Clockwise from left: Chelsea Randall and Erin Phillips during the 2019 AFLW Grand Final, the official attendance at the 2019 AFLW Grand Final, Erin Phillips retires in 2023, and the Western Bulldogs celebrate a win in 2022. Pictures: AFL Photos

THE CITY of Adelaide has over-achieved when it comes to significant AFLW moments in the competition's growing history.

There have been 50 AFLW games played in Adelaide since the start of 2017 (and one in Noarlunga).

As the AFL men's world turns its attention to Gather Round in Adelaide, it's the perfect opportunity to look back at some of the best AFLW matches played in the city of churches across the past eight seasons.

While the margin in some of these matches may not suggest it was the greatest watch for neutral fans, they have been included due to the significance of either the victory or the match itself.

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2019 Grand Final – Adelaide def. Carlton by 45 points at Adelaide Oval

When you think of AFLW in Adelaide, this is often the game that first comes to mind. The contest wasn't flash, with the Blues out of their depth having qualified through the now-abandoned conference system, but it was full of significant moments. A record AFLW crowd of 53,034 poured into the stadium, forcing additional sections of the ground to be opened. Erin Phillips ruptured her ACL, leaving the ground to a standing ovation and winning the medal for best-afield anyway. Chloe Scheer signalled her immense talent, soaring high for a specky but later tearing her own ACL, while a first-year Danielle Ponter booted three.


2021, round three – Fremantle def. Adelaide by 30 points at Norwood Oval

The Crows haven't coughed up too many games on their home deck over the years, but this was a statement win for a Fremantle side at the top of its game. The Dockers were hot favourite for the cancelled 2020 season, and reasserted their claim to the top end of the ladder with a big win over a perennial champion. Kiara Bowers starred with 23 disposals and seven clearances, Ash Sharp and Gemma Houghton kicked two each, while Eb Marinoff held her head up with 23 touches of her own. 


2021 Grand Final – Brisbane def. Adelaide by 18 points at Adelaide Oval

It was Brisbane's third crack at a flag, having lost its two previous attempts. The Lions led by just five points at half-time, but kicked three unanswered goals in the third term to kick clear. Best-on-ground Kate Lutkins was outstanding in a sweeping defensive role, quelling the Crows' entries, with the home side having a whopping 20 extra inside 50s. Emily Bates and Ally Anderson had 23 touches each, with Stevie-Lee Thompson and Anne Hatchard Adelaide's best on the day. Courtney Hodder's two goals were simply phenomenal.


2022 S6, round six – Western Bulldogs def. Adelaide by one point at Norwood Oval

Adelaide was undefeated heading into the game, with the Western Bulldogs sitting outside the top six. The straight-shooting Dogs (8.1) held on for dear life as the Crows closed the gap in the final term, the home side kicking 3.2 to 1.0. Phillips had a late shot for the win that drifted wide, and the final few minutes saw every player crammed into the Crows' forward 30, with repeated stoppages within 10m of goal. The usual suspects – Hatchard, Marinoff, Ellie Blackburn and Kirsty Lamb – starred for their teams, with Ash Saint, Lisa Whiteley and Bonnie Toogood all kicking two goals.


2022, S7, round four – Port Adelaide def. Sydney by 66 points at Alberton Oval

A breakthrough debut AFLW win for Port Adelaide in Phillips' 50th match, and what a way to do it, knocking off a fellow expansion side in emphatic style. The Power relished the soggy conditions at home in Alberton, booting five third-quarter goals to well and truly seal victory. Eventual Rising Star winner Hannah Ewings kicked three majors from her 19 disposals, and Abbey Dowrick thrived in the stoppages, recording 24 touches and 14 tackles. Montana Ham (20 touches) was best for the Swans.


2022, S7, round nine – Adelaide def. Geelong by two points at Unley Oval

Not only was this the closest Geelong had gotten to knocking off one of the powerhouses of the competition, it was a genuine thriller of a match. The margin sat in single figures for the entire game, with the Crows just holding the edge at every quarter break. The Cats defenders stood up under enormous heat, with the Crows having an advantage of 15 in the inside-50 count. Ponter produced a four-bounce goal special, with Marinoff, Hatchard, Amy McDonald and Georgie Prespakis slogging it out in the middle.


2023, round one – Adelaide def. Port Adelaide by 30 points at Norwood Oval

We could have included the first AFLW Showdown – held at Adelaide Oval – but it was a comfortable blow-out, the Crows winning by 60 points against the brand-new Port Adelaide side. More pleasing for South Australian football was the second Showdown, in which the Power halved the margin a year on. Port Adelaide actually held a three-point lead at half-time, before the Crows put the foot down and kicked six goals to one in the second half. Niamh Kelly kicked off her All-Australian year with the Showdown medal, while Saint kicked two goals against her former side.


2023 Qualifying Final – Brisbane def. Adelaide by two points at Norwood Oval

Yet another thriller between the AFLW's original rivals, and one which changed the course of the 2023 finals series, with Adelaide losing and Brisbane gaining home-ground advantage for the preliminary finals. It was a high-standard match full of momentum swings, and with scores level at three-quarter time, Ally Anderson's goal proved to be the difference. Eloise Jones booted four, and the Crows had 68 more disposals, with Anderson the top-ranked Lion with 17.


Honourable mentions:

  • 2017, Adelaide def. Carlton by one point, an early favourite featuring a Phillips bomb to record a come-from-behind win
  • 2021, round nine, Adelaide def. Collingwood by 14, deciding the order of the top six
  • 2022, S6, round nine, Adelaide def. Collingwood by two, Crows hanging on as the Magpies charged home
  • 2022, S6 Grand Final, Adelaide def. Melbourne by 13
  • 2023, Adelaide def. North Melbourne by three, the Roos leading for all but the final minutes, and desperately trying to regain the lead