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AFLW Round Table: Can the Crows complete a historic double?

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Why the AFL should have foreseen venue availability mess (1:45)

The ESPN Footy Podcast's Marissa Lordanic and Sarah Burt believe the AFL should have been better prepared for the AFLW Grand Final venue situation. (1:45)

Our AFLW experts tackle some of the burning questions ahead of preliminary final weekend, including what are the Crows chances of two flags in a calendar year, where to play the grand final, and plenty more.


Will Adelaide win the flag?

Marissa Lordanic: No. And while they will be less than impressed with a prelim exit it feels like par for the course considering not only what has happened to their club across the two 2022 seasons but what has happened at their two greatest challengers, the Lions and Dees, over the course of the year.

Sarah Burt: No, Brisbane have been more consistent this year in my opinion and after a rest week and no short term injuries I think it's their time.

Jesse Robinson: I was skeptical of them being able to beat Brisbane in Finals, but I was shocked when they fell apart after a strong first quarter against Melbourne at Ikon Park in week one. Seeing that performance live and watching their midfield be dominated the way it was has me thinking they probably won't win the Grand Final this year. BUT, if they can knock off Brisbane on Friday night, then they will become my premiership favourites over Melbourne or North.

When and where would you schedule the Grand Final?

ML: Saturday afternoon is always my preference for grand finals and this season is no different. I don't know how to answer the location part of this question because none of the options seem particularly great. Marvel Stadium presents itself as maybe the best of a bad situation but I sincerely hope we are not having these same discussions next year. Cricket ground unavailability in November shouldn't be a shock.

SB: Marvel Stadium. I know this is biased coming from a Melburnian but I think for the sake of getting some form of clarity for the players and fans as early as possible at this late stage it makes sense to have it at the biggest venue that's next to the league headquarters. I think at this late point, with most of the major suitable venues unavailable now, it's best to just lock one venue in so people know what they're doing, players included.

JR: It's been really cool to see the highest finishing team hosting the grand final, but we've seen already that it could be a huge headache in Brisbane and leaving it this late has caused enough chaos. I reckon, lock in Marvel Stadium on a Saturday night. Giving everyone certainty on time, location and adequate facilities. It's also no one's home stadium so won't provide a significant advantage.

What do the Tigers and Pies need to do to take the next step next year?

ML: It's too simplistic to suggest that all Collingwood needs to do is get Brit Bonnici and Bri Davey back but both of their returns will go a long way in pushing the Pies into that next week of finals. Suddenly having more high quality players in the centre of the park -- which will in turn allow other players to flex their muscles in their preferred positions -- can only be a positive. For the Tigers, their improvement needs to come in both arcs. Their midfield announced itself as being more than just the Mon Conti show and the whole cast has been elite. Overall, Richmond will be better for the finals experience.

SB: Goal kicking accuracy. Plain and simple. They need to be accurate in front of goals to capitalise on the improvement we are seeing on the rest of the field. The Magpies have had this issue throughout the history of AFLW and have never seemed to fully address it. Collingwood will also (presumably) have Brianna Davey and Brit Bonnici back next season and if they can make finals without those two, they'd be a great chance with them and in this form. Richmond need to continue to strengthen their midfield and put time into their fringe players, as when injury hits it affects them heavily -- to strengthen the depth of their mids and let Mon Conti continue her dominance without relying on her would be key.

JR: The Pies will be upset to bow out early in finals again but with arguably the best player in the competition returning next year in Bri Davey, as well as a superstar in Brit Bonnici, there's reason to be optimistic that they can at least make a prelim. You can couple that with the emergence of Eliza James as well as young guns Jordyn Allen and Lauren Butler they just need to reload and go again. The Tigers are a different story, it feels like they slightly over achieved this season and may struggle to replace Courtney Wakefield as a dominant key forward. The Richmond midfield will hold them in good stead, and will welcome draftee Charley Ryan into that fold as well as Harriet Cordner into the already strong defence but kicking goals could prove a challenge in season eight.