Taylor Walker marks the ball during the R24 match between Adelaide and West Coast at Optus Stadium on August 26, 2023. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

ADELAIDE has spoiled the farewell party for West Coast's retiring champions with a 45-point win on Saturday night, lifting Taylor Walker into the Coleman Medal lead in the process on an emotionally charged night at Optus Stadium. 

Premiership captain Shannon Hurn and Norm Smith medallist Luke Shuey were chaired from Optus Stadium through a guard of honour alongside game-changing ruckman Nic Naitanui as the Eagles closed an era that has been defined by the trio. 

EAGLES v CROWS Full match coverage and stats

While the match got away from the Eagles in the final quarter, it was a performance worthy of their three club greats up to that point, with Adelaide putting its foot down to kick the last eight goals of the game and win 17.21 (123) to 12.6 (78).

The result confirmed West Coast's first wooden spoon finish since 2010, granting it access to the No.1 pick in this year's AFL Draft after North Melbourne moved off the bottom of the ladder by beating Gold Coast on Saturday. 


Walker was the star with a bag of nine goals that moved his season tally to a career-best 75 – one ahead of Carlton spearhead and 2022 Coleman medallist Charlie Curnow, who plays Greater Western Sydney on Sunday. 

The veteran booted four goals in the final quarter and missed a set shot in the dying minutes that he would normally convert as the Crows ended their season with an 11-12 record to narrowly miss finals. 


Walker's intent was evident early when he took the ball out of the ruck in the opening two minutes and snapped a brilliant goal on his left foot from 45m after shrugging off two Eagles. 

It launched an entertaining first quarter that saw Oscar Allen get his eye in early from long range and Shuey hit the ground running with three first-quarter clearances and a terrific running goal on his left. 


While Walker added a second, the Crows were wasteful and entered the first break with a 10-point lead that should have been more after controlling play and dominating inside 50s (18-7). 

The Eagles' commitment to the cause was evident in the second term when their pressure went to a new level, with Andrew Gaff providing a highlight with his chasedown tackle on Josh Rachele as the classy Crow ran towards an open goal. 

With their defensive intent high, the Eagles' offensive game got rolling. Their best passage with the ball involved Liam Duggan and Samo Petrevski-Seton linking up on the wing before Tim Kelly delivered inside 50 with class to Allen, who kicked back-to-back goals from 50m set shots. 

It capped a five-goal-to-one quarter that opened up an 11-point lead for the home team at the main break, with Jack Darling extending that to 17 when he converted off the ground in the first 20 seconds of the third term. 

With the game at risk of getting away from his team, Walker lifted and kicked three of the next four goals, including a brilliant snap set shot from the boundary as the Crows took control.   


It was a rollicking quarter with 10 goals kicked as both teams took the entertaining clash to a new level. When Darcy Fogarty converted his set shot from beyond 50m, the Crows took a seven-point lead into the last break before Walker did the rest. 


Champions show their class 
Consistent to his last game, Hurn finished in trademark style with 22 disposals and seven rebound 50s, while Shuey showed flashes of his best with 25 and six inside 50s. His left-foot goal was all class as he burst through congestion, with the skipper attacking the contest relentlessly in his final game. Great mate Josh Kennedy was on hand to chair him off, with Liam Duggan, Andrew Gaff and Jeremy McGovern sharing the honours with the retiring pair. The Eagles drew their largest non-Derby crowd since round seven, with the 47,027 fans paying a fitting tribute. 


Walker chases Coleman 
North Melbourne key forward Nick Larkey jumped to second in the Coleman Medal race on Saturday after his bag of nine took his season tally to 71, and Taylor Walker was set on responding. The veteran Crow needed eight goals to draw level with Carlton star Charlie Curnow, hitting that mark deep in the final term before adding one more. The Crows were sometimes too focused on Walker, while the veteran racked up 19 shots on goal for his final return of 9.4. Curnow will be favoured to take the crown back on Sunday, but GWS defender Sam Taylor will be doing everything he can to stop the superstar Blue.    


WEST COAST        3.1   8.3   12.4   12.6 (78)
ADELAIDE             4.5   5.10   11.17   17.21 (123)    

West Coast: Allen 4, Darling 3, Cole, Cripps, Jones, Shuey, J Williams  
Adelaide: Walker 9, Rachele 3, Soligo 2, Fogarty, Gollant, Keays

West Coast: Kelly, Allen, Duggan, Shuey, Hough, Darling 
Adelaide: Walker, Laird, Crouch, Soligo, Dawson, Rachele 

West Coast: Nil 
Adelaide: Schoenberg (Achilles tendon) 

West Coast: Jamaine Jones (replaced Luke Edwards in the third quarter) 
Adelaide: Riley Thilthorpe (replaced Reilly O'Brien in the third quarter)

Crowd: 47,027 at Optus Stadium