ADELAIDE has booked its spot in the inaugural NAB AFL Women's Grand Final against the Brisbane Lions, with a come-from-behind 24-point win over Collingwood at Olympic Park Oval on Sunday afternoon.
The Crows were led superbly by cult figure Sarah 'Tex' Perkins and MVP contender Erin Phillips, who booted seven goals between them in the inspired 10.10 (70) to 7.4 (46) victory.
Phillips finished with a game-high 21 disposals and three goals, two of them coming when the game was on the line in the final term.
Perkins was equally influential, particularly early in the game as she put together a sensational second-quarter burst that saw her collect seven disposals, take three marks and boot a goal to give her side the ascendancy at half-time.
Midfielder Ebony Marinoff was also pivotal in the victory, thriving around stoppages to finish with 17 disposals and 11 tackles.
The Crows had to beat the Magpies to earn a place in the decider after Melbourne's comprehensive win over Fremantle saw the Demons leap up to second position on the ladder.
Melbourne's women's players watching on would have been buoyed by the Magpies' third-quarter comeback, as Collingwood took a seven-point buffer into three-quarter time.
Captain Steph Chiocci (13 touches) and Sarah D'Arcy (13) were typically productive in the third quarter, while former Australian cricketer Jess Cameron and marquee forward Mo Hope each finished with two goals.
But thanks largely to Phillips and Perkins, the Crows kicked five goals to nil in the final term to win their way into next Saturday's Grand Final.
COLLINGWOOD 2.1 4.1 7.3 7.4 (46)
ADELAIDE 2.5 5.8 5.8 10.10 (70)
Collingwood: Cameron 2, Hope 2, Garner, Tesorirero, Eva
Adelaide: Perkins 4, Phillips 3, Killian, McCormick, Sedunary
Collingwood: Chiocci, King, D'Arcy, Cameron, Eva, Hope
Adelaide: Phillips, Perkins, Marinoff, McCormick, Killian, Thompson
Adelaide: Cramey (concussion)
Umpires: Cheever, Rodger, Bryce
Official crowd: 2500 at Olympic Park Oval
What's next? The Crows will face the Brisbane Lions in the AFLW Grand Final. After recording three wins in its first season in the competition, the Magpies will be looking to improve on their fifth-placed finish when the tournament kicks off again in 2018.
Perkins has shown her presence on the field and she continued her terrific run of form against the Magpies with an inspired second quarter which saw her side take the ascendancy into half-time. Perkins had seven disposals, took three marks and booted a goal, and pumped up the crowd with her celebratory antics. She booted a crucial final quarter goal to bring her side back into the contest.
There was plenty at stake and both teams' intensity matched what was on the line. The players went in hard for the footy and there was plenty of feeling in the contest, with scuffles breaking out twice in the third quarter. Despite playing for pride, the Magpies' effort could only be commended.
Got the job done
Crows midfielder Ebony Marinoff may not receive the same plaudits as Perkins or Phillips, but the club's first-round draft pick was vital in her team's victory. Marinoff finished the game with 17 disposals and a match-high 11 tackles. Her energy around clearances helped drive her team to victory.
Former Australian cricketer and Collingwood forward Jess Cameron missed a vital goal early in the final term, which would have put her side up by 13 points. Cameron booted two goals to be one of Collingwood's best players, but unfortunately she could not make her most important one count.
"When you get an opportunity, why not take it? Why nibble around the edges of mediocrity? We'd prefer to choke on trying to be great." – Adelaide women's coach Bec Goddard.
"I think the AFL would be stupid not to add a finals series next year. Imagine how many people are going to turn up? A top-four finals series (in 2018) would be ideal." – Collingwood women's coach Wayne Siekman