A five-goal haul from Adelaide key forward Taylor Walker lifted his AFL side to a nail-biting upset five-point win over Sydney on at the SCG on Saturday night.
Lewis Jetta played his best game for the previously-unbeaten Swans, but couldn’t find a match-winner in the dying stages as his team staged an audacious late fightback without the services of co-captain Adam Goodes.
The Swans had another roll of the dice after a video review adjudged Crows veteran Graham Johncock’s apparent sealer had glanced the post, but the siren sounded while the Swans’ pushed the ball into their forward line.
The Crows held firm in a thrilling final term to record a 15.9 (99) to 14.10 (94) victory which entrenched them in the top four and showed just what’s possible under first-year coach Brenton Sanderson’s contested-ball mantra.
Walker kicked five goals straight, while the match was marred by an apparent injury to Goodes, who was substituted out in the final quarter when the game was in the balance.
The Swans held a seven-point lead at three-quarter-time, thanks largely to Goodes’ five goals from full-forward, after trailing for the majority of the game, but the visitors seized control of the contest in slick fashion.
Adelaide kicked the first four goals of the final quarter to race away to an 18-point lead, while a proppy Goodes was taken out of the game and handed the red vest.
Momentum looked to once again lie the way of Sanderson’s men, who had earlier stretched their buffer to 28 points in the second term before a Goodes-inspired fightback reduced their lead to just three at halftime.
But the Swans found something without their most influential player.
Ryan O’Keefe marked and kicked truly for his third, and Jetta (27 disposals) brought the crowd to their feet with a brilliant burst of pace while he skillfully tapped the ball to himself and split the middle with his shot.
Suddenly the Crows’ lead was just five points.
There were heroics at both ends of the ground as the two sides battled for a decisive goal, but none would be forthcoming.
Swans defender Nick Smith pounced on a loose ball to rush a behind, while Jetta found space in the forward line but couldn’t quite finish cleanly.
Again there was late drama at the other end, with the umpires going upstairs after Johncock had seemingly put his side beyond the reach of the Swans.
With 40 seconds left on the clock, the hosts rushed the ball to the other end of the ground, but it wasn’t to be.