For all the talk of cult-like camps and disharmony in the group, the Adelaide Crows banded together to get over the line against the reigning premiers.
There was no playing of the Richmond theme song to trigger any of the players after the game, and even with Matt Crouch sitting on the bench, the Crows showed an enormous amount of heart to resist an early fourth quarter push by the Tigers to run out six-goal winners.
And here we go with the good, bad and ugly of the Crows against the Tigers.
Wow, I didn’t expect to be writing about Jenkins like this, but he gave Alex Rance a complete bath in the first half. Jenkins had four goals, and probably should’ve had five to half time, having missed an absolute sitter from 20 metres out.
Rance rallied in the second half, but by this time he had been moved off the dangerous Jenkins and onto an 18 year… who we’ll get onto soon.
Back to Jenkins – this could possibly be his best result for the Crows. It was a huge game, made even bigger by the events and rumours of the last week. They needed someone to stand up and make a statement early. Jenkins was that man.
Dustin Martin up forward
So when you look at a bloke like Dusty, you’d love to have two of him. One to get the ball out of the centre, and one to take the mark, one-out in the forward line when it lands there. In the last quarter, Richmond went for the second option and it paid dividends immediately.
Martin kicked five goals for the game, with two to begin the last quarter. It brought the Tigers back to within a couple of goals, and really gave them a sniff. The problem with this was that from that point on, the Tigers couldn’t get the ball to Martin to give him an opportunity.
The majority of the play from that point took place in the Adelaide forward line, and the Crows successfully took Martin out of the game as a result. It’s hard to criticise Damien Hardwick for leaving Martin up forward. He looked like the best avenue to goal; it was just unfortunate that the Tigers couldn’t get him the ball.
Back to back 40-disposal games for Rory Laird
There are plenty of players who can do it once – we are talking about the elite midfielders in the game, but back-to-back 40-disposal games are rare.
Laird started well again, grabbing 11 touches in the first quarter, and didn’t let up on his way to a career-high 42. With both Crouch brothers out of the side over the coming weeks, you’d expect oppositions to put a bit of work into him over the next month or so.
The Crows defence
I loved the game of Daniel Talia. He was very strong early and took some telling marks to repel the Tiger attacks.
He looked as though he may have hyper-extended his knee in the third quarter but was able to return and make key defensive plays.
The other defender to stand out was playing only his second game – Tom Doedee. He was composed when he got it, and desperate when he didn’t; exactly what you require from a defender. He had 14 contested disposals amongst his 25 for the night, and travelled at 96% efficiency.
The Crows have definitely found something in Doedee.
There was a little heart-in-mouth stuff going on when Sloane went off early, apparently having an issue with his foot, but he shook it off and returned quickly.
Sloane’s attack on the ball was relentless, and he made a few contests where he probably had no right to. His 25 disposals probably do not do his game justice, as his pressure around the ball caused many fumbles and affected disposals. His third quarter was an absolute pearler.
Cotchin would already be looking toward game 250, because this won’t be a milestone he will want to remember.
The Richmond captain went missing for long stretches of the game and appeared to lack intensity after the first quarter. That intensity returned when he was swung into the middle in the last quarter, but the game was gone by that point.
Cotchin’s influence on the team was talked up all week in the Melbourne papers. Damien Hardwick, himself said that Cotchin was what makes Richmond great. He didn’t make them great tonight. He was ordinary. You wouldn’t think he’d have two games like that in a row.
I might be expecting a little too much from McGovern, but for mine, this is the second week in a row where he has looked all at sea.
He is playing a role he may be a little unfamiliar with, as Tom Lynch usually controls that high half forward role, but that is no excuse. Over the first two weeks, he is averaging 10.5 disposals and 4.5 marks.
The Crows will need more from him.
Another dangerous tackle
With 14.48 left in the second quarter, Cameron Ellis-Yolmen caught Jack Graham at a stoppage on the wing, and took him to ground. It was a regulation tackle and a ball-up should’ve ensued. Instead, a free kick was awarded to Graham.
Why is this in the ‘ugly’ category? Because in the couple of minutes directly after it, there were a few more tackles which were basically the same, and they went unpunished.
You cannot just pick and choose which dangerous tackles you call. You either call them all, or you call none.
The one they did call changed the momentum. The Tigers kicked forward, Riewoldt was paid a free kick in a marking contest, Josh Caddy took the advantage and kicked a goal from 50 metres out. I have no dog in this fight – this was an umpire’s goal.
The free kick for front-on contact
This was against Tom Doedee. Running back with the flight of the ball, Doedee did not take his eyes off the ball at all. Both he and Jacob Townsend leapt into the air and collided. The ball spilled. The whistle blew. Front-on contact was called and Townsend took the free kick. He kicked the goal
Doedee did nothing wrong, and what gets me is that it is not a requirement that a free kick is paid simply because two people collide in a marking contest, yet a free kick was plucked out. If it’s there, and someone has taken their eyes off the ball, by all means, PING THEM! But we had a young fella doing all the right things, and he had a free kick against him that was soft.
A similar one was paid against Jack Riewoldt earlier in the quarter, so at least the poor decisions were consistent.
THE ABSOLUTE UGLIEST
David Astbury's kick
Richmond were making a serious challenge when this occurred. Dusty Martin had kicked two goals. The margin was only nine points. The ball came to David Astbury at half back. He went to kick across the ground and he almost missed his foot entirely. There was no direct pressure… he just completely shanked it. It spilled to his direct opponent, Taylor Walker, who turned at 50 and slammed it home.
It’s unfair to point the finger at Astbury, but… I will. That was the moment that kick-started the Crows again. They were pretty ordinary in the last quarter until that point, and from then on, they wrestled control of the game back from Richmond.
I really thought the Crows looked exhausted early in the last quarter. Their run out of defence stopped, and when no one bothered to nominate for the ruck, allowing Jack Riewoldt to take the ball and pump it forward, I thought we may be seeing the beginning of a capitulation, as we did last week. How wrong I was…
Darcy Fogarty – I really would have liked to add him into the five ‘good’ spots. His physicality is brilliant. Yes, it cost a 50 metre penalty at one point, but every time Fogarty went near the ball, he created a physical contest. In his second game, he might be my favourite Crow.
Hugh Greenwood’s one grab pick up and spin out of trouble in the first quarter was perfect. Clean hands is one of those things you can’t teach. Some players just have it, whether they’re out in the open, or under pressure. Greenwood was under pressure, but ti didn’t phase him at all.
Tex Walker’s presence as an outlet option up on the wing provided a great marking target for his defenders. Took a couple of marks that transitioned the Crows into attack.
Not sure whether my eyes were deceiving me, but did Cotchin beat Jacobs in the ruck at one point?
Walker’s one-hander was probably unnecessary, but his body work to get into that position was spectacular.
I think I saw Eddie Betts adopt a tactic to combat Dusty’s ‘don’t argue’. At the first bounce of the third quarter, Eddie went to lay a tackle on Martin, and Dusty, being Dusty, extended the arm. Instead of accepting it, Betts slapped at it and kept trying to tackle. It didn’t work completely, as Dusty still got his disposal away, but he managed to annoy Martin a bit. I’m surprised more don’t try it.
Transfer of play by Alex Rance after taking a mark in the third quarter was responsible for a Josh Caddy goal. It was a 50 metre kick across the ground, hit perfectly, that allowed the Tigers to run the field and score. It was classic slingshot, but that first kick was the important one.
Speaking of Rance, he was a different player in the second half. A tremendous defender's half. I wonder if he had a chat with Cotchin again? Maybe someone needed to have a chat with Cotchin about Cotchin’s game?
The last ten minutes of the third quarter were Rory Sloane at his best. It was only topped by his goal from the boundary in the last quarter.