Essendon gave their top-eight hopes a boost with a nine-point win over fellow finals aspirants Adelaide in Saturday night’s AFL clash at Etihad Stadium.
The Bombers, despite players facing uncertain futures as the club’s battle with ASADA continues over the 2012 supplement saga, held on to win 15.11 (101) to Adelaide’s 14.8 (92).
Essendon improved their win-loss to 7-6 while the Crows are 6-7, after both sides started round 14 one win outside the top eight.
Scott Thompson had a staggering 41 disposals for Adelaide, while ruckman Sam Jacobs was also influential.
Josh Jenkins kicked four goals for the Crows and Eddie Betts booted three majors.
Jason Winderlich, Brent Stanton and Patrick Ryder kicked two each for the winners, who were well led by acting captain Brendon Goddard.
Goddard’s 32 touches included 16 in the last quarter.
Essendon had shown tremendous energy in the opening term, booting seven of the first eight goals to open up a 33-point advantage. A goal to the elusive Patrick Dangerfield allowed the Crows to narrow the gap to 24 points at quarter-time, 7.0 (42) to 2.6 (18).
Adelaide trailed by 32 points at the 20-minute mark as Essendon ruckman Patrick Ryder booted his second goal.
The Crows outscored Essendon three goals to two in the second quarter, with the Bombers leading by 19 at half-time.
It was Adelaide’s turn to be accurate in front of goal in the third term as the Crows scored four straight majors to Essendon’s 2.8 and the Bombers were clinging to a 15-point buffer at three-quarter time.
Ben Howlett kicked a miraculous snap from the boundary for the Bombers at the three-minute mark of the final term, although Adelaide’s defenders protested the ball appeared to have brushed the post.
However the umpires controversially didn’t seek a video review.
Adelaide’s players were also fuming over a clash between Luke Brown and Winderlich, which caused Brown to briefly leave the field. The incident is expected to come under scrutiny from the match review panel.
Adelaide kicked five goals to Essendon’s four in the final term.