Contributed by: Tash Gunawardana Sunday, April 11 2021 @ 05:10 pm ACST
In the second week of the AFLW finals series, the week off given to the two top sides, the Adelaide Crows and Brisbane Lions proved invaluable.
Also, the experience of the two sides in AFLW finals shone through in the preliminary finals.
The Lions and the Crows showed that their experience in preliminary finals counts.
Image Source: Albert Perez
The Crows were determined to defeat the Dees and not have a repeat of round seven when the Dees thumped them by 28 points at Casey Fields.
Collingwood were the best team going undefeated until round seven and were trying to make their maiden AFLW grand final, but the Lions were able to hold on by four points to progress through to their third AFLW Grand Final.
How great is it to have the two best teams since the AFLW started way back in 2017 to play off in the 2021 AFLW decider.
Adelaide Crows vs Melbourne:
Adelaide Crows will play in the 2021 AFLW Grand Final after an astonishing 18-point win over Melbourne at Adelaide Oval on Saturday afternoon.
It was a good day for Ebony Marinoff who starred with 35 disposals and 13 tackles and also Anne Hatchard was huge with 27 disposals and one goal.
Marinoff and Hatchard's powerful performances helped to steer the Crows to the 5.3 (33) to 1.9 (15) victory.
In what was a hard day at the office for the Dees, the ever reliable Karen Paxman still made her presence felt with 25 disposals, 18 kicks and seven tackles.
It is not looking good on the injury front for the Crows with captain Chelsea Randall potentially looking like she might miss the Grand Final after she copped a heavy knock in the opening term and was ruled out of the match with concussion.
The start of the match was high pressured with both sides cracking in hard making it tough for either team to score.
In the opening quarter, the Dees led the inside-50 count 11 to five, so you would have thought that the Dees would have scored heavily but the strong defense of the Crows held up well.
The Dees only managed two behinds from the first quarter and the Crows kicked the only goal of the first.
It was a bit more of the same from the Crows in the second, as they scored the only goal again and Dees could only score a behind.
To only score their first goal in the final term was a dissapointing end to an impressive season from the Dees after finishing fourth and were on a five game winning streak.
The win from the Crows shows us that the Crows are still hungry for more premiership glory and will take some beating on their quest to become the first ever three-time AFLW premiers.
Brisbane Lions vs Collingwood:
Brisbane Lions were able to get over Collingwood by four points in an entertaining preliminary final victory at the Gabba on Saturday afternoon.
The Lions will play off in the decider and it is the rematch of the inaugural 2017 Grand Final, as they will fly over to Adelaide to play the Crows.
For the Lions, there 7.3 (45) to 6.5 (41) win was led by Dakota Davidson (three goals and 12 disposals) and Ally Anderson (23 disposals, 12 kicks and six tackles).
In the opening term, the Pies went into quarter time with a slight advantage of eight points.
It was all the Lions in the second quarter after they only scored a goal in the opening term, as they piled on four goals to the Pies and went into the main break with a 10-point lead.
The Pies came out in the third term with intent and took a two-point lead at three quarter time courtesy of goals from Sophie Alexander and Sharni Norder.
Young Pie Chloe Molloy (five disposals and four kicks) was kept quiet all afternoon by the Lions and she was not able to impact the match in the way she would have liked.
For the Pies, Irishwoman Aishling Sheridan (eight disposals, two goals and four tackles) was impressive and Britt Bonnici (28 disposalsm 16 kicks and four tackles) continued to show why she is a gun of the competition.
In the final quarter, the Lions slotted through the two opening goals via Greta Bodey and Davidson.
It was all the Lions in the last and the Pies were striked late with a Ash Brazill major to get within four points, but it was not meant to be for the Pies as the Lions booked their spot in the 2021 AFLW Grand Final.