Adelaide maestro Eddie Betts kicked three goals in a 36-point belting of Greater Western Sydney in Thursday night’s AFL qualifying final.
Betts ran rampant as the Crows booked a home preliminary final with an emphatic 12.12 (84) to 6.12 (48) win at Adelaide Oval.
Adelaide’s folk-hero also had a hand in three other goals as the Crows overcame the loss of defender Brodie Smith to what appeared to be a serious knee injury.
And the Giants’ grim night was compounded by another hamstring strain to key forward Jeremy Cameron – just weeks after he returned from the same injury.
Adelaide’s Smith started a rout, kicking the first goal against an off-key Giants outfit who are now pitched into cut-throat finals.
But Smith, just 12 minutes into the game, was carried from the field by trainers with a right knee problem.
The Crows made light of Smith’s absence in trouncing the Giants, who will host a semi-final against the winner of Saturday night’s elimination final between Port Adelaide and West Coast.
Betts had three goals and had crafted another two in a stunning opening half from the Crows which underlined their premiership favouritism.
— AFL (@AFL) September 7, 2017
After leading by 12 points at quarter-time, the Crows clicked into top gear in the second stanza, booting 5.3 to a lonely point from the Giants to hold a commanding 44-point half-time lead.
Adelaide’s Crouch brothers led a ferocious assault around the packs – Matt finished with 31 disposals and older sibling Brad collected 27 including 11 inside 50s.
Tireless Tom Lynch (25, disposals, 10 marks) was influential, Richard Douglas kicked two goals and Adelaide’s defence, featuring Jake Lever, and Kyle Hartigan, smothered the Giants’ tall forwards.
GWS midfielders Stephen Coniglio (27 touches, two goals), Josh Kelly (33 possessions), Callan Ward (32 disposals) and backman Heath Shaw (23 disposals) battled gamely against the tide.
But the only time the Giants gained any serious traction was a three-goal burst in the opening seven minutes of the third quarter to creep within 26 points.
The Crows, before 52,805 spectators, rapidly steadied with a trio of majors to kill off the challenge – they led by 43 points at the last change before closing out victory in a tame last term.