By Nathan Schmook 5:45 PM
Sat 10 July, 2010
ADELAIDE has kept its slim finals hopes alive with a 22-point victory over a dogged West Coast at Subiaco Oval on Saturday afternoon.
The improved Eagles played with the endeavour expected in premiership hero Andrew Embley's 200th game, but seven final-quarter goals sealed the Crows' third straight win, 17.15 (117) to 14.11 (95).
Powerhouse Kurt Tippett kicked three goals in seven minutes to open the final term, and though the Eagles continually found another gear for Lewis Stevenson to cut the margin to two points late in the quarter, the Crows kicked the last three goals of the game.
The Eagles, who remain on the bottom of the ladder, have not won since round eight and will hope to avoid equalling a club-record losing run when they face Essendon next week.
Scott Thompson (29 possessions and 10 clearances) drove the Crows' midfield in the second half, while captain Simon Goodwin controlled the half-back line to finish with 28 possessions.
Young Crows Ricky Henderson (22 possessions and three goals) and Matthew Jaensch (11 and three) were also crucial, while Patrick Dangerfield overcame a possession-less first quarter in the forward line to have a big influence up the ground.
Coach Neil Craig said it was an important win for his side, which had not won on the road this year from six attempts.
“It’s a pretty special win for us,” he said after the match.
“Our form has been good at home, it’s been very good at home, but clearly this year we haven’t won, until today, away from home.
“You’ve got to be able to perform away from you home ground and we’ve most probably faced our most difficult opponent in [the] short history of our club on their home ground and been able to get a victory.”
Embley was desperate for a win in his milestone match, kicking two goals in the thrilling final quarter, while Mark LeCras (four goals and 18 possessions) and Dean Cox (23 possessions and 23 hit-outs) were top performers for the home side.
With Brett Jones playing his 100th match, West Coast's work rate was impressive from the outset and it out-tackled Adelaide 42-28 up to half time and 85-77 for the game.
But the developing Eagles didn't have the skill level to execute an ambitious handball-heavy game plan early - the most glaring example being a Scott Selwood pass to umpire Stefan Grun - and the Crows took a two-point buffer into the main break.
Adelaide had a mountain of inside 50s, winning the indicator 69-47 for the match, but young West Coast defenders Eric Mackenzie, Will Schofield and Brown held under intense pressure for three quarters.
Worsfold, who was also impressed with debutant Ash Smith (19 possessions, five rebound 50s and a goal) and the recalled Stevenson, said Adelaide’s maturity at the stoppages was a telling factor, the Crows winning the clearances 47-32.
“There were big periods where they really dominated and got on top; we also understand that’s an area we’re growing in as a group as well,” he said.
“The guys took some risks, got caught a few times which cost us a couple of times dearly, but they really had a go at it.
“So overall, we saw the signs that we’re looking for from the group.”
The Eagles are hopeful Beau Waters (corked hamstring) will be available to face Essendon next week, while Shannon Hurn (calf) should return.
The Crows face Geelong at home in round 16 before the second showdown of the season against Port Adelaide. West Coast 2.2 7.5 10.9 14.11 (95)
Adelaide 4.3 6.9 10.12 17.15 (117)
LeCras 4, Embley 3, Stevenson 2, A.Selwood, Cox, Sheppard, Hams, Smith
Tippett 4, Henderson 3, Jaensch 3, Porplyzia 2, Symes, Vince, Dangerfield, Walker, SloaneBEST
LeCras, Rosa, Cox, Embley, S.Selwood, Brown, A.Selwood
Thompson, Goodwin, Reilly, Dangerfield, Tippett, Stevens, Henderson, JaenschINJURIES
: Waters (hamstring)
McLaren, Grun, KeatingOfficial crowd:
26,976 at Subiaco Oval
The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs
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