Match Wraps

Crows Cruise in to Preliminary Final

By ZAC MILBANK

Adelaide ambushed a shell-shocked Norwood to engineer a commanding 62-point win in Sunday’s First Semi-Final at Adelaide Oval.

Still stinging from the Qualifying Final fade out against Port Adelaide, the Crows were simply irresistible as they banged on the opening six goals of the game.

It took just 33 seconds for classy first-year draftee Ned McHenry (in the clip below) to put through Adelaide’s first as they built genuine momentum in the first term.

McHenry had his second from a nice crumbing effort within three minutes before Elliot Himmelberg – reverting back to his usual role inside 50m with ruckmen Kieran Strachan and Paul Hunter back in the side – used his body well to take a strong chest mark at the top of the square.

And by the time Himmelberg had his second – after a pair of classy finishes from speedy development player James Mathews – the Crows had suddenly opened up a 35-point lead just 14 minutes after the first bounce.

On the statistics sheet, Heath Younie’s men had already opened up an 8-1 inside 50m, 29-9 kick and 16 to 1 marks advantage as they headed towards their first Preliminary Final since 2016.

Norwood – without star utility Lewis Johnston who was replaced by Mitch Wilkins as a late withdrawal – strung together its best passage of play for the first half to kick its first goal through Anthony Wilson 26 minutes into the opening quarter.

After being stagnant for the opening 25 minutes, the Redlegs moved the ball with precision and speed, thanks largely to Cameron Shenton, before Wilson finished nicely from 40m on a difficult angle.

But any confidence gained for Jarrod Cotton’s charges quickly evaporated after quarter-time, when Adelaide pumped through another three goals in succession to start the second term.

A soccer off the ground in the goal square from retiring 200-club member Brady Dawe gave Norwood its second major for the game 15 minutes into the second but two more to Jordan Gallucci and Shane McAdam had the margin nudging 10 goals for the Crows heading into the main change.

Dom Barry – coming off a game-breaking display in the Elimination Final – got himself into the game when he dodged around an opponent to kick Norwood’s first in the third term, only to have it cancelled out by Adelaide’s Tyson Stengle with a 20m snap just a minute later.

Then when Shane McAdam and the exciting Mathews – whose fourth goal was an eye-catching goal on the run after two bounces – kicked two more for Adelaide, any hope of a remarkable red and blue comeback had been snuffed out.

But any confidence gained for Jarrod Cotton’s charges quickly evaporated after quarter-time, when Adelaide pumped through another three goals in succession to start the second term.

A soccer off the ground in the goal square from retiring 200-club member Brady Dawe gave Norwood its second major for the game 15 minutes into the second but two more to Jordan Gallucci and Shane McAdam had the margin nudging 10 goals for the Crows heading into the main change.

Dom Barry – coming off a game-breaking display in the Elimination Final – got himself into the game when he dodged around an opponent to kick Norwood’s first in the third term, only to have it cancelled out by Adelaide’s Tyson Stengle with a 20m snap just a minute later.

Then when Shane McAdam and the exciting Mathews – whose fourth goal was an eye-catching goal on the run after two bounces – kicked two more for Adelaide, any hope of a remarkable red and blue comeback had been snuffed out.

Adelaide midfielder Patrick Wilson, curtailed to an extent in the Qualifying Final, performed strongly to finish with 27 disposals, 12 marks and six tackles while Myles Poholke was also influential with his 23 disposals and two goals.

But the continued impact of the Crows’ development players was significant, with Mathews booting his fantastic four majors, Jordan Boyle collecting .. as defensive pair Matt Merrett and Pierce Seymour also did their bit.

The Redlegs lack of speed – outside of Barry and Wilson – played a part in their demise as .Matt Panos and Declan Hamilton led the way on the stats sheet with 26 and 25 disposals respectively.

No doubt the Redlegs will look to address this during the off-season as their recruiting campaign kicks off in earnest.

 

ADELAIDE  6.2  11.5  16.9  21.13 (139)

NORWOOD  1.3  2.4  5.8  11.11 (77)

LEADING DISPOSALS -Adelaide: Wilson 27, Poholke 23, Boyle, Sholl 22, Stengle, Wright 19, Otten 18, Butts, Fogarty 17.

Norwood: Panos 26, Hamilton, J. Richards 25, McKenzie 24, Stephens 22, Gerloff, Grigg 20, Talia 19.

GOALS -Adelaide: Mathews, McHenry 4, McAdam 3, Himmelberg, Poholke, Stengle 2, Fogarty, Gallucci, Hunter, Strachan.

Norwood: Bampton, Dawe, Hamilton, Panos, A. Wilson 2, Barry.

UMPIRES – Thomas Bryce, Mitchell Harris, Andrew Crosby