Saints march on with easy win over Crows - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Saints march on with easy win over Crows

By Adam Cooper 19/07/2009 09:15:39 PM Comments (0)

Adelaide coach Neil Craig says the Crows must be bold to loosen the sort of choker hold St Kilda applied so vigorously at Etihad Stadium on Sunday night.

After matching the AFL ladder-leader for a quarter, the Crows were no match for the Saints, whose across-the-ground defence kept Adelaide to seven goals in a 57-point loss.

Adelaide's inability to break into their half was so pronounced in the second and third quarters that their combined entries into attacking 50 for those terms was a paltry 10 to St Kilda's 28.

Only St Kilda's easing off in the last quarter kept the 15.15 (105) to 7.6 (48) result from blowing out even further.

Adelaide have been more adventurous since round eight, when they were 12th, but Craig said this reality check - which snapped a seven-game winning streak and sent the Crows from fourth to sixth - set the benchmark even higher.

"It's good for our group to see there's another level out there, and the St Kilda players are not super-human, so that means we'll be aiming to get to that level," Craig said.

"Secondly, the capacity to pressure opposition - we think we're reasonably good, but we've seen another level.

"But the real issue for us is that we've got to learn to be bolder from an offensive point of view and not get stifled like we did tonight."

St Kilda's capacity to form a wall across the centre, where Brendon Goddard, Farren Ray and Jason Gram initiated waves of attacks, meant they constantly provided chances for Nick Riewoldt and Stephen Milne, who out-scored Adelaide between them with four goals apiece.

That domination forced Adelaide into survival mode for much of the second quarter, when they chipped the ball across the backline.

"There was a period there where we couldn't get out but they were still scoring and the scoreboard was starting to drift and drift and drift," Craig said.

"So we made the decision to try to get the ball in our hands for a period of time because we couldn't even get it to see what sort of football we were using, whether it was a Sherrin or a Faulkner."

When Adelaide did go forward, their targets struggled.

Kurt Tippett was well held by Zac Dawson and Chris Knights had little impact after his opening goal, whereas his opponent Steven Baker had 32 disposals and 13 marks.

Brett Burton was rusty and dropped marks in his first game since his knee reconstruction, but Craig said it was unfair to judge him on one game given the quality of the opponent.

Despite the thrashing, Craig was confident Adelaide were a better side than in round two, when St Kilda won by 32 points.

But he conceded the Crows had not much time to improve significantly given a tough run home, which continues with Sunday's clash against Port Adelaide.

"When you put yourself out there to want to be the best you're going to take some knocks, but our capacity to rebound very quickly because of the showdown coming up is going to be important for us," he said.

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