With the absence of Adelaide’s first choice ruckman, Sam Jacobs, the Fremantle ruck duo of Aaron Sandilands and Zac Clarke were able to dominate the hit outs against an inexperienced Rory O’Brien. Sandilands injured his leg in the second quarter and did not play after half time, but still had more taps than the other two ruckmen. Fremantle's ruck dominance enabled them to match the Crows in clearances, but that was where the similarities between the two teams ended. Once the ball was cleared from bouncedowns, the larger bodies of the Adelaide players dominated play around the ground. The Crows were far more direct in their use of the ball, with Josh Jenkins and Tom Lynch marking strongly up forward; and Eddie Betts delivering another livewire performance around the goals. Betts finished with six goals and Jenkins scored five. Adelaide’s captain, Taylor Walker, was well held by Alex Silvagni and could only manage one goal. Silvagni, playing his third game for the year, was one of the few winners for the injury hit Dockers. He has claimed three big scalps in three weeks and must now be under consideration for a contract renewal.
The drive for the Crows came from midfielders Rory Laird, Rory Atkins, Brad Crouch, Richard Douglas and Scott Thompson. These large-bodied players used their physical presence to brush aside the smaller and younger Docker midfielders and set up repeated attacks. David Mundy, Stephen Hill and Lachie Neale competed well for the Dockers, but their work was often undone by poor disposal from their teammates. Adelaide scored 16 of their 21 goals as a direct result of the Dockers turning the ball over through poor disposal. Once Adelaide had the ball in their hands, their clean delivery resulted in quick ball movement which left the Fremantle defenders little chance to intercept or spoil marks. The Docker attacks relied on players running through the midfield, using a chain of handpasses and then a long kick into an open forward line. Small forward Michael Walters appreciated the open spaces and used his pace and skill to kick five goals for the Dockers. Matthew Pavlich hustled strongly for the Dockers and scored two goals. The rest of the Fremantle forward line was unable to make an impression against the strength of the Adelaide defense, ably led by Jake Lever, Daniel Talia and Kyle Hartigan.
Not to be denied, the younger Docker players continued to contest the ball despite the avalanche of Adelaide goals. Fremantle almost matched Adelaide in contested possessions, but the Adelaide players were able to run harder and spread across the field to receive numerous uncontested possessions; and therefore control the tempo of the game. The Crows also laid many more tackles than Fremantle; so that whenever Fremantle players did get the ball, they were under pressure and their delivery up field was compromised. Despite Adelaide's stars Rory Sloan and Taylor Walker being beaten on the day, the Crows were still able to do largely as they liked.
Adelaide are now well positioned to reach one of the top two positions of the ladder. Coming up, they have home games against Port Adelaide and West Coast. They would be expected to win both of those contests. This should give them the chance to play at least two finals at home and leave them in a strong position to make the Grand Final. The Dockers can expect to receive another hammering when they travel to Spotless Stadium to meet the Giants. For the beleaguered Dockers, the end of the season cannot come quickly enough.
Scores Fremantle Dockers: 2.1 6.2 7.3 11.4 (70) Adelaide Crows: 4.4 10.9 16.10 21.16 (142) Best Fremantle Dockers: Neale, Walters, Hill, Silvagni, Mayne Adelaide Crows: Betts, Jenkins, Thompson, Laird, Douglas
Article last changed on Monday, August 15, 2016 - 8:47 PM EDT