RUTHLESS Adelaide has joined the logjam of teams vying for a top-two spot following a 53-point thumping of St Kilda at Norwood Oval on Sunday.
The Crows dominated from the first bounce, suffocating their opponents to lead by 30 points at half-time and run out 8.13 (61) to 1.2 (8) victors.
CROWS v SAINTS Full match coverage and stats
They now have four wins from five matches.
Remarkably, Adelaide racked up 29 inside 50s to just two before the main break, including a landslide 18-0 count in that statistic during the second quarter.
They totally blanketed the Saints, setting up a virtual brick wall at half-forward so that whenever the opposition won the ball, it would come straight back in for a repeat entry.
For the second week in succession, Erin Phillips (21 disposals and a goal) and Ebony Marinoff (23 touches, six clearances and nine tackles) led the way.
There were contributors all over the ground, with Teah Charlton kicking two exciting goals, Anne Hatchard (20 disposals) continuing a fine season in the midfield, and Najwa Allen a rock with eight of her 13 possessions intercepts.
It was a rough day for the Saints, who kicked the lowest score in their young history in perfect conditions.
They never gave up, with Georgia Patrikios and Tilly Lucas-Rodd topping the possession list with 24 and Jayde Van Dyk (15) composed in the back half.
St Kilda actually had more disposals overall but battled to find a way through the Crows wall.
Did you see that?
It was party time for Adelaide and you can take your pick of two brilliant goals. Teah Charlton had her teammates jumping early in the second quarter when she shrugged a tackle deep in the left forward pocket and then threaded the needle from an acute angle with her right boot. It was Ashleigh Woodland's turn in the third quarter to produce an unlikely finish when she unleashed a checkside on the right boot from 30m that sailed through for a goal.
If you want to see a face of pure joy, watch Justine Mules' reaction to her goal late in the fourth quarter. The 26-year-old winger was in the midst of another fine game when she took a set shot from 40m and executed the most perfect drop punt to kick the Crows' final goal. Mules jumped and celebrated like she just won a premiership – it was her first goal in her 32nd career game. Quite a moment to celebrate!
St Kilda had its fair share of the ball, but just couldn't do anything with it. The Saints won the disposal count 246-215, and while they tried to play an uncontested brand of footy to exit defensive 50 – recording 72 marks to 48 – they just didn't have the skill to pierce the Crows' defence. Adelaide forced 63 turnovers, almost all of which came in its front half, and repeatedly thumped the ball inside 50.
"We've used Chels (Chelsea Randall) in a few different roles and she's just totally selfless. She could well argue 'put me at half-back and let me play where I've been a consistent All-Australian', but for the team she's willing to take on those other roles. She's such a dynamic athlete that she just generates amazing contests for us ahead of the ball." - Adelaide coach Matthew Clarke
"We can't replicate this at training. This is where we've got an opportunity to grow and that's what it's about, it's about learning what the game gave us today." - St Kilda coach Peta Searle
The Crows will try to make it three wins on the trot when they host struggling Gold Coast at Norwood Oval next Saturday at 4.40pm ACDT. St Kilda also has a six-day turnaround and will play Melbourne at Casey Fields from 7.10pm AEDT on Saturday night.
ADELAIDE 1.3 4.6 6.10 8.13 (61)
ST KILDA 0.0 0.0 1.0 1.2 (8)
Adelaide: Charlton 2, Phillips, Mules, Ponter, Randall, Sedunary, Woodland
St Kilda: Shierlaw
Adelaide: Phillips, Marinoff, Allen, Hatchard, Scheer, Allan
St Kilda: Patrikios, Van Dyk, Priest, Lucas-Rodd, Dillon
Adelaide: Jones (shoulder)
St Kilda: Nil
Crowd: N/A at Norwood Oval
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