AFLW Season 7 Preview: Adelaide
Reigning Premiers Adelaide Crows are the first to take part in our 2022 AFL Women’s Team Previews, which will run one by one ahead of Season 7. The Crows have just won a Grand Final memorable against Melbourne to claim their third flag, and although they have lost some experience, remain one of the teams to beat in the coming season.
Position: 1st (prime ministers)
The best and fairest: Anne Hatchard
Best goalkeeper: Ashleigh Woods
OUT OF SEASON:
IN: Niamh Kelly, Amber Ward (West Coast), Keeley Kustermann (West Adelaide), Kiera Mueller (Sturt), McKenzie Dowrick (Relisted), Jess Waterhouse (South Adelaide)
OUT: Erin Phillips, Angela Foley, Justine Mules (Port Adelaide), Jess Sedunary (West Coast), Nikki Gore (West Coast), Jasmyn Hewett (inactive roster)
Sarah Allan, Najwa Allen, Abbie Ballard, Chelsea Biddell, Hannah Button, Teah Charlton, Ailish Considine, Mckenzie Dowrick, Caitlin Gould, Anne Hatchard, Eloise Jones, Niamh Kelly, Keeley Kustermann, Ebony Marinoff, Rachelle Martin, Montana McKinnon, Kiera Mueller , Hannah Munyard, Madison Newman, Danielle Ponter, Zoe Prowse, Marijana Rajcic, Chelsea Randall, Jasmine Simmons (rookie), Stevie-Lee Thompson, Brooke Tonon, Amber Ward, Jess Waterhouse, Lisa Whiteley, Ashleigh Woodland
Idle: Dayna Cox (personal reasons), Deni Varnhagen (maternity leave), Jasmyn Hewett (professional commitments)
Round 1: against Melbourne | Norwood Oval
2nd round: @Richmond | Road to Punt
Round 3: against North Melbourne | Wigan Oval
Round 4: @Collingwood | Victoria Park
Round 5: against the giants GWS | Wigan Oval
Round 6: @ Port Adelaide | Adelaide Oval
Round 7: against Fremantle | Wigan Oval
Round 8: @Brisbane | Metricon Stadium
Round 9: against Geelong | Norwood Oval
Round 10: @ St Kilda | RSEA fleet
TOP 21 POTENTIAL:
B: Chelsea Biddell – Marijana Rajcic
HB: Chelsea Randall – Sarah Allan – Najwa Allen
VS : Ailish Considine – Teah Charlton – Niamh Kelly
HF: Stevie-Lee Thompson – Eloise Jones – Danielle Ponter
F: Ashleigh Woodland – Caitlin Gould
A: Montana McKinnon – Anne Hatchard – Ebony Marinoff
IN: Hannah Button- Rachelle Martin- Madison Newman- Zoe Prowse- Hannah Munyard
EMG: Amber Ward – Lisa Whiteley – Brooke Tonon
There is a field of Melbourne Cup entrants when it comes to potential contenders for the Crows’ best and fairest league. Marinoff gets the nod for his consistency and ability to make an impact in many ways. Along with Anne Hatchard, the pair offer an incredible ability to win the ball and ensure the Crows are always on top down the middle.
The Northern Territory talent has already proven himself on the big stage with a knack for goals and an ability to excite the crowd. Given the talent inside 50, Ponter can often benefit from the extra attention, especially now that Ashleigh Woodland has won the league kick and can no longer fly under the radar. One to definitely watch for an even bigger season 7.
KEY TALKING POINTS:
How will the Crows fare without Erin Phillips?
Erin Phillips is arguably the best player of the AFL women’s era, and one that can be counted on to step in in big games. No ill will was held back from the three-time star as premier moving to the Crows’ incoming rivals Port Adelaide, but she will be a huge loss. Saying that, Adelaide would have prepared for her departure, and the Crows certainly have enough talent both in midfield and up front to cover her. Expect some members of the Young Brigade to step in.
What will the Crows talls look like?
Given that Jasmyn Hewett has now been placed on the inactive list, all eyes will be on the rising young duo of Montana McKinnon and Zoe Prowse. Although Prowse had been trained in other positions over the past two seasons at the women’s SANFL and AFLW level, she dominated for Sturt in a big losing effort through the ruck. McKinnon will be the starting ruck going into Season 7 and will want to have a great year after narrowly missing out on the 2022 AFLW Grand Final through suspension. Fellow bookends Sarah Allan and Caitlin Gould are equally versatile and, along with Chelsea Biddell, can mix things up mid-game if needed.
Can the Crows continue their dynasty and win a fourth flag in seven seasons?
It is certainly possible. Along with other regular contenders Brisbane and Melbourne, the Crows should be around once again. They were able to keep the core of their winning squad minus Phillips, and although the losses of Angela Foley, Justine Mules and Jessica Sedunary mean the Crows have less experience, they have the depth to cover it.
Do the Crows have the best depth in the competition?
We can absolutely argue that way. Looking at Adelaide’s roster, even the 30th available player would push for a place in the top 21 at some point in the season. They have so much depth in so many positions both big and small, while having big game experience. Bringing in ready-made rookies Keeley Kustermann and Kiera Mueller to replace the aforementioned experience, along with tough winger Niamh Kelly, means they can be prepared in the event of an injury.