Adelaide’s Erin Phillips fired off a handball. Picture: AAP
Adelaide’s Erin Phillips fired off a handball. Picture: AAP

Crows go from underdogs to top dogs

THEY went into the weekend as underdogs, but the Crows well and truly came out of it as the AFLW's top dogs after their impressive 35-point win over the Kangaroos.

And if there was any doubt that Adelaide was thrilled with its victory, it was obvious as the players jumped all over co-captain Erin Phillips as she kicked a goal after the final siren.

Midfielder Deni Varnhagen said Phillips' goal - which settled the winning margin at 35 points - was sensational.

"We came into that game as the underdogs, which we do like to be seen as, and the way it played out that Erin got the kick after the siren, that was like the icing on the cake," she said.

"It felt like we've just shown the competition that we're here for business and we're really looking forward to the next two games."

Crows players jump on co-captain Erin Phillips after she kicked a goal after the siren in their win over North Melbourne. Picture: Daniel Pockett/AAP
Crows players jump on co-captain Erin Phillips after she kicked a goal after the siren in their win over North Melbourne. Picture: Daniel Pockett/AAP

In beating the previously undefeated North Melbourne in hot conditions at Werribee, the Crows superior percentage has positioned them atop Conference A, alongside the Kangaroos and Fremantle; two teams Adelaide has now solidly beaten.

Varnhagen said the Crows were well aware that with their 10.4.64 to 4.5.29 win, they would no longer be considered underdogs.

"We like the pressure," she said.

"So the pressure now is for us to stay top dog and we'll take that in our stride."

Assistant coach Narelle Smith said the team would not lose focus with two games remaining before finals.

"It's been a pretty common theme with (coach Matthew Clarke) 'Doc's' language, that it's a really short season and it can turn on a dime, so we really need to prepare well and suit up for GWS (at Unley Oval on Sunday) who are coming off a disappointing loss," she said.

"Coming to a smaller ground at Unley, it brings in more congestion and GWS are a really good side in that space, so we won't underestimate them at all."

Crows midfielder Justine Mules dodges her North Melbourne opponent. Picture: Michael Willson/AFL Media
Crows midfielder Justine Mules dodges her North Melbourne opponent. Picture: Michael Willson/AFL Media

Smith said the win was pleasing from the coaches' perspective given the calm, methodical way the players went about their footy.

"When we were behind by two goals early, there was no panic, it was just nose to the grind and move the ball the way that we want to move it and they did the fundamentals well and we got results because of that," she said.

Smith said while the forward line - led by the likes of Stevie-Lee Thompson, Danielle Ponter and Eloise Jones - kicked accurately, it shouldn't be underestimated how much the midfield was the critical engine room of their supply.

"We had 39 inside-50s and we've cracked 40 the previous three weeks, so the opportunity is there for the forwards to get it done and now they're just starting to build those habits and confidence to kick bigger scores," she said.

Crows players sing the team song after their round five win over North Melbourne Kangaroos. Pictrure: Daniel Pockett/AAP
Crows players sing the team song after their round five win over North Melbourne Kangaroos. Pictrure: Daniel Pockett/AAP

While co-captains Phillips and Chelsea Randall both starred with 23 disposals each, Smith said another element of the Crows game that was pleasing was the even contribution from the group.

"Your stars are always going to be stars, but the great teams tend to have people that can always pipe in and contribute in critical contests and get things done," she said.

Varnhagen, who collected six disposals on the wing, agreed: "We're gelling really well as a team this season and I feel like we're just getting into our groove … we've hit full throttle and doing quite well."