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Match Report: Lions push Crows all the way

The Brisbane Lions fell just short of pulling off a memorable victory over the Adelaide Crows at the Gabba tonight. 

The Crows silenced the strong crowd of 20,475 to win 13.15 (93) to 13.10 (88).

Missing suspended skipper Taylor Walker, Adelaide also had to overcome injuries to young defender Tom Doedee (concussion) and Lachlan Murphy (face) that left its bench two players short for the final quarter.

Brisbane trailed by 22 points at the final change and threatened to get right back into the contest when Oscar McInerney kicked his second goal to draw within 10, but the Crows hung on.

Lewy Taylor kicked a goal after the siren to bring the teams within one straight kick.

Brisbane had won three consecutive games but lacked composure on occasions and Adelaide thoroughly deserved its win, with the inside 50 count (63-51) proving telling.

The early stages of the match were frenetic, with the Lions leading by three points at the first change after some spectacular play from both teams. 

In a sequence that will be hard to beat in any game this season, Josh Walker and Cam Rayner both took legitimate Mark of the Year contenders within the space of 15 seconds.

Walker used Mitch McGovern as a step-ladder to take his nomination in the middle of the ground, and seconds later Rayner jumped from four deep, over both Daniel Talia and Doedee, to pull in a thrilling grab close to goal.

Both teams were desperate to move the ball quickly, and although the Lions were bordering on playing out of control at stages, it made for an entertaining spectacle.

The swift transfer of play from Daniel Rich's kick-in to Dayne Zorko's goal within four disposals highlighted their want to play at speed.

Alex Witherden had 31 disposals, while defenders Ryan Lester, Nick Robertson and Darcy Gardiner held up well.

Coach Chris Fagan said the Lions would learn plenty from losing to a quality opponent.

"In 2016 Adelaide beat the Lions by 138 points. Last year they beat us by 80 points and tonight they beat us by five points," Fagan said.

"We're starting to be able to compete with some of the big dogs.

"They had a lot to play for tonight and so did we. I'm proud of our blokes."

For the Crows, Hugh Greenwood was superb in a forward role, kicking four goals and hitting the post twice, while Matt Crouch (40 disposals) and Rory Laird (29 and a goal) were also brilliant for the victors.

Greenwood kicked three goals either side of quarter time – without the Lions having a single effective disposal between any of them – to arrest the momentum. 

Josh Jenkins and Riley Knight kicked two goals apiece while Wayne Milera (24 touches) and Luke Brown, who blanketed Taylor, also impressed

Fagan admitted Greenwood got under the Lions' guard after they had put more planning into Jenkins, Tom Lynch and Eddie Betts.

"It was a really pleasing win," Crows coach Don Pyke said.

"We came up here needing a win, obviously to keep the season going, and the guys got it done.

"It was a real arm wrestle all night.

"I think we got out to 20-odd points at one stage, but even then they sort of pegged it back immediately."  

MEDICAL ROOM

Brisbane Lions: No problems from the match but coach Chris Fagan might have some selection headaches next week with Harris Andrews expected to return and also Luke Hodge likely to have overcome his corked calf. 

Adelaide: The Crows will have to monitor young defender Tom Doedee and Lachlan Murphy during the week after both were concussed and failed to play the match out. Doedee was caught in a heavy Dan McStay tackle, while Murphy looked to have caught a stray Tom Cutler elbow in a marking contest.

NEXT UP
Adelaide has a crucial match next Saturday night when it hosts Melbourne at Adelaide Oval, while the Lions travel to Geelong to play the Cats earlier that afternoon. Both matches have big ramifications for the top eight.

BRISBANE       4.1   8.2   9.7   13.10 (88)                  
ADELAIDE        3.4   9.7  12.11   13.15 (93)          

GOALS
Brisbane: Berry 2, McInerney 2, McStay 2, Rayner 2, Barrett, Christensen, Hipwood, Taylor Zorko
Adelaide: Greenwood 4, Jenkins 2, Knight 2, Betts, Gallucci, Gibbs, Laird, Seedsman

BEST 
Brisbane: Robertson, Lester, Witherden, Rayner, Zorko
Adelaide:  Laird, Greenwood, Crouch, Milera, Jenkins

INJURIES 
Brisbane:
Adelaide: Murphy (nose), Doedee (concussion)

Reports

Umpires: Schmitt, Whetton, Mitchell

Official crowd: 20,475 at the Gabba

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs