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Adelaide has overcome a second-quarter lull to defeat winless Carlton by 55 points, but the victory came at a cost with exciting young utility Wayne Milera appearing to become the Crows’ eighth hamstring victim this season.
Milera exited the match before half-time in Adelaide’s 19.11 (125) to 10.10 (70) win in front of 47,422 fans at Adelaide Oval.
He joined Taylor Walker, Eddie Betts, Matt Crouch, Kyle Hartigan, Kyle Cheney, Sam Gibson and Lachlan Murphy as victims of the Crows’ horror 2018 hamstring curse.
On a more positive note, forward Mitch McGovern marked powerfully and booted a career-best five goals, Richard Douglas (two goals, 28 touches) proved an able forward foil and Matt Crouch and Rory Laird (32 possessions each) were typically prolific.
Adelaide quickly asserted their dominance, particularly on the outside, slotting six unanswered majors to lead by 31 points at quarter-time.
When Hugh Greenwood converted a free to open the second, the margin was out to 37 points.
But the Blues turned the tables on Adelaide in the second period, running rings around the home side in uncontested possessions to steal the momentum.
Young tall forward Harry McKay nailed two second-quarter majors and No.3 draft pick Paddy Dow booted his maiden AFL goal as Carlton stormed back into the contest, clipping the deficit to just 17 points at half-time.
The Crows awoke from their surprise slumber after the main interval, outscoring the Blues 6.5 to 1.4 in a commanding third term, McGovern’s spectacular soaring mark over Liam Jones the highlight.
Adelaide’s advantage stretched to 48 points at the final change which was always going to be too much for Carlton to reel in.
Ed Curnow (26 disposals, 14 tackles) was superb but it was in vain for the bottom-placed Blues who slumped to their seventh straight defeat, extending the club’s worst-ever start to a season.