AFLW early season preview: Adelaide

AFL Nation - Thu, 1st Nov 2018 - 0 Comments

AFLW lists have now been finalised and with pre-season training getting underway soon, it’s time for an early look at each team and how they’re tracking as season 2019 approaches.

Adelaide had a frustrating 2018 season, plagued by injuries that never allowed them to find a groove and properly defend their 2017 title.

They finished fifth on the ladder, but only two points out of second place and a potential Grand Final berth.

What can we expect from the Crows in 2019?

Biggest off-season signing

The addition of GWS marquee midfielder Renee Forth gives the Crows some much needed depth at the position.

Many ranked Forth among the best players in the competition heading into the inaugural season, but an ACL tear ended her year before it even started.

After an up-and-down 2018 with the Giants, a fresh start at the Crows could see her returning to her best.

With Ebony Marinoff and Erin Phillips doing the bulk of the midfield work, Forth will be also able to take more of a complementary role.

Expect first round draft pick Nikki Gore and SAWFL best and fairest winner Hannah Martin to also have an immediate impact through the midfield as well.

Biggest Question: How do they hit the scoreboard?

With Phillips plagued with injuries and Sarah Perkins only kicking one goal from seven games, the Crows lost what made their forward line so damaging during the inaugural season.

Phillips still ended up finishing equal seventh in the competition goal kicking leaderboard, because she’s incredible, but there’s no doubt she played under duress last season.

Small forward Ruth Wallace picked up the slack last season, kicking seven goals, but she will miss the 2019 season for family reasons.

The likes of Jenna McCormick and Eloise Jones can kick goals, but the Crows will be hoping draft duo Katelyn Rosenzweig and Danielle Ponter can immediately give them a forward line boost.

They only kicked 33 goals last season, with only GWS and Carlton kicking fewer. They’ll need to push that number into the 40s if they want to be in finals contention.

Conference and fixture

The Crows play three of their first four games at home and also take on wooden spooners Carlton, which should give them a chance to get off to a roaring start to the season.

In a seven-week competition, starting the season with a good chance at four wins immediately puts the Crows ahead of the pack.

Adelaide has been placed in Conference A, which at this stage appears to be the stronger of the two.

Teams will likely need four to five wins to finish in the top two of Conference A and make finals. The Crows can certainly do that.

They play reigning premiers the Western Bulldogs in Round 1 in what should be a cracking contest.

Season predictions

Conference A: Winner

Adelaide has an excellent fixture which opens the door for them to win five games and claim Conference A.

They’ve drawn Carlton, North Melbourne and Melbourne as their interstate matches and one win there as well as picking up four wins in South Australia should be enough to earn a finals spot.

List depth is vital in the current climate of AFLW and Adelaide boasts a roster with talent right through to their rookies.

As we saw in 2017, a healthy Erin Phillips can be worth multiple wins and the Crows have enough A-graders around her to be a top side in 2019.

Early best 21

FB: Courtney Cramey, Sarah Allen, Dayna Cox

HB: Jessica Sedunary, Chelsea Randall, Sophie Li

C: Ebony Marinoff

HF: Angela Foley, Jenna McCormick, Renee Forth

FF: Eloise Jones, Sarah Perkins, Deni Varnhagen

Fol: Rhiannon Metcalfe, Erin Phillips, Nikki Gore

Int: Chloe Scheer, Georgia Bevan, Justine Mules, Stevie-Lee Thompson, Hannah Martin