Josh Rachele.
Adelaide have recorded their first win of the season and also ended Carltons perfect start. Image by Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS
  • Australian rules football

Crows rally to beat Blues for first win of the season

Roger Vaughan April 13, 2024

Adelaide have dug deep for their first win of the AFL season, rallying late for a two-point upset win over Carlton.

The Crows kicked the last three goals of the game in the Saturday twilight clash at Marvel Stadium for the 16.4 (100) to 14.14 (98) win in front of 46,283 fans.

It will go down as one of the games of the season and keeps Adelaide’s rapidly fading season alive at 1-4.

Carlton had won nine games since the start of last season by 10 points or less.

This was the Blues’ first loss by less than a goal since the Magpies broke their hearts by one point in round 23, 2022 – denying them a finals berth.

By contrast Adelaide had lost five out of six games last season that were decided by six points or less, including Sydney’s controversial one-point win that also cost them a finals berth.

They also opened this season with a six-point loss to Gold Coast.

Substitute Sam Berry came on in the last quarter for Crows and was mighty, racking up nine possessions, an impressive fend-off and the match-winning goal.

“It’s amazing what one kick can do to a changeroom,” said Crows coach Matthew Nicks.

“I’m really proud of the grit they showed. We dug deep (and we) got so many areas of our game right in those key moments.

“Not only a win on the road, but a close one on the road – a couple of things we haven’t done. It’s a great result … it means a lot.”

Nicks deadpanned that Berry had a “reasonable impact”.

He also hailed key defenders Jordan Butts and Mark Keane, who battled through soreness late in the game.

The Blues lost both Adam Saad in the second quarter and fellow defender Mitch McGovern in the frenetic final term to hamstring injuries.

Adam Saad.
 Adam Saad in full flight before damaging a hamstring. Image by Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS 

“We’re bitterly disappointed. We haven’t felt this way for a while,” coach Michael Voss said.

“We had two or three, four (moments) that we’d like back.

“Overall, I didn’t think we defended well enough across the night. That was the main thing.”

When Charlie Curnow snapped his fourth goal at 17 minutes in the final term, the Blues were 16 points up and had 10 inside 50s to two for the quarter.

Brayden Cook then kicked a goal to keep the Crows alive, before one of those moments that Voss referred to badly hurt Carlton.

A high kick into Adelaide’s forward line looked like it was going out, before two Carlton defenders spoiled each other and Darcy Fogarty swooped.

His pass found Izak Rankine, who kicked accurately to set up the riveting end of the game.

Berry kicked the match winner with 78 seconds left and the Crows defended grimly after the 15th lead change for the game.

Had the Blues won, it would have been their first 5-0 start since they last won the premiership in 1995.

Disappointed Carlton players.
 Carlton players leave the field having fallen just short against the Crows. Image by Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS 

There will be plenty of debate around a score review in the third term when Carlton’s Matthew Owies had a snap and the goal umpire ruled it was touched off the boot.

The score stayed a behind on review and Blues fans were ropeable when they saw the video replays on the big screens.

Blues midfielder Sam Walsh celebrated his first game of the season with a best-afield performance, while Adelaide key forward Taylor Walker was mighty, kicking four goals.

Adelaide midfielder Matt Crouch will come under match review scrutiny for collecting Jack Carroll high in the frenetic last term.