Sport AFL Sanderson, Crows forced to look past finals

Sanderson, Crows forced to look past finals

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Adelaide have coughed up a golden opportunity to book an AFL finals appearance and Brenton Sanderson knows it.

At three-quarter time, the Crows looked a side that had climbed the mountain and needed just to put a flag on top.

An early goal put Adelaide 11 points ahead, running towards the goalscoring end.

But the Crows fizzled, conceding four straight goals to again be left rueing a close one that got away.

After the siren, Sanderson couldn’t hide his frustration.

“I’m incredibly emotional about the result because it was there for us, and we were in front, and we didn’t grab it,” he said.

“(The players are) very emotionally drained in the locker room now, they’re spent.

The mathematics of Adelaide’s finals chances had not escaped Sanderson.

“We’ve missed a great opportunity to control where we went from here,” he said.

“Two wins would have put us in. Now we need to beat St Kilda next week and rely on a lot of things going our way.”

Sanderson lamented his lack of options to combat their chief destroyer in Hobart, Jack Ziebell.

“Unfortunately our options were sitting at home injured, (Kyle) Hartigan, (Sam) Shaw and Andy Otten all home injured,” he said.

But for a man that is keeping a light flickering for the finals, Sanderson had a lot to say about his off-season plans.

“When this season does end, we’ll have to have a look at ways to spend the summer teaching these boys to handle late in-game situations better than what we showed this season,” he said.

“Defensive stuff is what we mostly need to work on, we still give up too many inside 50s.”

Captain Patrick Dangerfield was electric in the first term with 11 possessions, but had just eight more for the rest of the game.

Sanderson said that was due to Dangerfield playing as an outside midfielder and his delivery drying up.

It should come as no surprise where he will be looking during the draft and trade periods.

“We’re pretty good inside the contest, we still need some speed, and some dynamic players outside the contest,” he said.

“That’s obviously a discussion for the end of the season when we have a look at our squad.”