SYDNEY 6.2 9.2 14.5 21.8 (134) ADELAIDE 2.2 5.7 9.10 9.17 (71)
GOALS Sydney: Franklin 4, Parker 4, Cunningham 3, Hannebery 2, Jack 2, McGlynn, Rohan, Laidler, McVeigh, Roberts-Thomson, Mitchell. Adelaide: Grigg 2, Mackay, Betts, Podsiadly, Jaensch, Dangerfield, Douglas, Sloane.
BEST Sydney: Parker, Kennedy, Malceski, McVeigh, Franklin, Jack. Adelaide: Dangerfield, Douglas, Jacobs, Laird, Wright, Mackay.
INJURIES Adelaide: Thomspon (corked thigh), Kerridge (eye).
UMPIRES Nicholls, Margetts, Hosking.
CROWD 47,426 at Adelaide Oval.
Reports that the Sydney Swans were no longer a powerhouse were quashed beyond doubt on Saturday when it steamrolled and embarrassed an inept Adelaide in its first home game at Adelaide Oval.
Swans sink hapless Crows
The Sydney Swans have demolished a tired Adelaide Crows side by 63 points at Adelaide Oval.
To again be within a kick and a chance to win, and then show nothing in a turnover-riddled last quarter, spells enormous trouble for the Crows, and issues a stern warning to everyone to never dismiss the Swans lightly.
After Adelaide got within two points 11 minutes into the third term, Sydney kicked 12.5 to 1.10 to win by 63 points. When James Podsiadly hit the post from a set shot after the final siren it was too much for the predominantly Crows fans among the crowd of 47,426 to take as they vented their anger.
The Crows have lost before, but given the occasion and a clear need to respond to bad losses, this insipid performance may well have a serious long-term impact on the club.
It’s only the third round but there was a lot of familiarity about Adelaides – a slow start, coughing up the ball far too easily, getting smashed at the clearances and on the scoreboard, and fading after a comeback.
The effort and intensity returned, and some early special moments too – perhaps none better than when Brodie Smith stunned everyone when he ran down Lewis Jetta and applied a magnificent tackle. There was also the tackle from a much-improved Podsiadly on Rhys Shaw.
But what happened after all this? Not much on the scoreboard, really; same old, same old as they say. Adelaide was simply unable to take grip of this game despite all the quality moments and opportunities it created.
There was a familiar feel about Sydney too as it applied relentless pressure, locked down the Crows when they were trying to move out of defence, and switched the ball across the ground and created moves using skills under pressure.
The harsh reality is that Adelaide is earning applause for endeavour, but it just does not have the body strength, skills under pressure and the ability to hold its game plan together when the opposition has a sniff of its weaknesses.
Sydney, for most part, made something out of nothing, as good sides tend to do – some great goals from the packs from 40-50 metres, doubling up at the appropriate times, and squeezing the ball through small gaps in the forward lines. It wasn’t luck and not necessarily bad play by Adelaide, just the reward for working hard.
Not helping Adelaide’s cause was the loss of Scott Thompson early in the second quarter with a corked thigh, and shortly before three-quarter-time Sam Kerridge was poked in the eye by Heath Grundy and lost clear vision. Again, you had to admire the Crows’ tenacity, and their mums would have scorned Sydney’s tactics at times, but this is a tough game and Sydney stood up.
Lance Franklin showed clear signs he is working his way back into his best form. The manner in which he dodged and weaved around Daniel Talia and goaled using his profound swinging arc during the third quarter was brilliant. It was in the midst of a stunning four-goal Sydney burst after Adelaide got within two points, and the big-name recruit looked the goods after being clearly out-played by Talia.
Jetta looked better too, another sign that this first season win for Sydney was an indication things are truly getting back on track.
Better news for Adelaide was that its big men up forward looked more threatening. Podsiadly's competitive spirit was outstanding, and deserved a bag of goals, while the incoming Josh Jenkins threw them away with bad kicking. The point was both showed that the Crows are capable of better things. It was also a day when Eddie Betts was quiet.
It was a tough game, and perhaps the most pleasing thing for Sydney was that it was some of its second-tier players who made this win happen, especially Luke Parker, whose energy and unlikely goals at crucial stages were important.
Jarrad McVeigh produced his typical workmanlike game, while Josh Kennedy and Dan Hannebery were among a long list of key contributors.
Patrick Dangerfield was allowed to be battered and bruised again, and Adelaide was also well served by Richard Douglas, hard-working David Mackay, Rory Laird and Luke Brown.
The big difference was that Sydney’s contributors went deep, and had both the physical and mental toughness to grab this game by the throat and deny Adelaide a win in its first home game at Adelaide Oval.
Above all, Adelaide lost credibility when it faded dismally to Geelong and Port Adelaide in the last quarter, and to fall again into a giant hole when it was within reach was shameful. Coach Brenton Sanderson called for five team changes from the previous week’s loss, and now the cupboard that once stored a deep range of talent is bare.
Welcome back, Sydney. It wiped the Crows off their feet in the last quarter; and great to see Buddy looking something like his brilliant self. Adelaide may cover the damage with an easier draw over the next month, but it cannot hide from the fact it is not the threat it was leading up to 2012.