AFL's Eagles stunned as Tex inspires Crows

Steve Barrett
AFL's Eagles stunned as Tex inspires Crows

Adelaide have kept their AFL finals hopes alive after captain Taylor Walker inspired his side to a 10-point, come-from-behind triumph over West Coast.

The Crows were staring at a fifth-straight defeat when they trailed by 27 points late in the third term on Saturday before Walker (22 possessions, 10 marks) lifted the Crows to a 12.16 (88) to 12.6 (78) victory at Adelaide Oval.

Goalless and visibly frustrated as the Eagles' ascendancy grew, Walker slotted three captain's goals in quick succession - a soccer off the ground in the last minute of the third, a 60m bomb early in the fourth and another after soaring for a towering mark in front of Will Schofield.

Tom Doedee booted his first career goal on the back of an enormous tackle on Brendon Ah Chee before Hugh Greenwood, after out-marking Tom Cole, kicked a goal to give the Crows the lead, which they held despite Jamie Cripps' late major.

"I thought we were playing OK for the first three quarters. The numbers suggested we were winning our share," Adelaide coach Don Pyke said.

"To the players' credit, at three-quarter-time we thought, 'There's a licence here, let's go', and they found another gear.

"The last quarter was one of our better quarters for the year."

Adelaide convincingly had more inside 50s (66-34) and Matt Crouch (32 disposals) and Rory Laird (31) were prolific but it all looked in vain before Walker's late-game heroics snatched the game away from the shell-shocked Eagles.

Without gun forward trio Josh Kennedy, Jack Darling and Mark LeCras - the Eagles' three leading goal-kickers each of the past three seasons - the visitors held sway by seven points at quarter-time and by nine points at halftime thanks to three quick goals late in the term and some inaccuracy (2.5) from the wayward Crows.

The Eagles smashed Adelaide in the middle in the third while makeshift spearhead Jeremy McGovern showed his wares in the air and at ground level with a pair of fine goals as West Coast drew 27 points clear.

Andrew Gaff (37 touches) was at his play-making best and Luke Shuey was dynamic at the coalface for most of the afternoon but the Eagles wilted badly, outscored 7.7 to 2.0 as they inexplicably plummeted to their third successive loss.

"We were pretty brave for most of the night but Adelaide elevated their effort in the last quarter," West Coast coach Adam Simpson said.

"We just couldn't match it.

"We got smashed in the contest, around the stoppages and behind the footy."