Clarke satisfied with “strong performance masterclass”

ADELAIDE Crows AFLW Coach Matthew Clarke was satisfied with his side’s 96-point win over GWS and the consistency his team showed for four quarters.

“That was strong. Our contest numbers were off the chart, and we were efficient too,” Clarke said post-match.

After a tough start to the season and not playing the style the Crows are well known for, Clarke noted the pleasing aspects on the win and how the win has built the team’s momentum for their season going forward.  

“All of our games have been tight and tense,” he said. “We’ve had to find ways to get over the line. In some ways, that holds us in really good stead, to get used to playing in the high intensity and high pressure of footy. Against the Giants, it broke open for us. It was built off the same things we’ve been doing for the last month, and it was good.

“You’ve got a 10-week competition. It’s really tight and to get a big win helps our percentage and it’s probably going to be significant down the stretch and in some ways, the result. The way we went away achieving that result was the contest numbers which we were most happy with. We really rate GWS in that area. Every time we play them historically, it’s been fierce around the ball and we were coming in expecting that and I thought they brought the intensity but ours was better.”

With the Adelaide Crows setting the benchmark, recording the highest score and margin in AFLW history, Clarke spoke of how the forward line has been a work in progress over the last few weeks and what it means of having a high percentage boost.

“It was very pleasing to kick 15.7,” he said. “For McKenzie [Dowrick], to come into the team and kick four goals was great. Hatch [Anne Hatchard], who had three shots on goal against Collingwood and sprayed those shots on goal and to finish the game with three goals was nice. Ash [Woodland] has been pretty consistent for us. It was a good spread of forward contributions in the forward half.

“I like the percentage and I’m really happy about that. It’s the result of lots of players working really hard for not only in the short term, but over long periods of time. They’ve continued to build their games and you have days which are really pleasing.”

Whilst the likes of Hatchard and Ebony Marinoff had stellar performances, Clarke also noted the impact and role that Chelsea Randall has continued to help the team in being successful.

”Chelsea’s a pretty good player,” he said. “We’re very fortunate to have access to someone who’s her quality, but also her versatility. We were keen in the offseason to make sure she would continue to develop individually, as well as to help the team and I think she’s been enjoying some of the roles she’s playing thus far.

“Hatchy and Ebony are pretty consistent every week. Sometimes you take it for granted that they keep showing up and perform at that level each week. It was a really strong performance from both of them.”

On the debut of Jess Waterhouse, Clarke noted how much of a hard worker she is.

“Jess has trained really hard and deserved her opportunity. She’s got some forward craft and I’m really pleased for her,” he said.

With the first AFLW showdown between in sight for the first time between the two South Australian sides, Clarke acknowledged how important it is for South Australia football and the wider competition.

“It’s going to be great and it’s going to be a great occasion. This Friday night it’s the start of the school holidays. It’s clearly well positioned,” he said. “Hopefully the South Australian community gets behind it.

“It’s a great rivalry, both clubs are really proud and two traditional clubs. We’ll be looking to put up a good show as will Port. It will be a good event and encourage as many out there to get there as possible, it’ll be great.

“The Showdowns are special. Get amongst it and enjoy that rivalry. Rivalries are important in footy, and we’ve got a cracker here in South Australia. Embrace that and in the end it’s a game of footy and you have to prepare as any other game. There’s no doubt within this town a showdown’s a big deal.”

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