Crows suffer more pain from Magpies - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Crows suffer more pain from Magpies

By Adam Cooper 12/09/2009 11:22:54 PM Comments (0)

For all the progress Adelaide made in 2009, the result was the same as a year ago - elimination from the AFL finals by Collingwood.

And this time it hurt more.

The Crows led by 31 points during the second quarter of Saturday night's semi-final at the MCG after a barnstorming start, and Collingwood looked wilted in what was a stifling night for September.

But the Magpies' improbable and ultimately remarkable comeback produced a 12.11 (83) to 11.12 (78) boilover.

Kurt Tippett put the Crows in front with a monster goal with about one minute left, only for Collingwood's John Anthony to peg back the lead inside the last 20 seconds.

While the pain of this defeat will burn for some time - virtually all of the Crows slumped to their knees after the final siren - Adelaide are all too familiar at being upstaged by Collingwood in crunch games.

Last year the Magpies put the Crows out in week one of the finals, despite Adelaide leading at half-time, and the 2002 preliminary final went a similar way.

Adelaide coach Neil Craig said before this finals campaign it was up to his players to avenge their disappointments in recent finals series.

They did last week, when they obliterated Essendon by 96 points and posted their first victory in a final since 2006.

But that smashing, and the two big wins preceding that result, over West Coast and Carlton, proved false form, as the Crows were a different side when things were not going their way.

In the third quarter, their run of the first half dried to a trot, they missed passes, lacked imagination and watched helplessly as their lead whittled away.

Craig read the riot act at three-quarter time, and Adelaide responded with the first three goals of the last term, for a seven-point lead.

But Collingwood kept coming, and found majors from unlikely sources - fourth-gamer Brent Macaffer, Leigh Brown and Anthony, the latter two who had quiet night to that point.

Neither Collingwood or Adelaide deserved to go out on Saturday night's superb game, especially after such stand-out seasons.

But in such an even year several sides will be ruing missed opportunities in a fortnight, and for all of Adelaide's gain this season - match-winners unearthed, more goal kicking avenues, a better style of play - they will again gnash their teeth at the sight of those in black and white.

This was Adelaide's eighth finals series in the past nine seasons and Craig conceded the question mark remained over their ability to win post-season games.

"To win it you've got to get in there, so we're fulfilling that part of our bargain," he said of his club's fifth-straight finals berth.

"On the other aspect, we've got some work to do.

"We're open to criticism, we understand that, but we're not backing off.

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