Have the Crows turned the corner?
While they might have fallen to an agonising defeat and extended the club’s longest losing streak to 10, the Crows showed enough to suggest their first win of 2020 isn’t too far away. In fact, despite trailing by 19-points in the third term, they looked like the team most likely to win this game for much of a thrilling final quarter.
We know honourable defeats don’t get you far in this business but, after the baptism of fire Matthew Nicks has had to start his coaching career, it is a welcome change for the first year coach. It should also have them full of confidence ahead of their return to Queensland to face fellow stragglers North Melbourne.
How the Game Was Won
It is too simplistic to say that the Crows finishing in the final quarter cost them their first victory of the season but it played a big part. After seeming being dead and buried, when they fell 19-points behind in the third quarter, the Crows took control of the contest in the final term.
With Essendon holding on grimly, Adelaide peppered at the goals. The result of their labours would be just 1.6 and even then they had one last chance through a Brodie Smith shot that could have won the game but failed to score. In the end their spirit and endeavour not quite enough to overcome and Essendon team that had a little more polish in attack and steel in defence. Their intensity without the ball highlighted by a remarkable 76-54 tackle count.
It was a sad end to the afternoon for Smith who was one of the Crows best. Andrew McGrath led the charge for the Bombers, producing one of the finest games of his career with 25 disposals, 12 contested possessions, 10 tackles and eight clearances. Zach Merrett had 33 touches and eight score involvements, while Darcy Parish kicked one goal from 22 disposals.
What the Coaches Said
Matthew Knicks praised his team’s fighting spirit post match. “The emotion is a good thing. To be 19 points down (in the third quarter) and have two guys on the bench, playing with 20, we were backs-against-the-wall. The boys showed some really good character in the second half to fight it out. Unfortunately it’s a painful one for all of us. That one hurt a bit.”
With quality players set to bolster the team, John Worsfold was optimistic post match. “We’ll slowly get some players back over the next 3-4 weeks which will strengthen our overall position,” he said. “But we’re confident in the guys who are out there at the moment. We’re confident, and we’ve been confident all the way through, that we’ll continue to improve as the year goes on.”
ADELAIDE 2.1 4.3 7.5 8.11 (59)
ESSENDON 2.1 5.4 8.5 9.8 (62)
Adelaide: Murphy 3, Walker 2, Stengle, Smith, Seedsman
Essendon: McDonald-Tipungwuti 2, Langford 2, Cahill 2, Laverde, Townsend, Parish
Adelaide: Seedsman, Murphy, Walker, M.Crouch, Smith, O’Brien
Essendon: Merrett, McGrath, Langford, Snelling, Parish, Ridley
Adelaide: B.Crouch (hamstring), Doedee (hamstring)
Essendon: Laverde (ankle)