ADELAIDE 3.0 8.1 11.2 17.4 (106)
RICHMOND 8.3 10.4 11.7 13.9 (87)
In a thrilling, see-sawing match, Adelaide have come from behind at AAMI stadium to fell the Richmond Tigers.
In front of a crowd of 33,780, the Crows were looking to bounce back from last week’s shock 32-point loss to North Melbourne at Etihad.
Richmond, meanwhile, were coming off a bye, and before that a close win over the amazingly accurate Greater Western Sydney. Their push for a top eight spot was hanging by a thread, and a shock win over Adelaide would have done wonders for their their confidence going into the final quarter of the season.
Being in front by 33 points at quarter time, it was all going to plan for Richmond. They were tackling harder, running faster and kicking straighter – you had to wonder whether the Crows had run out of steam after their rip-roaring start.
A spirited comeback, however, saw Adelaide and their coach, Brenton Sanderson, grinning when the final bell rang.
Taylor Walker lead the comeback as a brilliant focal point up forward, they kicked five goals to Richmond’s two in the second quarter, and it was clear to all that the Tigers had a fight on their hands.
The Crows’ momentum continued in the third, as they closed the margin to five points, both sides were tiring and it was clearly going to turn into a battle of attrition in the final stanza.
He’s not a popular figure at Footy Park but Neil Craig’s intensive fitness regime is paying dividends this season, with Sanderson’s side finding themselves able to turn over deficits through consistent midfield running.
The most fascinating aspect of the match may have been the ruck duel between the two in-form big-men of the competition.
Ivan Maric left Adelaide last season due to lack of opportunity and now finds himself a cult figure down at Richmond. The former Carlton ruck Sam Jacobs, who one senses would be doing wonders at the collapsing Blues at the minute, was the man who took Maric’s spot at Adelaide and looks a real bargain.
Maric ended up beating Jacobs narrowly in the hit-outs, 39-32, with Kurt Tippett and Brad Miller providing relief.
Jake King went off early with a serious looking knee problem to add to Richmond’s woes, while Nathan van Berlo was subbed at half time for Adelaide.
Scott Thompson starred for Adelaide with 32 touches, while Shane Tuck continued to make up for lost time with an impressive 31 disposals.
Dustin Martin was good through the midfield for Richmond, booting three goals, but it was Taylor Walker who proved the game-changer; kicking five to get his side over the line.
Unfortunately for Walker, a dangerous spear-like tackle on Steve Morris late in the game may see him heavily reprimanded – or let off completely judging by the AFL Match Review Panel’s bizarre interpretation of consistency. Jack Riewoldt and Kurt Tippett also managed three each.
In the end, Adelaide just had too much polish for a steadily improving Richmond side.
3-Dustin Martin (Richmond) continues to show his prowess, week by week, with his daring runs and accurate kicking. His 23 touches and three goals kept the Tigers in the game.
2-For what Taylor Walker (Adelaide) lacks in intelligence, he makes up for in sheer footballing brilliance and consistency. Plenty of X-Factor in a five-goal performance, though tackling was a low point. Should nickname him Mark Robinson (sorry Robbo, shameless plug).
1-Ivan Maric (Richmond) had 39 impressive hit-outs against opponent Sam Jacobs in an intriguing ruck contest. Who was better bang for their buck?
Adelaide: Walker 5, Tippett 3, Douglas 2, Knights 2, Porplyzia, 2, Sloane, Callinan, Mackay
Richmond: Riewoldt 3, Martin 3, Edwards 2, Nahas, Cotchin, Deledio, Connors, Grigg
Adelaide: Nathan van Berlo
Richmond: Jake King (knee)
Adelaide: Brodie Martin replaced Nathan van Berlo at half-time
Richmond: Daniel Connors replaced Jake King at half-time
Umpires: Ryan, Nicholls, McInerney
Official crowd: 33,780 at AAMI Stadium