GREATER Western Sydney coach Leon Cameron has lashed his midfielders' performance in Tuesday's shock loss to Adelaide, saying they let the Giants down.
The defeat leaves GWS needing to win at least one of, and possibly both, its remaining matches against Melbourne and St Kilda to make the finals for the fifth consecutive season.
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Cameron said the Crows "obliterated" his under-siege onball brigade in the opening term, when they grabbed the lead and never let it go in eventually winning by 12 points.
Adelaide easily won contested possessions (138-110) and clearances (34-24, including 9-3 in the centre), two advantages that helped it win a lopsided inside 50 count 49-26.
"People talk about ball movement, but you can't get good ball movement off the back of a lack of contest method," Cameron said.
"That's been building for us – we were good against the Eagles, good against Fremantle, good against Carlton, after a slow start and we pegged them back after half-time.
"But to Adelaide's credit, they maintained that rage … (and us playing well in) one out of four quarters is not good enough and we were under the pump.
"I pat my back seven on the back for the majority of the game … but they're defending 49 inside 50s and we had only 26 down the other end and it's just not good enough, because our midfield, again, just let us down."
GWS missed Josh Kelly (concussion), Callan Ward (finger), Zac Williams (Achilles) and Harry Perryman (calf), but still had the likes of Tim Taranto, Jacob Hopper and Steve Coniglio to hold the fort.
Cameron labelled Saturday night's clash with Melbourne a virtual final, with just four days until the sides meet at the Gabba.
Defender Aidan Corr (ankle) is in doubt, which is a significant problem, given Phil Davis (knee) and Sam Taylor (back) are without a return date, although Kelly and Williams could return.
"We all know the stakes – we're not going to hide away for it," Cameron said.
"I've said it the last three weeks that if you're good enough to make it, you're good enough, and normally the eight that make it have deserved to make it.
"On our performance tonight, clearly that's not going to cut it against Melbourne, so we need to have a quick turnaround and I'm confident we can do that."
The Crows lost their first 13 games this year, but have won both matches since, and each in September, which would normally be finals, as coach Matthew Nicks lightheartedly lamented.
"It's a good feeling for our group to find a little bit of momentum and some belief and we're developing quickly, which is great," Nicks said.
"I'm pleased right across the board, but (with) the midfield especially – it gives you the opportunity to play the game on your terms.
"I could go through a lot of our guys tonight … but the most pleasing part is we have guys who know how we want to play and they know how we're going to get results – and they've bought into that, which is fantastic."
Nicks hailed best-on-ground midfielder Rory Laird, whose transformation from All-Australian defender into a clearance specialist has been key to Adelaide's late-season resurgence.
He also praised the Crouch brothers, particularly Matt, who was omitted after round three in one of the new coach's first statement moves, and forwards Shane McAdam, Elliott Himmelberg and Tyson Stengle.