Star-studded Adelaide will enter the AFLW grand final as red-hot favourites to topple fast-finisher Carlton, but Blues' coach Daniel Harford has a plan.

The decider starts at 1pm at Adelaide Oval, with a crowd of about 20,000 expected to heavily favour the Crows.

Carlton got within 13 points when the clubs met in Round 2, falling 9.3 (57) to 7.2 (44) as Adelaide stormed home with six of the last seven goals.

The Crows put on a clinic in their emphatic preliminary final victory over Geelong, while the Blues upset Fremantle by 36 points.

Blues Coach Daniel Harford is plotting to deny the Crows the footy, urging his Blues to control possession in the premiership decider.

Sounds simple.

But as Harford says: “It’s a lot easier said than done.”

“We have got a system that we think can work, we have got a few things we would like to do,” Harford said as the Blues eye their first AFLW premiership.

“They (Adelaide) are a great pressure team so they’ll try to get it back quickly ... but if you can control the ball for stages and make them defend.

“If you give them a chance to get free ball or easy ball they’re just going to cut you up.”

The Crows have sliced through opponents in seven consecutive wins entering the grand final, including restricting Geelong to the lowest AFLW score — 1.1 (7) —in last Sunday’s preliminary final.

Little wonder Adelaide’s co-captain Chelsea Randall was confident of securing the club’s second flag in three AFLW seasons.

“We have really just continued to step up our level each time,” Randall said.

“We had 83 tackles last weekend; our pressure acts were just phenomenal.

“We just hope that we continue to bring that.

“Footy is about moments and we just hope each contest we can compete and continue to hold on for four quarters.”

Randall shares the captaincy with Erin Phillips, arguably the AFLW’s best player.

Phillips won the best-afield award in the Crows’ 2017 premiership.

She also claimed the league’s best and fairest award that season.

But Carlton boss Harford said his plan for Phillips mirrored his overall scheme: stop the ball getting to her.

“She’s an absolute star, no doubt about that,” Harford said of Phillips.

“But you have got to give the players on her the confidence that they can do the job.

“She’s going to get some footy because they use her and she gets in good spots because she’s so smart.

“It’s not so much stopping Erin, you have got to stop the ball getting to Erin.”

Round 2, February 10, Ikon Park

Carlton 7.2 (44)Adelaide 9.3 (57)

The Blues had the upper hand before Adelaide stormed home with six of the final seven goals to secure victory. Carlton ace Tayla Harris watched on with a shoulder injury while Adelaide’s Erin Phillips starred in the midfield, ably supported up forward by Stevie-Lee Thompson with four goals. Madison Prespakis was huge for Carlton in a fiery contest and finished with 20 touches.


Simply the best player in the league. Is favourite to take out a second AFLW best and fairest medal in three seasons. Consistently makes an impact in front of goal and is often injected into the midfield, so the Blues will need to be ready to counter her on the transition. Maybe Kerryn Harrington goes to Phillips when she’s deep in attack, or Nicola Stevens when on the run.

The league’s inaugural Rising Star winner has taken her game to a higher level this season. Not only does she rack up contested possessions at will, but she’s a relentless tackling machine. Seriously dangerous player.

An electric player and a big fan favourite among Blues supporters. She’s flashy, fast-footed and capable of anything in front of goal. Works beautifully in tandem with Harris and loves big games. This could be made for her.

Rightly the Rising Star favourite this season. Has taken the competition by storm in her debut year at the top level and looked right at home in the middle, waxing seamlessly with her skipper Bri Davey.

The Blues have got their work cut out — especially in the wake of Adelaide’s scary dominance of Geelong last week.

But if Bri Davey can win the ball out of the middle and the likes of Lauren Brazzale, Tayla Harris and Kerryn Harrington can stand up again, they can stay in touch. They will need to keep an eye on Crows pair Stevie-Lee Thompson and Chloe Scheer as they buzz in front of goal.

Tip: Crows by 18 points.