Jamie Kloeden reporting for AFANA
With their season well and truly on the line, the Adelaide Crows traveled north to tackle the Gold Coast Suns knowing that a loss would pretty much rule them out of Finals contention. On the flip side, the young Suns have shown great signs this year and are certainly no easy beats with five wins already on the season.
Early action saw the home side jump out of the blocks and register the first three scoring shots of the game including the first goal through superstar captain Gary Ablett. Brodie Smith, known his his long kicks out of defense, managed to use his right foot as an offensive weapon as he kicked a long goal to get the first for the Crows. It was a long 14 minutes before the next goal but it was worth the wait. Ablett once again was the man of the moment as he stole the ball out of a pack, ran away from goals then circled around and kicked truly from outside 50 meters. He was starting to show exactly why he is once again the favorite for this year's Brownlow Medal and still widely regarded as the best player in the League. Gold Coast added one more goal before quarter time through a great snap from Daniel Gorringe as they once again looked like a team very much at home at AFL level.
More and more people are starting to notice just how good Patrick Dangerfield is these days and it was no great surprise when he set up the first goal of the second quarter. His great mark in defense set up the play that ended up with Tom Lynch kicking the goal - a sign of things to come for the quarter. The Crows dominated the quarter both around the general play and on the scoreboard as they kicked a total of seven goals to turn a 13 point quarter time deficit into a 14 point half time lead. Among the goal scorers was Jason Porplyzia in a welcome return to form, joining Matthew Wright with two first half goals. Wright was one of the stories of the day as he started with the green substitute vest on but was on the field within minutes of the start of the game with Brent Reilly leaving the ground with a serious shoulder injury. Wright went on to finish the day leading all comers with four goals.
Leading the way for Gold Coast was as usual the mercurial Ablett but two youngsters are emerging from his shadows and promising to join the competition's elite. Jaeger O'Meara will be crowned the Rising Star this season if he continues on with his current form but today is was Dion Prestia's time to shine. He finished the day with a career high 42 disposals including two goals and was best on ground in what turned out to be a losing side.
While the Suns did kick consecutive goals midway through the third quarter to trim the Crows' lead to just three points, the visitors always looked like they were in control and not going to let the game get away from them. The final break had Adelaide up by eight points and seemingly with the run of play even though the Suns certainly still had enough left in the tank and promised to make it interesting.
Adelaide dominated the start of the final quarter kicking two goals before the Gold Coast managed their first goal for the quarter through that man Prestia. When Campbell Brown slotted his second goal for the game the margin was 22 points and there was a sliver of hope left for Guy McKenna and his men but when Wright kicked his fourth it was all over. It was a valiant effort by the young Suns but the experience of the Crows seemed to make the difference in the end as they ran out eventual winners by 28 points.
Next week is another crucial clash for Adelaide as they host West Coast at AAMI Stadium on Saturday night with both teams level on points and still an outside chance for the Top Eight while the Gold Coast will have their big local showdown against Brisbane in the "Q Clash".
Scoreboard Adelaide: 1.4 8.7 11.10 16.15 (111) Gold Coast: 3.5 5.11 9.14 11.17 (83) Best Players Adelaide: Dangerfield, Crouch, Wright, Jacobs,Jenkins, Porplyzia Gold Coast: Prestia, McKenzie, O'Meara, Ablett, Harbrow, Stanley
Article last changed on Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - 5:27 AM EDT