Michael Doughty
Michael Doughty

The message from Adelaide coach Brenton Sanderson following his side's 91-point thrashing of Gold Coast at AAMI Stadium on Saturday was simple, effective and full of conviction: Bring on the finals.

Aided by Geelong's win over Sydney at Simonds Stadium, the Crows secured second spot on the ladder and a home qualifying final with Saturday's landslide win.

With the home-and-away campaign now done and dusted, Adelaide finished on a 17-5 record to equal their previous best mark from 2005, which ended in a home preliminary final loss.

And with a home final secured, Sanderson said it's now time to get serious.

"It's here, it's September, it's time to turn up the heat and time to play some finals footy," said Sanderson.

"We're as ready and well prepared as we can be.

"It's nice to win a big game, get through injury-free and secure a home final.

"I know Geelong helped us out with that, but at the same time we probably deserve to play a home final this week."

After their shock loss to Brisbane at the Gabba in Round 21, Adelaide have rounded out the season with big wins over Melbourne and the Suns.

Unlike in their win over the Demons though, the Crows pressed home their advantage against Gold Coast and got better as the match wore on.

There was no let-up for the Suns, who were gallant but thoroughly outclassed and outmuscled.

"The most important thing from my point of view was we finished the game off," Sanderson said.

"Last week, as good as we were, we probably stopped at three quarter-time.

"It was important that we took good form into next week. We can finally talk about finals."

"I hope it's not a cliche, but the season for us starts now. Every team starts on zero wins there's eight teams left.

"Things get hot now ... things really start to heat up."

The Crows will have key forward Taylor Walker and skilful midfielder Bernie Vince available for this Saturday's blockbuster qualifying final date with the Swans, after the pair withdrew from the clash with Gold Coast.

"It was a close one," Sanderson said of the decision whether or not to play the pair, Walker in particular.

"Taylor's in really great form, but he didn't get over a hip niggle. We felt it wasn't the right decision to play him and risk him.

"Same call with Vince, (who had) fluid on the knee. Nothing serious, (but) we'll certainly get those two guys back next week."

The crack duo's inclusion will help Adelaide as they prepare for a major round date with Sydney, a match that almost certainly will not even closely resemble the open nature of the Crows' thumping of the Suns.

"It will be a really good test for us," Sanderson said.

"They (Swans) are a great contested ball side, they tackle hard, (and) they're going to provide us with a really great opponent next week. We'll have to be at our best to get the win.

"We really need all our fans here we've got to get this place rocking next Saturday.

"We've got to make sure it's a sell-out and that there's not one Sydney Swans fan that's allowed in the gates because we've bought every ticket.

"We've had an eye on those top 2-3 sides for the last 3-4-5 weeks ... we've got to make sure, without getting anxious and without getting too uptight about it, that we prepare this week as though our life depends on it."


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