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Sloane inspires stirring win

Lee Gaskin, AFL Media  July 21, 2017 10:52 PM

Highlights: R18 v Geelong The Crows and Cats clash in round 18
AFL 2017 Round 18 - Adelaide v Geelong

Rory Sloane starred for Adelaide

Dazed and confused only six days ago, Adelaide champion Rory Sloane has inspired the Crows to a monumental 21-point victory over bogey side Geelong to confirm their premiership credentials.

The Crows led the blockbuster top-of-the-table clash from wire to wire, snapping a five-game losing streak to the Cats with the 13.13 (91) to 10.10 (70) victory at Adelaide Oval on Friday night.

Sloane was back to his brilliant best, racking up 28 possessions and kicking three goals after getting heavily concussed against Melbourne in Darwin last Saturday night.

The Five: Round 18 v Geelong

The Crows survived a late scare as Cats forward Harry Taylor carried the side on his back with five goals in the second half.

Taylor booted three goals in the space of five minutes in the last quarter to reduce the margin to 21 points at the 15-minute mark.

But the Crows (13-4) were able to hang on despite not kicking a goal in the last term and move to 52 premiership points, six clear of the second-placed Cats (11-5-1).

"It was just a super strong performance for our guys tonight," Crows coach Don Pyke said.

"I thought our pressure on the ball to start with and the way we came out and played was always going to make it a fierce contest.

"To come out with a win just shows some of the improvement the guys have made, which is fantastic."

For the Crows, Richard Douglas booted four goals, full-back Daniel Talia was strong in defence and Matt and Brad Crouch were heavily involved in the midfield.

Former cricketer Alex Keath had a solid game on debut after the 25-year-old, 198cm key defender came into the side to replace the injured Jake Lever.


Cats superstar Patrick Dangerfield played through the midfield and deep in attack after coming into the game under an injury cloud with a badly bruised foot.

The 50,464-strong crowd gave former favourite son Dangerfield a warm reception every time he got near the ball.

The Crows hammered the Cats when the ball was up for grabs, winning the clearance count by 20.

"It was disappointing for us they beat us around the ball as well as well as they did," Cats coach Chris Scott said.

"We were minus 19 clearances at three-quarter time, that was the biggest reason we were six or seven goals down, especially the way the numbers were distributed around the ground.

"They're a kicking team, they play for territory a fair bit and when you get a team that wants to play that way and they beat you around the ball in the clearances by 20, the game is on their terms."

The Crows played with more flair and took more risks with the ball than in their previous five games against the Cats.

They also sent Riley Knight to Cats captain Joel Selwood in a tagging role, successfully keeping the skipper relatively quiet.

The Crows were in total control in the first half.

Hugh Greenwood, known for his basketball background, showed off his soccer skills with a brilliant volley goal as the Crows led by 22 points at quarter-time.

They were incredibly efficient, booting five goals from nine inside 50ms in the first term.


Adelaide booted four goals to three in the second quarter to lead by 29 points at half-time, and by three-quarter time, the margin had ballooned to 37 points before Taylor put the Cats back in the contest.

Cats big man Mark Blicavs finished the game on crutches and will be assessed during the week with a leg injury.

The Crows also have injury concerns with Brad Crouch playing out the game with a fractured cheekbone and he is in doubt for next Sunday's clash with Collingwood. 

MEDICAL ROOM
Adelaide: Brad Crouch suffered a fractured cheekbone near the end of the third quarter, but played out the game. Riley Knight had his ankle strapped at the start of the last quarter, but the Crows said his injury wasn’t serious.
Geelong: Chris Scott couldn't shed any light on Mark Blicavs' ankle injury after the big man finished the game on crutches. Rhys Stanley had a corked right calf looked at by the medical staff at half-time, but played on.

NEXT UP

The Crows take on Collingwood at the MCG next Sunday in their final tune-up at the home of football before finals, while the Cats face a tricky test against Carlton at Etihad Stadium next Saturday night.



ADELAIDE
   5.2   9.5  13.9  13.13 (91)
GEELONG   1.4   4.6   7.8   10.10 (70)

GOALS
Adelaide:
Douglas 4, Sloane 3, Greenwood, Cameron, Jenkins, Lynch, Brown, Walker
Geelong:
Taylor 5, Duncan, Hawkins, Blicavs, Dangerfield, Menzel

BEST
Adelaide:
Sloane, Douglas, Jenkins, Talia, B.Crouch, M.Crouch, Greenwood, Kelly
Geelong:
Taylor, Dangerfield, Henderson, Selwood, Duncan, Bews

INJURIES
Adelaide:
B.Crouch (fractured cheekbone)
Geelong: Stanley (corked calf), Blicavs (ankle)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Hosking, Chamberlain, Ryan

Official crowd: 50,464