Adelaide Crows beat Melbourne Demons for record third AFLW flag

Adelaide have sealed the first AFLW dynasty with midfield superstar Anne Hatchard leading the Crows to a 13-point win over Melbourne and a record third premiership.

In atoning for last season's Grand Final defeat with a 4.5 (29) to 2.4 (16) win in front of 16,712 fans at Adelaide Oval, the Crows have now won three of the five Grand Finals since the AFLW started, adding the 2022 flag to their 2017 and 2019 triumphs.

Two-time premiership coach Matthew Clarke hailed Adelaide's continuity, as Hatchard, Ebony Marinoff, Erin Phillips, Chelsea Randall, Justine Mules and Stevie-Lee Thompson became triple-premiership players.

"We've got a really strong connection, and that ability to stay united through the six seasons clearly gives us an advantage in terms of continuity," he told the Seven Network.

"But in the end it comes out of work ethic.

"They're unbelievable the way they work, so anything they get, they richly deserve."

Four days after finishing second in the AFLW best and fairest, Hatchard was named best on ground in the decider, with 26 disposals, five clearances, six tackles and nine marks.

"To be up there second and third with Ebony Marinoff, that's why we've made it here into this grand final and why we've got the win because we're just workhorses in the midfield," Hatchard said.

"I've had a bit of trouble with my foot this season so for most of it I've been having local anaesthetics in it.

"We were trying to just get through the season so a few weeks off before the finals actually helped me a bit to to be able to come and play here without any pain.

"It's been a hard season but I have loved every minute of it."

Ponter (two goals) was Adelaide's spark up forward while skipper Randall and Chelsea Biddell double-teamed Tayla Harris to keep the star forward goalless.

It meant former Carlton and Brisbane forward Harris became the first player to lose an AFLW or VFL/AFL grand final with three separate clubs - and all against the Crows.

Marinoff and Phillips were also excellent, with Phillips becoming the second AFLW player after Darcy Vescio to reach the 50-goal mark with her second-quarter snap.

Melbourne's Sinead Goldrick (20 disposals) was brave all day in defence while Karen Paxman, Gabrielle Colvin and Eliza McNamara were busy.

Adelaide dominated the first half but were wasteful and only led by 10 at half-time.

Ponter outmuscled Birch in the goalsquare just after the main break to mark, then restore a 16-point lead.

From there, Melbourne had a resurgence after putting Daisy Pearce behind the ball with Kate Hore drawing them within two goals.

Melbourne peppered the goals early in the final term without reward, before Ponter iced the game with a wonderful late finish.

"I'm so proud of our season and the steps forward we took this year and the fact that we gave it an absolute crack today," Demons skipper Pearce said.

"We can walk off proud of our efforts but knowing we've just got to go away and get to work and get better."


Anne Hatchard, Adelaide - 14

Ebony Marinoff, Adelaide - 6

Danielle Ponter, Adelaide - 5

Sinead Goldrick, Melbourne - 2

Gabrielle Colvin, Melbourne - 1

Karen Paxman, Melbourne - 1

Chelsea Randall, Adelaide - 1

*Five judges, 3-2-1 voting