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West Coast Eagles

Last time we met the Crows

Last time we met the Crows West Coast staged a dramatic second-half fightback to defeat Adelaide by 12 points in round 10

For 15 minutes in the second quarter it seemed as though the West Coast Eagles were in a little strife.

And when brilliant Crows small forward Eddie Betts grubbered a goal off the ground six minutes into the third term, the alarm bells were resonating.

The deficit for the Eagles had ballooned out to 33 points and the degree of difficulty in clawing their way back was growing exponentially.

It was going to need a lift from all players, but it had to start in the midfield.

As if recognising the responsibility was on their shoulders, the most dynamic of the players in the engine room found another gear.

The Eagles had been out-muscled around the ball for the period of time that saw a first quarter lead evaporate into a situation that required an urgent response.

The silky Luke Shuey, midfield beast Elliot Yeo, joint winners of the 2018 player of the finals, Jack Redden and Dom Sheed, as well as the indefatigable Andrew Gaff dug in and set the Eagles on the way to another stunning fightback.

After being dominated around the contests, West Coast started to impose themselves in that battle, and by game’s end had laid 100 tackles – Yeo (15), Redden (15) and Shuey (10) were responsible for 40 of those bone-jarring assaults upon which the revival was built.

All of those players also accumulated at least 27 possessions, most of them recovering after slow personal starts to impose themselves on the game.

Shuey and Yeo, both of whom had struck a rich vein of form, were most influential and by winning the ball around the contest that translated to more forward 50 entries. And with more football in the scoring zone, the potency of Josh Kennedy, Jack Darling and Jamie Cripps came into play.

The Eagles’ three most experienced forwards kicked nine goals between them, those majors evenly spread, as they ensured the Crows defence was constantly under pressure.

It also meant that when the football was heading in the other direction, the Crows forwards were denied clean entries.

And that brought the rebounding talents and intercept marking capacity of skipper Shannon Hurn and Jeremy McGovern into play. The overall picture was a remarkable transformation. The Eagles had undergone a makeover and improved their record to eight victories from 10 starts at Adelaide’s home of football.

In addition, Brad Sheppard, who had done an important shut-down job on Betts, continued his good work and Will Schofield, recalled to the team after missing the previous week with a rib injury, was the master of Crows skipper Taylor Walker.

The 12-point victory was one of the club’s best on the road in its history, eclipsed only in recent memory by the remarkable turn-around in the 2018 grand final against Collingwood and the revered comeback against Geelong at Kardinia Park, after trailing by nine goals in the third term.

With West Coast holding a four-point ladder advantage over the Crows, the win established an important two-win cushion between the clubs – the Eagles sitting in fifth position at the conclusion of the round and Adelaide in seventh spot.

Round 10 v Adelaide
Adelaide Oval

West Coast Eagles           3.3         3.4         8.6         13.7       85
Adelaide                           2.2         7.8         9.10       10.13    73

Goals – West Coast Eagles: Kennedy, Darling, Cripps 3; Sheed, Petruccelle, O Allen, Rioli.
Adelaide: Milera 3; Betts 2; Ellis-Yolman, Murphy, Seedsman, Atkins, Sloane.