R11 – Adelaide v West Coast – The Mongrel Review

With their form on the rise in the past month, West Coast would have made the trip to Adelaide with plenty of confidence that this outing would be a lot happier than the last (when they were handed a 122-point thrashing). Instead, it was a huge reality check, as the Crows put on a clinic and once again demolished the Eagles in front of a very entertained home crowd.

The Crows seemed all fired up after their narrow loss to Collingwood last week, and brought the pressure and run out of defence that has seen them push many of the good teams. They kicked seven goals to none in a blitzing first term where West Coast couldn’t get their hands on the ball and lost the disposal count 111-66. Jordan Dawson was everywhere, while for West Coast the only two players who could get their hands on the ball were the defenders Liam Duggan and Jeremy McGovern.

It set West Coast up with a mountain to climb, but for a moment in the second quarter they started to work their way into the game, preventing the Crows from running as freely around the ground and finally putting a few goals of their own on the board. The shift in momentum was short-lived, however, as a few critical errors saw the Crows put goals of their own on the board, and from there they pushed the margin out further to 61 points by halftime.

It seemed like somebody had to do something to get the Eagles going, or it was going to get ugly. Harley Reid did what he could with a big don’t argue on Josh Rachele and taking a couple of hits from Dawson, but the Crows continued to do as they pleased as they almost toyed with the Eagles, chipping the ball around and piling on more goals. Not even a Reid goal could fire up the Eagles, as the Crows closed out the term with an after-the-siren goal to Taylor Walker.

A goal to Darling within a minute to start the final term hinted that the Eagles might play the game out, but even with the Crows tiring they did little but try to stem the tide. The ball lived in the Crows’ forward half for much of the term as the Eagles tried desperately to keep the margin under a hundred. The final siren blew just in time to ensure they achieved that, but it was of little consolation, with the Crows dominating all day and taking the win by 99 points.

There’s not a lot that can be said about this game, really. The Crows were great and West Coast were not. It was a real back to earth game after the high of beating Melbourne and demonstrated that even though the Eagles may be finally taking some steps in the right direction, they have an awful long way to go before they are consistently competitive again.


What went so horribly wrong for the Eagles?

Truthfully, just about everything. There was no defensive pressure for the vast majority of the game, they got beaten in the air, gave up more turnovers, and couldn’t drive the ball inside their 50. Even though they were equal to the Crows in their stoppage clearance, they couldn’t turn it into scoring opportunities.

The Eagles just could not get their hands on the ball. Even in games with large margins, the disposal difference between the sides isn’t usually very much, but the Crows had a massive 151 more disposals for the game, finishing with 398 to 247. In comparison, in the Eagles’ heavy loss to Collingwood a couple of weeks ago, they only lost the disposal count by 62 and had 80 more possessions than they did in this game.

Damningly, they gave up 264 uncontested disposals as the Crows were allowed to move the ball across the ground with ease.

West Coast looked more like their 2023 side than the one that has been showing up over the past several weeks. Away games are still a huge issue, and already it looks like there might be a bit too much reliance on Reid, with him being the only one prepared to step up and try to drag the team into the game. There’s no excuse for these sorts of numbers, and Simpson will be wanting to address this issue fast.


Defensive pressure for the Crows

The Crows need to get some credit, they played very well.

Adelaide have been the second-best team in the comp for defensive pressure in the past month, and today was no exception. Their defenders were hot on the West Coast forwards right from the get-go and set up the midfielders to run through the corridor. Despite being quite young (Keane is 24, Hinge 25, Michalanney 20, and Nankervis 21) they looked very composed each time the ball came their way and kept their composure when exiting under pressure.

Their day was typified by a fantastic effort by Luke Nankervis to chase down the fast Liam Ryan and smother his kick, which led to another Crows goal.

Even with the game over in the third, the Crows were still throwing themselves at the ball, running hard to make spoils and laying defensive 50 tackles to ensure the Eagles had no easy shots on goal.

It was a full team effort and if they can keep it up then they are still an ever so sneaky chance of making finals.


A Day Out for Dawson

Jordan Dawson was the undisputed best on ground for this game and set the tone for the rest of his team right from the first bounce. He made it clear they were not to take this game lightly and was a huge factor in their amazing first quarter. He had 12 disposals and two goals in the first term alone as he ran all over the ground getting himself into the play.

He was a little quieter in the second when Reuben Ginbey was given the job of tagging him, but he was still giving the game his all and getting into the physical side of the clash, including the few big clashes with Reid. Even with the game all stitched up, he was still fighting hard and provided plenty of highlights including a bomb from the 50 that unfortunately dropped short.

He finished the game with 32 disposals, nine marks, 11 score involvements and a game-high 673 meters gained to go with the two goals he kicked in the first quarter. With Adelaide’s other weapon in 2024, Izak Rankine, sidelined, the time was right for the captain to step up, and that is exactly what he did in this one.


Crows Cameos

Of course, in a game with such a big margin there were plenty of players who had great games worthy of mentioning.

Lachie Sholl wasn’t too far behind Dawson in terms of his numbers in one of his best games for his career, racking up a career-high 34 disposals, nine marks, four clearances, and the first goal of the game.

Rory Laird was also among the high disposal getters with 31 and was a clearance beast with a game-high ten, He also gave the forwards plenty of the ball with his eight inside 50s.

Sam Berry was subbed on for Jake Soligo at the start of the second half and didn’t have much of an impact to begin with, but he came home strong in the final term. He had eight disposals for the term and finished his day with five tackles, five marks, and five clearances to keep the Crows fighting when the rest of the team was beginning to fatigue and make a claim for him to start on the ground next week.

Lachlan Murphy had a rough start to the game when he got crunched from behind going for a mark but didn’t let it bother him as he went on to have a strong game. He was particularly good in the second term when the Eagles started to push back. He finished the day with 14 disposals, 10 of which were contested, five tackles, two clearances, and a goal.

Chayce Jones also had a fun day out and put his hand up for potentially more game time in the forward line thanks to his three goals.


Adelaide will take another trip to the MCG next weekend where they will come up against the rapidly improving Hawks. The two had a close match in their only meeting last year, with the Crows just coming up on top in the end. Home-ground advantage just makes Hawks the favourites, but this could be one of the games of the round.

West Coast will return home to play St Kilda who are having plenty of problems. If the Eagles return back to their usual home-game form they should make easy work of the Saints, but it will involve a huge increase in effort from what they served up this week.