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Belief is strong, says Sloane

Lee Gaskin, AFL Media  April 9, 2017 12:24 AM

Don Pyke Post-Match: R3 Hear from Coach Don Pyke and medalist Rory Sloane after a stirring Showdown victory
AFL 2017 Round 03 - Port Adelaide v Adelaide Crows

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 08: Rory Sloane of the Crows wins the Showdown Medal during the 2017 AFL round 03 match between Port Adelaide Power and the Adelaide Crows at the Adelaide Oval on April 08, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by AFL Media)

We just go in expecting and wanting to win every game.

Contested-ball machine Rory Sloane says Adelaide will be hard to stop if it reproduces its Showdown form for the rest of the year.

The Crows continued their unbeaten start to the season with a hard-fought 17-point win against Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night.

The Crows (3-0) are on top of the ladder for the first time in exactly two years when they also led the League after round three, 2015.

Sloane said the Crows had carried on from where they left off last year when they won 17 of their 24 games before losing to Sydney in the second week of the finals.

"The guys still had some belief rolling over from last year," Sloane said.

"We've played a lot of footy together, this group in particular.

"We just go in expecting and wanting to win every game.

"If we keep playing the way we do, we'll certainly make it hard for teams."

Sloane polled 18 out of a maximum 21 votes to win the Showdown Medal ahead of Power midfielder Ollie Wines (12) and Crows teammate Matt Crouch (five).

Sloane was a beast when the ball was in dispute, gathering 24 contested possessions out of 31 total disposals.

The All-Australian vice captain also amassed nine tackles and eight clearances on his way winning the Showdown Medal as the best on ground.

"He's just a genuine competitor from first bounce to final siren," Crows coach Don Pyke said.

"He's a guy you can rely on in those contests to (a), set the example, but (b), really just lead.

"There's moments in games where you need your leaders and your best players to stand up, and I thought both Rory, and ‘Tex’ (captain Taylor Walker) as well tonight, in that space, were very strong.

"That's what the best players do, they help and they make the people around them play better, in how they play and the example they set."

Another key factor in the victory was the terrific job Crows defender Kyle Hartigan did on Power star Robbie Gray.

On the surface, Hartigan didn't seem like the right fit seeing that he is 12cm taller and 15kg than Gray, who booted six goals and had 30 touches against Fremantle last week.

But Hartigan got the better of the match-up in keeping Gray to two goals.

"Kyle's got good speed and he's got good agility," Pyke said.

"He's obviously a taller defender as well and I thought he was fantastic.

"He won his one on ones and won some crucial balls at times when there was some ball going into the Port forward line.

"That was a great result for Kyle tonight."

The only concern for the Crows was a hamstring injury to forward Mitch McGovern, who left the ground in the last quarter.

That could extend Andy Otten's unexpected spell in attack after playing in defence for the majority of his career.

"He's a smart player, Andy," Pyke said.

"He's a genuine leader, he's got great experience.

"He's got a composure about him and understands the game."

The Crows are expected to regain key forward Josh Jenkins (ribs) for next Saturday's clash with Essendon at Adelaide Oval.

Showdown Medal Voting
18 – Rory Sloane (Adel)
12 – Ollie Wines (Port)
5 – Matt Crouch (Adel)
2 – Taylor Walker (Adel)
2 – Paddy Ryder (Port)
1 – Brodie Smith (Adel)
1 – Tom Lynch (Adel)
1 – Darcy Byrne-Jones (Port)