1. It was a tough day in defence, particularly in the first quarter when the Crows were pumping the ball persistently into the forward 50. It was hard going for Tom Barrass and Co in the absence of Jeremy McGovern as Taylor Walker and Darcy Fogarty made the most of the silver service. Barrass ended up having an intriguing battle with Walker, who kicked three goals.
2. Having gone to Adelaide Oval in the hope of building on a good record at the ground it was heart wrenching to lose by 31 points. Most of the damage was done in the opening term when the Crows midfield dominated. Matt Crouch and Ben Keays were particularly prominent around the stoppages and the Eagles prime movers were finding it a challenge to get their share of the ball.
3. After conceding a 31-point advantage at the first change, the Eagles’ senior players in the midfield started to exert an influence. Most satisfying was the form shown by captain Luke Shuey and wingman Andrew Gaff. Prime movers in the midfield for more than a decade, they had 27 and 30 possessions respectively and are showing the benefits of getting some match continuity having now played three games in succession.
4. As one would expect a tighter game was reflected in tighter counts in some key areas. The inside 50 comparison was much closer at 44-59 than some recent games, the tackle numbers were 74-75, contested possessions 127-153 and clearances sat at 34-37. The Eagles also out-scored the Crows in two quarters. They are improvements but the challenge is to ensure that the upward trend continues after this week’s bye.
5. Another of the Eagles’ senior players who is starting to find some touch is key forward Jack Darling. After a solid game against the Bulldogs last week, he was the only multiple goal-kicker for his club in this match. His two goals coming from 15 possessions, four marks and three tackles where he is starting to show signs of having his mojo back.