It was no masterpiece.
But Adelaide coach Phil Walsh still liked what he saw as the Crows reeled in a 24-point fourth term deficit to seal a 13-point AFL win over a fading Brisbane Lions.
Not even another suspected facial fracture for Rory Sloane or a misfiring Taylor Walker (2.5) could earn a bad review from an upbeat Walsh after Saturday night’s much-needed 11.16 (82) to 10.9 (69) victory at the Gabba.
Walsh raised eyebrows ahead of the crunch clash when he drew comparisons between his developing side and tortured genius Vincent van Gogh.
“Great art comes out of a level of frustration … (and) we like to think there’s some masterpieces still to be painted this year,” he said.
However, a misfiring Adelaide began as clumsily as a child’s finger painting with Brisbane kicking the first four goals and leading for the first three terms.
But the Crows (7-5 record) got back to their creative best in the final term, kicking six majors and keeping Brisbane goalless to seal a win that will keep them in sight of a top eight finish.
The Crows did not take the lead until the 21st minute of the final term against a fatigued Lions.
The only dampener was losing midfielder Sloane for up to six weeks with a suspected fractured cheekbone – barely a month after he had suffered the same injury.
“We were very ordinary for three quarters but I was very happy with the finish,” Walsh said.
“I am a glass half full guy.”
Walsh said the team doctor “feared the worst” for Sloane’s third term injury.
“I don’t want to dismiss it because he is a very important player … (but) NFL have a saying ‘next man up’, and that’s what we will do,” he said.
An erratic Walker’s wonky radar at one stage prompted a Crows fan to unfurl a banner with a target on it behind the goal posts.
But all was forgiven when Walker finally rediscovered his range, kicking a booming 50m goal in the 21st minute of the final term – the first time Adelaide took the lead.
“I thought that was a real captain’s effort,” Walsh said.
“But a lot of our leaders have to do better earlier in the game.”
Walsh admitted he may have to tinker with the team ahead of a tough block of games that may determine their top eight chances – Geelong (home), West Coast (away) and Port (away).
Meanwhile, Lions coach Justin Leppitsch played down a hamstring complaint that forced Pearce Hanley to be subbed in the third term.
“We put the foot to the floor and ran out of gas – that’s better than lapses within games,” Leppitsch said of the fadeout in their fifth straight loss.