Rory Sloane
Rory Sloane

Adelaide coach Brenton Sanderson believes his side derived plenty of confidence in their ability to close out tight contests following Sunday's thrilling four-point win over Essendon at AAMI Stadium.

The slow-starting Crows trailed by 28 points late in the second term before putting the Bombers to the sword and taking control in the third quarter and then hanging on grimly as the visitors were charging hard in the final moments.

It wasn't Adelaide's cleanest four-quarter performance of the season, but it was enough to earn the four points and Sanderson could barely conceal his pleasure.

"I know coaches don't always say what they really feel, but I'm so impressed with the effort tonight to get the win and pretty proud of how the boys guts it out," he said.

"It gives us the confidence that we can win the close ones.

"That's the third time this year we've won a game by less than 10 points.

"When the game calls for it, we've shown that we can win the close ones.

"We certainly didn't play our best... what I loved though is that we found a way to win again.?

The first half was played entirely on Essendon's terms, the Bombers seemingly intent on making a statement following back-to-back thrashings at the hands of Geelong and Hawthorn.

Sanderson admitted there was nothing structurally he could do to quell the under-manned and less experienced Essendon's early tide.

"They just seemed a bit hungrier than us," he said. "(There was) nothing that we could change from the coaches' box.

"It was just they (Bombers) seemed to be the younger, hungrier side which is what we've probably lived off for most of the season.

"We had 10 players who had played 100-plus (AFL games) - Essendon had two.

"We had the experience and we should have been the ones that were the aggressor and stood up to a younger team.

"But they were hungrier than us early and certainly forced us into some mistakes.

"They didn't allow us to play the way we wanted to play."

The contrasting way the Crows went about their own business in the lacklustre first half compared to the dynamic second were like chalk and cheese.

"We looked our best when we tried to take a few risks," Sanderson said. "We looked a bit dull in the first quarter.

"Essendon, full credit to them, came here to play.

"It wasn't until after half-time when we got some special efforts from certain guys that gave us a real spark.

"We got the ball off the line and looked more dangerous going inside 50.

"We can score quickly... we're a side that can really put the foot down."

Adelaide supporters' hearts were in their mouths when forward Jason Porplyzia was substituted out of the match early in the third quarter after sustaining a shoulder injury.

Sanderson confirmed the injury didn't appear too serious.

"He had some bruising in his shoulder, which we didn't want to risk," Sanderson said, referring to Porplyzia's long history of shoulder ailments.

"We brought him back across at half-time just to have one more check and we had (Richard) Tambling sitting there (as the substitute) ready to go.

"I think he (Porplyzia) will be fine next week."


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