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Five talking points: Adelaide v Geelong

Highlights: Adelaide v Geelong The Crows and Cats clash in round 17

1. Birthday ‘Rat’ provides early gift
After languishing in the SANFL for two weeks, Rory Atkins had a point to prove in the first quarter. He collected 10 possessions (included five contested) and levelled the scores with a quick left foot snap from 35 metres. Atkins – who celebrated his 24th birthday on Thursday – went on to complete a 28-disposal performance at 71 per cent efficiency. Adelaide’s midfield appears deeper with Atkins confident and in form.

CROWS SHOW A FINALS FLING Full match details and stats

2. Battered and bruised in high-stakes encounter
Ice packs will be in high demand after this match with a number of big hits flattening players on both sides. Joel Selwood was left dazed after an incident involving Bryce Gibbs in the first quarter; the Cats captain was then given a shove and a spray by his direct opponent Riley Knight as he came to the bench. Geelong defender Zac Tuohy was bleeding following a head-high Taylor Walker bump that saw the Crows skipper reported and facing a nervous wait for the MRO's decision on Friday, and in the second quarter Hugh Greenwood was lucky to bounce back after a marking collision with Mark Blicavs.

 

3. Jeers and cheers for ‘Sliding Doors’ mates
There was warm applause for every Rory Sloane possession and pressure act after the Crows vice-captain announced this week he’d be putting footy ahead of family support for the next five years. The biggest roar and team celebration came after the 28-year-old’s 50-metre goal in the third quarter put the home side 30 points in front. In contrast former fan-favourite turned villain Patrick Dangerfield – who decided to head home at the end of the 2015 season - was jeered for reminding Crows fans of the class he brings to the footy field. He also kicked a long fourth-quarter goal that silenced the crowd of 46,095. Both players are desperate to cap off their decorated careers with a premiership – who will get there first?

 

4. Crows still in the hunt – Cats are vulnerable
This result could have huge ramifications for both sides at the business end of the season. The Crows will start the weekend only a game and percentage outside of the top eight and with plenty to like about their performance against the Cats. They broke through the 100-point barrier for the first time since round seven and had nine different goalkickers – including Lachy Murphy, who’s third major proved the match-winner. Rory Sloane will only get better after his comeback from a serious foot injury and ruckman Sam Jacobs has been more influential after recharging his batteries during the bye. Geelong came to Adelaide still hopeful of a top-four finish, but the loss could see them drop out of the top eight by the conclusion of the round.

 

5. Fogarty’s yo-yo season set to continue
Crows captain Taylor Walker could find himself on the sidelines after being reported in the first quarter. For the second week in a row the skipper didn’t have a big impact on the match but he did kick a fourth-quarter goal and set-up Josh Jenkins for a major earlier in the game. Young forward Darcy Fogarty has been dropped five times in his 10-game first season, but would be the obvious choice if Walker is suspended. Fogarty will have a chance to press his claims in the SANFL Showdown on Sunday - the Crows need more of an impact and defensive pressure from him before he can cement his spot.