Craig refuses to write off Crows’ winless season
Adelaide coach Neil Craig has refused to write off the Crows’ winless AFL season after a 23-point loss to bitter rival Port Adelaide on Saturday.
Adelaide were steamrolled in the last quarter by Port, who came from seven points down at the final change to triumph 14.13 (97) to 10.14 (74) at AAMI Stadium.
Port, led by a five-goal haul from opportunist forward Robbie Gray, kicked six goals to one in the last stanza to claim victory.
The Power’s fast finish consigned the Crows to their worst start to an AFL season – six consecutive losses.
But Craig said despite finals being off the radar, he would not dump senior players with an eye to 2011.
“The year is very clear to me, it’s crystal clear,” Craig said.
“As a footy club we keep pushing really hard in every game that we play in – no backing off, every game counts and we just keep pushing really hard.
“We want extract the maximum performance we can out of the playing group that we have on a weekly basis.
“We owe that to our supporters, members … we owe that to them.
“If we drop off on that, what happens is everyone drops their standards because ‘oh well, 2010 is gone’.
“It’s a very dangerous situation to be in, and there won’t be any of that – standards will stay very high and we will keep pushing.”
Craig’s Crows appeared on the verge of a breakthrough triumph over Port after sterling efforts for three quarters resulted in their seven-point buffer entering the last term.
With forwards Jason Porplyzia and Kurt Tippett firing – each kicked three goals – the Crows put in their best performance of the year.
But then, the Crows, as Craig put it, “didn’t fire a shot in the last quarter in reality”.
With Power livewire Gray running rampant, Port crushed their crosstown rivals with a game defining blitz of four goals within nine minutes.
The triumph, Port’s third this season after trailing at three-quarter time, was created by Gray’s brilliance around goal and sterling onball efforts from the likes of captain Dom Cassisi, Kane Cornes and Travis Boak.
Port coach Mark Williams hailed the resilience and belief of his brigade as the Power notched their fourth win from six starts this season.
“We were hanging on by the skin of our teeth for a long time,” Williams said.
“It gives us the opportunity to keep working our way up the ladder and it makes it difficult for Adelaide, which is always good for us.”
Adelaide hosts fellow winless club Richmond next Sunday, while Port travels to Melbourne to meet Essendon next Saturday.© AAP 2013
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