Crows edge out Dockers
Adelaide has defeated a gallant Fremantle by 10 points to progress through to a preliminary final against Hawthorn.PT0M0S 620 349
ADELAIDE 1.3 4.7 8.9 12.9 (81)
FREMANTLE 4.1 7.2 8.4 11.5 (71)
Goals: Adelaide: T Walker 5 J Porplyzia 3 B Vince K Tippett M Wright P Dangerfield. Fremantle: C Mayne 3 M Walters 3 G Ibbotson H Ballantyne M Pavlich N Fyfe N Suban.
Best: Adelaide: T Walker R Sloane B Vince B Reilly J Porplyzia B Rutten S Thompson. Fremantle: D Mundy N Fyfe M Barlow M Walters M Johnson.
Umpires: Simon Meredith, Mathew Nicholls, Shane McInerney.
Official Crowd: 31,742 at AAMI Stadium.
AFTER looking like bounding out of the finals series in straight sets, Adelaide produced a magnificent third-term turnaround to beat Fremantle at AAMI Stadium last night and advance to a preliminary final against Hawthorn.
It was a gripping second semi-final before a disappointing crowd of 31,742, and by half-time many of the fans would have been ready to walk out.
Taylor Walker kicked five goals and assisted on another. Photo: Getty images
But every Crow lifted after the break, especially Taylor Walker, who was awful in the first half, and ultimately ground a brave Fremantle into the ground.
There is no doubt the tough win against Geelong - and travelling in successive weeks - took its toll on the Dockers.
The Dockers will be concerned for next season with two incidents involving Hayden Ballantyne which are almost certain to be reviewed - the first a late tackle on David Mackay, and about 10 minutes later a slide into Scott Thompson.
David Mundy of the Dockers clashes with Matthew Wright of the Crows. Photo: Getty Images
The first half was like both sides picked up where they left off last week: Fremantle with an explosive start that stunned the Crows, while the home team, like against Sydney in the first week of the finals, continued to make mistakes under pressure and missed crucial shots at goal.
At half-time, Adelaide trailed by 13 points despite having two more scoring shots.
But it was the kick by Walker from an acute angle after the siren that suddenly changed the trend - a goal.
AFL 2nd Semi Final : Adelaide v Fremantle
The Crows came from behind to beat Fremantle at AAMI Stadium, 12.9 (81) to 11.5 (71). Photo: Getty Images
Up to this stage the stats were damaging - Fremantle had five more inside-50s, eight more clearances and six more tackles.
But while it was courage that led to Adelaide's revival, this win was also largely about its coach, Brenton Sanderson.
After half-time he had his men slow the play down, take uncontested marks and work the ball in rather than kick the ball high without direction.
The excellent ball movement raised the Crows' confidence, especially of Walker, who suddenly looked like a man possessed with two goals - the second giving Adelaide the lead for the first time. Later, he presented his mate Kurt Tippett with an easy goal.
Fremantle was being tested, and for most part it did well. It shut down Adelaide's short play and replied the pressure, especially with two goals within the opening three minutes of the last term. Game on.
Yet again, the trend changed when Jason Porplyzia goaled to ignite the Adelaide fans.
Adelaide's dominance in the third quarter showed clearly in the stats - an incredible 97 more disposals.
There were numerous outstanding efforts, including Ben Rutten who shut down Matthew Pavlich, and conversely, David Mundy's midfield performance for the Dockers, and teammate Michael Johnson was outstanding in defence.
Adelaide sub Graham Johncock, brought on for the injured Sam Shaw (hamstring), kicked terribly for goal, but stemmed the easy defensive play Fremantle enjoyed in the first half.
When Walker kicked his fourth goal, from a free kick, Adelaide led by 10 points with 10 minutes to play.