fourth-quarter sealer, in the 6.9 (45) to 5.3 (33) win in 30-plus degrees heat at Hickey Park.
Phillips also had 21 disposals and eight marks in a best-on-ground performance as the Crows bounced back from last week’s loss to Fremantle.
Greta Bodey managed two goals for the Lions, who battled hard but were never ahead on the scoreboard as they were given a reality check following their big wins over competition strugglers Gold Coast, West Coast and Richmond.
Two-time premiership winner Phillips, one of 15 players on the field from the inaugural AFLW grand final between these two clubs, made a quick start with two goals in the opening quarter as the Crows held the Lions scoreless to race to a 17-point lead at the first change.
Brisbane’s three goals in the second quarter put them back in the hunt but Ashleigh Woodland’s goal on the siren for the Crows was a real kick in the teeth for the hosts.
Bodey and Phillips traded goals in a tight third term before Bodey gave the Lions hope with her second of the match in the final quarter.
A scrappy final term left the game in the balance before Phillips’ fourth iced the win in the dying minutes.
“Ultimately we needed someone to finish the work,” Crows coach Matthew Clarke said.
“We were playing reasonably good footy but we weren’t able to really make the most of our chances other than Erin, who was outstanding in all aspects. A really good performance.”
As well Phillips, Ebony Marinoff was everywhere for the Crows with a game-high 28 disposals while Anne Hatchard (19 disposals, five marks, two clearances) was another strong contributor.
Irish import Orla O’Dwyer played a fine game for Brisbane with 14 disposals and five tackles, while Breanna Koenen provided some key interventions in defence including a desperate tackle to haul down Hannah Munyard when the Crow was clear through on goal.
“One player (Phillips) in particular but definitely a step up in quality,” Lions coach Craig Starcevich said of his team’s opponents.
“You need to be in these types of games to steel yourself for what’s to come when you’re playing against opposition like that.”