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Match report: Soaring Crows in seventh heaven

Highlights: Carlton v Adelaide The Blues and Crows clash in round 16
A jubilant Eddie Betts celebrates a goal with Rory Laird and Sam Jacobs - ${keywords}
A jubilant Eddie Betts celebrates a goal with Rory Laird and Sam Jacobs

ADELAIDE has moved into the top four for the first time this season, belting Carlton by 60 points to record its seventh successive victory in a dominant display at the MCG on Sunday.

Despite some early pluck from Carlton, the Crows led at every change as they put distance on their opponents when the rain arrived in the third term to scoot away to an 16.11 (107) to 7.5 (47) victory.

Former Blue Eddie Betts kicked three goals against his old club, while ex-Carlton big man Sam Jacobs (15 disposals, 36 hit-outs and three goals) easily outpointed an out-of-form Matthew Kreuzer in the ruck.

Rory Laird (35 disposals and nine rebound 50s) was the chief orchestrator of the Crows' victory, leading Adelaide's backline superbly.

Talking points: SOSOS can't save Blues

Ricky Henderson (23 disposals), who replaced the injured Luke Brown, provided plenty of run and dash from the back half, Jake Lever (26 disposals) was poised under pressure down back and Daniel Talia comprehensively beat Levi Casboult.

As he has done all season, Rory Sloane led the way through the midfield, thriving in the slippery conditions to record 34 touches, eight tackles and 10 clearances.

Highlighting Adelaide's defensive supremacy was the fact the Crows kept the Blues goalless for almost two quarters before former Crow Matthew Wright broke the goal drought at the fourth-minute mark of the final term.

Crows coach Don Pyke said team defence was a part of the game Adelaide had been working on for a number of years.

"It’s something we identified early days that our ability to stop opposition scores was an area we needed to improve on," Pyke said.

"The good part is the players now understand how critical it is and it will never be more critical against top sides in big games."

Their previous goal came when Dennis Armfield kicked his fourth of the contest at the 12-minute mark of the second term, bringing his side to within three points and seemingly giving Carlton hope of causing a massive upset.

 

Armfield was the primary reason for the Blues staying in touch at quarter-time and the main break, the nimble forward making a stunning return from a nasty split testicle injury.

He booted three first-quarter goals – all long-range bombs from beyond the 50m arc – to breathe life into a poorly functioning Carlton forward line.

Armfield's fourth goal, which equalled his career-best tally, was immediately answered by Crows skipper Taylor Walker, who took full advantage of a crucial fumble from Sam Kerridge deep in defence.

Another handling error from Sam Docherty, under immense heat in the middle of the ground late in the second quarter gave Tom Lynch the easiest of goals and the momentum the Crows needed to break the Blues' resistance.

Patrick Cripps gave his all in the midfield (26 disposals and 13 clearances) and Sam Rowe held up strongly down back, but their efforts went largely unrewarded as the Crows ruthlessly capitalised on the Blues' second-half turnovers.

"The Crows on turnover really hurt us, particularly in the second half," Blues coach Brendon Bolton said. "Overall they would have kicked 10 or 11 goals from turnover."

Adding to Carlton's woes was a second-quarter striking report on forward Levi Casboult for a gut-punch on Adelaide's Kyle Hartigan.

The Crows booted seven goals to Carlton's solitary major after half-time, as they leapt above Geelong, the Western Bulldogs and Greater Western Sydney to third on the ladder.

MEDICAL ROOM
Carlton: 
Dale Thomas did not play any part in the final term, putting his jacket on on the bench as he tightened up in the right calf. The midfielder received treatment on his calf throughout the day, with coach Brendon Bolton saying he would be assessed through the week.
Adelaide: The Crows escaped without any injuries.

NEXT UP
The Crows will be searching for their eighth successive victory when they do battle with Collingwood at Adelaide Oval next Saturday night. Carlton faces West Coast at the MCG in the same timeslot next Sunday.

CARLTON     3.0   6.1   6.2   7.5 (47)
ADELAIDE    4.3   9.6   12.10   16.11 (107)

GOALS
Carlton:
Armfield 4, Casboult, Silvagni, Wright
Adelaide: Betts 3, Jacobs 3, Jenkins 3, Crouch, McGovern, Walker, Lynch, Douglas, Lyons, Mackay

BEST
Carlton:
Armfield, Cripps, Tuohy, Gibbs, Rowe
Adelaide: Laird, Sloane, Henderson, Talia, Lever, Jacobs

INJURIES
Carlton:
Thomas (right calf)
Adelaide: Nil

Reports: Levi Casboult reported for striking Kyle Hartigan in the second term

Umpires: Deboy, Schmitt, Mollison 

Official crowd: 32,430 at the MCG