AFLW Grand Final 2021: Ebony Marinoff ready to break tag after working with Andrew McLeod

Adelaide’s prolific ball-getter Ebony Marinoff knows she’ll likely have a target on her back come Saturday’s AFLW Grand Final showdown with Brisbane, but she’s ready for whatever comes at her.

Marinoff had a monster 35 touches (including 25 kicks) and 13 tackles in last weekend’s preliminary final win against Melbourne, making her the record holder for most touches in an AFLW final.

Those 35 touches also equalled the AFLW record for most disposals in a game, set by teammate Anne Hatchard in Round 1, 2020.

The 23-year-old said she was prepared to come under specific attention of the Lions’ midfield.

“Potentially (I’ll get a tag),” she said.

“I’ll just have to work with that.

“The Lions are pretty balanced in the midfield, I’m not sure what they’ll do, but I’ll be ready for anything that comes at me.”

Marinoff is used to be tagging, and worked under former midfield coach Andrew McLeod on specific ways to handle it and she was tagged by Carlton in the 2019 AFLW Grand Final, still managing 19 touches and seven tackles in the Crows’ thumping premiership win.

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Marinoff gets a kick away despite pressure from Demon Karen Paxman. Picture: GettySource:Getty Images

Ebony Marinoff shows the election at making her third AFLW Grand Final. Picture: GettySource:Getty Images

Marinoff and Hatchard combined for 62 touches between them in the prelim, and Marinoff said the two of them were working well together in the middle for the Crows.

“I just want to win, I want to win another premiership,” Marinoff said.

“So I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do to help the team win and we were able to have a pretty good game (last) weekend.

“Hatchard and I, we’re really starting to hit our straps.”

The Crows and Lions have each made three Grand Finals in five seasons of the AFLW, with Adelaide winning two (2017 and 2019) and Brisbane losing two (2017 and 2018 against the Western Bulldogs).

But Marinoff said the X-factor of the Lions – including star goalkickers Dakota Davidson and Greta Bodey, All-Australian defender Kate Lutkins and quick midfielders Courtney Hodder and Emily Bates – meant the Crows would be looking to impact the scoreboard from the opening bounce.

“Whenever we do have a battle with the Lions, it’s a battle of the contest,” she said.

“So starting well that’s what we’ve got to do and get some early goals on the board. The game will be won in the contest.

Marinoff and the Crows train in preparation for the Grand Final. Picture: GettySource:Getty Images

Concussed captain Chelsea Randall watches on as Marinoff warms up at training ahead of the Grand Final. Picture: GettySource:Getty Images

“Coaches talk about game changers and Dakota definitely is one, but if you look at the form of our backline, Sarah Allan’s been amazing all year, just a cool, calm and collected head down there, I’m sure she’ll be up for the challenge if she takes her and we’ll back in our Team-D to get it done.”

The main selection puzzle now facing the Crows is who will fill the Chelsea Randall-sized hole in the squad after their inspiring captain was ruled out of the Grand Final under the AFL’s new concussion protocols.

Marinoff said there were eight fit players waiting in the wings for the call-up to the Big Dance.

“(Our non-selected players) have been pushing hard at training and they push us hard to be better,” she said.

“I’m glad I’m not on match committee.”

But with Randall being able to play across all three lines – and play across them well – the question is whether the match committee will replace Chelsea Randall the defender, or Chelsea Randall the forward?

“One of the biggest things that Doc (coach Matthew Clarke) reiterated in pre-season was that he wanted everyone to be able to play in different positions, because it gives you a bit of X-factor amongst the competition and playing other teams,” Marinoff said.

“So a lot of girls have played across a few lines so it will be exciting to see if it’s a forward or a back (who comes into the side).”

Originally published asMarinoff’s secret weapon to handle Grand Final tag

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