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Comeback Crows shine in SANFL

Rory Atkins collected a career-best 32 possessions against Central District in his first game of the year
Rory Atkins collected a career-best 32 possessions against Central District in his first game of the year

Sam Shaw and Rory Atkins have made impressive returns from long-term injuries in Adelaide’s SANFL clash with Central District on Saturday afternoon.

The left-footers shone across half-back for the Crows, who were defeated by the Bulldogs 8.5 (53) to 11.7 (73) in a physical contest at Elizabeth Oval.

Shaw was brilliant in his first game in over eight months following corrective hamstring surgery. The athletic tall acted as Adelaide’s main avenue out of defence and gathered 23 possessions, nine marks and a team-high five rebound 50ms.

Atkins, who also spent time on the wing and in the centre square, used his pace to collect a career-best 32 possessions and 10 clearances. It was the 20-year-old’s maiden outing of the year after a pre-season knee injury.

Fellow comeback Crow Riley Knight continued his fine form in just his second game of the year with 23 possessions, five marks and five clearances.

Captain Ian Callinan never gave up, finishing with 24 touches, six clearances and six rebound 50ms in a workmanlike performance.

The duo of James Podsiadly and Kyle Hartigan fought gallantly in defence, particularly in the opening half as the home side made its march.

Returning from a one-game suspension, Hartigan held former Brisbane Lions forward Bryce Retzlaff goalless for most of the contest before conceding two majors through no fault of his own in the final term.

Podsiadly (15 disposals, nine marks) thwarted several Bulldogs’ forward entries with his superiority in the air and provided great support to both Hartigan and Shaw.

The trio amassed 13 marks from opposition kicks, underlining their importance in defence.

SANFL Stats: Round Eight

Brock Castree booted his first goal at League level and finished with a bag of three majors against his former club to be Adelaide’s leading goalkicker for the match. Keenan Ramsey (two goals) also booted multiple majors for the fifth time this season.

A second-quarter fadeout proved costly for the Crows. Central District had eight scoring shots and piled on five goals to two to take a 28-point advantage into the main break.

Crows SANFL coach Heath Younie said it was the difference between the two sides.

“I thought it was that 20-minute period in that second quarter,” he said.

“They scored four goals from stoppages and generally walked out of stoppage too much and we couldn’t slow them up.

“In the first half, we didn’t move the ball forward with great method. We went too shallow with our entries and they were able to rebound off that and we couldn’t slow them up.

“When we did, I thought we played the game we wanted. But full credit to them, they were just too good for us today.

“But we’re not far off.”

Adelaide responded after half-time and outscored the home side in the second half. Skipper Callinan did his best to inspire his charges with a full-bodied smother to set up Ramsey’s first goal of the afternoon.

But the damage was already done. A late flurry of Crows goals saw the margin close to 14 points in the final term however victory was always out of reach.

A victory would’ve seen Adelaide leapfrog the Bulldogs and North Adelaide into seventh position on the SANFL ladder, but the result leaves the SANFL Crows in ninth spot without a win.

Adelaide’s next SANFL match is against Sturt at Peter Motley Oval on Sunday, June 7.


ADELAIDE   1.2   3.2   4.4   8.5 (53)
CENTRAL DISTRICT   2.3   7.6   8.7   11.7 (73)

Castree 3, Ramsey 2, McGovern, Osborn, Podsiadly
Central District: Gillbee 3, Retzlaff 2, Thomas, Goodrem, Edmead, Schiller, Jenner, Jansen

Callinan, O’Brien, Hartigan, Atkins, Shaw, Castree
Central District:
Schiller, Stephenson, Thomas, Barmby, Gillbee

Central District:


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