Adelaide have secured a valuable percentage boost with a thumping 82-point AFL win over Essendon.
But Sunday’s victory looks to have come at a cost, with valuable ruckman Sam Jacobs suffering an ankle injury early in the second quarter of the 22.11 (143) to 9.7 (61) win at Adelaide Oval.
Jacobs didn’t return to the field after landing awkwardly on his left ankle, and later emerged from the sidelines on crutches.
It was a rare sore point for the Crows, who were hardly troubled by an outmatched and overawed Essendon.
The Bombers showed the right signs early on, winning the most clearances and inside-50s in the first quarter.
But the difference in skill levels between the two sides was telling.
Plenty of Essendon’s forward entries ended up in the hands of Rory Laird (36 touches) and Kyle Cheney (seven marks, 13 touches), whose quality rebounding drove Adelaide forward time and again.
The Crows stepped on the gas in the second quarter to open up a 45-point lead at halftime.
From there, it was party time for the 44,264 home crowd.
The Crows kicked seven majors to Essendon’s one in the third quarter as maestro Eddie Betts (five goals) and apprentice Charlie Cameron (four) added to their tallies.
Even key defender Kyle Hartigan got in the act, booting a goal for the first time in his four seasons of AFL after winning a 50-metre penalty.
The Crows’ midfield were challenged by coach Don Pyke during the week to lift their performance after a lacklustre performance against Geelong.
Led by the brilliant Rory Sloane (33 touches, nine inside-50s) and Brad Crouch (31 touches), they didn’t disappoint.
For the Bombers, few stood up under pressure.
Young midfielder Zach Merrett continued his outstanding season with 31 disposals, while skipper Brendon Goddard toiled hard.
Spearhead Joe Daniher worked tirelessly up the ground and was rewarded with four goals and 11 marks.
The win puts the Crows into fifth place on the AFL ladder, equal on points with Greater Western Sydney, Sydney and Geelong.