Women's Footy Crows AFLW Season 2021 - Still the last Premiers

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Firewalker

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Pre-Season for the 2021 AFLW season starts this week, let’s hope it’s a better first day of Pre-Season than last year’s disaster when Chelsea Randall did her ACL, an injury which turned out to ruin the season before it even began with the club desperately missing her leadership and positive play out of the back half.

Returning from Injury

Speaking of injury as it was the biggest factor to the very poor shortened 2020 season with both Chelsea Randall and Hannah Button née Martin hopefully making their returns from their 2019 ACL injuries and fingers crossed Chloe Scheer also should make her return to the top level from her own 2019 Grand Final ACL with the club taking a conservative view and not playing her in 2020 with the only games under her belt since the injury being in the local amateurs.

May also be an interrupted start to Pre-Season for Deni Varnhagen who despite playing some games for Glenelg in the SANFLW was still troubled by that knee injury she suffered in the 2020 Pre-Season match that caused her to miss most of last season and the returning Jess Sedunary also may have yet another slow start to a AFLW season due to another lower leg injury this time coming off a fractured ankle she suffered late in the SANFLW season with the Eagles.

With Erin Phillips now being 19 months post ACL surgery hopefully she can complete a full pre-season that’s adjusted for her age that allows her to find some of the form that’s made her a superstar of the game. Last season she struggled on return with form and injury as she looked a quarter of the player she was and couldn’t string 2 games together, given her veteran status and the make up of the side her ability to compete more as a forward will be needed.

Improvement Needed

This Pre-Season is very important for the future of the club as a lot of this team’s improvement from last year has been placed on the youth on the list.

The loss of Jess Foley is still gigantic in the ruck as her craft in contests and around the ground is irreplaceable with the experienced midfield group finding it hard last season to adjust to the different style of Gould and McKinnon who are two inexperienced players that are more stand-off, mark around the ground rucks that don’t use their body well in ruck contests. Both young rucks need to find a way to have a better impact against taller, stronger more experienced rucks especially as the only alternative is Metcalfe who despite having a mature body does not really have the required football IQ or skills for this level anymore.

Too many times last season the Crows were simply blown away by stronger, faster and smarter midfield units who spread quickly and easily from stoppages and found too much space to work into the crows defensive 50 with the team’s 2019 team defence model breaking down. Finding ways that Hatchard and Marinoff can work together as ball hunting mids and who complements them as the 3rd mid is the problem they need to solve, more speed and defensive actions need to be a priority and as tough as it will be relying on young inexperienced players the South Adelaide trio of Munyard, Charlton and Gore need big pre-season’s as they probably need to be the ones stepping up to provide that point of difference in the midfield. A Crows side’s midfield needing speed and accountability who woulda thought!

Defensively the return of Randall would settle down the team’s most experienced line but one on one defending and match-ups need to be a priority, too many times last season players got lost rolling over onto opponents running into the 50 causing all sorts of mismatches and outnumbers. Movement out of the backline was poor especially early last season (that Brisbane game stands out) need to find better distribution to take some pressure off Allan and Rajcic like Jenna McCormick did so well in 2019, it’s a priority and hopefully the SANFLW half back kicking phenom Maddi Newman is finally played in that position.

The club showed last season it has the most enigmatic forward line in the entire league, it’s either chocolates or boiled lollies and when Ponter, Jones and Thompson were on like in 2019 you get great results but when they’re off they are invisible. The league’s defenders learnt and improved their structures and match-ups to stop the quick run on into space forward play that Stevie-Lee Thompson was so heavily reliant on and she can no longer be relied upon as the main one out forward she wants to be, tall marking options like Biddell who made big strides in the SANFLW this year are the way forward in AFLW and going through her while also hitting up targets by getting Jones, Scheer and Ponter, Gould and Phillips when they’re down there actually leading out at the ball. Woodland if she breaks into the side can also be a marking target. Less said about last season’s goal kicking the better too, they’ll know that has to improve.


Here’s my Best 21 all fit and available:

B: Rajcic, Allan

HB: Newman, Randall, Cox

C: Munyard, Phillips, Varnhagen

HF: Jones, Biddell, Charlton

F: Scheer, Ponter

Foll: Gould, Marinoff, Hatchard



I/C: Allen, Mules, A.Foley, McKinnon, Gore



Depth: Thompson, Metcalfe, Forth, Considine, Martin, Button, Sedunary, Whiteley, Woodland
 
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1970crow

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Looks like McLeod’s been purged from the coaching ranks, to be replaced by Scott Thompson.

This seems to be retaliation from the club for McLeod’s comments earlier in the year.
the retribution is strong in us.

Shits me that it’s Thommo who applied public pressure to get his SANFL extension into 2017. No team/club first with him.
 

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Firewalker

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To be fair whatever the reason be it pettiness or McLeod not wanting to be involved anymore I don’t mind that he’s actually left, the midfield that he was in charge of last season other than Hatchard was deplorable and needed change.
 
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cmndstab

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My youngest daughter is around 9 months old and has been keeping me awake for lots of midnight feeds as of late, so I went back and watched most of the 2019 season over the course of a few weeks.

It's difficult to overstate just how dominant we were in the second half of that season, and it just makes me wonder what went wrong in 2020. We weren't a shadow of that team.

Is it as simple as losing several key players (Randall, Scheer, limited input from J. Foley and Phillips), or was there something else badly wrong? Did we actually go backwards, or did the rest of the competition just step up to (and beyond) our level?

In 2019, it seemed like all our players knew their roles. The midfield seemed organised and rarely both went in for the same ball, our forwards worked to support each other, and our defence was watertight. In 2020, it felt like our defence was always getting caught out, our forward line was static, and our midfield did the "Crows Special" of all going for the same ball only to have it squirt out to now-unmarked opposition players.

I really hope we can get back to our 2019 standard next year. We should be two years into a dynasty, but I'll be happy to take a Geelong-esque run of three premierships in five years.
 

John Who

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My youngest daughter is around 9 months old and has been keeping me awake for lots of midnight feeds as of late, so I went back and watched most of the 2019 season over the course of a few weeks.

It's difficult to overstate just how dominant we were in the second half of that season, and it just makes me wonder what went wrong in 2020. We weren't a shadow of that team.

Is it as simple as losing several key players (Randall, Scheer, limited input from J. Foley and Phillips), or was there something else badly wrong? Did we actually go backwards, or did the rest of the competition just step up to (and beyond) our level?

In 2019, it seemed like all our players knew their roles. The midfield seemed organised and rarely both went in for the same ball, our forwards worked to support each other, and our defence was watertight. In 2020, it felt like our defence was always getting caught out, our forward line was static, and our midfield did the "Crows Special" of all going for the same ball only to have it squirt out to now-unmarked opposition players.

I really hope we can get back to our 2019 standard next year. We should be two years into a dynasty, but I'll be happy to take a Geelong-esque run of three premierships in five years.
My summation is that when our gun players are firing ie. Phillips, Randall, Scheer, J. Foley; the other players play above and beyond themselves.
Without the stars and/or the leadership, the team instantly looks like your typical average team.

My hope for next year isn't necessarily just about the premiership, but more for finding the new crop of players to step it up and become elite A-graders for the years to come. Erin probably only has 1-2 years left in her, and Chelsea might go back to WA at some stage during her career.
 

Thetrader15

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GreyCrow

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Can Randall be exploited?

I would like her at CHB floating across that HB line - any further back and Randall becomes a 'last line of defence' player - when it can be too late

The concern is she may be exploitable by faster players

I think the lack of a marking option at CHF was our biggest issue - the amount of rebound from the opposition was well beyond the norm.

I liked the comment regarding 'know your role' as too many times too many were trying to do too much - which can be a good thing if done right but looks terrible if the ball is taken away too easily by the oppo

Looking forward to the season and as always hopeful of a finals berth
 

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Firewalker

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Can Randall be exploited?

I would like her at CHB floating across that HB line - any further back and Randall becomes a 'last line of defence' player - when it can be too late

The concern is she may be exploitable by faster players

I think the lack of a marking option at CHF was our biggest issue - the amount of rebound from the opposition was well beyond the norm.
Interesting to see what role she returns in, it might depend on how she comes back as her athleticism was what usually got her out of a lot jams back there especially when matched up against bigger opponents where she’s probably been exposed a bit by the opposition at times.

I was a big believer she should’ve been moved into the middle more or permanently forward to become that centre half forward marking target a couple of years ago but after seeing the hole left last season and the flow on effect with the disorganised defending and Sarah Allan’s one on one defending suffering a little trying to be a more attacking defender in Randall’s absence her role in defence looks to be very much still needed.
 

cmndstab

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Randall's best role is as a floating defender. She reads the play as well as anyone in AFLW and is an excellent contested mark. She also sets up play well and can lock down on a forward if needed.
 

cmndstab

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Nine rounds, huh? Presumably no byes, so each team will play nine out of their thirteen opponents. Not ideal but better than conferences.

I really hope the crowd numbers remain similar to before now it costs money to get in. Hell, after 2020, we're probably all itching to actually get out to a sporting event!

Any word from the Crows where our home matches will take place this year?
 

brucetiki

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Nine rounds, huh? Presumably no byes, so each team will play nine out of their thirteen opponents. Not ideal but better than conferences.

I really hope the crowd numbers remain similar to before now it costs money to get in. Hell, after 2020, we're probably all itching to actually get out to a sporting event!

Any word from the Crows where our home matches will take place this year?
Nothing from the club re: home ground.

Honestly, I'd love to have all the matches at Unley, though capacity may be an issue with social distancing restrictions.

Westies botched their chance last year and I hope we never play at Norwood again (especially now as the visitors room is an ATCO hut now).
 

brucetiki

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$10 is for Jo Public?

Members have free admittance?
I’m assuming the club will create AFLW memberships that include access to matches.

Question is how much will the club charge. They charged $60 for a basic AFLW membership, or $95 for a grandstand ticket the past couple of years, so I’d expect the club to charge something around $80/$115 mark for memberships with match access.
 

Dirty Bird

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Nothing from the club re: home ground.

Honestly, I'd love to have all the matches at Unley, though capacity may be an issue with social distancing restrictions.

Westies botched their chance last year and I hope we never play at Norwood again (especially now as the visitors room is an ATCO hut now).
I umpired there for amatuer league grad finals, the hut is only used for umpires.
Teams are in the facilities already

Plus, the gutting of the western stand was to put in womens changerooms

All covered up now so might be ready for the season kickoff.
 

Dirty Bird

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I’m assuming the club will create AFLW memberships that include access to matches.

Question is how much will the club charge. They charged $60 for a basic AFLW membership, or $95 for a grandstand ticket the past couple of years, so I’d expect the club to charge something around $80/$115 mark for memberships with match access.
Ive already renewed at the $95 option
Probably remain that this season then go up next season.
 

brucetiki

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I umpired there for amatuer league grad finals, the hut is only used for umpires.
Teams are in the facilities already

Plus, the gutting of the western stand was to put in womens changerooms

All covered up now so might be ready for the season kickoff.
I can’t see a hut being used for any officials being deemed acceptable for AFLW matches.
 

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