BERNIE Vince would have been taken from Adelaide Oval on a stretcher if Saturday’s game has been played in the 1980s, Adelaide coach Phil Walsh says.
The Melbourne midfielder was a constant pest to Patrick Dangerfield throughout the Crows' 25-point win – holding, pushing and niggling the superstar in and behind play.
The former Crow was booed each time he won possession and his tactics resulted in an all-in scuffle at three-quarter time.
Walsh said Vince’s tactics weren’t tough and pointed to the mark taken by David Mackay where he ran back with the flight of the ball as an example of true toughness.
"I don't like referring back to when I played in the dark old days, but you'd never even think of doing that stuff because you would have went off the ground on a stretcher," Walsh said of Vince.
Five talking points: Adelaide v Melbourne
"That's not toughness, if you want toughness watch what David did today.
"That's why I think our team won the game in the end because we had guys who were prepared to do that.
"I was very happy that our guys stayed focused and we got the result."
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Melbourne coach Paul Roos' opinion of Vince's game was a stark contrast to Walsh’s.
"I thought he was really, really competitive today and it was a pretty significant role for us," Roos said.
"He stuck to his task all day and was a good contributor for us … Bern ended up with eight tackles and was right on him around the stoppages.
"I don't know what they were saying to him – maybe some old stories or something like that."
On Sunday, Dangerfield seemed to be over any frustrations with Vince, with Crows captain Taylor Walker posting a picture on Instagram showing the duo in good spirits.
Despite praising the hardness of Mackay, Walsh was disappointed with the Crows' attack on the football.
Rather than contested possession, Walsh focuses on 'ground ball differential' – the element of contested possession where a player puts his head over the ball and wins it.
The Demons led in that area early and kicked the opening three goals of the game.
Adelaide settled soon after, but Walsh blamed the slow start on Melbourne's superior desire.
"I actually thought they were tougher than us in that first quarter – I was really disappointed with that," he said.
"They got on top at centre bounces, I think the ground ball differential at quarter-time might have been plus-12 their way.
"The second quarter it was plus-two, so we responded, third quarter surprisingly enough was minus 13 and we were plus-11 at the end.
"So we won the tackles convincingly but now we've lost ground ball two weeks in a row so that's an area we're going to do a fair bit of work on this week."
Walsh rated next week's opponent the Western Bulldogs as a quality ground ball team and said the side would focus on that area of the game heavily this week.