Adelaide coach Matthew Clarke is confident he can fill the huge hole left by superstar forward Erin Phillips, and it doesn’t necessarily involve Ashleigh Woodland kicking big bags of goals.
Phillips jumped ship to Port Adelaide after helping the Crows claim their third AFLW premiership last season.
Despite the loss, Adelaide are still rated as one of the premiership favourites, and they will get an early test of their credentials when they take on Melbourne in Friday night’s grand final rematch at Glenelg Oval.
Woodland kicked a league-high 21 goals last season, while fellow Crows forwards Danielle Ponter and Phillips both kicked eight goals.
Clarke is set to again rely heavily on Woodland, but he wants to see more avenues to goal as well.
“Clearly (Phillips) was a fairly significant part of our team over the last six seasons,” Clarke said.
“It’s a deficit … but over the previous two or three we’ve started to see others emerge and fill that void.
“Ash is in good shape. She’s had a strong pre-season. She was the leading goalkicker in the comp last year, but that may well not be the case this year.
“She might play some slightly different roles. What she does do is compete really strongly both in the air and at ground level.
“We’re looking forward to what her footy brings this year. Big bags are great, but if she just competes for us, then that would be a great outcome as well.”
The Crows will hand former Eagle Niamh Kelly her Adelaide debut in Friday night’s match.
Melbourne will be desperate to atone for the 13-point grand final loss to Adelaide, with Demons skipper Daisy Pearce to go around again in her bid for an elusive flag.