Courageous Crows beat Port in epic - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Courageous Crows beat Port in epic

By Daniel Brettig 06/04/2008 08:59:22 PM Comments (0)

Bruised, battered and knocked senseless in some cases, Adelaide somehow emerged victorious by six points over Port Adelaide in an epic AFL showdown at AAMI Stadium.

In a match played with remarkable pace and considerable brutality, the Crows were fought to a standstill by a Power side hellbent on a win after their poor start to the season, but in the end it was Adelaide left standing, 12.13 (85) to 11.13 (79).

The Crows lost two players, Nathan Bassett and Luke Jericho, to head high contact in a wild second term, and Port's Matt Thomas was reported for his dangerous tackle on Bassett.

Kris Massie (hamstring), Jason Porplyzia (shoulder), Jon Griffin and Bernie Vince (both knocks) were also injured at various times and the Crows' courage to go on and win was a tremendous filip for coach Neil Craig.

"In the end the thing that's ticked off, is just the courage of our group, it was a tough game of footy for the whole night," Craig said.

"The way it unfolded made it extra difficult, a lot of the things we were trying to do going into the game were dismantled because we didn't have the personnel to try it and that's more credit to the playing group."

Vince typified this by re-emerging after his knock to win the best afield honours, while Simon Goodwin (three goals), Tyson Edwards, Graham Johncock and Richard Douglas (three goals) were also important.

Chad Cornes and Peter Burgoyne were outstanding for Port while Shaun Burgoyne finished with four goals.

Looking for a willing reaction after the ridicule poured on his players after a limp-wristed loss to Sydney, Power coach Mark Williams got precisely that.

Port won their fair share of contested ball and did not shirk the physical issue at any stage, at the same time successfully limiting Adelaide's attack in a low scoring opening that left scores tied.

The intensity evident in the first was to be ramped up even further in the second.

A terrific steal and goal by Cornes from a Crows kick-in was followed by a Daniel Motlop major to give Port a two goal lead and Adelaide battled hard to pull back the margin as the match entered war zone territory in time on.

First Bassett was knocked out cold when thrown forward by an overzealous Thomas tackle and there was a five-minute delay as the motorised stretcher was required.

Vince's goal from the subsequent downfield free appeared to settle things down, but minutes later Brogan's high bump on Jericho left Adelaide two men down and a predominantly Crows crowd baying for blood.

By halftime Adelaide had pinched the narrowest of leads and Jericho emerged after the break to take a spot on the Crows bench.

Porplyzia, Griffin and Massie were also off injured for Adelaide at various stages of term three and the casualty toll made it all the more improbable that 21 minutes in they pushed out to a three-goal lead.

A pair of fine late finishes to Shaun Burgoyne and Cornes closed it up again and five points was not much of a last-change lead to defend with numerous wounded combatants.

Summoning one final effort, the Crows managed to find Douglas, Goodwin, Brett Burton and Griffin for four of the first five goals and a 22 point buffer.

But Burgoyne's poise up forward cut that by half and Daniel Motlop's late conversion made for a nerve-wracking final three minutes as Adelaide hung on.

"One week we get told off for not doing bumps the next week we get told off for doing too many," Williams said of the physical nature of the contest.

"As far as I was concerned it was terrific footy."

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