ADELAIDE'S star signing Bryce Gibbs made an instant impact at his new club to lead the Crows to a thrilling 10-point victory against Fremantle in their JLT Community Series encounter at Strathalbyn Oval on Sunday.
Gibbs was outstanding in his first game for a Crows side missing 10 first-choice players, racking up 27 possessions to go with a sensational goal from a snap in the left pocket, while Dockers skipper Nat Fyfe was in fine form for his side.
The 28-year-old showed class and poise at stoppages and hit up targets by foot, showing he's going to be a great addition after coming across from Carlton on a four-year deal.
The Crows kicked late goals through Lachlan Murphy, acting captain Tom Lynch and Cam Ellis-Yolmen to get home 13.13 (91) to 12.9 (81) after the Dockers fought back from a 29-point half-time deficit to lead by nine points deep into the last term.
"We were working mainly on our method and opportunity for our young guys," Crows coach Don Pyke said.
"Mid-way through the third quarter, we lost a fair bit of control of the game around the contest, which to the players' credit, with five minutes to go, they found a way.
"Winning wasn't the be all and end all today, but it's always nice to come out on the positive side of the ledger."
Fremantle captain Fyfe (27 disposals, two goals) was outstanding through the midfield while also looking dangerous in attack.
Matt Taberner booted three goals for the Dockers and last year's No.2 NAB AFL Draft pick Andrew Brayshaw pressed his claims for a round one debut.
Defender Alex Pearce made a successful return in his first game in 21 months since a badly broken leg and won his battle with Crows forward Josh Jenkins.
"We've got a fair way to go," Dockers coach Ross Lyon said.
"They had four or five of their best players out, but for us, we understand we're transitioning.
"We want to play a more combative brand, but there was a bit to like and lots of learnings."
Reigning Crows club champion Matt Crouch continued on from his All Australian form of last year with 36 disposals, dominating stoppages and flicking the ball out to his outside runners, while link-up forward Lynch worked hard both ways.
Murphy was the Crows' leading goal-kicker with three majors.
The Dockers fielded almost a full-strength side, while Adelaide rested big guns Rory Sloane and Eddie Betts, while Daniel Talia was ruled out after rolling his ankle at training last Thursday, allowing Darcy Fogarty, last year's No.12 overall pick, made his debut.
Fogarty had limited game time, but kicked a nice goal in the third term and crashed into packs.
Dockers defender Cam Sutcliffe left the game in the third quarter with blurred vision after a head knock.
WHAT WE LEARNED
Adelaide: Link-up forward Tom Lynch will have boosted his market value. Lynch works hard both ways and is often under-rated among those outside the club. Bryce Gibbs is a brilliant addition to the midfield. His decision making is elite as are his skills by foot. The Crows looked very handy despite missing 10 first-choice players.
Fremantle: Dockers skipper Nat Fyfe carries a large weight on his shoulders. He's brilliant in the midfield, but will also be damaging playing deep in attack. No.2 overall draft pick Andrew Brayshaw looks like an absolute gem. He's ready-made for the elite level. Defensively, the Dockers look to still to have holes in their game. They also missed targets by foot and were killed on turnovers.
Adelaide: Bryce Gibbs was outstanding in his first appearance for the Crows after 231 games for Carlton. Darcy Fogarty – the No.12 pick in last year's draft – had limited game time in the first half, but took a nice grab and booted a goal with his first kick in the third term. Lachlan Murphy made the most of his opportunity, snagging three goals and giving coach Don Pyke something to think about with his excellent forward pressure. Experienced recruit Sam Gibson was quiet on the wing. Tom Doedee, a first-round pick in 2015, was impressive in defence as he aims to take over the role Jake Lever played. Matt Signorello and Paul Hunter didn't have much game time.
Fremantle: Andrew Brayshaw looks like he's ready-made for the elite level. He moved beautifully across the ground and showed smart instincts around the packs. Nathan Wilson was solid across half-back, but forward Brandon Matera was quiet, finishing with just six disposals. Inside midfielder Bailey Banfield did some nice work and kicked a couple goals. Stefan Giro had just four disposals in limited game time, while project ruckman Lloyd Meek got a taste of the elite level.
The Crows take on Port Adelaide at Alberton Oval on Saturday, March 10, 3.35pm (ACST), while the Dockers round out their pre-season campaign against West Coast at HBF Arena in Joondalup on Sunday, March 11, 4.05pm (AWST).
Adelaide: Murphy 3, Atkins 2, McGovern 2, Lynch 2, Dear, Gibbs, Fogarty, Ellis-Yolmen
Fremantle: Taberner 3, Banfield 2, Fyfe 2, Neale, Langdon, Banfield, Ballantyne, McCarthy, Walters
Adelaide: Gibbs, M.Crouch, Lynch, Laird, Doedee, Hampton
Fremantle: Fyfe, Neale, Taberner, Mundy, A.Pearce, Walters
Adelaide: Daniel Talia (ankle) replaced in selected side by Darcy Fogarty
Fremantle: Sutcliffe (head knock)
Umpires: H.Gavine, N.Williamson, C.Fleer, A.Gianagna
Official crowd: 6398 at Strathalbyn Oval