Adelaide v Carlton - The Good, Bad and Ugly

The Adelaide Crows did what was expected of them and walked away with four points after dispatching Carlton by nine goals at Adelaide Oval.

Matty Richardson believes there were good signs for the Blues as they were beaten by a big margin and we’ll just add that to the ‘dumb things Richo says’ file, because it looked to me as though the Crows were never really out of third gear all night.

Here’s the Mongrel’s good, bad and ugly of Adelaide’s 55 point win.

 

THE GOOD

Richie Douglas

After the Crows played terrible football in the second quarter, someone needed to stand up and lead from the front in the third. Richard Douglas was that man.

As I don’t work for Champion Data, I don’t have access to quarter-by-quarter stats (what a joke that I can’t find them, by the way), but Douglas seemed like he was everywhere in the third. By the time he was finished his work, the Crows were in front by eight goals and the game was effectively over.

Douglas finished with 26 touches and two third quarter goals. He had a goal disallowed after a review, but as soon as the Blues brought the ball back in, Douglas righted the wrong and slammed home a goal from 45 metres.

Rory Laird sets another record

During the game, big mouth Richo announced a stat I wanted to steal and put on our Facebook page – Laird was the first man to ever record 30+ disposals in the first six games of the season.

Well, he is now the first man to ever record 30+ disposals in the first seven games. Take that, Richo!

Laird is now at the stage where a defensive forward is required to quell his influence. It will be interesting to see if Port Adelaide send someone to keep him quiet next week in the showdown. Can’t wait – love the showdown.

‘Gecko Hands’ McGovern

It’s a decent nickmane and it was a decent outing from the high-flying McGovern. I was glad to see him have a big one, as I have thought that he has been a bit quiet in the first third of the season.

He had a career-high five goals, and could’ve had a couple more. He took nine marks and provided and excellent target inside 50. Two of his goals came in the important third quarter, matching the output of Douglas.

And then there was his cracking mark.

Hugh Greenwood

Not many people can keep Patrick Cripps quiet, but that’s what Greenwood did in the first quarter, holding Cripps to just three touches. The nature of Cripps’ game is that he wins his own footy, so tagging is particularly difficult.

When you throw in the fact that Cripps is a bit of a beast (just listen to the Ch 7 commentary team if you need verification), it was impressive that Greenwood was able to keep him out of the contest.

The secret is that Greenwood just played his natural game, He is also a contested beast, and he relished the man-on-man duel with Cripps. Cripps averages just over 18 contested possessions per game. Greenwood is at 14. By half time, Cripps was up to 12 touches, but Greenwood was more than a match for him.

As the game wound down, and when all the steam was out of it, Greenwood was still working just as hard as he was at the beginning. Loved the way he went about it today.

Daisy Thomas

He might be in the best form we’ve seen him in at Carlton. What a pity it’s coming at a time where he has to be an important ingredient, and can’t be the icing on the cake.

Thomas had 26 touches, and made some good decisions early to change direction and transfer play. He did get a bit of it in the first quarter when the Crows were hammering the Blues, and was able to steady the ship several times.

Without Thomas in the first, it may have been much worse for the Blues at quarter time.

Bryce Gibbs breaks the tag

I’m a bit of a fan of Ed Curnow’s run-with roles, and you know Gibbs would be aware he would have to work his backside off to get the better of his former teammate. Curnow is a running machine, and when assigned a task, he takes it seriously.

So, when Gibbs put his head down and went to work in the first quarter, amassing nine disposals, I thought that was an extraordinary effort. Gibbs only had 21 for the game, but Curnow was off him relatively early in the second, and it was as though Gibbs realised he’d broken the tag and took his foot off the accelerator.

Sadly, most of the team did exactly the same thing in the second.

The Crows defensive set up across half forward

The amount of times the Crows scored on repeat entries was fantastic. They set up so well across half forward when Carlton took possession that the Blues had to just kick and hope someone would do something extraordinary to break the zone down.

But the Blues don’t have many players capable of the extraordinary, and the Crows would pump the ball back in for a second opportunity.

One piece of glorious ball movement

The Crows went into precision-mode in the first quarter, working the ball up the ground, across the ground and back again in a series of precise kicks that did not miss the mark.

It all began in the backline, with Gibbs heavily involved, and ended with Darcy Fogarty hitting Mitch McGovern who went back and slotted it.

This is the sort of free flowing footy the AFL love. Quick, skilled and cutting the opposition to shreds. Some may call it bruise-free, but when you can move the ball like that, you don’t need contested ball.

 

THE BAD

Millionaire football

Adelaide, you have no one to blame but yourselves for the second quarter. For a team as skilled, and as battle-hardened as you are, you deserve a dressing down for the style of game you played in the second.

The Blues are scrappers, and they needed to drag you down to their level. The problem is – you let them! All is well that ends well, but there is no way that Carlton should’ve been able to match it with you in the second quarter. You kicked two goals to their four, even though you are a vastly superior team.

File this one away in the memory bank. Adelaide simply cannot play “cute” football when the other team decides they’re going to have a dip. They have to match them, and beat them at their own game. Dermott Brereton often spouts about Adelaide playing well when things are on their terms, but falling over when they’re not. In the second quarter, things were not on their terms, and they got a little found out.

To their credit, it did not take long for Don Pyke to right the ship, and the Crows slammed on a couple of early goals in the third. All was well again.

 

THE UGLY

Two glaring errors

I don’t really like to single players out for making an error, but Levi Casboult’s error was a cracking one.

All he had to do was catch the ball, and kick the goal. That’s it. Matty Wright soccered it right to him as he ran into the goal square, but Levi got an attack of the fumbles. He bobbled the ball a little and then completely lost it, allowing the troops to arrive for Adelaide.

The second one was when the game was dusted, so I don’t mind putting it in. Also, anyone who’s read our columns know that we love Tom Doedee at The Mongrel. But we’re kind of astounded as to how he was unable to get a hand on the ball as it trickled over the line. Doedee almost ran around the ball and just forgot to touch it til it was over the line and too late.

Ah well, it’d be the first thing Doedee has done wrong all year.

 

OTHER BITS

Josh Jenkins might have the most goals in the league running into an open goal. Not ‘Joe the Goose’ kind of goals, but legitimately outsprinting his opponents. He must be quicker than he appears. Would like to see him and Dylan Grimes run back to collect a loose ball – another who doesn’t look quick, but is.

Great spoil by Sam Rowe when it looked as though Eddie Betts was going to mark inside 50 in the first. Just a beautifully-timed fist.

Had the feeling half way through the first quarter that the game might get very ugly in terms of margin. Credit to the Blues for bringing it back in the second, but the Crows just needed to capitalise on their great first quarter.

Liam Jones saved a certain goal in the last minute by leaving his man and stopping the ball carrier at 50. Tied it up for a stoppage just before the siren. Had he stayed at home on his man, either he gets drawn by the player with the ball, or a shot for goal sails over his head.

Greenwood won a free kick against Cripps for a hold that resulted in a goal, but if you get the chance to watch the replay, check out Eddie Betts laughing at Cripps as he pleads his case.

Whilst many will talk about McGovern’s grab, Tom Lynch’s hamstring-stretcher in the second was a beauty as well. It was a contested grab at his toes – very tough to take.

Loved Betts’ second goal. The Crows just bullied the ball forward and Eddie got on the end of a ricochet. Also thought the Fogarty kick whilst laying on his back was pretty good, too.

Cam O’Shea’s tackle on Cam Ellis-Yolman was a ripper

Matt Crouch has simply not missed a beat. Another 32 touches tonight in the second game back from injury.

Really liked the game of Ellis-Yolman. Strong body that rarely loses his feet. May not have the tightest turning circle, but when he grabs it and gets on the move, he is a hard man to stop.

I had the feeling early on that we may see a career-high number for gioals from Josh Jenkins. He started like a train, but by the end, he was even spending some time in defence.

I’m not sold on Matt Kennedy being an answer to questions asked of Carlton. Doesn’t do enough, for mine.

Didn’t seem to be much feeling from the Carlton players against Gibbs. There wasn’t your usual push and shove, or even words exchanged. It was eerily calm and accepting from the Blues.

The heat was well and truly out of it by the start of the last quarter. I hope the umpires already had their minds made up as to whom was best on ground. Richard Douglas, I reckon.

 

And there we go – the Crows were just a cut above and did what was expected of them. A little scare in the second quarter, but good composure from Adelaide to finish the Blues off and put the result beyond doubt by three quarter time.

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