The Adelaide Crows have created further congestion at the top of the ladder, bursting away from Carlton in the second term to win by 35 points and keeping their season well and truly alive.
Even with Erin Phillips sitting out most of the game, the Crows were able to execute their game plan the better of the two teams, standing up against Carlton’s multiple comeback attempts.
As was the case last week, the small forwards would bring about Carlton’s undoing, with Ruth Wallace and Eloise Jones combining for four goals in the first half.
The Crows were also able to add a couple of important late goals, which is important considering percentage could be key to their Grand Final aspirations.
After conceding seven goals to a small forward in Brooke Lochland, it looked like we might be heading for a similar result when Ruth Wallace got off the leash.
Wallace and Perkins combined to beat Danielle Hardiman with some back and forth handballing for the game’s first goal, and Wallace would again be on the scoreboard after she broke away from Nicola Stevens’ pressure to snap truly.
The Crows seemed to be doing all the pressing, but it wasn’t as though the Blues didn’t have opportunities.
Their inaccuracy looked to be a problem once again, but Carlton would find a goal before the end of the first quarter when Darcy Vescio’s long bomb carried over all the Crows defenders, allowing Tayla Harris to rove and goal from distance with only seconds remaining.
Harris’ late major threatened to completely shift momentum, and it would do so at least for the short term.
Harris returned the favour to Vescio by bombing long, allowing her teammate to control the ball and snap the goal.
But remarkably, after taking the lead by two points, Carlton would trail by 23 at the end of the first half as the Crows began flexing their muscle.
Led by Ebony Marinoff and Courtney Cramey through the midfield, Adelaide managed to kick the answering goal through Eloise Jones, who grabbed a magnificent mark spinning through the air and converted well.
The Crows would then kick a further three goals in less than two minutes.
Jones kicked her second pressed up against the boundary line under plenty of pressure, and Erin Phillips would control the ball from a clearance at the next centre bounce, handing off to Anne Hatchard who in kind did so to Jasmyn Hewett for a simple major.
When Jenna McCormick marked and goaled from the following centre clearance, the match was suddenly blown wide open.
To their credit, the Blues showed no quit. Though they couldn’t put any meaningful scores on the board in the third term, they were relentless in their attacking pressure.
But the defence of Chelsea Randall and half-back run of Marinoff kept the Blues at bay, and some strong rebounding from Marijana Rajcic and Angela Foley made sure that Carlton would be kept at arms length.
It was more of the same in the final quarter with a determined Adelaide side forced to show more of their defensive work.
The Crows were able to make Carlton pay as Wallace bobbed up to kick her third, catching the Blues defence pressing up and gathering to convert on the run.
Adelaide peppered the scoreboard late on, and after missing multiple opportunities were able to get an important final goal through a set shot from Jessica Sedunary.
Though the win only elevates Adelaide to fifth, it puts them two premiership points off top spot with the league-leading Western Bulldogs still to play on Sunday.
A couple of late goals were worth their weight in gold for Adelaide, whose Grand Final hopes are linked with the GWS Giants, who the Crows need to win their remaining games but also finish with less percentage.
Adelaide: 2.2, 6.3, 6.3, 8.7 (55)
Carlton: 1.4, 2.4, 2.7, 2.8 (20)
Adelaide: Ruth Wallace 3, Eloise Jones 2, Jasmyn Hewett, Jenna McCormick, Jessica Sedunary
Carlton: Tayla Harris, Darcy Vescio
Adelaide: Ebony Marinoff (16), Chelsea Randall (15), Marijana Rajcic (14), Deni Vernhagen (14)
Carlton: Kerryn Harrington (11), Tayla Harris (11), Sarah Hosking (11), Katie Loynes (11), Breann Moody (11)
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