Adelaide captain Chelsea Randall is the first person to experience the heartbreak surrounding the AFL’s new concussion protocols, after being knocked out in the Crows’ preliminary final win over Melbourne.
The Crows were convincing 19-point winners over the Demons and booked a spot in another AFLW grand final with the win, with the reigning champs set to face Brisbane in the decider.
However, the victory was soured by the injury to dual premiership co-captain and triple All-Australian Randall, who was left concussed after a head clash with Eliza McNamara in the opening term.
The incident occurred when Randall pounced on a loose ball, before being tackled by McNamara, who inadvertently collided heads with the Crows skipper.
While Randall was eventually able to run off the ground unassisted, she was ruled out of the match at quarter-time due to a concussion, meaning she automatically misses out on next week’s grand final due to the AFL’s 12-day concussion protocol.
“If there’s one player Adelaide cannot afford to lose in the opening quarter (it’s Randall),” Randall’s premiership teammate Abbey Holmes said on Seven’s coverage of the match.
“It’s heartbreaking – and Chelsea Randall would know (she’ll miss the grand final).”
Randall’s star teammate Ebony Marinoff more than made up for her skipper’s absence in Adelaide’s win, tallying an AFLW record 35 disposals to go along with 13 tackles and five clearances.
Marinoff and the Crows will have to soldier on against the Brisbane Lions next weekend, after the Lions prevailed in a heart-stopper against Collingwood.
The match between the Lions and Magpies came down to the final minute, before Brisbane prevailed 7. 3. (45) to 6. 5. (41) winners.
Next week’s AFLW grand final sees the repeat of the grand final in the inaugural AFLW season in 2017, which saw the Crows prevail.
Both sides have previously appeared in two grand finals, with the Crows undefeated in 2017 and 2019, while the Lions recorded losses in both 2017 and 2018.