Round 17 – Melbourne v Adelaide: Crows night out in Darwin

MELBOURNE 1.3 5.3 9.7 10.10 (70)
ADELAIDE 7.2 11.6 12.11 17.14 (116)


Melbourne: Melksham 3, Kent, Petracca, Neal-Bullen, Oliver, Gawn, Hunt, T. McDonald
Adelaide: Walker 4, Lynch 3, Mackay 2, McGovern 2, Betts 2, Knight, B. Crouch, Jacobs, Jenkins


Melbourne: Melksham, Hibberd, Petracca , Lewis, Kennedy-Harris, Hunt, Neal-Bullen
Adelaide: Laird Lynch B. Crouch, Walker, M. Crouch, Cameron ,Mac Kay, Talia, Brown,Betts


Melbourne: Kent (left shoulder)
Adelaide: Sloane (concussion), Lever (hamstring)


Reports: Vince for rough conduct on Douglas in the second quarter


Umpires: Donlon, Rosebury, Ryan


Official crowd: 12,104 at TIO Stadium


Malarkey Medal Votes:

R Laird (Ad) 3, T Lynch (Ad) 2, B Crouch (Ad) 1


Things we learned last night-


1. Tom Lynch, while he is the best in the business at his role as the Connector, is a truly remarkable athlete to return just 2 weeks after having viral meningitis and perform the way he did was incredible. Even more so in the energy sapping environment in Darwin, a huge tick to not only his own physical condition but to the Adelaide medical team.


2. Eddie Betts, it’s his unselfishness which sets him apart from other small forwards, his goal assists and pressure puts him above not only current small forwards but many from the recent past.


3. Brad Crouch, another step forward and with the huge possibility of Rory Sloane being absent next Friday night his biggest challenge awaits (and Please Please Adelaide if Sloane is not ok do not go to the emotional heart strings and recall Scott Thompson, nothing what so ever against Thommo but no way in the world will he keep up).


4.Rory Laird, how he is missing in so many possible All-Australian sides in the media has me completely stuffed. Ridiculously unlucky to miss out in 2016, surely it can not happen in 2017?


5. Daniel Talia, for all of the detractors of his form in 2017, is still the best lockdown defender in the game, gets very few goals kicked on him and actually stands a player unlike Rance and Hurley (Rance great player but bizarrely as a defender his actual one weakness is defending). Luke Brown also continues to shut down opposition small forwards with Jeff Garlett having no scoreboard impact.


6. Bernie Vince, while I love your combative nature, the contact to Eddie Betts is just dumb, the contact to Richard Douglas is more debatable but Bernie you serve no use what so ever to the Dees sitting on the sidelines, even more so when the Dees play bloody Port this week. For Crows supporters who say we couldn’t have kept Vince and recruited Matt Crouch, incorrect it could have been Ricky Henderson used as the pawn re the Tippett stuff up, but Brenton Sanderson valued Henderson more, both the Pies and Tigers were desperate to get Henderson.


7. Rory Sloane, geez he is tough, but well done to Taylor Walker and Eddie Betts, great leadership (I fancy Rory will do a lot of apologising to the Crows medical staff this week he will feel bad about that).


8. Taylor Walker has had a very good year, yes had a couple of quiet games but his goal assists in particular must have him right up there re All-Australian honours, surely as 2 sided as any key forward in the history of the game?


9. I know on Facebook, with certain individuals in particular, you are not going to get much footy intellect, but David MacKay cops it big time from Crows supporters when in actual fact his run and carry is vital to the side. If the Crows are any chance in September he will be important.


10. Matt Crouch, the accumulator, has had a remarkably consistent year and will be a huge chance in the best and fairest.


11. Richard Douglas, with 31 touches again more than filled his role and will be vital against the Cats, and may well be required to be the midfield leader.


12. It was great to have all the forward line arsenal available for only the 2nd time this season, McGovern, Lynch, Walker and Jenkins present huge match up difficulties for any defence.


13. Re the Adelaide FC, if the media reports are correct and a official complaint was put in re West Adelaide supporters banging on the fence at a SANFL game, it shows you have not got the right people involved officially at that level, they don’t get it and are so out of touch with what is going on it is incredible. Absolutely pathetic by the Adelaide FC.


14. For the Dees, their midfield is decimated by injury, currently having Jones, Viney, Tyson and Salem out. I am staggered and disappointed that Jack Trengove wasn’t given an opportunity.


15. Clayton Oliver, who has been in the news on more than one occasion for the wrong reasons, is a prodigious talent and just needs to let his footy do the talking.


16. Christian Petracca is a rolls royce as a mover, I love watching him play, he will be one of the games elite players within 2 years.


17. Melbourne have been very unlucky with the serious hamstring injury to Max Gawn and all of Jesse Hogan’s troubles, but it is a cut throat business AFL footy and the Dees desperately need both contributing.


18. Hibberd and Jake Melsham have been handy recruits and were more than serviceable for the Dees.


19. What a blockbuster this Friday night, we wait and see whether Rory Sloane and Jake Lever can come up, wouldn’t mind if number 35 for the Cats injury rules him out (Superstar best player in the competition, daylight is 2nd, Crows supporters who think he is playing better at the Cats than he did at Adelaide because he tries harder, what absolute stupidity,geez he was already very close if not the best player in the game but has with age had natural improvement. We will never know but we may well be going for back to back flags if he stayed), while the Dees take on the Power (go Dees!).


Come along to the launch of The Women’s Footy Almanac 2017 on Thursday 27th July at North Fitzroy Arms.


  1. Martin Rumsby says

    Very pleasing to see the turn around in result from our last effort against the Dee’s. As usual, I agree with the points you have made Malcolm and would like to re-enforce your comment about David MacKay. Looking forward, in a nervous way, to Fri night’s match up with the Cats. Has our game plan and strategies evolved to counter Geelong’s strong defensive tactics which have prevented the Crows kicking a winning score against them for too long.

  2. Great article (again) Rulebook. Acurate and astute remarks/observations – better read (and thoughts) than any other newspaper or internet column. Well done, agree with all of your remarka, but unsure about your SANFL Crows spray – why are you spraying them when it was the westies supporters banging on the sidelines (or was your spray directed towards the Crows for putting in a complaint)?

  3. Pleasantly surprised at the way the Crows seemed to adapt better to the conditions than the Dees. Great to see how well they seemed to cover the early losses of Lever and Sloane – shows the value of Ottens and the high number of players rotated through the midfield. Not sure Thommo has played his last game but understand the sentiment Book – I think that poise counts for a lot, watching great players outpoint faster less experienced youngsters since Bagshaw Ebert and Deisel last had a kick and catch. We shall see :).

  4. enjoyed reading your comments again Malcolm.

    Re/ dmac…i have always said his best is very good and so was Bernies when he played with us
    my problem with the two of them was lack of consistency Bernies case he is a much better
    footballer now then he was with us and i have a sneaky feeling dmac would have improved with a change of club as i would debate with anyone that he was a better player before the crows gave him
    a long contract.
    Really pleased to see B.Crouch over his injuries completely now and starting to fulfill his talent, he must of got sick of seeing his kid brother getting all the limelight,lol
    Lynchy is a freak, his fitness and health must be supreme and a credit to him and our club trainers and doctors. He played a great game and surely would get votes…i still gave Tex best on ground, but i would,lol
    Overall a great win and just the tonic needed to build our confidence for a brutal run home…nice to win them all but we can probably drop two and still finish in top two…so long as we dont lose percentage…..
    keep up the good work Malcolm…i hope to be reading your column on our grand final win later.

  5. Mark Duffett says

    Gee I hope that’s not true re AFC complaint against SANFL supporters. Ridiculous if so.

    Remarkable for T Lynch to run out the game so well, however the ‘energy sapping Darwin’ thing can be overstated. At night, with the Dry in full early July swing, it would have been reasonably pleasant for players as well as spectators; little different from Perth or Adelaide in April. (I say this having run the boundary for a couple of seasons up there)

  6. Thanks rulebook. Agree with pretty much everything.

    I’ve always had a soft spot for Mackay, it it was great to see him play such a good game last night.

    I thought Charlie played his best game in about 2 months too.

    It sounds like Westies story is a best-up from a well known Tiser writer. Fagan is categorically denying that any complaint was made.

  7. Jill Tathra says

    First up thank you for another great report mate and I too agree about Taylor Walker and Eddie Betts helping get my “boyfriend” of the field. You could see he had no idea where he was or why the trainers and medical folks were saying he had to go to the bench.

    I`ve always liked David MacKay even if he isn`t as big as some of the others. He certainly gets in there and sometimes the opposition forget about him and he can cut them up.

    Have to say I was more than a little worried about this game, partly because of where it was played and mostly because Melb did a big job on us last time.

  8. Agree re Mackay, key player at G as per Lynch who is an outstanding running forward and has moved into elite. Walker and Jenkins improvement has made a marked difference, when Walker gets the ball in his hands he is with the best of them – great awareness !! – and great skills on both sides!! ( some recruiters and junior coaches need to have a look at what this does to ball movement patterns) B Crouch has improved significantly, brother is very good but will get better. Atkins needs an old school dressing down ( thank god he got rid of that look at me haircut)he is playing like a lair – he will be very important also at the G but his decision making and kick execution at the moment are very poor!! Adelaide are too big for most teams – if Atkins/Knight can improve we can get the job done – Yes L Brown outstanding- Ottens will Be a challenge at the G so he will need speed around him as 1 on 1 he will be exposed with speed on transition – Talia your slow release is affecting both your own confidence and team efficiency!! ( (Your bottom 6 will win the flag – the holes are always exposed when the heat is on) Adelaide need to get more focus back on tackling as this is critical at G to stop speed on transition (No tackle session for 8 weeks and it is showing!!) I am getting more confident they can get it done but I would sit down with Atkins and Knight and go through a few things about team v self !! They are well drilled so there are no excuses other than soft minds!! McGovern needs more game time and also improvement in focus as well – 1997 to 2017 – what an anniversary present if they can get the job done !

  9. Tony Cove says

    My thoughts in no particular order:
    1. Richard Douglas has rarely played a bad game this year, Pyke seems to be using him in roles that bring out his best. 2. Poster Bill (above) is correct in his assessment of Rory Atkins. He is a special talent when focused & playing to his strengths. Next week vs Geelong, he needs to run & run, get that ball onto his deadly left foot, keep it simple, & hit the scoreboard as well. He was doing all these things 2 months ago, has seemingly lost his way in recent weeks. A SANFL stint beckons if he does not re-focus & improve. 4. Riley Knight has an occasional confidence problem & it can affect his on-field decision making. To be at our best we also need him at his best. 5. Tom Lynch: ultimate professional, never leaves anything out on the park. BOG last night IMO. 6. Melbourne have great depth when all their troops are fit. Even if they do not go deep into the finals this year, look out in 2018. And a footnote on B. Vince; he was traded at the end of the 2013 season under Sanderson. Vince had completed a really poor season with the Crows, with his tackle & possession counts way down. Maybe he didn’t gel with Sando, but whatever the reason Adelaide made a bold & I reckon, correct move to trade him. 7. So good to see our big 3 up forward, Tex, Eddie & JJ, all getting back to something like their best. 8. McGovern has a huge upside, and great potential; some aspects of his game still have a LONG way to go. 9. I love it every time Charlie Cameron gets involved in the play 10. Rory Laird – ultimate ball-magnet. 11. IF Jake Lever doesn’t come up, we are REALLY stretched for tall defenders next week. Is Alex Keath on the main list yet?

  10. Great read as usual Malcolm.
    Tex over the last 2 weeks has regained form he lost in the preceding month, I still think he was carrying an injury as his ground ball work was below par for him. Let’s hope he stays fit for the rest of the season as his leadership is invaluable.

    The way I see it the Vince hit on Douglas wasn’t as serious as the high contact on Betts, should get a couple of weeks. It’s hard to tell if the contact was to the head or sholder or both.

    As for the crystal ball gazing re trading Henderson or Vince, hindsight probably supports keeping Vince and Trading Henderson. At the time though Vince was playing way below his best and Henderson was a tall mobile youngster full of promise. If Sanderson had have stayed Vince would have continued to flounder. We still thought Sanderson could coach at the time so honestly it saved Bernies career and shortened Sandos, kind of a win win in a way.

    Now for DMac, as I said on one of the forums 2 or 3 good games a season doesn’t make you elite. Run and carry are hugely important but if you regularly burn 40-50% of your disposals, that doesn’t make you elite either. I love Rat but he suffers the same tendency to trying to do too much, forcing poor disposal.

    Lynch was remarkable considering the conditions and the fact he reportedly lost 5kg while battling viral meningitis. Heart as big as pharlap, as they say in the classics.

    Also credit where credits due, JJ continues to improve the defensive side of his game.

    Injuries to Lever and Sloane are hugely concerning, with the prospect of facing Geelong missing our best mid and defender. We desperately need win against the flogs from sleepy hollow. We desperately need to find a way limit Dangerfield. Thomo for Sloane is in no way the answer, great servant of the club but his time has past.

    Lastly I can’t believe a national competition doesn’t make sure score review technology is in place at every venue. The score review technology while pathetically inadequate but surely it should be utilized every ground and every game or no games. I’d also be surprised the padding on the goal posts was the same thickness as every other ground.

  11. Bernie Vince won’t get many Christmas cards this year from his former team mates. What the hell was he doing out there?

  12. Another good read, Rulebook, but as good as Adelaide were, surely you could have found room to add another point for Jayden Hunt’s channeling of Malcolm Blight…?

  13. Well summed up – I guess I don’t have to listen/watch the TV reports this week. Always insightful.

  14. I liked your observations about Matt Crouch, Richard Douglas and of some of the Melbourne players in particular this week. Whilst the Melbourne team looks rather decimated now, the Crows again showed great efficency in moving the ball up forward. Objectively, when the Crows are at their best, they are one of the best offensive teams the AFL has seen this decade.

    Ideally, I hope that Pyke considers putting Luke Brown to tag Joel Selwood this Friday night, but I freely admit I don’t know what the Crows will do to limit Dangerfield’s influence on the game. That being said, if Lever and Sloane aren’t fit to play against Geelong, the game might be over before it starts.

  15. Nothing special for me watching the game, fairly boring B grade standard, slone is a ball winner but soft as butter he won’t play Friday either will Danger. That’s a win for Adelaide.
    Nice torpedo.
    The A grade game was a beauty with the Bombers speed and enthusiasm shining through, Fantasia is fast becoming everyone’s favourite with his toughness and skill.

  16. Great article, no clue what Vince was trying to do out there. Great win for the crows in the end.

  17. Top notch Book.

  18. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Martin huge test we wait and see who is playing for both sides.Greg disgusted with Ad fc re this sanfl garbage seems like the club should take more care in who it employs.Model nothing against,Thommo he ain’t in that class and yes we adapted v well to the conditions.Dave D Mac better player than he is given credit for although he may be better if he had switched clubs,B Crouch getting there.Mark just bizarre behaviour by the Ad fc,Lynch fantastic and interesting re your insight in to the conditions thank you.
    Steve Cameron much better and where there is smoke there is fire re this noise stupidity.Bill fantastic point re ball moving patters couldn’t agree more need more consistentcy from Atkins.Knight needs to back himself.Jill v good leadership from Tex and Eddy.Tony pretty much agree with every thing the upside of McGovern is huge his X factor is enormous and will be vital in September

  19. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Adrian agree re Vince inconsistency wish he had been used in a tagging role by us,D Mac way better than the majority of supporters give him credit for yes he had a flat spot but is a vital player in September.
    Likely to be a huge test of our depth this week and totally agree re score review.Mark Mc unless there is a massive thug hit what happens on the field stays on the field sure that Vince would have caught up with his ex teammates after the game.Litza yep poor oversight on my behalf to miss,Hunts incredible torp out.
    Thanks Shane.Paul yes hope Brown or Knight is used to tag fri night.Riverboy couldn’t disagree more re Sloane toughness is the one thing which can’t be questioned.Fantasia is a gun.Campbell I think,Vince was trying to hard and not thinking clearly thanks,TC thanks folks

  20. Barb Jamieson says

    yep, you’ve got it in one Malcolm , not a lot that I could say that you haven’t already said
    I’m so on your page with MacKay , I’ve always been a fan , and like you , don’t get why he is so often bagged .
    I think you’re right about Thommo, but I just wish that Facebookers would leave it alone , he is finished , but he does deserve more respect for what he has done and Facebook debate sometimes doesn’t reflect that . Sorry for wearing my heart on my sleeve

  21. Mark Ducker says

    – I may be wrong re Brad Crouch but I doubt it IF injury free moving fwd – he has a freak talent that comes along rarely. Yes has an average kick ( as does Danger on run), his pace is above average & quicker than Matt by a margin & well sufficient at this level. Just needs matches week in / out to reach his real ability. Oozes ability & talent. Leaves Dangerfield behind with inside awareness / hands / where his teammates /options are & finding them. Dangerfield does it with brute force, pace & sheer talent. BC does it like a quiet surgeon without fuss – he’ll never win a Brownlow as never flashy or obvious like Danger but will be just as effective on results in a different way. Just my opinion RB. The Crows know they have a freak talent to build a midfield around.

  22. What an exciting game of footy the Crows bought to Darwin, right from start the boys were there to do a job and bring the 4 points home. My stand out players, Walker , Crouch boys and Lynchy….Taylor played a captains game and was totally in control of every decision on the turf…and thise Crouch boys 27 and 31 disp…wow….I’m loving watching these 2….overall every player pretty much did not disappoint and im really hoping we can bring that to Geelong this Friday.
    J. Hunts goal…wow…that was just incredible, Bernie….becoming a thug…ugly footballer…was one of favourites when at the Crows.

  23. I loved your point 3 Rulebook. Never a truer word has been spoken. In my view, if Brad Crouch remains relatively injury free he could well develop into a Sam Mitchell type player (minus the thuggery) with the same potential ability to find fellow players almost instinctively by hand and foot.

    Also, as I stated the previous week, MacKay is essential to the Crows with his run and deserves every opportunity to play, unless his form drops off significantly. He has become the whipping boy of too many supporters for no good reason, much like Douglas as well, which is also undeserved.

    Lastly, Tex played a great captain’s game and as for why he was fined $1,000 by the MRP I have no idea as I never saw any infringement on the former Hawk with none of the commentators at the time highlighting any incident that I recall.

  24. Jeff Milton says

    Malcolm so much in one article.
    Great to see the Crows full strength forward line out there. How super fit is Tom Lynch? Out of hospital and can run in the Darwin heat like he did. Hope he can back it up 6 days later against Geelong.
    Can they finally beat Geelong? Need to get around their defence and kick a decent score.
    This could be Brad Crouches big chance to show his full potential Agree that McKay and Douglas experience will be important in September.

  25. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Barb D Mac is well and truly the Crows whipping boy and I desp hope,Thommo doesn’t get bought back for his sake.Ducks huge test for Brad Crouch fri night admit I am gradually coming around.Thanks KDE appreciated and what a test this week.Big Jim while not much re Tex just no need for the jumper punch doesn’t achieve any thing what so ever.Milts Lynch just incredible just must have elite fitness level
    Brad Crouch test time ! Douglas to tag Selwood imo thank you

  26. Dennis Floyd says

    awesome read… agree with McKay and Crouch boys comments, Walker is having a great year his knockers clearly have no idea about football as you dont always have to kick the goals to have an impact, apart from the third quarter the crows looked in complete charge of the game all night, bring on friday night as this is a real test and a must win.. i hope danger plays as well and we win by 5 goals to show him where he should have stayed until he retired….go you bloody crows and go you Demons

  27. I agree with everything you wrote in this article Malcolm like you i don’t understand why so many of our supporters giving DMac such a hard time yes sometimes he does do mistakes but who doesn’t i don’t think they will risk Sloane if not up to it and the Crouch brothers well they have taken a step up lately

  28. Ben Footner says

    Agree with your comment on Matt Crouch. His game has gone to another level this year. He’s disposing by foot a lot more, and his disposal efficiency has improved dramatically. He has almost seamlessly taken over Thommo’s role in the midfield.

    I’m not sure why he doesn’t get more accolades or attention. As you say he will definitely give the club championship a shake, and he’ll accumulate his share of votes in the Brownlow as well I reckon.

    If he was playing for a team in Melbourne I think he’d be getting a lot more attention, definitely a player on the rise.

  29. Cameron Glenn says

    Was good to sit down at home and watch this game on the TV as I did for the Bombers huge win on Friday night and the Power’s win over the Eagles.

    A big 4 qtr effort by the Crows in Darwin against a depleted Melbourne side. A Swans win in the derby ensured 1 vs 2 at Adelaide Oval on Friday night.

    Plenty of contributors to the Crows win. Sad to see Rory Sloane go down with concussion. I think he should not play Friday because of it. Don’t want something to happen to make him miss other important games including the Showdown.

    Huge crowd for the game in Darwin. Pity they didn’t send the warm weather down to SA.

  30. Excellent football observations Malcolm. With his confidence in kicking with either foot, Tex reminds me of Acker. As you and others have noted, I can’t recall a big forward being as two-sided. Indeed, some very well-paid roosters struggle to kick with their preferred foot!

  31. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Denis huge test fri night for so many reasons our record against the cats the coaching box and of course individual players even more so if we lose key players to injury ( yes Vica Versa as well ) as you no I disagree re Danger he gets life it’s not all about footy.Sophie word is the club is v surprised how well,Sloane has recovered so far and hopefully will play I hope Dmac has another belter.Ben I will be surprised if Matt Crouch keeps slipping under the radar of opposition sides for much longer he certainly has a knack for finding the footy he is a accumulator totally agree would be getting far more publicity in Vic.Cameron Sloane plays if he passes the rigid concussion tests does not if he fails simple as that really.i agree would love some of the Darwin weather.Mickey Tex disposal is elite with ironically his only weakness his set shots on the right foot at times agree totally re other players appalling disposal at times thanks folks

  32. Great overview of the game Malcolm, I too do not like DMac being knocked by our supporters, think he has played some rippers, Charlie Cameron, needs to step up again, Brad Crouch needs to step up again, and my Rory Sloane is just a Champ.???

  33. Luke Reynolds says

    Great write up again Malcolm. Big Tex is unstoppable on his day, how he performs in September will dictate a fair bit how far the Crows go.
    Saw Petracca tear the Pies apart, along with Viney, Melbourne have potentially two absolutely elite young players.

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