Adelaide coach Scott Camporeale was at pains to point out that all 22 Crows played their part in the epic seven-point elimination final victory over the Western Bulldogs.
As he would.
But there is no denying that the Crows would have fallen at the first hurdle had it not been for another standout performance from their two star forwards – captain Taylor Walker and livewire Eddie Betts.
It was Betts who kept the Crows in the game early, kicking three of his five goals in the first quarter when the Bulldogs were threatening to blow the contest wide open.
Walker was very good all night but saved his best for last, kicking a vital goal in the last term to get the Crows within a point and then setting up the sealer for Charlie Cameron.
With Adelaide leading by a single point, Walker marked on the wing, set off on a long run and then speared a brilliant pass to the unmarked Cameron.
“I thought he stepped up all night Tex, some of those clutch goals early in the game,” said Camporeale.
“You’re picking out one player and I could probably go through all 22 that actually did some clutch things during the night that helped us hit the scoreboard.
“But the Tex one late in the game was an obvious one.
“That’s why he is the captain.
“He’s a smart football player and he executes under pressure.”
Walker ended the night with 16 disposals, 10 marks and three goals.
The Crows will now return to the MCG next Saturday to take on a Hawthorn side smarting from a heavy loss to West Coast in Friday night’s qualifying final.
“Hawthorn have been the best team in the competition for the last three or four years so we’re going to have to play better than we did tonight to match it with them,” said Camporeale.
“I’m sure they they will be well and truly up for the challenge after losing (to the Eagles).
“We wanted to earn the right to get there and not just fall in and once we got in there we wanted to potentially do some damage in the finals series.
“There’s no ceiling on this group and I think we can still play better than we did tonight.
“We’ll need to against Hawthorn.”