Less than 12 months after slumping to grand final heartbreak on home turf, Adelaide are adamant that pain isn’t a key motivator as they prepare to battle for a record AFLW third premiership.
Adelaide were stunned when Brisbane beat them in the 2021 decider, but have rebounded to again secure a minor premiership and a shot at history against Melbourne.
Coach Matthew Clarke insists last season’s result won’t be front of mind at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday.
“Nope (we don’t use it as motivation). Not at all, believe it or not,” Clarke said.
“Because that was then and this is now. The reality is you can’t go back.
“It’d be lovely to go back and say ‘we should have done that, we should have done that’ but you can’t do it, it’s done.
“This is a new opportunity, a new group, different opponent, so it’s irrelevant, really.”
One player who wasn’t there last time is skipper Chelsea Randall, who missed through concussion.
“That was unfortunate circumstances, missing last year’s grand final,” she said.
“It is what it is and I’m just stoked, I remember walking through the doors this time last year and the big difference is I’ll be pulling the boots on tomorrow.”
Melbourne counterpart Daisy Pearce has skippered the Demons through five seasons of near-misses.
Pearce said it was no coincidence a more mature Melbourne had qualified for their maiden grand final.
They could also become the first club to hold the AFL and AFLW premierships at the same time.
“We feel like we’ve been close, but not good enough, ultimately. So there’s been lessons from each of those seasons,” she said.
“Even within this season, I feel like we’ve improved as the year’s gone along. The result of that is that our belief is stronger than it’s ever been before. I’d say that’s probably the difference.
“We probably had questions in our own head in other years because we weren’t ready, we weren’t good enough.
“But our belief is right there that we’ve got the tools to go out there and have a real crack tomorrow.
“We know that it’s going to take a very good side to beat us and we’re playing against one but nothing will be left to chance with this group.”
Adelaide beat Melbourne by 14 points on January 29, with Anne Hatchard and Ebony Marinoff, who finished second and third in the league best and fairest, dominant but Pearce said the Demons wouldn’t be intimidated on Saturday.
Meanwhile the Crows will have to be prepared for Melbourne’s multi-pronged attack, led by recruit Tayla Harris, and supported by Alyssa Bannan, Pearce and Kate Hore.
Adelaide regained Eloise Jones and Najwa Allen from suspension while Jasmyn Hewett has been recalled, with Montana McKinnon suspended and Brooke Tonon and Maddi Newman omitted.
Melbourne named an unchanged team.