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Crows growing in confidence: Sloane

Katrina Gill  April 17, 2016 11:33 AM

Rory Sloane Post-Match Interview Round 4 Rory Sloane debriefs with Katrina Gill after the Crows' held on to beat Sydney at home in round four.
We knew what we were doing was working. We just had to keep doing it for longer.

Rory Sloane says Adelaide’s confidence continues to grow after overcoming the previously unbeaten Sydney Swans on Saturday night.

The lead changed more than 10 times throughout the fiercely-contested game at Adelaide Oval.

The Crows got out to a 17-point lead midway through the third quarter, but the Swans kicked the next three goals in quick succession to be ahead by the narrowest of margins at the final change.

The arm wrestle continued in the last term. The teams went goal for goal until Tom Lynch snapped an incredible shot from the pocket and young wingman Rory Atkins slotted another on the run.

Sydney came again through budding star Isaac Heeney, but two late goals to Eddie Betts sealed a memorable 10-point win for the home side.

It was Adelaide’s third straight victory, and first over the Swans since 2012.

“It just keeps building confidence for the guys, that what we’re doing is working,” Sloane said.

“We lost that close one against North Melbourne earlier in the year, but to win those close games is a great feeling. 

"The game ebbed and flowed. (The difference was) just our ability to keep pressure on them because, I thought, that’s where all our scores were coming from. We just kept talking around that.

“We knew what we were doing was working. We just had to keep doing it for longer.”

One of the most influential players on the ground, Sloane helped set-up the sealer by Betts.

Instead of flying for the ball that Josh Jenkins sent long down the wing, the 2013 Crows Club Champion stayed down and got front and centre of the pack.

The ball came off hands and Sloane battled with strong-bodied Swan Josh Kennedy to halve the contest. The Sherrin flipped up to Taylor Walker, who kicked the ball over the top to Betts.

The star Crow ran into an open goal, giving his side an unassailable lead with 30 seconds on the clock.

Coach Don Pyke praised the performance of his leaders, including Sloane.

“Without highlighting individuals, Rory would be one of those guys who just finds a way,” Pyke said.

“He’s part of our leadership group and that’s what you want from your leaders, especially in these tight games, is for them to stand up.”

In his best game for the season, Sloane collected 24 possessions including a game-high 19 contested.

He won more ground-balls (15) than any other player in the game and took four telling marks. The relentless midfielder also won an equal-game high six clearances and six inside 50ms.

Defensively, Sloane had 22 pressure acts – second only to teammate Scott Thompson (25) – and laid an equal game-high 10 tackles.

Sloane said winning the contested possession (167 – 164) and clearance (42 – 39) counts against the Swans was crucial to the result.

“It (the pressure around the ball) was crazy,” he said.

“I’m a bit battered and sore now. Sydney is known for being such a good contested ball and clearance team. That was a huge focus for us coming into the game.”

The Crows now have six days to prepare for their biggest challenge of the season yet – Hawthorn at the MCG on Friday night. Adelaide last played the reigning premiers in the 2015 Semi Final, which the Hawks won comfortably.

“It’s a new year and a new game style,” Sloane said.

“Our first game at the ‘G’ is going to be huge for us.”