Crows' AFLW title defence back on track

Eloise Jones of the Adelaide Crows kicks the ball against Geelong Cats. Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images

Adelaide have put their premiership defence back on track with a hard-fought 11-point win against an equally gallant Geelong at GMHBA Stadium.

The Cats' slight edge at utilising scoring chances was the difference in on Sunday afternoon's hot contest to set up the 8.1. (49) to 6.2. (38) victory.

When Richelle Cranston goaled with a snap shot on the run late in the last term, it propelled the Cats to their biggest AFLW total.

It was a controversial last minute as Geelong defender Maddy McMahon was penalised for deliberately running the ball over the Adelaide goalline.

With the Crows clinging to a five-point lead, the umpire's decision handed forward Danielle Ponter her fourth goal to cap a sterling performance.

Geelong improved their inside-50 deficiencies that delivered a paltry 27 in the first two rounds, providing opportunities for leading forward Phoebe McWilliams and the smaller Danielle Higgins.

Higgins, sister of North Melbourne ace Shaun, booted two goals in the first half to keep the Cats in touch. The home team posted two of the first three goals of the game.

But Adelaide generally controlled the midfield, led by ruck Jess Foley and busy midfielder Ebony Marinoff. And that dominance gave the Crows more scoring chances in perfect weather.

Lively forward Danielle Ponter was dangerous every time the Crows surged forward. The niece of Essendon champ Michael Long and cousin of Hawthorn favourite Cyril Rioli twice marked and goaled in the opening quarter when Geelong threatened to build a lead.

Geelong lifted their intensity around the ball early in the third quarter to try to pull back a 12-point halftime deficit.

That renewed effort was rewarded when Maddie Boyd marked a quick kick from Jordan Ivey in the goal square and two offline shots by the Cats reduced the margin to five points.

But the Cats just couldn't find the goal to grab the lead in a tense final term.

Crows defender Dayna Cox might be in trouble for a strong tackle on Higgins in the second quarter. Higgins goaled from the free kick, with the incident expected to come under video review scrutiny.