Sydney v Adelaide - The Good, Bad and Ugly

Late misses to Sydney will be a talking point, but they were counter-balanced by early misses from Adelaide as the Crows showed great resolve to win in the Harbour City yet again.

It was hard, it was tough, and it was a fantastic win to the Crows, missing so many of their upper echelon stars.

Here’s the Mongrel’s good, bad and ugly.

 

THE GOOD

Big Tex

I’m not sure if there is a player that has divided the AFL community as much as Taylor Walker has recently. Is he a good captain? Is he a whiner? Does he talk a good game and then disappear? Can he turn it on in big games?

So many questions about the big fella, and tonight he provided a fair few answers. He finished with four goals and showed tremendous leadership. He continued presenting for the whole game and was there on the last line of defence as the Swans pushed hard late in the last quarter.

Early in the life of The Mongrel Punt, we wrote a story about Tex not going hard enough in the 2017 Grand Final. 2018 is Walker’s chance at redemption, and he grabbed it with both hands tonight.

Tom Doedee

I’ve been wanting to add him to the good for a couple of weeks, and tonight’s the night.

This is the man who is making Adelaide forget about Jake Lever. As Lever struggles to find his way in Melbourne colours, Doedee has taken his spot and made it his own. You have to ask – did Jake Lever make Adelaide better? Or did Adelaide make Jake Lever better?

Doedee had 23 touches and a game-high 11 marks. 9 of his touches were intercept possessions, and plenty of them were marks, including one where he looked like the only guy who wanted it in the fourth quarter. Isaac Heeney had the chance to bring him back to earth in the 4th quarter, but squandered his chances.

Doedee would have to be front-runner for the Rising Star award at this point.

Josh Jenkins bobbing up.

Statless in the first quarter, Jenkins demonstrated his value in the final quarter, refusing to concede possession, refusing to settle for a stoppage, and continuing to fight for the loose ball until he was able to get it out to his captain for a goal.

Jenkins can be infuriating for Crows supporters. It really is either feast or famine with him, and early on it looked like famine was in order. To his credit, he worked into the game, received a couple of free kicks, and made the Swans pay.

Paul Seedsman

The Seed has a big game under his belt, and an Anzac Medal to show for it, but this game was pretty good as well.

His goal from the boundary line late in the third screamed of a guy who wanted the responsibility, was confident in his ability, and demanded the ball back from Rory Laird. It didn’t look like missing.

Seedsman carried a big load with the absence of Crow midfield guns, and collected 12 contested disposals as part of his 26 touches. His penetrating kicks gained the Crows valuable metres, and got the ball in quick where the forwards were waiting to bring it to ground.

Jordan Gallucci in the last quarter

He was a real live wire when the game was hot in the last quarter, and showed the kind of grit the Crows would love seeing.

His goal in the last quarter had him looking as though he was the only one who wanted the ball at that stage, and the only bloke who knew what he wanted to do with it once he got it.

He may not have had a highlight-packed game, and may have been quiet at times, but the last quarter was where the Crows needed him, and he was excellent.

 

THE BAD

20 minutes of Mitch McGovern

There was a period over the course of the second and third quarters where Mitch McGovern looked like he needed to find a hole and crawl into it. He could not do a thing right.

He took his eyes off the ball several times, learning nothing from mistakes most recently made by the Bulldog’s Josh Dunkley. His dropped mark in defence saw Jack pick up the spill and score a goal. Early in the third, he had his name all over a mark at half forward and opted to take it on his chest. He spilled it, the ball went down the other end, and within 30 seconds, Gary Rohan snapped the goal that prompted a standing ovation from the Sydney crowd.

To his credit, he went back later in the game, and was important in stemming the flow of the Swans’ attack.

Isaac Heeney’s two last quarter misses

Wayne Carey spoke on commentary of the little man talking in Heeney’s ear as he lined up for the second of his two very get-able goals. Had he got a third shot, that little man would’ve been screaming.

All you’ve got to do is look at the scoreline to understand how important those shots were. The Swans were coming, and Heeney’s attack on the ball in the last quarter was exceptional. Sadly, he could not capitalise on his good aerial work. He scored two points. 10 points went begging. The winning margin was 10 points.

The voice is a whisper now, but it’ll be there the next time he lines up from 30 metres out.

 

THE UGLY

The Experienced Swans’ mids

Pretty sure they were playing the first three quarters, but they were pretty hard to spot. There has to be something up with Josh Kennedy. Richard Douglas had a very loose tag on him, but Kennedy didn’t look like it.

In Kennedy’s last two weeks, he has had 16 touches against the Bulldogs, and 13 tonight against Crows. Those are two of his lowest totals in years. Add to that guys like Kieran Jack and Dan Hannebery looking anything but fit, and you have to wonder where the drive will come from in the Sydney midfield. They were destroyed in the first quarter by a severely-undermanned Crows midfield, unable to get their hands on the ball first at all. Even Luke Parker couldn’t impose himself tonight.

The Swans need a lift in the middle. The old hands looked just that – old.

 

OTHER BITS AND PIECES

The Crows’ stoppage work was a highlight in the first quarter. Cards on the table – I expected Sydney to smash them in the centre, but they continually got first hands on the ball. The usual blue-collar Sydney mids played like millionaires. The Adelaide makeshift midfield wanted it more.

You’ve got to be clean when Buddy is on the prowl. He will not get a stat for it, but a slightly errant handball opened the door for some Buddy pressure, which caused another poor handball. The result – a turnover and a goal to Towers.

Papley’s agility was on display in the first quarter. Unluckily, his snap for goal was touched off the boot, but the footwork to get into position to have the shot was incredible.

Nice lesson for Rory Laird – punch from behind. He thought he could use the body and outmark Florent. Mistake. It cost them.

The Crows zone outside their own 50 metre arc was a sight to behold in the first quarter. They worked hard to keep the Swans hemmed in.

How great was the by-play between Walker and Franklin before Big Tex banged through a long goal? Not quite sure what Buddy said after it, but I think it rhymed with bullpit. 

Gary Rohan’s kick to Franklin out the back was so good that no other Swan was able to make position to receive from him. Rohan’s kick must’ve travelled 55 metres. Buddy drifted out to his left, was called to play on and lost the ball. Within seconds, Rory Atkins slotted a goal on the rebound.

Franklin just missed those trademark fifty metre bombs tonight, except that one… you know the one.

Rory Atkins’ kicked his third from a 3-1 contest against Josh Jenkins. At this stage, Jenkins was not taking an overhead mark – why were three Swans flying against him?

At half time Parker, Jack, Kennedy and Hannebery had 23 touches between them.

Nice scratch to Richard Douglas’ eye area. Umps don’t check boots and nails before the game anymore?

I thought Rory Laird got let off lightly when it looked as though he heard footsteps and dropped a mark on the boundary. Only person to let him know about it was Papley.

Papley’s effort running with the flight of the ball was Riewoldt-esque, inasmuch as he spun around in the air and landed hard. Riewoldt took the mark – Papley was nowhere near it.

Rory Laird was extremely unlucky not to get a high free kick. Was taken high twice in the one action. Seconds later, Luke Parker – one of the guys who took him high – got a softie free. Sometimes I don’t know how they pick ‘em.

The third quarter reminded me a lot of the recent Swans v Power game. Very dour. A real arm wrestle.

Harry Marsh’s kick to Gary Rohan in the last quarter was the best kick of the night. No idea how he found that space in the forward 50 at that point of the game. Beautiful kick by Marsh.

Big time goal review late in the last quarter. Good vision for a change indicated it was touched. I was waiting for them to look at whether it brushed Heeney’s boot on the way through AFTER the touch. Would’ve made things interesting. Alas…

 

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