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Crow Call with Tom Staggard

Crow Call: Adelaide v Essendon

Another second half fade out saw Adelaide’s top four hopes fade away as it went down to a fast finishing Essendon at Adelaide Oval.

Josh Jenkins put it best when he was interviewed on the ground going into half time on Friday night.

“We’ve had 17 scoring shots against an in-form side, if we keep that up we should be able to get the win,” he said.

Unfortunately, the Crows couldn’t keep that up.

In fact, they were utterly insipid in the second half and saw an undermanned Bombers side completely run over the top of them.

It slowly is becoming the same old story and you can’t win games of football against top class opposition if you only show up for one half.

The third quarter fade out felt exactly the same as the Showdown and fans very quickly turned on the side.

PHOTO: Adelaide Football Club

I feel like a broken record saying this, but once again the Crows were absolutely trounced by a top-tier opposition midfielder.

Zach Merrett ran rings around the Adelaide midfield in the second half and was easily the best player on the park.

We were once again treated to Adelaide’s inability to shut down a midfielder running hot.

Merrett finished with 31 possessions and kicked 2.3 for the game, including an incredibly solo goal to ice the game late.

There was some fantastic signs early but those were quickly forgotten following the horrendous second half.

Fans were brutal on social media after the game with many calling for Don Pyke’s head.

While I can understand the frustration, I don’t think a coaching change is the answer.

But what I do know is Adelaide are now in a fight for its life in season 2019 as finals are no longer the forgone conclusion it once was.

The good

ROB re-signs

PHOTO: Adelaide Football Club

While there wasn’t much good on the night, the new about Reilly O’Brien re-signing for a further two years was a welcome boost.

You can pretty much rule out Adelaide being in the running for Collingwood’s Brodie Grundy with this move.

I don’t think the bigwigs at the Crows would fork out money on ROB, nor would ROB be interested in re-upping if either side had an inkling that Grundy was coming.

ROB celebrated his new deal with an absolutely dominant performance and has cemented himself as the Adelaide #1.

Sam Jacobs won’t play again this season unless O’Brien gets injured and that’s a fact.

Brodie Smith

He’s been a fantastic servant of the club but this was probably the best game I’ve seen Brodie Smith play.

The running defender was thrown into the midfield and up forward and finished with Nat Fyfe-like numbers of 31 disposals and three goals.

I still don’t think Don Pyke has found the right balance of where to play Smith, Rory Laird, Wayne Milera and Paul Seedsman when they’re all in the team, but this was a fantastic display from Smith.

Brad Crouch

Yet another dominant display from the older Crouch brother who picked up a lazy 35 possessions and battled hard all game.

He’s been one of Adelaide’s most consistent performers this season and would have to be the favourite to take out Adelaide’s best and fairest.

To battle back from injuries and put together the year he has is a credit to the character of the bloke and I suggest he’ll be rewarded come season’s end.

Luke Brown’s job on Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti

It all means nothing because the Crows didn’t get the win, but Luke Brown destroyed McDonald-Tipungwuti in this one.

‘Tippa’ has been one of the most dangerous small forwards in the competition this year, evidenced by his match-winning goal against North Melbourne last week.

Luke Brown consistently gets the job on the opposition’s best small forward and consistently gets the win.

A supremely underrated player.

The bad

The second half

God there is just so much bad.

The entire second half was horrendous and when you send your fans home feeling like they’ve wasted their Friday night, you know something is up.

Second rate Essendon players made the Crows look like witches hats and this led to the enormous comeback.

The entire forward unit couldn’t get their hands on the ball and the Bombers ran rampant.

Eddie Betts

This kills me to say but for too often this season Eddie Betts has been missing in action.

The 300-game superstar finished with nine possessions and just one solitary behind to his name.

Sure, he kicked six last week against the Gold Coast but this is just another game where Betts had little to no impact.

If you take out his two six-goal performances against the hapless Suns, Betts only has 20 goals on the season.

While granted Betts does lead the Crows in goal assists, it is still not pretty viewing.

The inability to stick a tackle

How many times did an Essendon player burst through a tackle, leaving a Crows player in their wake?

Too many.

My ultimate pet hate.

The ugly

Fights in the crowd

I can’t believe I have to say this but fighting in the crowd? Come on.

Such ridiculous and barbaric behaviour by some sections of fans ruin it for everyone.

If you feel the need to lay a hand on another fan at a football game then do me a favour and don’t bother coming next week.

Absolute imbeciles.

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Tom grew up in Adelaide’s northern suburbs and is our resident North American sports expert. Tom has experience as a working journalist and has a keen interest in basketball, ice hockey and American football, as well as cricket, soccer and football. He spent his junior cricket career at East Torrens District and has played for a number of football clubs across Adelaide’s north.