Eddie Betts may well have kicked the goal of the year as the Crows beat the Giants. (Getty Images: Morne de Klerk)
The Adelaide Crows have halted GWS’s momentum with a blistering second-half display that secured a 22-point win and left the Giants reeling.
The Giants had been the league’s form team coming into the match after a streak of six wins, but they were second best to the Crows for much of the night.
Only wayward kicking kept the visitors in the contest for the first half, but what was a two-point deficit at half-time quickly blew out with Adelaide earning a 15.17 (107) to 13.7 (85) win.
Adelaide’s third quarter was its best since 2001, as the goals flew in from all angles and the Giants found themselves completely helpless.
But, impressively, the Giants rallied with a spirited fight back in the last quarter, but it proved too little, too late.
The midfield load was well shared by Adelaide, but it was up forward where the magic happened, and never more so than when Eddie Betts went to work late in the third quarter.
With the ball creeping towards the boundary line and with the closest players happy to let it harmlessly roll out, Betts pounced to seize possession and somehow keep the ball in play.
With his arm still outstretched and the boundary line lurking, Betts evaded a tackler, cut inside and snapped what may well end up the goal of the year – from the same pocket he slotted last year’s winner.
As one of the league’s most sensational Indigenous players, there was little doubt Betts would step up in Indigenous round and so it proved, with the little genius kicking five goals and making the most of an often-open Crows forward line.
Captain Taylor Walker was just as good, rubbishing any suggestions his form had slipped this season by banging home five of his own and leading from the front impressively.
Giants coach Leon Cameron frequently looked frustrated in the box as his side played well below its best, but he will likely be pleased with the timing of what will surely serve as more of a wake-up call for the club than the beginning of any sort of slide.
For the Crows, the top eight and maybe the top four remains the goal, with this win another sign the team is on the rise.
Trent Cotchin and his midfield team-mates dominated against Essendon. (Getty Images: Michael Dodge)
Meanwhile, Richmond’s AFL season continues to gain momentum, with the Tigers defeating Essendon by 38 points in their Dreamtime at the ‘G clash for their third win in a row.
Led by a standout performance by Dustin Martin on Saturday night, Richmond improved to a 4-6 win-loss record with a workmanlike 16.9 (105) to 10.7 (67) victory in front of 56,948 fans at the MCG.
Martin continued his stunning run of form with a career-high 38 possessions, while Trent Cotchin, Brett Deledio, Brandon Ellis and Shaun Grigg were influential.
After leading by 16 points at half-time, the Tigers played some breathtaking football as they leapt out to a 36-point advantage.
But John Worsfold will have plenty of positives to point out to his players, perhaps most notably the way they fought out the game.
Brendon Goddard and David Zaharakis led the way for Essendon and youngster Darcy Parish continued to excite thanks to his eye-catching 25-disposal effort.