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Steve Barrett

Adelaide close in on top-four AFLW berth

Adelaide are within reach of an AFLW top-four spot after denying Geelong in a two-point win. (Matt Turner/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

Adelaide have strengthened their grip on an AFLW double chance and terminated Geelong's top-four dreams after holding on for a gripping two-point win over the Cats at Unley Oval.

Without injured captain Chelsea Randall, the Crows bounced back from last week's disappointing loss to Brisbane and moved to 7-2 with their tense 4.6 (30) to 4.4 (28) victory on Friday.

The neck-and-neck battle was in the balance virtually until the last 12 seconds when Nina Morrison's handball trickled out of bounds.

"We reflected on that (Lions) game and had lots of learnings out of it," Adelaide star Anne Hatchard said.

"We came into the game to win at the contest, which we lacked last week."

Ebony Marinoff and Hatchard's gilt-edged midfield battle with Amy McDonald and Georgie Prespakis finished honours even but it was Danielle Ponter who really had the crowd on their feet.

The excitement machine kicked two first-half majors, including a contender for goal of the season, to give Adelaide the early edge.

Ponter picked off an ill-advised corridor kick from Claudia Gunjaca intended for Zali Friswell, and turned on the afterburners.

Starting fractionally behind the centre circle, Ponter took four bounces as she ran through the middle and goaled from around 20 metres, Cats captain Meg McDonald forlornly giving chase.

"Danielle Ponter turned it on," Hatchard said.

"She's absolutely silky with the footy.

"Her skills are magnificent."

In reply, tall Kate Darby snared a strong mark against Chelsea Biddell and converted Geelong's first to reduce Adelaide's quarter-time lead to one point.

Ponter sharked Darby's tap and snapped truly for her second six-pointer midway through the second term, which Julia Crocket-Grills equalised thanks to some marvellous grunt work from Morrison.

The Crows continued to win the territory battle but they lost their lead just after halftime when Shelley Scott was rewarded for her excellent forward pressure.

The lead changed hands five times in a gripping third quarter, at the end of which the Crows led by a point.

The fourth term was a real arm-wrestle, Caitlyn Gould's shanked behind the only score.

The home side looked almost home when Rachel Kearns conceded a free kick for her leaping, high tackle on acting Crows captain Sarah Allen with just over a minute left but the decision was reversed when Eloise Jones came in to remonstrate with Kearns.

Moments later, Hatchard launched a long clearance out of defence into the hands of Ponter, who went on another long run, this time Amy McDonald the unfortunate Cat giving chase.

Ponter lost control on her fourth bounce with 30 seconds to go, but was reprieved when Morrison's handball in the dying moments just missed its target.

"Our girls did a terrific job, after quarter-time in particular," Geelong coach Dan Lowther said.

"It was a strong contest all over the ground.

"I take away that we're good enough to play against any team in the competition."

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