Adelaide have surged into the AFL’s top eight with an 105-point humiliation of Brisbane Lions – their worst-ever loss at the Gabba.
Tom Lynch was cleared of a spinal injury but Adelaide have lost rebounding defender Andy Otten for their reinvigorated finals charge in a dramatic cakewalk at the Gabba.
The Crows surged into the AFL’s top eight with their impressive 105-point humiliation of the Brisbane Lions on Sunday which also revived hopes of a home elimination final.
Coach Brenton Sanderson beamed with pride as his team overcame the second-quarter losses of Lynch and Otten on a warm day to deliver the Lions’ worst-ever loss at the Gabba.
Although they led by 44 points at halftime, Sanderson was worried his side would be reeled in but it was Brisbane who wilted in front of a disappointed crowd of 19,657.
While more concern was shown for Lynch when play stopped for six minutes after he ducked his head into Justin Clarke’s hip, the key forward only has a jarred neck and is a chance of playing Richmond on Saturday.
In contrast, the versatile Otten may require a second knee reconstruction after appearing to rupture his anterior cruciate ligament in landing awkwardly from a marking contest.
Even with Patrick Dangerfield troubled by his knee problem, the Crows completely dominated the second half with Taylor Walker bagging six goals.
“I know we often play a straight bat with good wins, but I’m so proud of our players today,” said Sanderson. “That’s one of the youngest Crows teams that’s ever played.”
The 25.18 (168) to 9.9 (63) victory means they leapfrog both Essendon and Gold Coast on the AFL ladder, thanks to their healthy percentage of 112 per cent.
Adelaide’s midfield, outplayed by West Coast in last week’s upset loss and without Scott Thompson (hamstring), were dominant after the home side made a sparkling start to kick three of the first four goals.
It was ruckman Sam Jacobs who quickly got them on top by dominating the stoppages against Stef Martin while Rory Sloane (28 disposals and two goals) was integral to their charge.
Walker and Eddie Betts (three goals and four assists) were constant thorns in the side of the Lions, delivering a sobering reality check to their rising defensive brigade.
“We were bullied today,” Brisbane coach Justin Leppitsch lamented. “Around the stoppages we got completely killed.”
Sanderson admitted Dangerfield was in some doubt for the big clash with Richmond after hurting his knee in the third term, as much due to his own white-line fever.
“He just can’t get through a game, the poor bugger, he gets banged up,” he said. “We sent him back on the ground (in the final term) and told him just to play wing and forward, and he still found a way to get into contested situations.
“Even when we were 90 points up he was still driving through the contest, taking players with him left right and centre.”