• Staff Writers

Schoenberg one of the shining lights in Crows' West Coast crumble


Harry Schoenberg played well against the Eagles, pictured in the previous week's Showdown match

West Coast forward Jack Darling has produced a five-goal second-quarter blitz, to lead his side to a 30-point win over Adelaide at Perth's Optus Stadium.


The Crows put up plenty of resistance early and led by seven points midway through the second quarter before Darling turned Sunday's AFL match on its head.


The premiership forward booted five goals in the space of 10 minutes of actual match time to set up the 16.10 (106) to 11.10 (76) win in front of more than 40 thousand fans.


Eagles coach, Adam Simpson said;

"Getting him the ball more often is a priority No.1 when he's in that vein of form, so it was great that he did that.
"It's just that having to rely on someone to get us back into the game single-handedly – it's fantastic to have someone like him there, but we'd like to do it a bit more evenly if we could."

Darling's first three goals came from strong contested marks, drawing praise from

Simpson;

"He was special for that period of time, and we're lucky we've got him."

The five-goal blitz gave West Coast a 29-point lead at half-time, and the home side held Adelaide at arm's length for the rest of the match.


Darling finished with 5.2 and five contested marks from 15 disposals, while Josh Kennedy and Oscar Allen chipped in with three goals apiece.


Keith’s own Jack Redden was excellent in the midfield for the Eagles, whilst Mintaro-Manoora’s Harry Schoenberg was amongst the best for the Crows.

The rivalry continued between West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui (13 disposals, 31 hitouts, four clearances) and Reilly O'Brien (10 disposals, 15 hitouts, four clearances). Naitanui came out on top once again in a matchup that gets more entertaining every time they lock horns.


Rory Laird battled hard for Adelaide with 35 disposals, 10 clearances and a goal, while forward Shane McAdam kicked three majors.


West Coast's third straight win means they are now equal on points with third-placed Geelong (6-3).


The 15th-placed Crows are now 3-6 following five straight losses.


Crows coach Matthew Nicks said;

"We're not going to put it (Darling's bag of goals) on our back six.
"Some of our ball use; we turned the ball over in spots where it's nearly impossible to defend."
“We want to be more than hard to play against.
“It’s been a month of lessons.

Speaking on Lucindale’s Darcy Fogarty’s performance, Nicks said;


“We’re really positive around Fog’s game today.
“Fog sort of had that forward line to himself at times, and attacked the ball, showed some real polish with the footy, so really positive signs for him.
“He’s been playing a number of different roles, and showed that he just wants to compete.”

However, Nicks was frustrated at the side missing shots at goal:

“We don’t look at the skill execution and look back...we’ve got to work on our ability to move on from the mistake and the execution error, and decision-making error and get our team defence right.

Asked about the potential re-inclusion of rested former captain Taylor Walker in next week's home game against the rampant Melbourne Demons, Nicks said:

“That’s the plan.
“We looked at the start of the season (when to manage Walker), we’ve gone slightly earlier (than planned) with the travel to Perth for him.
“He’s been in some great form, so we want to get him back in.
“There is no doubt Tex is our barometer down there (in the forward line), he’s been our best as far as the training goes.
“He will come back in next week.”

The Crows will look to bounce back when they face the unbeaten Melbourne Demons who have been faultless, as they are 9-0 to begin 2021.


West Coast travels to face the Western Sydney Giants.