Adelaide’s back six held strong for much of Sunday’s 10-point loss to West Coast, despite finding themselves constantly under siege from the reigning premier.
The Eagles dominated field position, spending 63 per cent of the game in their own forward half and easily winning the inside 50 count, 63 to 41.
However, outside of a four-goal burst in the third quarter, the home side found it difficult to break down Adelaide’s well-structured defence in general play.
Speaking to AFC Media in the Optus Stadium rooms post-game, defender Luke Brown couldn’t fault the efforts of his teammates in the narrow defeat.
“The effort was always there, you can’t question that,” Brown said.
“We played pretty good footy for the majority of the match but unfortunately the Eagles were the better side on the day.
“They were able to move in from D50 (defensive 50) to forward 50 pretty easily at times and it gave them easy goals.
“If we tighten up on those things, we should be able to keep it in our forward half for longer.”
Brown was full of praise for 100-gamer Kyle Hartigan, describing the big-hearted key defender as a ‘team man, through and through’.
Hartigan has been much maligned over the past month, but his contribution to his side extends well beyond what is printed on the stats sheet each week.
“He’s always there to back you up,” Brown said.
“He’ll be the first one to be behind you if there’s a bit of biff going on. We love him (and) the way he plays. He’s aggressive and he just plays to the team structure all the time.
“He’s done a fair few jobs this year that have probably gone unnoticed. We know he’s doing those jobs for us and we show him the praise. Outside, they might not see that.
“I’m pumped for him to get 100 games, but obviously would’ve liked to have won for him.”
Kyle Hartigan surrounded by Eagles during Sunday's clash at Optus Stadium
Hartigan, Jake Kelly and Daniel Talia combined for 18 spoils against the Eagles, with Talia keeping dual Coleman medallist Josh Kennedy to just the one goal from six disposals while collecting 13 disposals, eight marks and four rebound 50s of his own.
“Tals was really good again, just the whole backline,” Brown said.
“Even from the mids and the forwards, they were supporting back and trying to help us out.”
The Crows host Collingwood at Adelaide Oval next Saturday in what shapes as a must-win clash to keep their finals aspirations alive.
Facing a six-day-break, which includes Monday's return flight from Perth, recovery becomes paramount ahead of the Club’s final home game of the 2019 Toyota AFL Premiership Season.
“A lot of recovery the next couple of days and (we’ll) build into the game,” Brown said.
“We’ll do review early in the week, get that out of the way, see what we’ve gotta work on.
“It’s a big game coming up against Collingwood to stay in the finals race. We won’t give in.”
Brown finished with 18 disposals, five marks, six rebound 50s and 433 metres gained against the Eagles, performing admirably against one of the most potent mosquito fleets in the AFL featuring Liam Ryan, Willie Rioli, Jamie Cripps and Jack Petruccelle.