Adelaide vs Fremantle: AFL Finals live scores, blog
Ben Rutten of the Crows during the AFL 2nd Qualifying Final match between the Adelaide Crows and the Sydney Swans at AAMI Stadium, Adelaide. (Photo: AFL Media)
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A spot in a Preliminary Final is up for grabs for one, while the other has to wait another year for a crack at the title – the Adelaide Crows host Fremantle at AAMI Stadium in the Second Semi Final. We’ll have live coverage including commentary from 8:45pm AEST (8:15pm local time).
When you think back to the first time these two sides met this season, it would have been tough to believe that they would meet in the finals later in the year.
Adelaide definitely seemed set for September. But while they were at 50 per cent after the game, the Dockers seemed to be crashing further and further into despair, losing their third straight match.
Fremantle has been able to resurrect its season with an incredible second half and now they come into tonight’s match as a serious threat.
The talk surrounding the Adelaide Crows last week was whether the cruisy run into the finals was going to be a positive or negative for them against Sydney.
The result definitely didn’t go their way as they were inefficient and scrappy around the ground. Despite having plenty of the ball inside their forward half, the forward line didn’t function all that well.
But here in lies a positive. If Adelaide can improve their effectiveness with the ball and take a couple of extra marks inside the forward 50, all of a sudden they look a little more competitive and dangerous.
One player they will miss this weekend is their Rising Star, Daniel Talia. In the latter stages of the loss to Sydney last week, an innocuous incident left him with a broken arm that sees him out for the rest of the finals series.
That leaves the question of who marks Fremantle’s danger man Matthew Pavlich? Luke Thompson has been the straight swap for Talia, but they may decide to swing Ben Rutten onto him throughout the game, depending on other matchups.
Crows coach Brenton Sanderson says the side will be a lot calmer after last week’s final, with nearly half the side playing in their first post-season match.
On the other side of the ledger, Fremantle shocked many with the way they started against Geelong in their elimination final.
It was remarkable to say the least.
All the focus was on Pavlich, as he went on to kick six goals, which took him to 57 goals since that first meeting with the Crows back in round ten.
But it wasn’t just the goal kicking that shone. It was also the defensive effort around the ground, not just in the back half, that was a massive plus for the Dockers.
For Ross Lyon, it’s a non-negotiable. And it’s a part of the game that will need to lift further to help get over the line tonight.
In Round 10, Fremantle gave up 17 goals. In Round 20, Fremantle gave up 17 goals.
But knowing John Longmire (Sydney’s coach) and Lyon both come from the same school of Paul Roos, you feel the same strangulation applied to the Crows last week might be on the way.
The lockdown role of Ryan Crowley must go well. He’ll likely take the match up on Patrick Dangerfield – the most lethal of the Adelaide midfielders. While Scott Thompson gets a lot of the football, it doesn’t have the same efficiency than Dangerfield’s.
Another positive for Fremantle is having Aaron Sandilands in the lineup.
A few weeks ago, I thought the Dockers were a better team without him as things were looking good with Jon Griffin and Zach Clarke tag-teaming. I was wrong.
Sandilands has returned well, but so too has the workrate of his fellow midfielders to get his hitouts.
Clarke actually returns to the side this week, replacing Kepler Bradley – a structural change more than anything.
You just know this game will go down to the wire. Fremantle one of the most in-form sides in the competition in the past two months, while Adelaide has done what West Coast were able to do last year – to come from near the foot of the table to be a serious contender.
The winner will take on Hawthorn next Saturday twilight at the MCG in the Preliminary Final.
Tonight, one story comes to an end. The other has a new chapter ready to be written in what could only be described as a fairytale.
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