Enigmatic forward Taylor Walker inspired Adelaide to a comeback 10-point victory over Fremantle in Friday night’s AFL semi-final.
Walker kicked five goals and set up another as the Crows overcame a fast-starting Fremantle to win 12.9 (81) to 11.5 (71) at AAMI Stadium.
Adelaide booked a preliminary final against Hawthorn next Saturday night by surviving an early ambush from Fremantle, whose season ended with the defeat.
Four of Walker’s majors were clutch set shots, while fellow forward Jason Porplyzia potted three goals.
Fremantle’s Chris Mayne also booted three goals and he was instrumental in the Dockers replicating their blazing start against Geelong last week.
The Dockers blitzed the Cats with a seven-goal opening term in their elimination final win.
And against Adelaide, Mayne kicked two goals in the initial three minutes of the game – a period in which the Crows logged just one disposal, a handball clanger.
His livewire teammate Michael Walters goaled in the 12th minute of the opening term to leave the Crows shellshocked.
Walters kicked another late in the quarter to create a 4.1 to 1.3 lead at quarter-time for the visitors.
Mayne slotted his third, and Hayden Ballantyne crumbed a goal inside four minutes of the second quarter to create a commanding 29 point advantage for the Dockers.
Adelaide appeared set to become the first club in 15 years to finish second and exit the finals with ‘straight sets’ losses.
But Walker triggered a stunning turnaround as the Crows responded with five of the next six goals – with the key Crow kicking three of them himself.
The Adelaide spearhead threaded a tight 40 metre set shot after the halftime siren to edge the Crows within 13 points.
And after the break, he scored from near-identical opportunities – converting long set shots after strong overhead marks – as Adelaide crept within one point.
Utility Matthew Wright ran into an open goal in the 18th minute as the Crows hit the front for the first time in the match, and they held a five-point buffer at three quarter-time.
The Dockers weren’t done with, posting two quick goals to open scoring in the last term and steal a seven point advantage.
But with Walker again prominent, the Crows kicked the last four goals to keep their season alive.
Walker booted two of those, including a goal from the square in the 24th minute which was the final nail in Fremantle’s coffin.
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