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Crows mids silencing critics

Lee Gaskin, AFL Media  August 6, 2017 9:37 PM

Pyke and Jacobs Post-Match: R20 Watch Adelaide's press conference after round 20's match against Port Adelaide
At the start of the year there were questions, but they just keep taking on the challenges and get better and better

Adelaide's under-rated midfield is starting to make the critics eat their words after destroying Port Adelaide's big bodies, according to Crows coach Don Pyke.

In wet conditions that, on paper, should have favoured the likes of Brad Ebert, Ollie Wines and Sam Powell-Pepper, the Crows dominated the Power's onballers in Sunday night's 84-point demolition job at Adelaide Oval on Sunday night.

Matt Crouch (34 possessions, 15 contested), Rory Sloane (30 possessions, 17 contested) and Brad Crouch (29 possessions, 14 contested) were the main instigators for the Crows, while Richard Douglas (24 disposals) and Hugh Greenwood (13 contested) made valuable contributions.

The Crows' midfield was identified as the team's Achilles heel heading into the season after they failed to acquire Carlton star Bryce Gibbs.

"Our midfield is an area that has grown," Pyke said.

"At the start of the year there were questions, but they just keep taking on the challenges and get better and better some of those guys in there.

"Some of them are elevating their games to a really high level and a really consistent level.

"It's been pleasing to see their growth and they now get a feeling of what they're capable of doing in games of footy."

The Crows' midfield was helped by an outstanding game from ruckman Sam Jacobs, who joined Josh Francou and Mark Ricciuto as the only players to win the Showdown Medal three times.

Jacobs won his ruck duel with All-Australian contender Paddy Ryder after learning lessons from their encounter in Round Three this year.

"He's really athletic and you have to be really sharp with your feet and not let him jump over you," Jacobs said.

"You're not going to get it right every time, but it's important to compete and make it predictable for our midfielders."

It wouldn't be a Showdown with some Eddie Betts magic.

The Crows star booted four goals including two brilliant shots from the right pocket at either end of the ground, despite being in doubt for the game after having his appendix removed two weeks ago.

"He trained Thursday without a problem, so from our viewpoint there wasn't really any doubt," Pyke said.

"As long as he kept progressing, and by yesterday, he was jumping out of his skin, he was ready to go.

"You don't hold back a player like Eddie, and he performed to a really high standard tonight."

Midfielder David Mackay will be assessed during the week after copping a corked thigh, but key defender Kyle Hartigan is set to miss another week in his recovery from a hamstring injury.

"He'll probably be unlikely at this point," Pyke said.

"He probably needs to do another week of rehab then he might be the following week."