ADELAIDE has downed Fremantle by 17 points in a hard-fought scrap to climb into the AFL’s top eight for the first time this season.
The Crows won 7.9 (51) to 5.4 (34) in a high-pressure battle on Sunday at Adelaide Oval.
Adelaide began the round in ninth spot but the gritty triumph lifts them to sixth, one rung below the Dockers.
Crows midfielder Matt Crouch (39 disposals), his brother Brad (31 possessions) and linkman Tom Lynch (29 touches, eight marks) were influential in Adelaide’s fourth win of the season.
Emerging ruckman Reilly O’Brien (44 hit-outs), Rory Sloane (33 touches) and defenders Rory Laird (32 disposals) and Brodie Smith were also prominent.
Fremantle slipped to their third loss despite standout displays from captain Nat Fyfe, who gathered 32 possessions, backman Luke Ryan (34 touches) and stalwart David Mundy (35 disposals).
And Docker Darcy Tucker (two goals) was the only multiple goalkicker in the tight tussle.
Fremantle led 2.2 to 1.3 at quarter-time before a bizarre second term when both sides couldn’t kick a goal.
The Crows kept Freo scoreless but managed just three behinds themselves in a quarter of ferocious intensity but little polish.
The Dockers held a two-point advantage at halftime before Crow Hugh Greenwood ended the goal drought in the eighth minute of the third term with a 55-metre bomb.
The goal gave Adelaide the lead for the first time but the plucky Dockers drew level before the Crows momentarily broke the shackles with three goals in seven minutes.
The mini-spree included a Lachlan Murphy goal in curious circumstances – he was lining up at goal some 30 metres out when Fremantle’s Brad Hill, standing the mark, threw a wad of turf at him and copped a 50-metre penalty.
The Crows were up 19 points at three quarter-time but Freo challenged with consecutive majors to sneak within six points midway through the final term.
But the Dockers again paid a heavy price for a discipline lapse when Tucker dropped the footy instead of returning it to Adelaide’s Alex Keath, who was awarded a 50m penalty and goaled.
Keath’s teammate Eddie Betts sealed the win five minutes later with an audacious snap from near the boundary line.
© AAP 2019
ADELAIDE 1.3 1.6 5.9 7.9 (51)
FREMANTLE 2.2 2.2 3.2 5.4 (34)
Goals: Adelaide: A Keath B Smith E Betts E Himmelberg H Greenwood L Murphy T Walker. Fremantle: D Tucker 2 B Hill M Taberner M Walters.
Best: Adelaide: B Crouch T Lynch B Smith R Laird R O’Brien R Sloane M Crouch. Fremantle: N Fyfe L Ryan D Mundy A Pearce E Langdon D Tucker.
Official Crowd: 42,383 at Adelaide Oval.