WITH almost $1 million in corporate and government support, memberships sold out and digital content rating highly, the birth of Adelaide's women’s team has been an outstanding success off the field.
But simply securing a licence for the inaugural NAB AFL Women's competition was a battle in itself for the Crows.
"One of the challenges early on was the AFL didn't intend to have a team based in South Australia (because) there were concerns about the level of talent," Adelaide chief executive Andrew Fagan told AFL.com.au.
"We very quickly became one of the loudest and most passionate advocates for women's football.
"We felt South Australia should be represented on the national stage and given the support the sport gets in this state, it would almost have been unjust for that to occur."
The Crows have formed a partnership with AFL NT to lift the standard of their squad.
Nine of their 27 players are based in Darwin, as are assistant coaches Andrew Hodges and Colleen Gwynne.
The Crows cast their net to other sports, recruiting dual Olympic basketballer Erin Phillips, soccer defender Jenna McCormick, who plays for Canberra United in the W-League, and elite runner Monique Hollick.
They also selected Chelsea Randall and Kellie Gibson as their marquee signings from the strong WAWFL competition.
Moves are underway to improve the standard of the game in South Australia.
The SANFL will start a women's league featuring Glenelg, North Adelaide, Norwood and West Adelaide to run at the same time as the AFL Women's competition in February-March.
"Our objectives aren't just about being as competitive as possible to win a flag for the Crows," Fagan said.
"They’re also about ensuring the game in South Australia doubles in size, then doubles again, then doubles again over the coming years.
"Winning the flag would bring attention to the sport, more than anything else you can do, so we'll be doing our utmost to be as competitive as possible to bring focus and attention to the women's team.
"But, it then needs all of the pathways to be effective – the clubs at community level providing volunteers and coaches and administrators to cater for what we expect to be a spike in interest from young women and girls across the state."
The Northern Territory Government is providing $300,000 over two years for the Crows' women's program.
The Crows have also received support from the South Australian Government and co-major sponsors, Workskil Australia and Harris Scarfe.
The public has also jumped on board, snapping up all 500 places for membership to the women's team.
"The feedback has been extraordinary by any measure," Fagan said.
"On our digital platforms, our women's content is (attracting) views and time on site not dissimilar to content on the men's AFL team."
The Crows will venture to the suburbs for their home games – Thebarton Oval in Torrensville and Norwood Oval in Norwood. They will also play one game at TIO Stadium in Darwin.
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