Frustrated Port Adelaide coach Matthew Primus questioned the desire of some senior players after crashing to a 19-point AFL loss to bitter rivals Adelaide on Sunday.
Port led by three points at three quarter-time in the South Australian grudge match but the Crows steamed home to win 16.14 (110) to 14.7 (91).
Primus was alarmed at the final-term fade-out, putting the heat on some senior onballers.
“We have got some senior players that need to stand up, more so in the middle of the ground, and support each other a lot more,” he said.
“Have we got the quality of the very best teams? No … but we think we have got some quality in there.
“They just need to continue to develop – we use that as one angle.
“Another angle is they need to actually decide if they want to become bona fide AFL midfield players.”
Primus lamented Port again slipping from a winning position – a common theme in their four losses in five rounds.
“I don’t know if it’s a habit,” Primus said.
“But I think as every week goes on, the belief just drops that little bit more.”
Port were flattened before 41,649 spectators at AAMI Stadium by a six-goal haul to Crows forward Taylor Walker and standout displays from a trio of Adelaide midfielders.
Emerging star Patrick Dangerfield gathered 39 disposals, including 15 contested possessions, and 14 times propelled Adelaide inside their attacking 50 metre arc.
His midfield colleagues Scott Thompson (34 touches) and Rory Sloane (27 possessions, 15 contested) were also influential.
Port lost key forward Jay Schulz to an eye injury while his Crows counterpart Walker faces scrutiny for a slide into Power defender Jacob Surjan.
Walker kicked three goals in three minutes in a second quarter burst and capped his prominent display with two more in the final term to kill off Port.
“It was a great example of the spirit of the team at the moment, to be down at three quarter-time and just have that will to win,” Crows coach Brenton Sanderson said.
Adelaide captain Nathan van Berlo suffered a corked thigh while Jason Porplyzia (bruised back) was a late withdrawal and uncertain for next Saturday night’s away clash in Sydney.
Schulz will consult an eye specialist on Monday with coach Primus doubting the forward will front against Richmond at AAMI Stadium next Sunday.