Adelaide has advanced to A preliminary final with a come-from-behind win over Fremantle at Football Park on Friday night. In a sudden-death semi final, the Crows were jumped in the first quarter, and Fremantle kicked the first three goals of the match through Chris Mayne (twice) and Michael Walters.
A goal to Jason Porplyzia, one of the few Crows to stand up to the Dockers' early onslaught, steadied the Crows momentarily before Walters also kicked a second and Fremantle took a 16-point lead into the first break. The term was reminiscent of the Dockers' opening term the previous week, in which they stunned a shell-shocked Geelong, before holding off the fast-finishing Cats.
It remained to be seen whether Fremantle could repeat the effort, and keep the Crows at bay in front of a parochial Adelaide crowd. And until early in the third quarter, it looked as though that would indeed be the case. Fremantle kicked three of the first four goals of the second term and the margin blew out to 27 points at the 16-minute mark. Despite a goal to Adelaide's Dangerfield, the Dockers looked like heading into the main break with a 19-point lead, until Taylor Walker, who had struggled for most of the first half, kicked a long post-siren goal from the boundary line to give the Crows' fans hope at half-time.
That goal appeared to be the spark Walker needed and the “man with the mullet” also kicked the first two of the second half, reducing the gap between the sides to just two points. Thereafter the game become a classic finals arm-wrestle. A goal to Matthew Wright gave the Crows the lead for the first time at the 17-minute mark before Nathan Fyfe gave the ascendancy back to the Dockers three minutes later. Kurt Tippett kicked his first soon after and the Crows went into the final break holding a lead of five points.
The general consensus at three-quarter time was that Fremantle had fought valiantly but that the Crows were about to grab this match by the throat and go on with the job. But Ross Lyon's men had other ideas, and goals to Nick Suban and Matthew Pavlich, who had been well held all night by Ben Rutten, saw the Dockers lead by seven points after the first two minutes of the final term.
But not to be denied, the Crows kicked the next four through Bernie Vince, Porplyzia and two more to Walker. A consolation goal to Walters saw the margin cut back to ten points, but Adelaide held firm to record a very good tight win.
The Crows meet a red-hot Hawthorn next Saturday. An unlikely victory against the Hawks would see the Crows through to their third Grand Final, and first since 1998.
The game was won at both ends of the ground, by Walker at full-foward with his five-goal haul and Ben Rutten, who, I keeping Pavlich quiet, covered the loss of the injured Daniel Talia brilliantly. Mundy and Johnson were amongst the best for Fremantle, who would be relatively pleased with a semi-final appearance in Ross Lyon's first season at the helm.
Analysis of the game reveals some remarkable similarities between it and the only other time these two teams have met in a final, the 2nd Qualifying Final in 2006. In that match, also played at AAMI Stadium, the Dockers also kicked the first three goals. The quarter-time scores were virtually identical (Adel 1.3 v Frem 4.2 in 2006, Adel 1.3 v Frem 4.1 in 2012) and in both matches Adelaide wore the Dockers down before gaining the lead early in the final quarter, not to be headed again. Matthew Pavlich's influence was also somewhat limited in 2006. He had eight possessions and kicked two goals then, compared to his 10-possession, one-goal game on Friday.
Adelaide: Walker 5; Porplyzia 3; Dangerfield, Wright, Tippett, Vince
Fremantle: Mayne, Walters 3; Ballantyne, Ibbotson, Fyfe, Suban, Pavlich
BEST - THE AGE
Adelaide: Porplyzia, Rutten, Smith, Sloane, Walker, S Thompson, Dangerfield
Fremantle: Mundy, Johnson, Mayne, Fyfe, Duffield, Walters
BEST - AFL.COM.AU
Adelaide: Walker, Smith, Rutten, Scott Thompson, Porplyzia, Vince, Reilly
Fremantle: Mundy, Johnson, Walters, Barlow, Duffield, Fyfe, Sandilands
Brenton Sanderson (Adel): At times we still blazed away in attack. After half-time we were able to hit our free targets a bit more... and make them defend. [Taylor Walker's] whole game was outstanding. We were able to move the ball as we had planned during the week and I also thought we defended a lot better. Rutten's game on Pavlich was outstanding. Michael Doughty is playing some great footy. He was really holding that group back there together. [Brodie] Smith was so composed for a kid playing on the big stage. We will certainly be hard to beat if we can replicate that form.
Ross Lyon (Frem): That's footy. If you don't play out the four quarters you miss an opportunity. I thought Adelaide persisted until it turned their way. We fought back in the fourth but they just had a bit more polish with the ball when required. [The scheduling of the match] is irrelevant. We are not into excuses. We wouldn't have been talking about scheduling if we had have been a bit more organised and a bit more polished. I think you've got to give credit to the opposition. They finished top four for a reason. We're looking pretty health. We've evolved; we've improved; the leadership group has grown.
UMPIRES: Nicholls, Meredith, McInerney
|37||Callinan, Ian||6||2||2||8||0||0||0||2||0||1||29y 269d||25||41|
|32||Dangerfield, Patrick||5||3||13||18||1||0||0||2||3||1||22y 162d||88||94|
|11||Doughty, Michael||11||6||4||15||0||0||0||4||1||1||33y 40d||230||46|
|26||Douglas, Richard||17||9||6||23||0||2||0||0||0||0||25y 221d||113||76|
|45||Henderson, Ricky||12||6||6||18||0||0||0||0||0||2||24y 3d||41||33|
|24||Jacobs, Sam||7||3||5||12||0||0||22||2||0||1||24y 157d||59||13|
|18||Johncock, Graham||6||4||4||10||0||4||0||2||1||0||29y 329d||224||117|
|14||Mackay, David||9||3||7||16||0||0||0||6||0||2||24y 51d||85||24|
|23||Petrenko, Jared||7||3||1||8||0||1||0||6||1||2||22y 267d||58||33|
|40||Porplyzia, Jason||15||11||8||23||3||0||0||5||0||1||27y 292d||109||166|
|3||Reilly, Brent||16||10||8||24||0||0||0||4||0||1||28y 307d||180||50|
|25||Rutten, Ben||8||5||3||11||0||0||0||3||0||0||29y 109d||193||8|
|34||Shaw, Sam||1||0||1||2||0||0||0||0||0||1||21y 162d||14||0|
|9||Sloane, Rory||11||7||11||22||0||0||0||6||1||1||22y 181d||56||36|
|33||Smith, Brodie||10||4||10||20||0||0||0||3||1||0||20y 244d||35||6|
|6||Thompson, Luke||9||4||6||15||0||0||0||2||2||0||21y 219d||13||2|
|5||Thompson, Scott||15||4||12||27||0||0||0||6||1||2||29y 184d||222||139|
|4||Tippett, Kurt||5||2||9||14||1||0||5||1||0||0||25y 129d||103||184|
|7||Van Berlo, Nathan||15||9||2||17||0||0||0||6||0||0||26y 100d||162||55|
|17||Vince, Bernie||18||6||6||24||1||0||0||1||1||2||26y 348d||107||67|
|13||Walker, Taylor||10||6||3||13||5||2||0||0||2||0||22y 142d||63||149|
|47||Wright, Matthew||9||5||9||18||1||0||0||4||2||0||22y 275d||40||33|
|1||Ballantyne, Hayden||9||0||1||10||1||0||0||2||3||1||25y 60d||65||97|
|21||Barlow, Michael||13||7||7||20||0||0||0||4||0||0||24y 271d||46||27|
|30||Clarke, Zac||5||4||3||8||0||0||7||4||0||2||22y 170d||36||19|
|15||Crowley, Ryan||6||1||2||8||0||2||0||6||0||2||28y 193d||139||98|
|3||Dawson, Zac||1||1||5||6||0||0||1||0||0||0||26y 205d||95||6|
|40||de Boer, Matt||3||3||11||14||0||0||0||6||1||0||22y 188d||76||29|
|41||Duffield, Paul||17||3||3||20||0||0||0||2||2||0||27y 222d||111||23|
|7||Fyfe, Nat||13||3||6||19||1||0||0||6||1||2||20y 362d||50||36|
|32||Hill, Stephen||8||3||4||12||0||1||0||3||1||0||22y 136d||89||53|
|5||Ibbotson, Garrick||12||5||1||13||1||0||0||1||1||0||24y 183d||102||20|
|37||Johnson, Michael||16||7||6||22||0||0||0||2||0||0||27y 330d||149||54|
|23||Mayne, Chris||9||6||4||13||3||0||0||3||3||0||23y 317d||81||100|
|9||McPhee, Adam||16||7||5||21||0||0||0||0||1||1||29y 344d||223||112|
|16||Mundy, David||22||5||8||30||0||0||0||3||2||1||27y 56d||164||64|
|13||Mzungu, Tendai||9||6||5||14||0||0||0||4||0||0||26y 199d||38||24|
|29||Pavlich, Matthew||6||6||4||10||1||0||0||2||0||1||30y 258d||279||558|
|46||Pearce, Clancee||11||5||3||14||0||0||0||5||0||1||21y 327d||50||29|
|31||Sandilands, Aaron||2||2||5||7||0||0||30||0||1||1||29y 283d||183||72|
|36||Silvagni, Alex||7||4||2||9||0||0||0||5||0||2||24y 351d||29||5|
|34||Spurr, Lee||4||0||5||9||0||0||0||2||0||2||25y 49d||13||0|
|8||Suban, Nick||2||0||0||2||1||0||0||1||0||0||22y 128d||62||18|
|38||Walters, Michael||12||6||3||15||3||1||0||4||2||0||21y 251d||21||36|