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Thrilling finish to a stunning AFLW season

Inside Crows AFLW celebrations Matt Thompson presents a special edition of Footy Feed from the Gold Coast

THE INAUGURAL NAB AFL Women's Grand Final hanging in the balance in the final minutes? All 15,601 fans wanted to see that.

Adelaide's marquee player Erin Phillips was the difference in the end with the ex-basketball producing a stunning performance to help her side win a thrilling match.

Even before the match started, it was the Phillips show at Metricon Stadium.

The co-captain led the team out the race with infant twins Blake and Brooklyn in her arms, before accompanying Chelsea Randall to the toss in the middle of the ground.

Her footy smarts were on show, waiting for opponents to overrun the ball before pouncing and snapping a goal, to the chagrin of the local fans.

She was just too strong, too canny, and too skilful for the Brisbane Lions.

 

Junior girls' footy teams came in their uniforms. Plenty of red, yellow and blue was scattered around the orange seats. But there were also a few Suns jumpers on floating around; this is their home ground after all.

Television cameras mingled with fans clutching flags and home-made signs – "Gibbo [Lion Brittany Gibson] is my friend!"

In the end, Adelaide emerged triumphant. Sarah Perkins grabbed multiple players into a bear hug, accidently clunking their heads together she was so exuberant.

Brisbane Lions players continued to beg for a free kick inside forward 50, Kaitlyn Ashmore throwing the ball back to the umpire with a touch of disgust.

Heather Anderson, usually noticeable for her pink helmet, stood out for a different reason post-match. Having finished the game with her arm in a sling after injuring her shoulder, she was busy giving one-armed hugs to teammates.

Sabrina Frederick-Traub swallowed her disappointment to high-five every Auskicker on the ground to present premiership medals, while her team slumped on the ground.

She wasn't the only one to make sure the Auskickers had a day to remember – Perkins called them all in after the presentation of the cup to get a photo with it.

WATCH: Full highlights from the AFLW Grand Final

The premiership cup itself was presented by the one and only Susan Alberti, a tireless campaigner for women's footy.

Women's football pioneer and current Melbourne women's footy operations manager Debbie Lee presented the best-on-ground medal to Phillips.

Families wore badges with their daughters' faces on it. One keen Lion was decked out in maroon from head to toe. Shannon Campbell's family wore custom-made t-shirts with a photo of her on the front, and "Go Shaz" on the back.

Brisbane defender Leah Kaslar's family went one better, dressing as Xena the Warrior Princess, Kaslar's nickname.

A NEAFL practice match at Metricon following the Grand Final meant the rooms were cleared of players by 4pm.

Families loitered in the nearby Carrara Indoor Stadium, where a heavy black curtain between two basketball courts separated the teams.

The teams emerged to yells, screams and whistles from their biggest admirers.

The Lions had pizza on their side, while cider appeared to be the drink of choice for both teams (plus a sprinkling of XXXX Gold. This is Queensland, after all).

Adelaide players would occasionally wander away from the mass of people, taking call after call, some wiping tears from their eyes.

Co-captain Chelsea Randall was struggling to articulate just what the win meant to her.

"My dad's here from Perth, and his wife Eve, and my step-mum and my mum, my partner and my best mate, they've all travelled across, it's unbelievable," she said.

"I'm feeling overwhelmed, I'm feeling a bit dazey, I'm just so proud of just every single one of our footballers, and today was just the absolute cherry on top."

Defender Courtney Cramey said the team had taken a lot of support from the passionate Adelaide fans, many of whom made the trip.

"We've had massive crowds in Adelaide, and to see all of our fans here today, to will us over the line and become premiers is just truly amazing.

"All of our family jumped on the 'Crows Jet' and came up here, so to have their support by our side, it got us over the line."

Phillips and Ebony Marinoff, along with the rest of the team, took the cup out to those loyal fans, where they "serenaded" the crowd with one more, fairly high-pitched, rendition of the team song.

But with half the team coming from Darwin, the Crows are now the pride of central Australia.

The first of many AFLW premiers.