The Courier-Mail

Feast for Crows Ade­laide sprint into Septem­ber with an Ea­gle dom­i­na­tion

- AN­DREW CAPEL

REBORN Ade­laide yesterday pro­duced their best Road Run­ner im­per­son­ation to put flag con­tender West Coast to the sword and send a pow­er­ful mes­sage to their ri­vals that they are not in the fi­nals just to make up the num­bers.

The white-hot Crows – eight weeks af­ter trag­i­cally los­ing coach Phil Walsh and hav­ing their sea­son be­ing in dan­ger of col­lapse – will go into Septem­ber as one of the form teams and a side no club will want to meet af­ter rip­ping the shell-shocked Ea­gles to shreds, win­ning by 57 points.

They proved what a dan­ger­ous fi­nals wild­card they could be by in­cred­i­bly blow­ing the sec­ond-placed Ea­gles away in 30 ex­hil­a­rat­ing min­utes at Ade­laide Oval.

Us­ing the “speed kills’’ the­ory, Ade­laide put the af­ter­burn­ers on to kick 8.3 to 0.1 in one of their great­est open­ingquar­ter blitzes to keep their hopes of a home elim­i­na­tion fi­nal alive and send a shiver through the spines of their fi­nals ri­vals.

The Crows’ spec­tac­u­lar per­for­mance – and sixth win from their past seven games – came just two months af­ter the play­ers trudged from Do­main Sta­dium in tears af­ter the Ea­gles had beaten them by 56 points in their first game fol­low­ing Walsh’s death.

West Coast pro­duced a mini-fight­back in the sec­ond term yesterday, kick­ing five con­sec­u­tive goals af­ter con­ced­ing the first nine, but in re­al­ity the match was over at quar­ter-time.

Small for­ward Char­lie Cameron started the on­slaught af­ter 40 sec­onds when he cap­i­talised on a dropped mark from Jeremy McGovern and a clever hand­ball from team­mate Tay­lor Walker to snap bril­liantly with his left foot.

Af­ter 10 min­utes the Crows led by five goals fol­low­ing two each from tall for­wards Josh Jenk­ins and Tom Lynch.

By quar­ter-time, with Walker and Ed­die Betts join- ing the goalfest, Ade­laide had eight ma­jors and the lead was out to 50 points.

The Crows had shell-shocked the Ea­gles by run­ning them ragged, win­ning 116 dis­pos­als to 70 and dom­i­nat­ing in­side 50s 20-6.

While Ade­laide were win­ning their share of clear­ances, their dom­i­nance came from their strong de­sire to play on at all costs and out­side run.

Scott Cam­po­re­ale’s recharged out­fit led the un­con­tested pos­ses­sion count 71-32, il­lus­trat­ing where the game was be­ing won and why they were able to break through the Ea­gles’ renowned “web’’ de­fence with ease.

All-Aus­tralian

de­fender Brodie Smith was back to his bril­liant best af­ter fi­nally re­gain­ing con­fi­dence fol­low­ing two early-sea­son con­cus­sions, mid­field bull Pa­trick Danger­field was in ev­ery­thing, Rory Laird and Rory Sloane found space to move into and Lynch lived up to his “con­nec­tor’’ tag.

What made the Crows’ start even more mer­i­to­ri­ous was that they had been no­to­ri­ously slow starters this year, hav­ing won just seven first quar­ters and none of their pre­vi­ous five.

Ade­laide played with such bril­liance that they were given a stand­ing ova­tion.

The Crows face a burnt-out Gee­long at Si­monds Sta­dium on Satur­day as they look to se­cure a home elim­i­na­tion fi­nal.

 ??  ?? DAN­GER MAN: Pa­trick Danger­field tries to break a tackle as Tay­lor Walker calls for the ball. Pic­ture: Tom Hunt­ley
DAN­GER MAN: Pa­trick Danger­field tries to break a tackle as Tay­lor Walker calls for the ball. Pic­ture: Tom Hunt­ley

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