Cox boots four, Dockers beat Crows in AFL

Justin Chadwick
Cox boots four, Dockers beat Crows in AFL

Adelaide are officially in freefall but coach Don Pyke isn't putting up the white flag just yet.

The wayward Crows slumped to their third straight AFL defeat after unheralded forward Brennan Cox booted four goals to lift Fremantle to an upset three-point win at Optus Stadium on Sunday.

Adelaide unleashed a six-goals-to-nil second quarter to take a 12-point lead into halftime.

But Fremantle regained their composure after the main break, with Cox booting 4.0 from 19 disposals to lift his team to the 10.11 (71) to 9.14 (68) win in front of 33,421 fans.

The result left Adelaide (6-6) one game adrift of eighth spot and with a horror month of action ahead.

The Crows take on Hawthorn at the MCG next Saturday then face off against flag fancies West Coast (home), Richmond (MCG) and Geelong (home) after their bye.

Last year's grand finalists are nursing a horror injury toll, with defender Luke Brown added to the list after he rolled his left ankle on Sunday.

The Crows were already without Rory Sloane, Rory Laird, Tom Lynch, Riley Knight, Brad Crouch, Mitch McGovern and Brodie Smith on Sunday.

But Pyke hasn't given up hope of getting his team back into contention.

"We're not going to just sit and take a woe-is-us attitude," Pyke said.

"We're going to take an attitude of going, 'Well, we have an obstacle now that is in our way and we need to get past it'.

"Our ball movement today ... we're lacking a little bit of connection, a bit of synergy, which historically has been there."

Adelaide forward Eddie Betts (2.6) had a rare off day in front of goal but some of his shots were from difficult angles.

Crows skipper Taylor Walker finished with 1.2 from 11 disposals in his first match back since round eight.

Walker returned one week earlier than expected from his mini pre-season but Pyke said he was comfortable with the decision to bring back the veteran.

"He performed like a guy that has missed three weeks and came back in," Pyke said of Walker.

"But it wasn't through conditioning, it was the way the game is."

Fremantle defender Alex Pearce is set for a stint on the sidelines after breaking his thumb.

The incident happened in the second quarter but Pearce bravely played on.

Fremantle veteran Michael Walters faces a nervous wait after being reported for headbutting Tom Doedee in the dying minutes.

Replays showed only a slight contact and it's unlikely to attract a suspension.

But Walters' punch to the gut of Jake Kelly, which occurred just seconds before the headbutt, could cost him a week.

"It wasn't the action we wanted. Michael would have known that," Dockers coach Ross Lyon said.

"We'd like him to be a bit fiery but at the right time."