The Crows, at their best when they are running and flowing, were denied any freedom and struggled to unshackle themselves from Hawthorn’s iron grip.
Only three goals were scored in a scrappy opening term, at the end of which the Hawks held sway by eight points, before the game became more free-flowing in the second stanza.
Eddie Betts goaled shortly after Doedee’s exit from the field before Rory Sloane, in his first official appearance as Adelaide co-captain, did his best to inspire his team with a goal and a perfect handball to front-and-centre Matt Crouch who snapped truly to give the Crows their first lead. It would be short lived.
Isaac Smith and Liam Shiels slotted back-to-back majors in the space of a minute to arrest back the lead and when Luke Breust shrugged Brodie Smith’s tackle and snapped with 32 seconds remaining before half-time, the Hawks had all the momentum.
Holding the Crows goalless, Hawthorn should have moved even further ahead, stymied only by a lack of accuracy.
A LONG WAIT
Five hundred and thirty nine days. That’s how long it had been since Brad Crouch last played an AFL game — Adelaide’s 2017 grand final loss to Richmond. After missing last season with a serious groin injury, the older Crouch brother made his long-awaited return, and ended the Crows’ long goal drought to start the game when he marked and goaled early in time-on of the opening quarter.
FILLING THE BREACH
The absence of Brownlow medallist Tom Mitchell (broken leg) had many tipping Hawthorn’s midfield to find the going tough in 2019. The critics obviously hadn’t heard of James Worpel.
Previously having donned No.38, over the summer Worpel switched to No.5 and put on an inside-midfield exhibition that would have made Sam Mitchell, who also wore it, proud. Worpel showed he is a capable hard-ball winner, creator and finisher, repeatedly winning clearances, driving inside 50s and slotting a pair of goals.
HOME AWAY FROM HOME
One of the surprising benefactors of the two South Australian-based teams move to Adelaide Oval in 2014 has been Hawthorn — particularly in games against Adelaide. With a 4-0 record at SA’s new headquarters, the Hawks are the only team the Crows have never beaten at their home base.
It’s a remarkable feat given that in 23 years, Hawthorn only defeated Adelaide four times at Football Park.
WELCOME TO THE CLUB
Adelaide top-10 draft pick Chayce Jones joined the exclusive group of players — which includes teammates Taylor Walker and Brodie Smith — to boot a goal with their first kick.
After Hawthorn had booted two goals in the space of a minute, the Crows fought back and moved the ball forward where Jones marked.
He very nearly joined an even more elite club when, a few minutes later, his right-foot snap with his second kick in the big time just missed its mark.
HAWTHORN 2.4 6.7 9.14 12.15 (87)
ADELAIDE 1.2 5.4 5.6 7.13 (55)
GOALS Hawthorn: Worpel 2, McEvoy 2, O’Meara 2, Cousins 2, Bruest, Shiels, Smith, Gunston. Adelaide: Betts 2, B. Crouch 2, M. Crouch, Sloane, Jones.
BEST Hawthorn: Worpel, Sicily, Shiels, O’Meara, Gunston, Cousins. Adelaide: Sloane, M. Crouch, Atkins, Laird, B. Crouch, Lynch.
INJURIES Hawthorn: Shiels (dislocated finger). Adelaide: Doedee (knee)
CROWD 50,180 at Adelaide Oval
James Worpel (Hawthorn) 8
James Sicily (Hawthorn) 8
Rory Sloane (Adelaide) 8
Matt Crouch (Adelaide) 7
Liam Shiels (Hawthorn) 7