Coach Don Pyke has stopped short of declaring Adelaide back in business after a precious 15-point AFL win against Geelong.
But Pyke saw something he hasn’t witnessed all year in the Crows’ 16.16 (112) to 14.13 (97) triumph.
“We are seeing some signs and some of the ball movement, our ability to try and take the game on, was back to a level that maybe we haven’t seen consistently this year,” Pyke said.
Adelaide sit one win outside the top eight ahead of weekend matches after Tom Lynch kicked four goals and Rory Laird collected 43 disposals in the triumph against the Cats.
But Pyke delivered a sober message to his players: continue to win or miss the playoffs, a year after being beaten grand-finalists.
“We’re a proud group and we’re not walking around happy with what has happened throughout the year,” he said.
“They (players) were keen to do something about it.
“It’s a step. It’s one week – we have done that and now we have got to continually and consistently do it.”
The Crows are sweating on Friday’s match review verdict on the misconduct report of Taylor Walker.
The key forward was booked for a crunching shoulder bump which felled Geelong’s Zach Tuohy, who was forced from the field but played on after passing concussion tests.
If suspended, Walker will miss Adelaide’s away trip to play Brisbane at the Gabba next Saturday night.
The Crows captain crunched Tuohy in the first quarter, flooring the Cat defender who lay prone before behind assisted from Adelaide Oval.
Tuohy passed concussion tests and returned in the second term but Walker could still be suspended when match review officer Michael Christian views the incident today.
“I haven’t looked at it in slow motion,” Pyke said.
“Tuohy was able to come back on and play the game out so I will let the AFL deal with that.”
Pyke says he sought out his skipper at quarter-time.
“I said ‘look mate, it has happened, you just get on playing the game, the reality is you can’t go back and do anything about it’,” he said.
“And clearly you don’t know what the outcome is going to be so we have got a game to play here, focus on that. And he was fine.”
Geelong coach Chris Scott declined to buy into the incident.
“I looked at the replay on the big screen – he got reported,” Scott said.
“I don’t think it’s good policy for opposition coaches to talk about players who have already been reported in a game.”
Scott also has no issues with a block from Adelaide’s Bryce Gibbs which felled Geelong captain Joel Selwood in the first quarter.
Selwood was forced from the field after contact about 15 metres off the ball, but also returned to the field.
“I don’t think there was much in that,” Scott said.
Adelaide defied their former club champion Patrick Dangerfield, who turned in another stunning game for the Cats: three goals, 33 disposals, 10 tackles.
Geelong made the early running before Adelaide seized momentum and an eight-point halftime lead.
The Crows then streeted to a seemingly comfortable 30-point advantage when vice-captain Rory Sloane converted a long set shot late in the third term.
Sloane, who midweek inked a multi-million dollar five-year contract extension, was mobbed by teammates as the parochial 46,095-strong Adelaide crowd went wild.
But his great mate Dangerfield led a Geelong rally – he kicked two goals in the last quarter and Tom Hawkins (four goals) converted another to reduce the margin to eight points with eight minutes left.
Adelaide’s seven-gamer Lachlan Murphy then settled Crows’ nerves, and the result, by slotting his third goal.
The scoring feats of Crows Lynch and Murphy were supported by two goals each from Josh Jenkins and Jordan Gallucci.
Half-back Rory Laird (43 disposals) was outstanding while onballers Sloane (27 touches, nine inside 50s), Matt Crouch (30 possessions) and Rory Atkins (28 touches) were prolific ball-winners.
Dangerfield was a standout for the Cats, his fellow Brownlow medallist Gary Ablett collected 32 disposals, skipper Selwood had 29 touches and Tim Kelly’s stellar debut season continued with 28 possessions and a goal.
Geelong won double the clearances of Adelaide – 54-27 – but coach Chris Scott lamented frequent skill blunders.
“They were able to score so freely from our turnovers,” Scott said.
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