Adelaide star Erin Phillips has delivered a best-on-ground display to lead the Crows to the inaugural AFL Women’s premiership.
The WNBA and Australian Opals basketballer added the new title to her sporting career with the Crows holding off a fast-finishing Brisbane to secure a nailbiting six-point win in front of 15,610 at Metricon Stadium.
Adelaide dominated the first three quarters but were forced to hold on by their fingernails for the 4.11 (35) to 4.5 (29) victory as the previously undefeated Lions stormed home.
Phillips was everywhere, tallying a game-high 28 disposals to go with two crucial third-quarter goals.
Co-captain Chelsea Randall was also magnificent, keeping Lions star Tayla Harris without a touch until late in the third quarter.
The Crows set the tone from the first siren, Kellie Gibson scoring the opening goal before the Lions even had a chance to get their hands on the ball.
Jessica Wuetschner responded immediately for the Lions but a brilliant goal on the run by Deni Varnhagen ensured the Crows held a seven-point lead at the first change.
Phillips turned the screw in the second quarter, running the game on the ground but her efforts were largely wasted by her teammates.
Nothing epitomised the Lions’ fight more than a desperate goal-saving tackle by Kate Lutkins on Rachael Killian with the Crows’ forward seemingly destined to stretch the lead.
Despite their dominance, the Crows were unable to find a goal in the second term and Wuetschner’s second of the match following a downfield free-kick for a late hit on Sabrina Frederick-Traub ensured the Lions trailed by just one goal at halftime.
The Crows were quickest out of the blocks after the main break, with Phillips scoring early in the third term.
Lions’ ruck Frederick-Traub again put the Lions back in the contest before Phillips popped up to ensure the Crows held a two-goal advantage at the final break.
That proved vital as Harris fired up in the final quarter, kicking an early six-pointer and throwing herself into challenges.
But the Crows held firm in the game’s final minutes to seal their spot in history.