Adelaide coach Phil Walsh has no qualms about rough-house tactics on his superstar Patrick Dangerfield in the club’s 25-point win over Melbourne.
Dangerfield was battered throughout Adelaide’s 12.8 (80) to 7.13 (55) triumph at the rain-soaked Adelaide Oval on Saturday.
His ex-teammate Bernie Vince applied a heavy tag to subdue Dangerfield as the unbeaten Crows banked a third consecutive win.
Walsh isn’t bothered by Vince’s tactics – but says he wouldn’t have gotten away with it in a bygone era.
“I don’t like referring to when I played in the dark old days,” said Walsh, who played in the 1980s.
“You would never even think of doing that stuff because you would have went off the ground on a stretcher.
“It’s a different era that we play in now.
“Is that physicality? I would rather we think we highlight what David Mackay did.”
Adelaide’s Mackay, who challenged Rory Sloane for best-afield honours, took a stirring mark while running with the flight of the ball in the third quarter.
Pressed about Vince’s tactics on Dangerfield, Walsh replied: “That is not toughness. If you want toughness, watch what David Mackay did today.”
Mackay was a standout with 23 disposals, 13 tackles and a goal as Adelaide, with captain Taylor Walker kicking three goals and Sloane gathering a match-high 30 disposals, reeled in a fast-starting Melbourne.
The Demons kicked the initial three goals of the game and led 21-0 midway through the opening quarter – but slotted just four more majors.
Melbourne boss Paul Roos lamented missed opportunities in a game featuring 20 scoring shots apiece.
“Around the contest we were just marginally beaten by a really good team,” Roos said.
“And then we just missed some easy goals. It just didn’t give us a chance to square up the contest.”
The Demons lost Sam Frost to a left-foot injury in the second quarter, while Vince’s high hit on Sloane in the third term will attract tribunal attention.
Vince and players from both sides will also be scrutinised for a melee after the third-quarter siren, which came as the former Crow again tangled with Dangerfield.
“Over my journey in footy, teams have been criticised for not going in to support a player when they are getting tagged,” Walsh said.
“Umpires are out there to adjudicate if something is illegal. They were there. They didn’t adjudicate it that way.
“I was very happy our guys stayed focus and got the result.”