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Bruce Matthews

Crows set up AFLW decider with Melbourne

Crows Anne Hatchard, Hannah Munyard and Erin Phillips celebrate winning through to the AFLW decider. (AAP)

Adelaide are chasing a third AFLW flag after a 14-point win against Fremantle in their preliminary final at the Adelaide Oval.

The Crows were never headed on the way to a third consecutive grand final and will now host Melbourne who earlier beat reigning premiers Brisbane at the MCG.

Adelaide beat the Dockers 6.4 (40) to 4.2 (26) on the back of superior work from their top class performers to make the most of limited scoring opportunities.

The Crows again were well served by Ebony Marinoff, with 22 possessions, and Anne Hatchard, 21, that enabled the home side to withstand a last quarter Dockers challenge.

Each time Fremantle threatened, Crows leaders such as Erin Phillips helped steady the ship and they will head into the decider deserved flag favourites on home territory next Saturday afternoon.

The Crows won the 2017 and 2019 titles and lost the 2021 decider to Brisbane.

There was no flag awarded in 2020 after COVID-19 caused the season to be terminated prematurely.

Fremantle edged within nine points on Saturday after a goal from Emma O'Driscoll early in the last term with ample time left on the clock.

But it was game-up when Ashleigh Woodland, the AFLW leading goalkicker, posted her 21st for the season after a free kick to stretch the lead again.

To no-one's surprise, it was Phillips who made the first impact on the game with a goal in the opening minute to set the standard for the home team.

Fremantle always looked dangerous when allowed to get the ball into space for the run-and-carry style, but so often attacks broke down with the Crows' organised defence led by Sarah Allan.

The Crows threatened to blow open the match early when Caitlin Gould goalled and Stevie-Lee Thompson steered through another from long range. And, when Woodland seized on a Dockers' defensive lapse, the home team shot to a 19-point lead.

A long shot by Phillips landed just inside the goalline and, remarkably, bounced back into play. When the Dockers defenders stopped, thinking the ball had crossed the line, Woodland grabbed the "live" ball and goalled with a snapshot from only a couple of metres out.

But Fremantle stayed in the game when an Ebony Antonio handpass set up sister Kara's goal and Airlie Runnalls snapped another goal to leave the visitors seven points down at the long break. While the Dockers matched the Crows on most of the key areas, they could manage only one goal in the second half.

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