As comprehensive as the resurrection was, it came from modest beginnings. Only Lachlan Murphy’s major after the quarter-time siren prevented an ugly, goalless opening term, sadly befitting the 17th and 18th ranked attacks in the competition.
The Suns finally registered their first goal, five minutes into the second term, when emerging midfielder Brayden Fiorini threaded a clever left-foot goal but it was a rare shining light for the visitors who, after such a promising, miserly opening, opened up badly.
Adelaide began winning the territory battle and opened up a 27-point half-time cushion, which they extended to 59 points at three-quarter-time.
Walker took a stranglehold on the match with third-quarter virtuoso performance, before Gold Coast’s No.2 draft pick Jack Lukosius slotted the first of undoubtedly many AFL goals with a smart finish midway through the third term.
Peter Wright converted a free kick after the three-quarter-time siren after being afforded a generous advantage-interpretation call from the umpires but it made no impact as the Suns’ three-match winning streak came to an end.
The Crows remain the only scalp yet to be ticked off by the Suns in their nine-year history. Since beating Port Adelaide early in 2011 for the expansion side’s maiden win, Gold Coast have endured 21 straight defeats against the two South Australian teams.
All eyes were on Eddie Betts, who became the sixth Indigenous player to play 300 AFL/VFL games. After having rediscovered some of his old form last week against North Melbourne, Betts was a lead-up target in the opening minute of play yesterday, only to be spoiled by opponent Jarrod Harbrow.
Adelaide’s second quarter of domination was eventually capped by Betts, the fourth-leading goalkicker in Crows history, whose routine set-shot goal from 35 metres sailed through. He had teammate David Mackay to thank for this six-pointer, after the veteran Adelaide wingman had created the opportunity thanks to a stinging tackle on Will Brodie at half-back.
ADELAIDE 1.3 6.7 12.9 18.11 (119)
GOLD COAST 0.2 1.3 4.8 6.10 (46)
GOALS – Adelaide: Betts 6, Walker 3, Murphy 3, Greenwood 2, Smith 2, Lynch, Himmelberg
Gold Coast: Wright 3, Fiorini, Lukosius, Sexton
BEST – Adelaide: Betts, Smith, M. Crouch, Sloane, Walker, Ellis-Yolmen.
Gold Coast: Fiorini, Witts, Miller, Wright, Hanley, Bowes.
INJURIES – Adelaide: Milera (AC joint)
Gold Coast: Murdoch (hand)
UMPIRES: O’Gorman, Gianfagna, Mollison
CROWD: 40,847 at Adelaide Oval
Eddie Betts (Adelaide) 8
Brodie Smith (Adelaide) 8
Matt Crouch (Adelaide) 7
Rory Sloane (Adelaide) 7
Taylor Walker (Adelaide) 7