Rory Sloane celebrates a goal during the Crows’ tight victory over the Cats at Adelaide Oval. (AAP: David Mariuz)
Adelaide has an AFL finals pulse after a gritty 15-point win Geelong but the Crows will sweat on Adelaide captain Taylor Walker’s report for a head-high bump on Zach Tuohy.
Walker was booked during Adelaide’s 16.16 (112) to 14.13 (97) triumph at Adelaide Oval on Thursday night, with teammate Bryce Gibbs also attracting match review scrutiny for a behind-play block, which felled Cat skipper Joel Selwood.
The incidents came as the Crows, with Tom Lynch kicking four goals, put some fat on their slim finals chances.
They are one win outside the top eight ahead of weekend matches.
Walker crunched Tuohy after the Cat defender had tapped the ball forward – the Crow skipper’s right shoulder was tucked in but struck him in the head.
The Geelong backman lay prone before being helped from the field but returned to action.
Selwood also returned to the fray after being forced from the field by a Gibbs front-on block some 15 metres off the ball.
Both flashpoints came as Adelaide defied its former club champion Patrick Dangerfield (three goals, 33 disposals, 10 tackles) and his Cats, who remain in seventh place.
Geelong made the early running before Adelaide seized momentum and an eight-point half-time lead.
The Crows then streeted to a seemingly comfortable 30-point advantage when vice-captain Rory Sloane converted a long set shot late in the third term.
Sloane, who midweek inked a multi-million dollar five-year contract extension, was mobbed by his teammates as the parochial 46,095-strong Adelaide Oval crowd went wild.
But his great mate Dangerfield led a Geelong rally – he kicked two goals in the last quarter and Tom Hawkins (four goals) converted another to reduce the margin to eight points with eight minutes left.
Adelaide’s seven-gamer Lachlan Murphy then settled the Crows’ nerves, and the result, by slotting his third goal.
The scoring feats of Crows Lynch and Murphy were supported by two goals each from Josh Jenkins and Jordan Gallucci.
Half-back Rory Laird (43 disposals) was outstanding, while onballers Sloane (27 touches), Matt Crouch (30 possessions) and Rory Atkins (28 touches) were prolific ball-winners.
Dangerfield was a standout for the Cats, fellow Brownlow medallist Gary Ablett was influential with 32 disposals, skipper Selwood collected 29 touches and Tim Kelly’s stunning debut season continued with 28 possessions and a goal.