Crows midfield dominates

Crows midfield dominates

ADELAIDE’S midfield brigade have powered the Crows to an 18-point victory over GWS in Canberra, capping off an undefeated AFL pre-season campaign.

The 2017 grand finalists took control of Friday night’s hit-out at Manuka Oval in the second quarter after scores had been level at the first change, cantering to a 10.15 (75) to 7.15 (57) win.

After a promising start, the Giants failed to kick a goal during the second and third quarters, as Adelaide tuned up for their round-one game against Hawthorn with ease.

The Crows took the foot off the pedal in the final term after leading by 37 points at three-quarter time, with the Giants putting respect back on the scoreboard.

The result was in large part due to the performances of Crows co-captain Rory Sloane (28 touches, one goal) and onballer Brad Couch (31 possessions), who both endured injury-riddled 2018 seasons.

Crouch didn’t play a game last year as he battled ongoing groin problems, but he put together another sparking display after his first-up effort last week against Port Adelaide.

His younger brother Matt was the pick of the bunch, gathering 38 disposals, with a fit midfield going a long way towards the Crows returning to the top eight after slumping last year to 12th.

Crows coach Don Pyke said the club just wanted to see Brad Crouch stay fit and the rest would take care of itself.

“He was disappointed to not play any footy last year so it’s just great to see him back out there,” Pyke told reporters after the game.

“The expectations for Brad is just keep our fingers crossed for his continuity.”

Josh Jenkins and Chayce Jones kicked two majors each for Adelaide, while star small forward Eddie Betts provided a trademark highlight with a spectacular soccer goal off the side of his boot.

The Giants were led superbly by ace midfielder Stephen Coniglio (37 possessions), former No.1 draft pick Lachie Whitfield and Daniel Lloyd (two goals).

The Giants gave Toby Greene his first start of the pre-season after November ankle surgery and the small forward was his lively self in the first half with a stunning kung-fu style goal.

“He’d (Greene) be the first to admit his touch was slightly off but that’s what happens when you haven’t played footy for a while,” Giants assistant coach Matthew Nicks said.

“But we’ll have an intra-club hit-out next Saturday and he’ll play close to a full game in that.”

Both teams came through the game unscathed on the injury-front, with the Giants preparing to clash with Essendon in Round 1.

© AAP 2019