Crows surge on with big win over Bombers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Crows surge on with big win over Bombers

By Sam Lienert 16/08/2008 07:35:50 PM Comments (0)

Adelaide again refused to let an injury-depleted forward line stop their march towards the AFL finals as unheralded Nick Gill booted five goals in a 56-point thrashing of Essendon at Telstra Dome.

The victory was set up by a barrage of 10 goals to one from 17 minutes into the second term until the same stage of the third, taking the score from level terms to a 55-point Crows' lead in the space of a quarter.

Remarkably, the 19.15 (129) to 10.13 (73) win was the first over Essendon in Melbourne in the Crows' history.

Their 12th win for the season was enough to sew up a finals berth and their fourth victory in succession continues their building form, after last round's 63-point pounding of Richmond

It demonstrates impressive resilience by the Crows, given the constant depletion of their attack.

Having lost last year's leading goal-kicker Scott Welsh to the Western Bulldogs in the off-season plus the loss of key forward Trent Hentschel to injury, they have more recently lost this year's leading goal-kickers Brett Burton (knee) and Jason Porplyzia (brain bruising).

Coach Neil Craig admitted even he was surprised by the ability of his attack to continue producing winning scores.

"Burton and Porplyzia, even with those guys we were still under pressure, I guess, with our forward line, but Gill's doing a very good job, he's working hard," Craig said.

"A couple of weeks ago we had our ruckmen kick six, Simon Goodwin continues to cause opposition some problems down there.

"I think what you've seen in the last two weeks is the capacity to share that, 10 and 12 (goal-kickers) in the last two weeks is really important for us."

Gill's five goals was easily the biggest haul of his career, never having kicked more than two before, with Saturday's game the 13th of his career and sixth of the season.

The 25-year-old had previously had stints on the lists of Melbourne and North Melbourne without notching a game, and has struggled with soft tissue injuries since being picked up by the Crows ahead of last season.

But he was extremely impressive on Saturday, with 22 disposals and 11 marks, showing ability in contested marking situations and on the lead, as well as quick recovery at ground level.

The one query over his game was his kicking, missing some simple set shots, while even two of his goals were lucky to go through, a scrappy snap which floated through in the third term and a last-quarter shot which turned sharply to bounce through the open goal-mouth.

"He's now got some consistency and just touch wood he can remain pretty sound," Craig said of Gill's previous injury troubles.

"His workload and competitiveness are the outstanding features.

"Every now and then he misses one that he should kick and then he kicks that one that he shouldn't kick, so it's pretty even."

But the most telling area of dominance for Adelaide was in the midfield.

They were well served by the hard work of Nathan Van Berlo, Scott Thompson, Brad Symes, Michael Doughty, Tyson Edwards and Brent Reilly, who ensured their forwards had plenty of quality supply.

Essendon coach Matthew Knights conceded his team was not up to scratch in the ground level contests.

"It's one of those areas that for eight or 10 weeks we've been really strong on and really punching out good numbers, so again we have to get back to doing a few of those little things well," Knights said.

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