A much-improved Crows outfit shook off the absence of their injured masses and lifted under immense pressure at the SCG to squeeze and suffocate the Swans throughout a commanding first half on Friday night.
Though they appeared to prematurely release their grip when the hosts suddenly lifted for an utterly dominant third quarter, Lance Franklin’s early fourth- quarter miss allowed under-fire skipper Taylor Walker to lead his side to a 12.13 (85) to 10.15 (75) victory.
Adelaide’s sharp display drew a line under their sluggish start to the campaign and last week’s shock home loss to Collingwood.
The Swans were unable to hold their nerve in the same manner as last weekend’s escape against the depleted Western Bulldogs.
Sydney tried to pick their moments but wasted a number of critical chances in the final quarter, while key players Luke Parker, Josh Kennedy and Dan Hannebery found themselves starved of the ball.
The reliance on Franklin didn’t help and the star forward was swarmed at nearly every touch.
His only goal did add to his extensive highlights reel when he pounced on a second-term turnover from prolific ball-winner Rory Laird and launched a kick from about 70m that took a bounce and continued through the main posts.
Moments later Walker responded in kind, unloading from long range as part of a four-goal performance to silence the critics who’ve circled this week.
By halftime his team should have engineered a buffer far more handy than 16 points, as another sloppy mistake allowed Kieren Jack to goal with 16 seconds on the clock.
It spurred the Swans to life, and snaps by Harry Cunningham and the returned Gary Rohan closed the gap to four points in the third quarter.
The Crows led by nine-points going into the final quarter and extended their lead before Franklin missed a set shot and Isaac Heeney spurned another couple of shots at goal.
Rohan and George Hewett ensured Sydney weren’t dead but they needed late goals and when a score review went against them the boilover was sealed.
© AAP 2018
ADELAIDE 4.9 8.10 9.12 12.13 (85)
SYDNEY 3.3 6.6 8.9 10.15 (75)
Goals: Adelaide: T Walker 4 J Jenkins 3 R Atkins 3 J Gallucci P Seedsman. Sydney: G Rohan 2 D Towers G Hewett H Cunningham I Heeney K Jack L Franklin O Florent Z Jones.
Umpires: Chris Donlon, Simon Meredith, Leigh Haussen.