By Adam McNicol 03:40pm April 27, 14
ADELAIDE has continued its resurgence, fighting back from a slow start to defeat the Western Bulldogs by nine points in a seesawing clash at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
The Crows trailed by 28 points early in the second quarter, but seized control of the contest by kicking the next eight goals.
Having shot out to a 22-point lead in the opening minute of the final term, Brenton Sanderson's men then had to survive a late burst from the Dogs, who snatched back the lead when small forward Tory Dickson goaled at the 16-minute mark.
But after Matthew Wright put Adelaide back in front, the visiting side proved too good, prevailing 13.14 (92) to 12.11 (93) and making it three wins on the trot.
"That was really hard work," Adelaide coach Brenton Sanderson said. "We didn't get away to a great start. We just looked a bit tentative, a bit cautious early.
"Their pressure was incredible. They really brought the heat early in the match today.
"Fortunately, we were able to get on top in the second and third quarters and then grind out a win."
Having lost their first three matches, the Crows are now only a few percentage points outside the top eight, and they play Melbourne at the Adelaide Oval next weekend.
Key forward James Podsiadly was among the Crows' outstanding contributors. The 32-year-old outgunned young Dogs Jake Stringer and Liam Jones in a vintage performance, finishing with three goals.
Fellow big man Josh Jenkins also booted three, while Eddie Betts and Tom Lynch chipped in with two.
Lynch was among the leading ball-winners as well, racking up 25 disposals and taking seven marks.
The Crows had a number of star performers in the midfield, with Scott Thompson, Matt Crouch and Patrick Dangerfield, who was tagged by Lin Jong, all prolific.
Dangerfield looked to have suffered a rib injury after he was flattened by Daniel Giansiracusa in an off-the-ball incident right on the three-quarter time siren.
The incident sparked a scuffle, but Dangerfield was just winded and played out the game, gathering seven touches in the frantic last quarter.
Adelaide's Rory Sloane takes possession in front of Bulldog Lin Jong. Picture: AFL Media
Coming off a disappointing loss to Carlton last week, the Dogs were expected to come out firing, and they did just that, booting the first four goals of the match.
But after Dickson made it six goals to one early in the second term they stopped to a walk, failing to kick another major until Stewart Crameri broke the drought three minutes into the final quarter.
"The second quarter was our inability to compete around the ball," Bulldogs coach Brendan McCartney said. "The third quarter we got a bit of stage fright moving it.
"We put a bit too much pressure on the bloke with the ball. When he looked up there wasn't enough people moving in blue jumpers to give him an opportunity to move it and take the pressure off him.
"That's the frustration of the day. We lost control of the game for about a 45 to 50-minute period, and lost control of it badly."
The Dogs fought back bravely from there, but a series of mistakes in the dying stages proved costly.
Among their best players were Dickson, who finished with three goals, and veteran onballer Matthew Boyd.
But the Bulldogs remain in the bottom four on the ladder with a disappointing 2-4 record.
They play Essendon at Etihad Stadium next Saturday night.
WESTERN BULLDOGS 4.2 6.5 6.6 12.11 (83)
ADELAIDE 1.4 5.7 8.10 13.14 (92)
Western Bulldogs: Dickson 3, Stevens 2, Dahlhaus 2, Campbell, Higgins, Crameri, Giansiracusa, Stringer
Adelaide: Podsiadly 3, Jenkins 3, Lynch 2, Betts 2, Mackay, Sloane, Laird
Western Bulldogs: Boyd, Dickson, Macrae, Liberatore, Cooney, Murphy
Adelaide: Lynch, Thompson, Podsiadly, Jenkins, Dangerfield, Crouch
Western Bulldogs: Nil
Adelaide: Dangerfield (ribs), Shaw (leg)
Western Bulldogs: Tom Campbell replaced by Lachie Hunter in the third quarter
Adelaide: Sam Shaw replaced by Mitch Grigg in the fourth quarter
Umpires: Bannister, Ryan, McInerney
Official crowd: 17,404 at Etihad Stadium