Tim Taranto was hot early but it was the Crows who held the advantage early.
Harry Himmelberg threatened briefly to take control of the contest by threading a neat goal right on time-on and handing off another one to Josh Kelly a minute later before Taylor Walker’s steadier gave Adelaide a nine-point half-time cushion.
The Crows’ advantage swelled to 21 points in the third term, a handy margin in a low-scoring arm wrestle, before GWS hit back fiercely with 17-7 inside 50s for the quarter.
Kelly ran rings around the home side to help the Giants, who nailed four unanswered goals, including a pair of rippers from Jacob Hopper and Taranto, take the lead at the final change.
Jeremy Cameron, who heads the race for this year’s John Coleman Medal but was fairly quiet after three-quarter-time, threaded a marvellous 45-metre goal from outside the white point in the south-eastern pocket to put GWS in front before the Crows finished with a bang.
When Himmelberg marked within range during the second term and went back to start his run-up, team-mate Jeremy Finlayson was trying his best to close in and accept a play-on handball for a potentially easier finish.
But his efforts were stymied by umpire Ray Chamberlain who told Finlayson to clear the area.
Channel 7 commentator Matthew Richardson criticised Chamberlain, declaring Finlayson is free to go where he wants.
‘‘It’s not Ray’s job to direct the players on the ground,’’ Richardson said.
In the end, Chamberlain’s officiating and Finlayson’s attempted improvisation had no effect as Himmelberg cleverly slotted the goal to kickstart the Giants’ mini-revival.
No Giant has benefited more from the off-season departures of Dylan Shiel (Essendon) and Tom Scully (Hawthorn) than Tim Taranto.
GWS’s leading ball winner and tackler this year, Taranto started brilliantly with 16 first-quarter disposals, twice as much as the next best on either side.
Taranto doesn’t get the plaudits of high-profile team-mates Kelly, Stephen Coniglio and Lachie Whitfield but he has been on fire in 2019 and couldn’t have done more against the Crows in a losing cause.
DUCKS AND DRAKES
There were suspicions the Crows were playing ducks and drakes when Sloane was named in the Adelaide’s squad.
That scepticism rose when Greenwood, originally a surprise omission, and David Mackay were both pulled out of the Crows’ SANFL match against West Adelaide earlier on Saturday.
Greenwood warmed up with the team prior to the Giants clash — but the late scratching was Tom Lynch, who injured his calf during the warm-ups.
Sloane took his place and, although below his absolute best, stood up when it mattered.
ADELAIDE 2.5 4.7 6.7 12.10 (82) GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 1.2 3.4 7.5 9.7 (61)
GOALS Adelaide: Jenkins 3, Walker 2, Sloane 2, Betts 2, Murphy, B.Crouch, Greenwood Greater Western Sydney: Himmelberg 2, Kelly 2, Perryman, Hopper, Taranto, Lloyd, Cameron
BEST Adelaide: O’Brien, B. Crouch, M. Crouch, Laird, Gallucci, Milera. GWS: Taranto, Kelly, Perryman, Coniglio, Shaw, Himmelberg
INJURIES Adelaide: Tom Lynch (calf) replaced in selected side by Hugh Greenwood Greater Western Sydney: Toby Greene (knee) replaced in selected side by Daniel Lloyd
Umpires: Donlon, Power, Chamberlain, Gianfagna
Official crowd: 41,710 at Adelaide Oval