Crows big winners in battle of the birds

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West Coast coach John Worsfold faces a nervous wait after his team crashed to an 86-point loss to Adelaide in Saturday night’s AFL clash at Patersons Stadium.

Both sides had their finals hopes extinguished 40 minutes before the opening bounce when Carlton came from behind to beat Port Adelaide by one point at AAMI Stadium.

The Eagles still had plenty to play for in the farewell games of retiring veterans Andrew Embley and Adam Selwood.

But it was Adelaide who came out firing, booting the first five goals of the match on the way to the 19.15 (129) to 5.13 (43) victory in front of a paltry crowd of 29,416.

Three weeks ago, Worsfold appeared certain to earn a two-year contract extension.

But after losses of 62, 66 and 86 points, West Coast’s board might need some extra convincing before offering the premiership coach a new deal.

In fairness, the Eagles were missing a host of their best players, including Nic Naitanui, Shannon Hurn, Daniel Kerr, Beau Waters, Luke Shuey, Jack Darling, Will Schofield and Mark LeCras.

But their lack of fight over the final three rounds of the season has been alarming.

The third quarter against Adelaide was particularly brutal, with the Crows winning the inside-50m count 21-3 as they piled on seven goals to one.

The result meant West Coast won just three of their 12 games in Perth this season; a horrible record that ended up costing them a finals spot.

Adelaide, who came within a kick of reaching last year’s grand final, ended the season with a 10-12 record, but they would have been a strong chance of sneaking into the finals had the Power not coughed up a big lead against the Blues earlier in the day.

Crows midfielder Patrick Dangerfield ran rampant with 29 possessions and three goals, while Brad Crouch, Scott Thompson and Rory Sloane also starred.

West Coast forward Josh Kennedy started the match needing nine goals to overhaul Jarryd Roughead in the race for the Coleman Medal.
But the Eagles spearhead was held goalless, bringing his tally over the past four games to just one goal.

His partner in crime Darling was a late scratching.

West Coast appeared off their game from the outset, and didn’t kick their first goal until 10 minutes into the second quarter.

Second-gamer Simon Tunbridge kicked a memorable dribbling goal from the pocket in the third quarter.

But it was little consolation for the Eagles, who were bullied into submission by a Crows outfit far hungrier for the contest.

© AAP 2014
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