Sports

Rising young Adelaide Crows prevail over Western Bulldogs in battle of Ballarat


It is no coincidence two of the Bulldogs’ three first term goals stemmed from precise passes from Jackson Macrae to Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, and Marcus Bontempelli to Aaron Naughton.

Having spent Friday night in Daylesford, the Crows were on top initially after kicking the first two goals of the match.

Josh Schache celebrates a goal with Bailey Smith and Tom Liberatore.

Josh Schache celebrates a goal with Bailey Smith and Tom Liberatore.Credit:AFL Photos

A DEFENSIVE BATTLE OF BALLARAT

The Bulldogs looked to have found their rhythm in the latter stages of the first term, but it proved a mirage as the match became a real struggle after the opening break.

Josh Rachele celebrates the Crows’ upset win.

Josh Rachele celebrates the Crows’ upset win.Credit:AFL Photos

The blue sky suggested a perfect day for footy, but the swaying trees in the background hinted the conditions were trickier than it appeared at ground level.

The sheer number of Crows at the majority of contests stifled the Bulldogs’ run. But nor were they able to score freely, with the Bulldogs leaving their additional man behind play.

For just the second time this season, the Bulldogs were held goalless in a term in what was the lowest-scoring quarter played in the competition to date this season.

A goalless quarter proved costly for them against Melbourne in the opening round, with the Demons getting on top in the premiership quarter, and it hurt them again on Saturday.

Walker, who was lively in the opening term when Adelaide had control, booted the only goal of the second quarter when cleverly using his body to allow the ball to fall in his favour.

WALKER REACHES THE 500

Walker’s 500th goal came at a critical time, with the veteran spearhead kicking the opening major of the final term to establish a buffer for the Crows.

But his 501st goal, which came with just over two minutes remaining to put the Crows seven points in front, was even more important.

After Adam Treloar kicked his second with a superb snap, Josh Schache and Josh Dunkley regained the lead for the Bulldogs with successive goals within a minute midway through the term.

Adelaide’s inaccuracy continued. Walker nailed McHenry with a pass, only for him to miss from straight in front. But Walker had another chance soon after and, from near the boundary line, kicked accurately when so many of his teammates were unable to do so.

Crows Ben Keays, Josh Rachele and Ned McHenry all missed crucial shots, before Walker proved himself the matchwinner when weaving a superb shot from the boundary line.

Marcus Bontempelli snared another for the Bulldogs in the final seconds to close the margin to one point, but it was too late to make a difference.

Western Bulldogs 3.5 3.7 5.8 9.8 (62)
Adelaide 2.4 3.7 5.11 8.15 (63)

GOALS
Western Bulldogs: Naughton 2, Treloar 2, Schache 2, Ugle-Hagan, Dunkley, Bontempelli.
Adelaide: Walker 3, McAdam 2, Sholl, Gollant, McHenry.

BEST
Western Bulldogs: Dunkley, Liberatore, O’Brien, Treloar, Smith, Dale.
Adelaide: Keays, Walker, O’Brien, Frampton, Doedee, Dawson.

VOTES
Tom Doedee (Adelaide) 7
Taylor Walker (Adelaide) 7
Josh Dunkley (Western Bulldogs) 6
Ben Keays (Adelaide) 6
Reilly O’Brien (Adelaide) 6

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