David Mackay and Jared Petrenko celebrate a goal during the Crows' big win over the Saints
ADELAIDE has avoided its worst start to the season since 2010, thrashing St Kilda by 86 points at Etihad Stadium to snap its three-game losing streak.
The Crows, who were halfway towards equalling their 0-6 start from four years ago, easily ran out winners, 20.16 (136) to 7.8 (50).
The result leaves Carlton and the Brisbane Lions as the only teams to have not registered a victory heading into round five.
It was the first time the Crows had won the opening quarter this season, and came after coach Brenton Sanderson challenged his players to make amends for last week's loss to the Sydney Swans.
With the exception of Mitch Grigg - a late withdrawal with an adductor complaint - the Crows were unchanged with Sanderson wanting them to avoid the habit of consecutive bad games.
They responded with a five-goal-to-one second quarter that gave them a half- time lead of 44 points. Star veteran Scott Thompson collected 11 of his 32 possessions in that term alone.
"We've had a couple of challenging weeks and I guess it could have gone two ways today, but I'm really happy that we played four quarters of footy," Sanderson said.
"It's probably the first time for the season that we've won four quarters.
"We did the basics really well, we executed the fundamentals how we planned, turned the ball over a lot less, but most importantly ran a game out."
Thompson shrugged off his corked thigh from last week to be one of the Crows' best, along with Brodie Smith (29 possessions), David Mackay (29) and Rory Sloane (30).
Josh Jenkins provided the Crows with a dominant tall forward with four goals and 11 marks with Luke Delaney, James Gwilt and Beau Maister all trying to curtail him.
The Saints simply lacked the pressure they had brought so far this season. They still broke even in contested possessions and clearances but allowed the Crows too much space, trailing them in uncontested ball, 291 to 205.
David Armitage was treated for a cut lip and a lacerated knee in the third term and came back on but looked far from convincing as he finished the game strapped up and sore.
Saints coach Alan Richardson said Wright could miss three months while Armitage didn't structurally damage his knee but was "50-50" for next week's clash with Essendon.
He also said he was determined to turn the result into a learning experience about the requirement of effort, which had been solid from his team in the first three weeks.
"We got taught a lesson today and the lesson was if you don't turn up and give great effort then you're a chance to get badly beaten," Richardson said.
"We just didn't bring the same effort and the same pressure, and that was disappointing."
There were few positives for the Saints. Jack Steven, on return from his pre-season foot fracture, ended with 20 touches and kicked a clever volleyed goal from the goal square after tapping it forward to evade his opponent.
The Saints tried a few things: Maister back and James Gwilt forward in the second half but little mattered when they were beaten so comprehensively in the midfield and simply denied the ball.
Patrick Dangerfield (19 possessions) struggled with the close checking of Tom Curren. The tough Crow touched the ball twice in the opening quarter and even took himself to full-forward at one point in an attempt to influence the contest.
Richardson said Curren had "done a pretty good job" on Dangerfield and didn't feel as though the contact allowed from taggers had changed this season despite the controversy surrounding Brent Macaffer's job on Trent Cotchin on Friday night.
Adelaide star Patrick Dangerfield bursts clear of the pack against St Kilda. Picture: AFL Media
ST KILDA 2.2 3.2 6.6 7.6 (50)
ADELAIDE 4.4 9.10 15.14 20.16 (136)
St Kilda: Riewoldt 2, Stanley, Steven, Gwilt, Saunders, Savage
Adelaide: Jenkins 4, Podsiadly 3, Petrenko 2, Mackay 2, Wright 2, Betts, Crouch, Brown, Douglas, Dangerfield, Sloane, Kerridge
St Kilda: Riewoldt, Dempster, Curren, Ray, Armitage, Hayes
Adelaide: Smith, Thompson, Mackay, Jenkins, Sloane, Rutten
St Kilda: Nathan Wright (suspected fractured lower right leg), Armitage (concussion and leg).
St Kilda: Nathan Wright replaced by Josh Saunders in the second quarter.
Adelaide: Ben Rutten replaced by Brodie Martin in the fourth quarter.
Umpires: Burgess, Kamolins, Jeffery
Official crowd: 22,923 at Etihad Stadium