Matthew Nicks after the round 23 match between Adelaide and Sydney on August 19, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

ADELAIDE coach Matthew Nicks is refusing to blame a controversial goal-umpiring decision for his side's one-point loss to Sydney and exit from finals contention.

The Crows' finals ambitions ended with a heartbreaking 11.8 (74) to 10.13 (73) defeat to the Swans at a rain-drenched Adelaide Oval on Saturday night.

CROWS v SWANS Full match coverage and stats

Seventh-placed Sydney, who lost livewire Tom Papley to hamstring tightness, was 44 points up late in the second quarter and led by 32 at three quarter-time.

But Adelaide stormed in the last quarter, booting 4.8 to 0.1 only to fall just short.


With 80 seconds remaining, Crow Ben Keays thought he'd kicked a goal and given his side the lead, but as Keays and teammates celebrated wildly, the goal umpire signalled a behind for the ball hitting the post.

The umpire didn't seek a video review and replays later appeared to show the ball didn't make contact with the goalpost.


Coach Nicks said from his bench viewing point: "I can't tell you whether it was a goal or not".

"What I can tell you, my understanding is that we review those moments, especially at the end of games," Nicks said.

"We've just put trust in the process now. So as a footy club and as a coach, that's all we can do."


Swans coach John Longmire deadpanned: "Oh, does it?" when told a replay showed his team may have dodged a proverbial bullet.

But Nicks highlighted Adelaide's first-half struggles as the reason for defeat, the Swans kicking nine goals to two to create the 44-point lead late in the second term.


"Our first half was as good as we have played for a long time," Longmire said.

Sydney holds seventh spot by two premiership points ahead of its SCG clash against top-four fancy Melbourne.

"We have still got a bit of work to do next week, the good thing is we have got our destiny in our own hands to a degree," Longmire said.


The brilliant Papley faces scans on his injury.

"His hamstring was a bit tight and he wasn't moving that well," Longmire said.

"We will see how he is tomorrow."