Sanderson wowed by Crows’ AFL ferocity
Adelaide coach Brenton Sanderson says Patrick Dangerfield will fill the highlight reels, but it is the AFL team’s collective ferocity that has delivered their brilliant season start.
The Crows continued their upward curve after belting reigning premiers Geelong by 50 points last round, Sunday’s 69-point Etihad Stadium thrashing of Carlton in some ways even better.
The 19.10 (124) to 8.7 (55) win was Adelaide’s fifth straight, lifting them to a 7-1 record and second spot on the ladder, only a small percentage gap behind West Coast.
It was their first win in Melbourne since 2009.
Explosive 22-year-old midfielder Dangerfield was outstanding with 35 disposals, including 19 contested possessions, along with eight clearances and two goals.
Veteran Scott Thompson was almost as good, with 30 touches, 11 clearances and a goal, while former Carlton ruckman Sam Jacobs provided his midfielders with first-class service.
After a tight first term, Adelaide powered away with 5.1 to 0.2 in the second, with Carlton’s only two scores for the quarter rushed behinds.
Sanderson admitted he and his colleagues were at times wowed by their players’ competitive zeal.
“A couple of times we just had to sit back and think ‘Have a look how hard they’re crashing into the contest,” he said.
“That wasn’t just one or two players, that was the whole 22.”
That ferocity was best exemplified by Dangerfield’s clash with Carlton’s Marc Murphy, battling for a ground ball in the second term, which forced the star Blue out of the game with an AC joint injury.
Dangerfield had showcased his potent mix of power and skill in the first quarter, when he wrenched the ball out of a forward line pack, spun and snapped truly, but Sanderson was keen to share the spotlight.
“Dangerfield’s the highlight reel, Dangerfield’s the one you see ripping a ball out of a stoppage and accelerating, but he’s getting some help from his teammates,” Sanderson said.
He cited skipper Nathan Van Berlo’s blanketing job on Murphy, who had just five touches before his injury.
Carlton coach Brett Ratten said Murphy could have done more to shake his tag.
But he said with Murphy seemingly set for a stint on the sidelines, some midfield teammates in a form slump needed to lift.
He noted Bryce Gibbs and Ed Curnow had a collective 20 fewer disposals by halftime than respective opponents Dangerfield and Thompson.
Ratten said the Crows worked harder, were more cohesive and were shaping as genuine premiership contenders.
“They’re right up there in that top four, five bracket,” he said.