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Essendon brings a knife to a gunfight

Highlights: Adelaide v Essendon The Crows and Bombers clash in round four
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 15: Taylor Walker of the Crows during the 2017 AFL round 04 match between the Adelaide Crows and the Essendon Bombers at the Adelaide Oval on April 15, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by AFL Media)
Taylor Walker kicked four goals in the first quarter to set up the win

1. Brilliant Betts makes stand against racism, then torches Dons 
Essendon and Adelaide united pre-match to make a powerful stand against racism before the brilliant Crow took centre stage as only he can, kicking six brilliant goals. The Dons ran through a banner condemning racism before their indigenous star Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti and Betts embraced in a powerful pre-match moment. Betts was the target of a racial taunts during and after last week’s Showdown. The Crows magician produced his best ever first half of football, booting five majors to the long break. His rolling mark in opposition to Mark Baguley midway through the second term was absolute genius. He and McDonald-Tipungwuti finished with 10 goals between them.


Full match details and stats

2. Dons challenge Crows to shootout and pay the price
Essendon is trying establish its own brand of footy but it should cop some heat for its complete refusal to bring a game plan capable of slowing the scoring juggernaut that is Adelaide in the first half. The Bombers came to engage in a shootout with the Crows and conceded one of the highest first half scores (15.6) in years. The Bombers laid just 17 tackles to half time, allowing the Crows to walk the ball out of stoppages on numerous occasions and move it quickly to the league’s most potent forward line. The Bombers also insisted on playing high-risk football with ball in hand and turned the ball over too often in the opening half. To the Dons’ credit they laid 22 tackles in the third quarter and lifted their intensity across the ground.

3. Tex walks on water
He’s already the king of Adelaide and Taylor Walker appeared to float around Adelaide for much of Saturday night’s clash. With the ball coming in fast and clean, there was little Michael Hurley, Patrick Ambrose or any Essendon defender could do to prevent the Adelaide captain producing one of the best first halves of his career. Walker kicked four goals in the first quarter and five goals up to half time and set up three more for Betts in a powerful display.

4. Crows injury concerns grow
Adelaide’s early season form has been all the more impressive given it has a lengthy injury list. That list may be one longer after Jake Kelly left Adelaide Oval early for precautionary scans on an eye injury. The injury occurred in the first quarter and Kelly played out the first half before leaving the venue. The injury is unlikely to be long term but means Adelaide's overall injury list grows to nine. Rebounding defender Harrison Wigg is a similar type of player to Kelly and could be looked at for a debut against Gold Coast in Queensland next Saturday, while promoted rookie Jon Beech and Brad Crouch have been in good touch.

5. Colyer a positive as Bombers save face
Travis Colyer again showed how devastating his speed can be as the Bombers saved face after half time. The 25 year old finished with three goals and 24 possessions and was valuable for the Dons both around stoppages and on the outside sprinting forward. The Bombers were looking down the barrel of a 100-point defeat at half time but lifted their output considerably after the break with Zach Merrett another very good contributor. Conor McKenna went in the book for head high contact on Riley Knight in the dying minutes of the clash.