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Betts shines as Crows make a pre-season statement

Football

The Eddie Betts show returned to Adelaide as the Crows thumped a rookie West Coast outfit by 100 points in the AFL pre-season competition.

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Betts booted five goals and a nine-point supergoal while racking up 18 touches as the Crows coasted to a 2.20.10 (148) to 0.7.6 (48) win on Sunday at Adelaide’s Unley Oval.

His best-on-ground performance came against a West Coast side missing virtually all its stars, including Nic Naitanui, Matt Priddis, Luke Shuey and Josh Kennedy.

The Eagles fielded just seven players from their 2015 grand final team, opting to spare most of their senior list from travelling interstate to play in hot conditions.

But if the stakes had been lowered, Betts clearly didn’t get the memo.

The ever-dangerous goalsneak spearheaded a dominant second quarter in which the Crows kept the Eagles scoreless and pushed their lead out from single digits to 54 points.

“I think Eddie’s just got a great pride in his performance,” Crows coach Don Pyke said after the game.

“He’s a guy who sets a really strong example for a lot of our players. For Eddie, regardless of the stage I think he just wants to perform and that’s the quality of a really good player.”

Matt Crouch was another strong performer, gathering 24 touches, while captain Taylor Walker booted three majors in a Crows side that was near full-strength, but still blooded several new recruits.

Small forward Wayne Milera, taken by the Crows at No.11 in the 2015 draft, impressed with his poise on debut while fellow debutant Dean Gore – who arrived as part of the package deal for Patrick Dangerfield – booted two goals.

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Wayne Milera made a solid impression on debut. Photo: Michael Errey, InDaily.

Pyke said he was pleased with his side’s ability to move the ball quickly and launch counter-attacks from turnovers.

“Obviously, West Coast were in a position where they didn’t bring over their strongest side but we saw some things we had been working on, which is pleasing,” he said.

“We were able to chain it from the back half really efficiently and move it forward, and equally at times we were able to slow West Coast down and force them to kick to a contest… all these things we know add up to big things.”

The Crows expect to have gun midfielder Rory Sloane back for next week’s clash against Fremantle at Mount Barker, with Carlton recruit Troy Menzel also a chance to debut.

It was a day to forget for West Coast star recruit Lewis Jetta, who was barely sighted in his first game in Eagles colours.

Key defender Mitch Brown was solid in his first game for West Coast since suffering a season-ending knee injury early last year.

-AAP

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