Adelaide has dominated in the second half of its Round 3 matchup with Collingwood to run away winners by 77 points and in the process qualify for the 2012 NAB Cup Grand Final.
The Crows, led by Patrick Dangerfield, smashed the Pies in the clearances and proved too much to defend for an inexperienced Collingwood line-up.
The first half was hotly contested, with both sides looking to gain the advantage physically, but without clearance specialist Luke Ball, it was always going to be a battle for Collingwood.
The Crows’ midfield slowly but surely gained the ascendency over the Pies, pumping the ball forward and giving forwards Kurt Tippett, Jason Porplyzia, Taylor Walker and Shaun McKernan ample opportunities to score.
The Crows clearly planned to exploit a one-on-one situation with Pies skipper Nick Maxwell, with his opponent routinely finding himself the go-to target in the goal square.
Porplyzia in particular was the beneficiary of this tactic, finishing with 4 goals. Porplyzia was magnificent in his return from injury, testing his problematic shoulder on several occasions, proving himself to be back at his best.
Collingwood remained in the contest at half-time largely thanks to their efficiency up forward – the majority of the Pies forward 50 entries were converted into scoring attempts – whilst their back-line managed to stand up against the fierce Adelaide midfield pressure.
Once Adelaide began to zone and chop off the Collingwood forward’s leads however, they asserted control all over the ground.
The Crows were sparked by mature-age recruit Ian Callinan, who was subbed in just before the major break. Callinan finished with 15 touches and a classy goal, but it was his disposal into the attacking 50 which was so important, as he was instrumental in several successful Crow attacks on goal.
Along with Dangerfield, Rory Sloane continued his impressive vein of pre-season form, collecting 21 disposals, but it was his in and under work which did the most damage on the night.
The Crows consistently fed the ball out of the packs, hunting as a team and moving the ball forward at any cost.
Several passages of play saw Adelaide move the ball from half-back to half-forward – under extreme pressure and with only handballs, yet the Crows’ skills stood up to the test and resulted in the Pies defence being constantly stretched.
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley may not be too concerned, considering the experience of the majority of his side fielded, but the way his side was obliterated in the second-half will need review.
Young players such as Paul Seedsman, Peter Yagmoor and Tom Young all played well in the first half, yet struggled once the Crows amped up the pressure.
Dane Swan, Scott Pendlebury and Steele Sidebottom gave their usual performances, but without the support that usually accompanies them, their influence was largely stifled by Adelaide.
The Crows poured it on in the last quarter, and will now likely face either West Coast or Hawthorn in the Grand Final to be held next week.
ADELAIDE 1.20.9 (138)
COLLINGWOOD 1.7.10 (61)
ADELAIDE: Jaesnch (SG), Porplyzia (4), McKernan (3) Lynch (3), Walker (2), Dangerfield, Petrenko, Tippett, Vince, Kerridge, van Berlo, Callinan, Jacobs
COLLINGWOOD: Seedsman (SG), Cloke (2), Fasolo, Mooney, Sinclair, Pendlebury, Swan
ADELAIDE: Dangerfield, Sloane, Callinan, Porplyzia, van Berlo.
COLLINGWOOD: Swan, Sidebottom, Pendlebury