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Adelaide Football Club - Crows History Locker

2017 AFLW

Games Won 6

Ladder Position 1

Premiership position: 1st (6 wins, 2 losses).
Coach: Bec Goddard
Captains: Erin Phillips and Chelsea Randall

Adelaide’s move to create a women’s team for the inaugural AFLW competition gave fans another reason to cheer but few predicted instant success.

The unheralded Crows, who had players based in Adelaide and Darwin through a partnership with AFL Northern Territory, were one of eight foundation clubs when the AFL launched its national women’s league in February 2017.

Two months later, Adelaide was celebrating more success when it won the first AFLW grand final, defying expectations to complete an extraordinary year of achievements.

In late 2016, coach Bec Goddard took charge of a group of players from across Australia, and beyond, who shared a common ambition of being part of the new women’s competition.

And it was not just the regular Crows fans who were hooked by the enthusiasm and passion of these players, who across Australia embraced their opportunity to be the pioneers for this new field of sporting dreams.

Adelaide’s first two “marquee” signings were Chelsea Randall and Kellie Gibson, both from Western Australia. The hype around the squad build was boosted by the surprise signing of Olympic basketballer Erin Phillips, who was playing for US club Dallas Wings in the WNBA.

But the Crows were not considered a major threat until they started to collect wins against some of the other highly-rated clubs.

After a promising trial game result against Fremantle in Darwin, the official start of Adelaide’s season was unforgettable for many more reasons than the six-goal win against Greater Western Sydney. A bumper crowd of 9250 watched the Crows dominate at a wet Thebarton Oval on February 4 and shared the players’ joy and tears.

Adelaide passed a big test the following week, taking their form to Melbourne and defeating the Western Bulldogs by 25 points at Whitten Oval. A late goal from Phillips stole the points from Carlton back at Thebarton Oval in round three and then Adelaide powered to a 23-point win over the Dockers at Fremantle Oval.

The Crows lost their next two games to Brisbane (by three points) and Melbourne (two points) but then secured a grand final berth by kicking their highest score of the season (10.10) to defeat Collingwood by 24 points.

Brisbane finished the seven-round home-and-away season undefeated with six wins and a draw, while Adelaide’s league-high percentage of 157.3 was just enough to stay ahead of third-placed Melbourne.

The Lions entered the grand final at Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast (on March 25) as favourites. But the Crows led all day and despite not kicking a goal in the final term held on to win by six points, earning their place in the history books as the inaugural AFLW premiers.

Adelaide’s stability was a key factor in the first season. Seventeen Crows appeared in each of the eight games and only 25 players represented the club.

The club also produced a host of award winners including co-captain Phillips, who put together one of the most individually brilliant seasons in Australian sport. A two-time WNBA champion and Olympian in basketball, Phillips made a remarkable return to football 17 years after she was stopped from playing school football with the boys.

The dominant player of the competition, Phillips was crowned the AFLW best and fairest. She polled best-afield votes in three games, was second-best in two and claimed the third-preference vote in one. Phillips also won the AFLW Players Association MVP and Crows Club Champion award. The All Australian was best on ground in Adelaide’s grand final win and also took out Goal of the Year.

“It definitely has been a year I will never forget,” Phillips said. “It has meant everything to me.”

Fellow co-captain Randall also earned All Australian selection, as well as winning the peer-voted AFL Players Association Most Courageous Player and Crows Players’ Player awards. She was runner-up to Phillips in the Club Champion count.

Adelaide’s first draft selection, Ebony Marinoff, won the AFLW Rising Star Award and at 19 was the youngest member of the All Australian team. Crows leading goalkicker Sarah Perkins and versatile veteran Courtney Cramey rounded out the club’s five All Australian selections.

Speedster Jess Sedunary secured fourth place in the Club Champion voting with ahead of joint vice-captain Ange Foley and ruck Rhiannon Metcalfe, who tied for fifth.

After leading the team to the premiership, Bec Goddard was named AFLW Coach of the Year and was also recognised as the 2017 Football Woman of the Year.

Awards and Achievements

All Australians: Chelsea Randall, Erin Phillips, Courtney Cramey, Sarah Perkins, Ebony Marinoff

Players’ Player Award: Chelsea Randall

Leading goalkicker: Sarah Perkins

Best Defensive Player: Courtney Cramey

AFLW Best and Fairest: Erin Phillips

AFLW Rising Star: Ebony Marinoff

AFLW Coach of the Year: Bec Goddard

Best on ground in AFLW Grand Final: Erin Phillips

AFLW Goal of the Year: Erin Phillips

Other news

  • In September, Crows coach Bec Goddard coached an Allies State-of-Origin team against Victoria. Courtney Cramey, Chelsea Randall, Ebony Marinoff and Jess Sedunary played for the Allies and Sarah Perkins represented Victoria.

First AFLW game players, v GWS at Thebarton Oval, 4/2/2017

Erin Phillips (debut no 1), Chelsea Randall (2), Sarah Allan (3), Heather Anderson (4), Georgia Bevan (5), Dayna Cox (6), Courtney Cramey (7), Angela Foley (8), Kellie Gibson (9), Anne Hatchard (10), Monique Hollick (11), Abbey Holmes (12), Ebony Marinoff (13), Rhiannon Metcalfe (14), Justine Mules (15), Sarah Perkins (16), Talia Radan (17), Sally Riley (18), Jess Sedunary (19), Stevie-Lee Thompson (20), Tayla Thorn (21), Deni Varnhagen (22).

Other first game players

Sophie Armistead, v Western Bulldogs at Whitten Oval, 10/2/17 (debut order 23)

Rachael Killian, v Western Bulldogs at Whitten Oval, 10/2/17 (24)

Jenna McCormick, v Western Bulldogs at Whitten Oval, 10/2/17 (25)

Season gallery

Related links

Club Champion top ten
1: Erin Phillips 108 votes
2: Chelsea Randall 100
3: Ebony Marinoff 92
4: Jess Sedunary 82
5: Angela Foley 81
= Rhiannon Metcalfe 81
7: Stevie-Lee Thompson 80
8: Courtney Cramey 79
9: Sarah Perkins 77
10: Deni Varnhagen 77

Leading goalkickers
11 Sarah Perkins
10 Erin Phillips
4 Kellie Gibson
4 Jenna McCormick
AFLW best and fairest medal
14 Phillips (winner)

Inaugural Club Champion Erin Phillips

All Australians

Sarah Perkins, Courtney Cramey, Chelsea Randall, Erin Phillips, Ebony Marinoff

The 2017 squad

Back row (from left): Stevie-Lee Thompson (14), Anne Hatchard (33), Sarah Allan (39), Talia Radan (6), Rhiannon Metcalfe (11), Lauren O’Shea (21), Sarah Perkins (28), Tayla Thorn (15), Jenna McCormick (5). Middle row: Monique Hollick (18), Heather Anderson (19), Jess Sedunary (17), Ebony Marinoff (10), Deni Varnhagen (9), Courtney Cramey (22) Justine Mules (23), Rachael Killian (7), Jasmine Anderson (12), Dayna Cox (31). Front row: Sophie Armitstead (16), Kellie Gibson (2), Ange Foley (3), Chelsea Randall (co-captain, 26), Bec Goddard (senior coach), Erin Phillips (co-captain, 13), Sally Riley (8), Abbey Holmes (1), Georgia Bevan (4).

2017 jumpers

Adelaide used the Club’s distinctive navy blue, red and gold hoop design when it was one of the eight inaugural teams in the new AFL Women’s competition in 2017. Compared to the main men’s jumper, the women’s home guernsey had marginally wider hoops, used red as the base panel on the chest, had a thicker blue hoop with Crows logo watermarks, and the order of the hoops was different. There were four bands on the front, with gold on the top then navy blue, red and gold at the bottom. Crows AFL great Andrew McLeod designed the indigenous and away guernsey to celebrate the club’s first women’s team and its partnership with the Northern Territory. The predominantly white “away’’ jumper was worn in Adelaide’s interstate clashes and also in the 2017 AFLW grand final. The AFLW club uniforms were supplied by Australian company Cotton On Group.

The first Adelaide women’s guernsey, for the 2017 season; Deni Varnhagen, Chelsea Randall and Dayna Cox; The Indigenous/away jumper; Randall during the 2017 AFLW grand final.