|Brownlow Medal||3 Dan Hannebery (SYD)||2 Rory Sloane (ADEL)||1 Rory Atkins (ADEL)|
In one of those classic matches where neither side deserves to lose, Adelaide and Sydney have played out a thrilling match at the Adelaide Oval, with the Crows pipping the Swans by 10 points to join them as one of seven sides with a 3-1 record. The match combined the best elements of modern football, with players subjected to intense physical pressure in close, displaying extraordinarily quick hands and evasive skills to escape that pressure, and then counter-attacking with speed and precision by hand and foot.
A high-pressure, tight-in-close style of play dominated for most of the first half. This probably suited Sydney slightly and they led for a good proportion of the time prior to the first break, though never by much, with each side restricted to just five goals before the long break. The game opened up in the third term, goals flowing more freely, and the unshackled Crows at one stage jumped out to a 17-point lead late in the third term, but Sydney showed that its game is adaptable enough to also play 'shoot-out' football, hitting back to lead at the last break.
The lead changed 10 times during the match, three times in the final quarter, and in the in it was almost a case of which side was in front when the final siren sounded. That team was Adelaide, and its enthralling win has it sitting inside the eight on three wins, behind third-placed Sydney only on percentage and with a strong platform for this season under new coach Don Pyke. Prior to the season's start, many thought that the Crows would take time to adapt to a new coaching style and to cover the loss of Patrick Dangerfield. If anything, though, they look an even stronger unit than the 2015 model, and their multi-prong attack of Betts, Lynch, Walker and Jenkins gives them no shortage of avenues to goal.
In the midfield, Adelaide has also shown perhaps unexpected depth, with Matt Crouch, Rory Laird and the evergreen Scott Thompson (playing his 250th AFL match) all racking up 27 touches, and Rory Atkins, Richard Douglas and Rory Sloane not far behind.
Sydney, too, was magnificent, and lost no friends in defeat. The Swans, too, demonstrated an ability to kick a high score without relying too heavily on Lance Franklin, with young gun Isaac Heeney contributing four goals to their cause on Saturday night. Indeed, when it came to the clinches, it was Heaney and Eddie Betts who provided a show within a show, each kicking their third and fourth goals as the match reached its thrilling climax.
With the Crows nine points clear in time on, Heaney took a handball from Kieran Jack to goal and cut the margin to three points. Not to be outdone, Betts rolled home his third to give the Crows an eight-point buffer but, with more than 30 minutes gone, Heaney goaled once more before Betts finally settled the result with his fourth wth under two minutes left on the clock.
Having scored 10 goals between them in the first half, the two sides combined to kick 21 in the second. If this match is indicative of the state of Australian football in 2016, the game is in good health and unlikely to lose any fans.
The two sides will now take on last year's Grand Finalists in round five, the Crows to face reigning premiers Hawthorn at the MCG on Friday night, and Sydney to host West Coast at the SCG on Saturday afternoon. If those two matches are half as good as this one was, no one will be disappointed.
Adelaide: Betts 4; Lynch 3; Walker, McGovern, Seedsman 2; Douglas, Jenkins, Atkins
Sydney: Franklin, Heeney 4; McGlynn, Tippett 2; Cunningham, Parker, Hannebery
BEST - HERALDSUN.COM.AU
Adelaide: Sloane, Betts, Laird, Walker, Thompson, M. Crouch
Sydney: Hannebery, Franklin, Heeney, Tippett, Parker, Kennedy
BEST - AFL.COM.AU
Adelaide: Thompson, Atkins, Sloane, Lynch, Betts, Douglas
Sydney: Hannebery, Heeney, Tippett, Franklin,Parker, Kennedy
UMPIRES: Foot, Farmer, Rosebury
TELEVISION BROADCAST: Fox Footy
COMMENTATORS: Anthony Hudson, Dermott Brereton, Mark Ricciuto
Video sourced from YouTube, courtesy of the AFL.
|21||Atkins, Rory||15||6||10||25||1||0||0||2||0||1||21y 279d||12||5|
|18||Betts, Eddie||12||2||7||19||4||1||0||5||3||0||29y 142d||233||417|
|16||Brown, Luke||4||2||6||10||0||0||0||1||0||0||23y 207d||73||3|
|25||Cheney, Kyle||7||2||4||11||0||0||0||0||1||1||26y 235d||57||2|
|44||Crouch, Matt||8||2||19||27||0||0||0||5||0||1||20y 361d||29||6|
|26||Douglas, Richard||18||3||6||24||1||2||0||7||2||2||29y 70d||175||119|
|15||Hartigan, Kyle||7||4||6||13||0||0||0||0||0||2||24y 161d||31||0|
|24||Jacobs, Sam||6||1||10||16||0||0||35||2||3||1||28y 6d||131||29|
|4||Jenkins, Josh||10||4||6||16||1||3||9||3||3||0||27y 68d||73||132|
|29||Laird, Rory||12||5||15||27||0||0||0||2||2||1||22y 109d||61||6|
|6||Lever, Jake||7||2||0||7||0||0||0||1||1||0||20y 42d||16||0|
|27||Lynch, Tom||16||6||5||21||3||2||0||1||1||1||25y 214d||63||93|
|31||Lyons, Jarryd||10||1||5||15||0||0||0||8||1||1||23y 269d||37||19|
|14||Mackay, David||9||1||6||15||0||0||0||8||0||1||27y 266d||148||45|
|41||McGovern, Mitch||8||4||3||11||2||0||0||3||1||1||21y 188d||4||5|
|30||Milera, Wayne||1||1||8||9||0||1||0||1||1||1||18y 215d||4||1|
|11||Seedsman, Paul||9||1||3||12||2||0||0||5||0||1||24y 85d||53||20|
|9||Sloane, Rory||14||4||10||24||0||0||3||10||1||2||26y 30d||122||75|
|33||Smith, Brodie||13||3||5||18||0||0||0||3||2||2||24y 93d||101||30|
|12||Talia, Daniel||5||3||4||9||0||0||0||0||0||0||24y 197d||102||5|
|5||Thompson, Scott||9||3||18||27||0||0||0||10||1||0||33y 33d||289||160|
|13||Walker, Taylor||11||9||5||16||2||2||0||3||0||2||25y 357d||111||265|
|7||Cunningham, Harry||9||4||6||15||1||1||0||8||1||0||22y 132d||56||35|
|23||Franklin, Lance 'Buddy'||10||7||6||16||4||1||0||2||2||1||29y 77d||225||722|
|39||Grundy, Heath||10||3||7||17||0||0||0||0||0||3||29y 319d||191||23|
|4||Hannebery, Dan||18||3||20||38||1||2||0||5||1||0||25y 52d||148||73|
|5||Heeney, Isaac||11||4||7||18||4||0||0||1||2||1||19y 347d||18||23|
|15||Jack, Kieren||7||3||9||16||0||0||0||4||1||2||28y 293d||189||131|
|12||Kennedy, Josh||11||1||17||28||0||0||0||3||1||1||27y 301d||162||97|
|11||Laidler, Jeremy||8||3||7||15||0||0||0||5||1||0||26y 255d||72||7|
|44||Lloyd, Jake||10||4||8||18||0||0||0||3||1||2||22y 209d||47||11|
|21||McGlynn, Ben||4||1||5||9||2||0||0||6||0||0||30y 254d||155||174|
|3||McVeigh, Jarrad||9||3||4||13||0||0||0||8||1||0||31y 9d||267||184|
|14||Mills, Callum||12||8||11||23||0||0||0||3||1||1||19y 14d||4||0|
|6||Mitchell, Tom||9||1||13||22||0||0||0||4||0||4||22y 321d||43||27|
|13||Nankervis, Toby||3||2||8||11||0||0||8||9||1||0||21y 248d||6||1|
|41||Papley, Tom||2||0||3||5||0||2||0||2||0||0||19y 278d||4||6|
|26||Parker, Luke||11||1||15||26||1||1||1||6||1||1||23y 174d||105||82|
|24||Rampe, Dane||11||3||12||23||0||1||0||2||3||2||25y 319d||76||5|
|25||Richards, Ted||4||2||6||10||0||0||0||0||0||0||33y 96d||256||32|
|27||Robinson, Dan||5||2||4||9||0||1||0||7||1||0||21y 288d||8||3|
|40||Smith, Nick||9||1||6||15||0||0||0||4||2||1||27y 309d||146||9|
|8||Tippett, Kurt||7||2||6||13||2||0||35||3||1||3||28y 344d||156||309|
|22||Towers, Dean||6||3||6||12||0||0||0||1||0||1||25y 348d||20||9|