Kurt Tippett
Kurt Tippett

Brenton Sanderson believes Adelaide are still a 'ruthless side' despite allowing Brisbane to come from 38 points down to register one of the biggest upsets of the season.

The Crows are now expected to drop out of the top two after capitulating to the lowly Lions on Saturday night in a shock 10-point loss at the Gabba.

Despite holding a commanding lead at quarter-time, the South Australians offered little from then onwards and allowed Brisbane to mount a stirring 48-point turnaround that exposed the side's soft underbelly.

Adelaide were unimpressive in all the important modern football metrics.

They lost the disposal count 367-330, contested possessions 149-129, tackles 55-53 and had only a marginal edge in clearances 34-33.

"Our board tonight was full of red, which is a bad sign," Sanderson said.

"The numbers that we really pride ourselves on, we got beaten at tonight."

But the Crows coach said this result does not validate criticisms from outside of West Lakes that an easy draw and fortunate run with injury has allowed them to overachieve in 2012.

"It doesn't mean we're a bad side. We're not going to, after a loss, just say we're not longer a good footy side - because we are," Sanderson said.

"We're still a ruthless side - at no point tonight did we put the white flag up and say we've had enough.

"It just looked like it wasn't us a few times when we were giving away costly free kicks, or we were second to the ball.

"At times we just didn't take the game on, and we looked a little bit stale and slow with how we moved the ball.

"We won't sulk, we'll get on with work as quickly as we can."

Adelaide will now have the luxury of an eight-day break to lick their wounds before facing a struggling Melbourne outfit at the MCG next weekend.

Star forward Kurt Tippett - who is out of contract at the end of the season and is a trade target for both Brisbane and Gold Coast - will then have the opportunity to build on his uninspiring return from concussion.

The 25-year-old's first game since Round 17 was quiet by his standards, the big man amassing just seven disposals, three marks and one behind.

But Sanderson defended his decision not to send Tippett to the SANFL to gather some form before recalling him.

"We needed to play him. He's in our best 22," he said.

"When he's playing well, we're playing well. It's really important we get him back in.

"He was always going to be a bit rusty tonight, and I thought he tried his backside off to get to as many contests as he could.

"He'll be much better for the run. We're so happy he got through."


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