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Crows win attacking contest

Highlights: JLT 3 v Brisbane See the highlights from the Crows' final match in the JLT Community Series
I thought we played some really positive footy today
Adelaide Crows Coach Don Pyke

Adelaide's high-octane forward line exploded into life ahead of round one as the Crows accounted for the Brisbane Lions by 39 points at Hickinbotham Oval on Saturday.

Josh Jenkins (five goals including a supergoal), captain Taylor Walker (four), Mitch McGovern (four) and Eddie Betts (three) gave the youthful Lions backline nightmares in the final JLT Community Series game for both sides.

Defence was a low priority with 37 goals kicked between the two teams as the Crows emerged on top 1.20.13 (142) to 1.15.4 (103).

"It was not so much about today, but the whole JLT Series," Crows coach Don Pyke said.

"As a whole block of games, it finished off our preparation well.

"It's been great to give some guys some different opportunities in different roles and we saw that again today with a number of guys going into the midfield.

"I thought we played some really positive footy today."

The two Rory's – Atkins and Laird – found plenty of the footy with 30 possessions each, while Richard Douglas was busy in his new role across half-back with 27 touches. 

Curtly Hampton did his case for a midfield spot against Greater Western Sydney in the season opener no harm with another solid effort, finishing with 26 disposals. 

Defender Andy Otten seems certain to make his first premiership appearance in three years after continuing his good form. 

The only worry for the Crows was that Walker came off the ground at three-quarter time with hamstring tightness and did not play any further part in the match.

Despite the end result, the Lions won't be too disappointed against one of the premiership contenders. 

"There is lots to be positive about, good fight in the last quarter, some good footy in the first half, but we're all about getting better and rising as a footy club and I thought there were some great signs today," Lions coach Chris Fagan said.

"We were pretty happy with our pressure in the first half, dropped away significantly in the third and came back a bit in the last.

"We can see our players are starting to understand the way we want them to play."

Skipper Dayne Beams was absolutely everywhere, picking up a game-high 35 possessions. 

Ruckman Stefan Martin turned out a dominant performance around the ground, while defender Darcy Gardiner shut down Betts for the first three quarters. 

McGovern showed why the Crows are desperate to re-sign him beyond the end of this season with his marking ability inside the forward 50. 

Only 28 seconds had elapsed when McGovern booted the opening goal. 

Holding a 28-point advantage at half-time, the Crows stepped up the intensity after the break and blew the Lions away in the third term. 

Walker was taken off the ground at three-quarter time for a well-earned rest as the Lions kept the final score respectable.

Crows midfielder Riley Knight was a late scratching with an Achilles injury and is unlikely to feature in the side to face Greater Western Sydney in round one.

The Lions take on Queensland rivals Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium in their season opener.

WHAT WE LEARNED
Adelaide: The Crows' forward line is going to be as dangerous as ever this season. Taylor Walker, Josh Jenkins and Mitch McGovern feasted on terrific service from the midfield and ran over a youthful Lions' backline. McGovern's marking ability inside the forward 50 is going to provide a match-up nightmare for opposition teams.

Brisbane Lions: After a forgettable 2016, ruckman Stefan Martin could be one of the dominant big men in the competition. He was brilliant around the ground, racking up plenty of disposals and dominating his ruck duels with Sam Jacobs. The Lions are yet to decide whether he plays as a solo ruck or they have a tandem with Archie Smith.

NEW FACES
Adelaide: Defender Jake Kelly put his hand up as a surprise candidate for a spot in Adelaide's backline with a strong game. Kelly had 16 possessions and took seven marks in an impressive display. It will likely be a choice between him, Andy Otten and Kyle Cheney for the final place in the Crows' side to face Greater Western Sydney. Curtly Hampton again pressed his claims for a midfield berth, while first-year player Jordan Gallucci was quiet.

Brisbane Lions: Debutant Cedric Cox had quite the initiation to the big time, getting bumped off the ball by Eddie Betts in his first involvement in the game. Cox – the No.24 overall pick in the 2016 NAB AFL Draft – worked his way into the game after that in defence. Swingman Daniel McStay was a little bit rusty in his first game since a serious ankle injury in round 17 last year, but will be better for the run. GWS recruit Jake Barrett had another solid game with 15 touches. 

NEXT UP
The Crows will be hoping star midfielder Rory Sloane returns from injury for their round one clash with premiership favourites, the Giants, at Adelaide Oval on Sunday, March 26, 2.50pm ACDT. Meanwhile, the Lions open their campaign with a QClash against Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium on Saturday, March 25, 7.05pm AEST.

ADELAIDE                      0.6.1    0.13.5    0.17.10    1.20.13    (142)         
BRISBANE LIONS          0.3.0      0.9.1      1.9.2       1.15.4     (103)

SUPERGOALS
Adelaide: Jenkins
Brisbane Lions: Martin 

GOALS
Adelaide: Jenkins 4, McGovern 4, Walker 3, Betts, 3, Douglas 2, Menzel, Atkins, Laird, Lynch
Brisbane Lions: Bell 3, Rich 2, Hipwood 2, Hammelmann 2, Lester, Beams, Robinson, Taylor, Cox, Barrett 

BEST 
Adelaide: Laird, Walker, Hampton, McGovern, Otten, Atkins
Brisbane Lions: Beams, Martin, Gardiner, Robertson, Bell 

INJURIES
Adelaide: Riley Knight (Achilles) was replaced in squad by Hugh Greenwood
Brisbane Lions: None

Reports: None

Umpires: Rosebury, Deboy, Hosking

Official crowd: 4350 at Hickinbotham Oval

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs