G Michael reporting for AFANA from South Australia
With top spot on the line and talk during the week of a soft draw, the Adelaide Crows had all the reason to come out firing against the Brisbane Lions. Within minutes of the opening bounce, the fans could see a determined Crows outfit making light work of the lowly placed Lions and, with five losses out of their last six games, Brisbane could be excused for looking forward to season end. Adelaide looked strong across almost every position on the ground, and with Dangerfield and Thompson collecting 10 disposals each, the Crows looked to have all the answers early on. Brisbane failed to score a single goal in the first quarter - their lowest first quarter score for the year - while goals to Jenkins, Vince, Walker, Johncock and two goals to Callinan saw the Crows bolt out to a 38 point lead at the first break.
With the second term underway, you could have been forgiven for thinking that the teams had swapped jerseys during the quarter time interval. Brisbane had now become the aggressor, and began applying concentrated pressure, forcing Adelaide into mistakes and poor decision-making. Six minutes into the quarter, Brisbane’s first goal was on the board with Bewick making no mistake from 35 meters out. Four unanswered goals from Rich, Polkinghorne, Brown and Bewick saw the lead cut back to just 11 points at the half time break. Brisbane now looked like a team full of confidence and purpose, dominating disposals and contested possessions.
With key defender Talia subbed off at the half time break due to injury, the Adelaide Crows began the second half as they had ended the first - on the back foot. Even though Adelaide had scored the first goal of the third quarter, through clever work from Walker as he kicked off the ground, the Lions were controlling the game. They rebounded brilliantly from defense and played on at all costs, winning the contested ball and forcing the Crows into uncharacteristic errors. Goals to Rich, Raines and Black saw the Lions level the scores at the 23 minute mark of the third quarter, and when Hudson was awarded a 50 meter penalty and kicked truly, the Lions hit the front. Another goal to Brisbane through Lisle saw the lead extended to two goals. However brilliant Adelaide forward Walker brought the deficit back to one straight kick at the final break, scoring his third goal by roving off the pack and running into an open goal.
With only a straight kick between them, the final quarter was set for a nail biting finish. Brisbane, continuing with their desperate style of football, scored first with another goal to Bewick. Before too long they held a 16 point lead as Jonathon Brown marked ten meters out and kicked a brilliant goal from an impossible angle. Adelaide finally responded, as Walker kicked his fourth goal for the game to bring it back to ten points. Although Brisbane still looked the better side, Adelaide, through a strong grab by Johncock, gave Callinan his fourth goal for the night and saw the lead cut to just three points with only three and a half minutes to go. Poised for an upset win, Brisbane, with 50 seconds remaining, scored a magnificent goal as Rockliff gathered the loose ball in the forward arc and snapped across his body. The lowly Lions, down by 38 points at the beginning of the second quarter, had clawed back for a miraculous win, running out ten point winners over the Crows.
Adelaide’s chance of a top two finish has taken a major hit although the Crows players should rebound in their last two matches against bottom dwellers Melbourne and Gold Coast. Brisbane fans would be heartened by the Lions’ encouraging finish to the season. They go on to meet Port Adelaide and the Western Bulldogs in winnable games in the final two rounds.
Scoreboard Brisbane: 0.3 5.9 10.15 13.17 (95) Adelaide: 6.5 7.8 10.9 12.13 (85) Best Players Brisbane: Redden, Black, Adcock, Zorko, Hanley, Rich Adelaide: Thompson, Dangerfield, Shaw, Callinan, Walker
Article last changed on Thursday, August 23, 2012 - 9:36 AM EDT