High flying Crows no longer under radar - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

High flying Crows no longer under radar

By Laine Clark 05/07/2009 12:54:33 PM Comments (0)

Six straight wins have ensured the Adelaide Crows can no longer fly under the AFL radar - but usually low key coach Neil Craig wouldn't have it any other way.

Adelaide had quietly gone about rejuvenating their season which at one stage teetered at 3-5 following a six-goal loss to the Brisbane Lions - their fourth defeat in five games.

The Crows have not looked back since the Gabba defeat, racking up their best winning run since 2006 following their 17-point victory over a fast finishing Richmond at the Gold Coast on Saturday night.

Adelaide suddenly find themselves in the top five - and well and truly in the AFL limelight.

In contrast to the forlorn figure he cut following their loss to the Lions in May, a buoyant Craig urged his team to lap up the inevitable attention after the Gold Coast victory.

"We welcome it because we want to be the best in the competition," he said.

"And the better you get, the more expectation and focus is put on you - and you have to be able to handle it.

"We don't want to shy away from it. We need to embrace it and get good at handling it."

They are on track for a top four finish but Craig said they would need 13 wins just to guarantee finals football.

"We won't be in denial because in the end if you win six in a row you're playing reasonable football," he said of his side.

"But our first challenge is to win enough to get in the top eight.

"And I think we need a minimum of 12, possibly 13 (wins, to make the top eight) the way it's shaping up."

Gold Coast product Kurt Tippett had a happy homecoming, booting five goals for Adelaide.

They proved crucial as Richmond trailed by 46 points early in the fourth before reducing the deficit to just a couple of kicks at the death.

While happy with Tippett, Craig was more pleased with how his entire forward line was faring.

"Our forward line in general is starting to take some shape compared to the past," he said.

"We've got (Jason) Porplyzia up there, we've got (Chris) Knights, you got Tippett, you got (Scott) Stevens, you got (Patrick) Dangerfield.

"It's been good because we've been sharing the workload.

"For three or four weeks there it was Knights with four goals, five goals.

"Knights gets a heavy tag last week and Porplyzia bobs up with four.

"Both those guys get a heavy tag (on Saturday night) and Tippett bobs up with five."

In another boost, Craig also has the luxury of easing back champion skipper Simon Goodwin and key forward Brett Burton back into AFL action.

Goodwin has been stranded on 249 games as he recuperates from a frustrating knee injury.

And "Birdman" Burton ran out in the SANFL on the weekend after an 11-month rehabilitation from knee surgery.

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