The Melbourne Demons have pulled off one of the great upsets of the year in the most emphatic fashion, torching a lethargic Adelaide Crows to triumph by 41 points.
Adelaide Crows 9.12.66
Melbourne Demons 17.5.107
The Adelaide Crows will be looking to bounce back from their stunning 59-point defeat to North Melbourne last week when they host a Melbourne Demons outfit also coming off a disappointing loss. Join The Roar for all the action, live scores and highlights from 7:40pm (AEST).
After starting the season with six wins, most of them by large margins, plenty of pundits had already pencilled Adelaide in for the 2017 premiership, but the Crows were dealt a reality check in Hobart last week against North Melbourne.
Remarkably, the Kangaroos piled on ten goals to no score in a stunning open term that left not just the Crows, but the football world as well, staring open-mouthed wondering what on earth was going on.
Rory Sloane was a shadow of the player who raced to Brownlow favouritism in the first six rounds, their previously cohesive backline was constantly under siege and unable to do with it, and their much-vaunted forward line of Taylor Walker, Eddie Betts, Tom Lynch and Josh Jenkins hardly fired a shot.
Lynch was also put out of the game early in the second half after a crunching tackle from Jarrad Waite left the Crow concussed and the Roo with a one-week suspension, but the smooth-moving redhead has pulled up well and has been named to play.
The experts put the loss down to the Crows drinking their own bathwater during the week, and if that’s the case, they could hardly have picked a better time to do it, with a game and percentage lead on the rest of the competition and a home game to steady the ship.
If Adelaide fans were left flabbergasted by their team’s capitulations, Melbourne fans would have been disappointed, but unsurprised, at their team’s effort during a thrilling 3-point loss to Hawthorn.
Costly skill errors ruined multiple attacking forays early for the Demons and allowed the Hawks to get out to a five-goal lead, and while a third-quarter blitz was enough to all but level the scores at the final break, they lacked the class and polish to get over the line in the end.
There were plenty of shining lights, with Jack Viney returning to form in style and Sam Frost having a career-best game in defence, but with Christian Petracca still looking troubled by a knee injury, too much was left to Jeff Garlett and Jesse Hogan up forward.
And with Hogan sidelined this week with illness, it’s going to be even tougher for Melbourne to score enough goals to trouble the best attacking side in the competition.
Max Gawn has been a huge loss in the ruck for the Dees, and up against in-form big man Sam Jacobs, the bearded giant’s stand-in Cameron Pedersen will have his hands full all night to so much as break even.
Melbourne have by and large been pretty good this year, despite their losses, but with some big names out and a nightmare clash against a fearsome Adelaide side looking to atone for last week’s horror show, this could get ugly.
Adelaide in a canter by 68 points.
Melbourne half-back and former Adelaide best-and-fairest winner Bernie Vince will chalk up his 200th game this week, and against the side he played the first 129 of those for, a victory to mark the occasion would taste particularly sweet.
Can the Dees do it for Bernie and notch up the unlikeliest of wins? Or will the Crows prove last week’s crushing defeat was a blip on the radar and torch the Dees?
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