The West Coast Eagles held off the brave Adelaide Crows, to put a speed bump in the way of the Crows' push for the finals. Much was at stake for both sides. The Crows were playing for a place on the top eight, the Eagles were playing for a chance to creep into the top two. In perfect football conditions, the first quarter was an arm wrestle. The Crows concentrated on retaining the ball to stop the Eagles using their kicking game to control proceedings. It worked for a while, as both defenses applied plenty of pressure. The first goal was scored by the Eagles at the twelve-minute mark when Oscar Allen took a good mark (catch) and converted from a set shot from the boundary. (Ed.note: It was his first of three, in what was recognized as a performance that earned a Rising Star nomination on Monday.)
Three minutes later Jack Darling marked an Allen kick, after the Crows turned the ball over in defense. Darling's set shot from the boundary was also accurate. The Crows' only goal came from a Matt Crouch pass to teenager Darcy Fogarty, who marked and converted from fifty meters. Live-wire West Coast forward, Liam Ryan, gathered a loose ball and weaved through traffic to goal for West Coast with just seconds remaining of the quarter. The Eagles entered the attacking zone 21 times for three goals. The Crows failed to make full use of their six entries, finishing with just 1.4 for the quarter.
The Crows came back in the second quarter. They played an open game style, with the ball moving freely from end to end. Jacobs got on top of Hickey in the ruck and gave his midfielders first use of the ball. At the five-minute mark Daniel Talia weaved past two players to boot the Crows second goal. Two minutes later, a Willie Rioli intercept in defense saw a quick transition to Darling who marked and goaled for the Eagles.
Eddie Betts popped up with two clever involvements for Adelaide on the wing, to move the ball to Fogarty who booted a much-needed Crows goal. Sloan was in everything for Adelaide and with Bryce Gibbs, gave plenty of drive. The Crows' next goal came quickly when Taylor (Tex) Walker kicked a ground ball soccer style from forty meters, to put the Crows right back in the game. The teams both added two more goals going to half time, with Matt Crouch and Rory Sloan prominent for the Crows and Andrew Gaff and Luke Shuey working hard in the middle for the Eagles.
Friendly fire from teammate Matt Crouch concussed Sloan early in the third quarter. Adelaide were left with a massive midfield hole, as their best player staggered from the field. They bravely pushed on; and at the four minute mark, Shannon Hurn was penalised for deliberately tapping the ball across the Crows' goal line, from outside of the goal square. Tex Walker took the resultant free kick on the goal line and made no mistake. Brad Crouch stepped in to support his brother Matt in the center for the Crows, but the Eagles through Eliott Yeo, Shuey and Andrew Gaff gained the upper hand. Jack Darling marked everything forward and Jeremy McGovern ruled the air in defense. Daniel Talia kept the Eagles' full forward Josh Kennedy under control, but neither of the Eagle defenders Tom Barrass or Will Schofield were able to subdue young Adelaide tyro, Darcy Fogarty. However, the Eagles won the game in ten minutes of the third quarter. From the seven-minute mark when Dom Sheed goaled, until the seventeen-minute mark; the home side added five unanswered goals with accurate kicking from Allen, Yeo, Jake Waterman and Kennedy.
Early goals in the fourth quarter to Fogarty and Betts, brought the Crows back into the game, but they could not bridge the two-goal gap. Just as the Crows were threatening, at the ten-minute mark, Allen popped up for his third for the Eagles. Brad Crouch responded a minute later for Adelaide. Shuey, Sheed and Yeo continued to be influential around the ground for the Eagles.
Then Kennedy unselfishly kicked backwards to Waterman, who coolly slotted his third for the Eagles, to seal the game. The Crouch brothers never gave up for the Crows, with Matt amassing 43 possessions and Brad 35. Between them they shared 33 contested possessions. A final goal to young Crow, Riley Knight, who marked and kicked from forty meters became academic, as the Eagles defended strongly for the last four minutes.
Next week, the Crows return home to meet the Collingwood Magpies in must win game for the Crows. The Eagles travel to the MCG to meet the Richmond Tigers. The result of that game will have massive implications for the top four of the competition.
Scores West Coast Eagles: 3.4 6.6 11.9 13.12 (90) Adelaide Crows 1.4 6.5 8.5 12.8 (80) Best West Coast Eagles: Gaff, Shuey, Sheed, Darling, McGovern Adelaide Crows: M Crouch, B Crouch, Laird, Fogarty, Gibbs
Article last changed on Monday, August 12, 2019 - 5:07 PM EDT