2022 S6 AFLW Premiership
Adelaide reinforced its ranking as the most successful AFLW club by winning its third premiership in the sixth season of the competition.
The Crows resisted a late challenge by Melbourne to win the 2022 grand final by 13 points, 4.5 (29) to 2.4 (16), at Adelaide Oval.
After dominating most of the first half without building a substantial lead, Adelaide was forced to defend more often in the second half and then was under intense pressure as Melbourne cut the gap to seven points midway through the final term.
The premiership was secured, however, when Danielle Ponter took advantage of a Crows counterattack and kicked her second goal with less than six minutes left.
Crows midfielder Anne Hatchard was voted the best player on the field – four days after finishing second in the AFLW best and fairest count – with 26 disposals, five clearances, six tackles and nine marks.
“I feel top of the world, that was just insane to hear that final siren,” Hatchard said after the game.
Coach Matthew Clarke, who has led the Crows into three AFLW grand finals for two titles, said he was proud of the way the whole squad handled a demanding season.
“To win today was massive for this group but the reality of getting that third premiership in a pretty short space of time sets a benchmark there and cements the legacy of those that have come before us,” he said.
Three-time AFLW premiership player Erin Phillips said: “I’m honestly speechless, it’s amazing.
“We fell short last year and we knew it was a mountain to climb to get back here and I’m just so proud of this team and the effort every week, every training, going through this crazy Covid time and always showing up with a positive attitude, wanting to go to work, wanting to get better, I’ve just been so inspired by them and this is unreal, three premierships is unreal.”
Jasmyn Hewitt was the first goalkicker for Adelaide in the opening quarter and then Phillips snapped her 50th AFLW goal in the second term before Melbourne hit back with its first major just before half-time.
The Crows goaled first in the third quarter through Ponter to lead by 16 points but Melbourne’s second goal kept it in the game at the last change.
Ponter’s exciting game sealer from the scoreboard pocket settled nerves.
“I had two set shots earlier that didn’t go my way, so I thought ‘you know what, I’m going to try something different here’ and kick it on the run,” two-time premiership star Ponter said. “It’s my job to kick goals so I was incredibly proud to finish it off.”
Adelaide now has seven three-time AFLW premiership players – Sarah Allan, Hatchard, Ebony Marinoff, Justine Mules, Phillips, Chelsea Randall and Stevie-Lee Thompson – but there were nine first-timers in the 21.
ADELAIDE 1.1 2.5 3.5 4.5 (29)
MELBOURNE 0.0 1.1 2.2 2.4 (16)
Goals: Ponter 2, Hewett, Phillips
Best: Hatchard, Marinoff, Allan, Randall, Ponter, Martin
The premiership team
B: Chelsea Biddell, Marijana Rajcic
HB: Chelsea Randall (c), Sarah Allan, Najwa Allen
C: Stevie-Lee Thompson, Anne Hatchard, Ailish Considine
HF: Danielle Ponter, Ashleigh Woodland, Eloise Jones
F: Erin Phillips, Rachelle Martin
R: Caitlin Gould, Ebony Marinoff, Teah Charlton
Int: Hannah Button, Hannah Munyard, Jasmyn Hewett, Justine Mules, Nikki Gore
Coach: Matthew Clarke