AFLW Grand Final 2021: Crows inspirational captain Chelsea Randall ruled out with concussion

Adelaide’s courageous captain Chelsea Randall has been ruled out of Saturday’s AFLW decider against Brisbane under the AFL’s new concussion protocols.

The two-time premiership winner suffered concussion in a head clash in the opening minutes of Adelaide’s preliminary final win against Melbourne last Saturday.

Under new protocols introduced by the AFL in January, any player – male or female – must be rested for a mandatory 12 days after suffering the head injury.

Randall lay motionless after she collided with Demon Eliza McNamara, before club medicos rushed to her aid, helping her to her feet, with a medical assessment on Monday morning ruling her out.

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The AFL’s concussion protocols have ruled out skipper Chelsea Randall. Picture: Sarah Reed/AFL Photos/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

The devastated 29-year-old told teammates at training on Monday night that if they are to win their third AFLW premiership in five seasons, they will have to do it without her on the field.

Adelaide’s head of women’s football, Phil Harper, said Randall had recovered well from the head knock, and while she was now feeling physically well, she was emotionally upset to not be able to play alongside her teammates.

It’s expected the Crows will give Randall a role on the bench on game day, with the team now concentrating on putting the loss of their captain behind them.

“It’s important to put (her loss) out there and realise that OK, we haven’t got Chels, so we’re all going to have to dig a bit deeper and find a bit more,” Harper said.

“They were able to do that on the weekend … they didn’t have her for much of the (preliminary final) on the weekend and so hopefully that will give them some great confidence that we’ve done it once so why couldn’t we do it again?”

Harper said while Randall and the club were devastated about her missing the game, they remained supportive of the new protocols.

Randall waves to fans after their preliminary final win over Brisbane. Picture: Sarah Reed/AFL Photos/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

“We understand that these protocols are put in place for the long-term health and safety of the players and so while I think the protocols suck at the moment, they don’t really because medical experts have put them in place for the health and wellbeing (of players),” he said.

“I want to be with Chelsea when she’s 60 and we can look back on the premierships she won at the Adelaide Crows.

“I don’t think this one is a bad concussion, but it’s a concussion and that means you can’t play for 12 days.”

Harper said there was a good chance that had this concussion come in past seasons, that Randall would have played this weekend.

“(But) the rules are the rules, once the rule is there, it’s set in place, I don’t think the AFL were going to go back on the rule they made for the safety and welfare of the players,” he said.

Originally published asWill she play? Tough Grand Final call made on captain

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