R17 – Brisbane v Adelaide – All That Mattered


A match by numbers somewhat today. If you hadn’t watched the game, it played out about as you likely would have expected. Brisbane was good enough to get it done without being brilliant, and extended their win streak further. Adelaide showed their recent improvement somewhat, however, were simply not clean enough when they needed to be to meaningfully challenge.

Brisbane controlled the game from the outset. There are significant problems they still need to solve for me to consider them a premiership threat once more, but it’s clear they are well and truly on that track. Adelaide had swings of momentum, but too little impact from their stars meant they couldn’t regularly damage on the scoreboard as they should have.

An interesting clash, but not necessarily a memorable one. One in which the four point were banked, and we move on.

Here’s all that mattered from the clash.


Lachie Neale

Lachie broke this one open, and gave himself the three votes from early on. I’m not one to rely on stats to prove effectiveness but 36 disposals and three goals are hard to argue with.

Whenever Brisbane needed an answer, Neale appeared in the right place at the right time. We know he’s a great player – two Brownlow Medals guarantee that, and I would argue it’s not out of the realms of possibility that he can steal a third one day. His cleanliness in the contest stood out amongst an, at times, crowded stoppage game from both sides.

Brisbane will rely on him heavily in order to continue with their late season resurgence. Neale strikes me as the sort of player that is willing to take on the burden. Josh Dunkley went with him today, and you could argue they are as good a clearance combo as any in the comp. My only knock on Brisbane’s midfield is they are a little samey, however Will Ashcroft continuing to develop could quickly void that argument.

This side, and their captain, are on the rise to peak at the right time, and the rest of the competition need to watch out.


Ben Keays

I think Ben Keays really deserves a proper shout out for this game. Keays, all year, has really dug in and had a crack, and he got some reward for that on the scoreboard with four important goals, often keeping Adelaide in the hunt for an unlikely victory.

Keays is the sort of player that a quiet month or two could see him fall into the obscure footy history books as a fun, interesting watch that never really offered much long term. Think Austin Wonaeamirri, Jake Neade, Jasper Pittard, Brandon Matera etc.

Ben Keays refuses to turn his career down that path. Every week, he cracks in and offers the Adelaide Crows an option, and his effort can never be questioned. He is always good for a goal or two and is potentially the most dangerous forward on the list right now. He has kept his club in games they potentially had no right to be in, and he should be admired for the season he’s had.

He deserves his dues, and he’s getting them from me today. I hope he carves out as long of a career as possible, because he deserves everything that comes to him. You can never question what he brings. If every player had this mentality, you’d struggle to lose a game.


A Watch

As I’ll get to, this game was largely never in doubt, and Brisbane are definitely a side on the rise. There is however still a watch on them. Brisbane can be easily scored against. They do not defend well in transition, and it was highlighted today.

While I never thought the crows would win, I was staggered how easily they moved the ball forward and at least threatened to score. Their own skills sometimes got in the way of goals which better sides won’t fall into the trap of, but there is a small issue here for the Lions.

Often sides rely on talent to get the win, think Port Adelaide for the perfect example of that. I’m not sure Brisbane are falling into that trap, but their reliance on their stars was perhaps evident today. They need a team-buy in to transition defence if they want to seriously contend for a flag.

I often thought to myself while watching this game that a fully-fledged Swans side would cut the Lions to pieces with how they played today. Thank God for Harris Andrews, as he can paper over a lot of defensive cracks. I’d encourage readers to keep an eye on this issue moving forward, and perhaps reassess expectations if it continues.


Was It Ever In Doubt?

No, not really. Despite my questions of the defensive aspects of Brisbane’s game, they remain a good side and their best meant they kept that 15 to 20 point margin throughout the game. Players who had been quiet bobbed up when needed to do enough to get the win. Players like Charlie Cameron and Eric Hipwood didn’t do a lot, just what they needed to when they had to.

You can’t really argue with a game like this. If you get a win, you take it in whatever form it comes. I think it’s reflective of where the Crows are at right now. They’re okay, just not quite there and have way too many passengers to beat the better sides. Izak Rankine was quiet today, and it was reflective of the Crows as a whole. As I’ve mentioned, you don’t want to be reliant on your best players all the time, unfortunately, that’s where the Crows are at.

Hats off to Brisbane for getting it done in an, at times, tricky game, but it was not a memorable one. Rather, just a win they had to bank, and we move on.


The Side Notes:

What was going on with the GPS pockets on the Brisbane players today? So many had stitching come undone or something and it really bothered me to look at. Just a quick gripe.

Joe Daniher was kept goalless today in a huge win for the Adelaide backline. Fortunately for Brisbane, it didn’t affect the result, but it was a bit of a dirty day for Joe.

In a similar vein, Jordan Dawson was virtually a non factor for the Crows today. I do question the coaching at times with Dawson, just stick him in the guts and tell him to get the footy, let’s not muck around with this half back and half forward stuff anymore.

A nice outing today for Will Ashcroft who is regaining confidence week on week. I get the feeling he’s going to have a huge end to the year which is well deserved after that unfortunate injury.

Another quality game for the backman in Mark Keane. He’s had a fantastic year and the suitors will continue to come for him. I hope he stays loyal to the Crows. He fits their system well and should continue his rise with them. Definitely one to watch for the future.

What Mattered Most

A tough one to pinpoint today, but in the end, it came down to Brisbane using the ball better going inside 50. While Adelaide moved it well at times, it often fell apart at the last hurdle.

Brisbane were able to find space and hit players in good positions to score, and when it came to ground created enough pressure to score at a greater rate. Sometimes it’s that simple, and today was definitely one of those days. They did what they had to do at the right time, and won the game.

As I stated earlier, you bank the points and move on.

So that’s all that mattered from the clash today. Next week, the Crows take on St Kilda who, coming off a great win against Sydney, will likely go in with a bit of momentum and belief, however I still expect the Crows to get the job done at home.

Brisbane take on the Eagles over in the West. Enjoy the four points Lions fans, the streak will live on and the rise up the ladder will continue.