Melbourne Demons v Adelaide Crows


That Petracca was a lone hand at times at stoppages was not such a concern as the Demons try to balance their numbers around the ball this season after they sent a crowd to every contest in 2019 only to be left wanting when the football went into space.

The addition of Ed Langdon and Adam Tomlinson to run up and down the wings will help as will the drafting of livewire Kysaiah Pickett who thrilled the crowd with a two-minute glimpse of what he might provide inside 50.

Already giving enough of a spark to worry defenders with his tackling, Pickett showed his skill with the ball when he accepted a handball from Jack Viney at a stoppage and kicked a quick goal from the outside of his right foot. Minutes later he sidestepped an opponent after crumbing the ball but the kick went wide in the blustery conditions, the memorable cameo ending as quickly as it had begun.

Without gun ruckman Max Gawn, who is likely to be named captain at some point in the pre-season, the Crows had the ascendancy in the ruck with emerging Adelaide ruckman Reilly O’Brien impressive against Melbourne’s Sam Weideman.

Reilly gave the Crouch brothers and newly signed midfielder Wayne Milera the opportunity to get their hands on the ball first although Weideman battled hard in the unfamiliar role.

Adelaide moved the ball well under rookie coach Matthew Nicks and looked organised and composed with former goalsneak Eddie Betts poking his head over the fence to greet former teammates.

Betts would have been impressed with the work of both Tyson Stengle and Ben Davis, who got to the fall of the ball in the second quarter, contributing three goals in the first half.

Ned McHenry was lively when he came on in the second half, while Shane McAdam showed the dash that had attracted him to Adelaide in the first place.

The Demons also unveiled pick No.3 from last year’s draft Luke Jackson. The key forward struggled to have an impact with the ball lobbed on his head as if it was a basketball ring as the Demons fell into some old habits of just dumping it forward.

Jake Lever, who became a father during the week, showed good signs taking two intercept marks in the opening two minutes of the match and organising the defence in the absence of Steven May who has been sidelined with a knee issue.

Neville Jetta also provided reminders as to why his toughness was missed last season with the key defensive trio only managing 23 of a possible 66 games in 2019.

MELBOURNE 3.6 5.7 11.10 15.13 (103)
ADELAIDE 2.0 7.4 9.7 10.10 (70)

GOALS Melbourne: Jones 3, McDonald 3, Brown 3, Petracca 3, Pickett, Langdon, Sparrow
Adelaide: Davis 2, Crocker 2, Stengle, Jones, Murphy, Wilson, Himmelberg, Crouch

BEST
Melbourne: Petracca, Oliver, Salem, Langdon, Tom McDonald, Jones
Adelaide: O’Brien, Brad Crouch, Matt Crouch, Milera

INJURIES
Melbourne: Jones (corked leg)

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