St Kilda coach Alan Richardson says he lost three players to injury in an 88-point loss to Adelaide, a game his players never believed they could win.
The Crows, with Josh Jenkins booting seven goals, thrashed the Saints 19.19 (133) to 6.9 (45) on Sunday at Adelaide Oval.
St Kilda’s horror display was compounded by a season-ending achilles injury to Hugh Goddard, young gun Paddy McCartin being hospitalised with concussion and a possible neck injury, and skipper Nick Riewoldt suffering a jarred knee.
Goddard was stretchered off after rupturing his left achilles when innocuously turning to chase Jenkins in the second quarter.
“It’s a bad one,” Richardson said of Goddard’s injury.
McCartin was stretchered off in the third quarter after clashing heads, front-on, with teammate Jack Newnes, the impact forcing his head back into the face of Adelaide’s Luke Brown.
“He’s got a pretty heavy knock to the head … possibly a little bit of neck stuff too,” Richardson said.
Riewoldt left the ground in the opening minute after jarring a knee – he returned the field but was clearly hobbled.
“He jarred his knee pretty badly … he was struggling, that would have been pretty obvious,” Richardson said.
“He was just out there so we could get rotations through others.”
While hampered by injury, Richardson’s Saints were never in the contest after being jumped in the opening quarter when Adelaide kicked six goals to one.
Overall, the Crows recorded 69 inside 50s to St Kilda’s 39, had 177 more disposals and were up 38 in the contested ball count.
“The numbers are horrific but they are all an outcome of something and our guys just didn’t believe they could win that game,” Richardson said.
Adelaide’s early blitz was triggered by late inclusion Matt Crouch, who replaced the rested Scott Thompson.
Crouch collected a remarkable 17 disposals in the first term and finished with a game-high 36 touches and his midfield colleague Rory Sloane (32 disposals) was outstanding.
The Crows remain the highest scoring team in the competition and have now kicked 100 or more points in seven of 11 games – and have twice scored 97.
“I was really happy with how we played,” Crows coach Don Pyke said.
“It was a really mature performance from our guys.
” … It was a good example of how we want to play.”