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Carlton rings changes — dials wrong number

Written By malwan milad on Kamis, 16 April 2015 | 20.11

Chris Judd clears the ball against West Coast to get the Blues out of trouble. Source: Getty Images

WHEN former AFL powerhouse Carlton won the Chris Judd sweepstakes before the start of the 2007 season it was supposed to ignite an exciting new era for the Blues.

But giving away talented but then unproven 19-year-old key forward Josh Kennedy to West Coast to secure Judd was the start of some list management bungling which has come back to haunt the club.

Judd won a second Brownlow Medal in his fourth year at Carlton and three consecutive best and fairest awards from 2008-10.

But the Blues have not finished higher than fifth in the Judd era and after spiralling to 13th last year they have slumped to 16th after two rounds this season and their future looks bleak.

While Judd, 31, is nearing the end of his career, the man Carlton traded to secure him is, at age 27, at the peak of his powers.

Kennedy kicked 10 goals against his former club last week, while the Blues, who also traded draft picks three (Chris Masten) and 20 (Tony Notte) to get Judd, managed just nine in total.

The decision to let Kennedy go was the start of a series of poor judgment calls which has and will continue to hurt the goal-starved Blues.

While Carlton has kicked just 20 goals in the opening two rounds, players it traded, delisted or lost as free agents have been on fire at their new clubs.

Apart from Kennedy's heroics, Jarrad Waite bagged a career-high seven goals for North Melbourne in his second game for the Roos last week, Eddie Betts has been in career-best form at Adelaide and Betts' former sidekick Jeff Garlett has been in fine form for Melbourne.

Two other players that Carlton found surplus to requirements – ruckman Sam Jacobs and midfielder Shaun Grigg – have carved out strong careers at their new clubs, Adelaide and Richmond.

Jacobs – who was rated behind Matthew Kreuzer, Robert Warnock and Shaun Hampson in the ruck pecking order at the Blues – has become a star at the Crows.

He is clearly the club's No. 1 ruckman and has twice been unlucky not to be an All-Australian.

Grigg has been a Tigers regular since shifting to Punt Rd at the end of 2010, playing 83 games.

Carlton has lost four other players who are still on AFL lists and two of them look like carving out successful careers at their new clubs.

Defender Jeremy Laidler has been a solid contributor for flag contender Sydney and utility Mitch Robinson has impressed in his first two games for the Lions.

Two discarded players who have yet to make an impression at their new clubs are Hampson at Tigerland and Kane Lucas at West Coast.

Of the elite eight, seven – all but Laidler – have recorded a spike in key statistics and Champion Data ranking points since leaving the Blues.

Carlton has been the league's biggest mover and shaker when it comes to recycling players in recent years.

Of players currently still on AFL lists, it has moved out 10 and brought in 15.

Sadly for Blues fans, too many of the calls have been wrong.


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All the Power sits with Port’s list managers

Port Adelaide CEO Keith Thomas speaks to media. Photo: Sarah Reed. Source: News Corp Australia

Port Adelaide is learning the lesson from its darkest hour on the national stage with Power chief executive Keith Thomas seeking ways to beat the AFL circuit-breakers on dynasties.

"We must never experience the 'fall of the cliff' syndrome of 2008-11 again," Thomas said referring to the Power's collapse from 2007 grand finalist to holding the wooden spoon in the last round of 2011.

During that nightmare, that preceded Thomas' appointment as chief executive, the Power won just 29 of 88 home-and-away games and the Port Adelaide Football Club's place in the AFL was put at risk by financial crises.

So while the Power seeks to find its second AFL flag from its impressive current player list, Thomas has charged list manager Jason Cripps to find the next squad to keep Port Adelaide in the premiership race - as Sydney has done for the past 20 years and Geelong is trying today.

"I want to know what our player list looks like in four-to-five years," Thomas said in explaining his part in list-management at Alberton. "It may sound presumptuous, but I have asked Jason Cripps: 'How do we transition out of this bubble?'

"This player group is going to be pretty good - from an age profile - for the next four to five years. But how do we get to the next point? How do we never fall off the cliff again?

"So there has to be a lot of forward thinking - and decision making now. Conscious decisions need to be made now.

"That is the untold story of list management - the pressure on list managers and the sophistication required to get that right."

This process challenges Cripps and new Power football chief Chris Davies to make strategic list-management decisions in retaining players, chasing free agents and in the annual trade market each October. And Davies' work in managing the football department budgets at Alberton continues to hinge on Thomas' commercial team delivering new revenue streams to fund coach Ken Hinkley's program.

No greater lesson stands out from the 2008-11 disaster at Port Adelaide than the failure to invest in the football team.

"In the past three years we have had significant growth in the footy program to get it right," Thomas said. "Because if you are not playing good footy, nothing else works."

As new Adelaide coach Phil Walsh has noted in the past week, the non-Victorian AFL clubs crave recognition in the Melbourne environment. But it also works in reverse with that hard-earn respect in the AFL's traditional market carrying heavy burdens of expectation from Victorian critics.

Port Adelaide returns to Melbourne tomorrow - for the first time since its preliminary final loss to AFL premier Hawthorn at the MCG in late September - after losing its opening games in Perth (to Fremantle) and at Adelaide Oval (to Sydney). The game against North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium carries the "expectation tag" for a team that started the season as a premiership fancy and is 0-2 today.

"We're aware of (the expectation) and how it affects the dynamic of the (playing) group," Thomas responded in his interview in Melbourne with radio SEN this week. "We're not avoiding it or hiding from it. We're embracing it. That expectation has to have some impact, but we hope we can handle it.

"We also know we have not done anything yet (such as play in a grand final). If the team is healthy and playing well, we know we are difficult to handle.

"We also know it is really, really hard to win in this competition. We have a balanced view of that."

ends


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Water boy is Bombers’ new hero

Written By malwan milad on Rabu, 15 April 2015 | 20.11

AFL: Essendon defender Cale Hooker discusses his fairytale goal against Hawthorn.

Cale Hooker celebrates his matchwinning goal against Hawthorn with Bomber fans and trainer Brad Holt. Picture: Wayne Ludbey Source: News Corp Australia

THERE could be a sequel on the way to Adam Sandler's comedy hit The Water Boy — starring Essendon's newest unexpected celebrity.

Trainer Brad Holt became an instant star after he was captured by Herald Sun photographer Wayne Ludbey getting caught up in the moment when the Bombers hit the lead on Sunday.

Holt, a lifelong Essendon fan, has been ribbed by Bombers players and recognised by strangers after Cale Hooker kicked the matchwinning goal.

"It's a great photo but I'm just amazed how much and how quickly it's gained legs," he said.

"My girlfriend was the one that told me about it and has actually saved it as her screen saver on her work computer. A lot of friends got into me after the game too because apparently you can see me on the telecast celebrating behind Hooksy as well."

Holt said it was tough to concentrate on the job of attending players as the clock ticked down — and revealed he had joked with Hooker about his matchwinning play before it happened.

"Naturally you do want to watch and look where the next play can go although I'd like to think I did a good job staying focussed on the task at hand.

"I remember thinking it wasn't going to be a long quarter as they were catching up. Then I noticed Hooksy come down. While I was out there running back I joked with him saying 'Down here again?', as he's done it a few times at training and I vaguely remember seeing him down there for a play against Sydney.

"Then obviously when he kicked it, it just felt like a weight was lifted and I was so happy for the boys. I felt we really needed this one."

Holt has been a Bombers trainer and myotherapist since 2009 and runs a mobile massage and myotherapy service called ACTION Myotherapy. His clients include some Essendon players.

Originally published as Water boy is Bombers' new hero

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Ebert: We’ve been too slow to react

Brad Ebert at Port Adelaide training at Alberton yesterday. Photo: Tom Huntley. Source: News Corp Australia

PORT Adelaide has not lost its nerve and is confident its game style will hold up for another premiership tilt — but it has a grave problem.

After its loss against Sydney, it is now the worst team in the competition when it comes to converting from attacking forays.

Its inside 50s are yielding just 15.4 per cent goals, compared to market leader West Coast, which is kicking goals from 37.8 per cent of its attacks.

But vice captain Brad Ebert was confident the way Port plays will still allow it to challenge this season as long as it can fix the way the ball is moved into the forward line.

The midfielders can't just bang it in, and they can't be too slow, because when they are the other side has a chance to flood their backline with extra numbers.

"To get it inside 50 and then actually use the opportunity when we go inside 50 ... I think that if we can do that we're a fair chance of improving,'' Ebert said. "But the things that we've put in place over the last few years seem to have worked pretty well.

"I think so far we've been a bit slow to move it and a little bit slow to react.

"The usual way we play the game is that fast-paced, high-tempo, exciting brand of footy.

"I think we're really just trying to get back to that a bit.''

But as much as the inability to score has hurt the Power — and they have been given some stern reviews from coach Ken Hinkley — Ebert was confident the way Port set about playing had not lost its effectiveness.

It was a matter of executing better, and quicker, as other team's will now use Sydney's big win against Port as a blueprint to slow them down for the rest of the season.

"It was a tough review but as we walked out of it we were okay with where we were heading,'' Ebert said. "I think everyone's upbeat and positive and just eager to get back out there and play again."

As the Power prepares to tackle North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night, Ebert will also prepare for his 150th AFL game.


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Blog replay: Power vs Freo

Written By malwan milad on Minggu, 05 April 2015 | 20.11

Jihadists' families quizzed

ISIS woman holding an AK-47

FAMILY and friends of Australian terror suspects who have fled to fight with Islamic State are being forced to reveal details to authorities in secret interrogations.

Dig deep to help courageous kids

EMMA FOR EASTER APPEAL

THEY are the smiling faces, the resilient and brave sick kids who at some stage in their lives have called the Women's and Children's Hospital home.

My Phillip's farm dream still grows

 Australia v South Africa in the First Test at the Wanderer's in Johannesburg. Day 5. Phil Hughes with his Dad Greg in the ro...

FOUR months on, it is still difficult for cricketer Phillip Hughes' dad Greg to talk about losing his son. But every day since, he has been carrying on his son's final legacy.


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Jacobs: We flew as one against Roos

Adelaide has thrashed North Melbourne by 77 points with new captain Taylor Walker kicking six goals.

AFL: Adelaide coach Phillip Walsh fronts the media after his side's 140-63 win over North Melbourne.

Sam Jacobs and Todd Goldstein go head-to-head in the ruck. Photo: Sarah Reed Source: News Corp Australia

PHIL Walsh started his first game day as Adelaide senior coach redefining the "Crows way".

"I hope you see a team committed to playing for one another – players with great team care," he said.

At the end, with an impressive 77-point win against North Melbourne to celebrate at Adelaide Oval, Crows ruckman Sam Jacobs was satisfied that his club's team spirit lived up to the promotional line of an Adelaide Football Club that flies as one.

"I felt we had 22 contributors," said Jacobs, after another of his absorbing classic duels with North Melbourne ruckman Todd Goldstein.

"We showed we will be strong around the contest.

"And when the Kangaroos came back at the start of the third term (to rally with six unanswered goals) we embraced the challenge. Our game held up.

"We were tested in all facets of the game – we got on top in the second quarter, were challenged in the third and responded and finished strong in the last. It sends a message, I hope, on how we are going to play."

Adelaide's match-winning second term, in which the Crows chalked up a 69-point lead, highlighted the classic adage in sport that attack is the best form of defence.

"And we were able to attack right to the Kangaroos' last line of defence," Jacobs said.

"We won the ball, we were able to move it quickly and I am sure the figures will show that we played most of that quarter in our half (to score 6.6 to 1.0).

"That is a key indicator in the AFL now – time in forward half.

"Get that working your way in most games and it will go a long way to helping us."

Jacobs was quickly called to a game review by Walsh to look at the start of the third term when Goldstein sparked the Kangaroos' revival with his deft ruckwork.

"I like to think I responded – as did the whole team because we have prepared for that situation," Jacobs said.

"It has been drilled into us just what we have to do when a team comes at us like that.

"It is a real credit to the team leadership group that they drove that response – and that there was a buy-in from the rest of the players.

"Phil Walsh (as coach) can instil that process in training, but it ultimately falls on us as players to react and respond and to know the Crows way."

In a game that has so many observations to be made of the new ways at Adelaide under Walsh, there is a telling note that more and more Crows have developed second and third strings to their games making it harder to predict and control Walsh's team.

"We were exposed to a lot of new things in the pre-season – including playing different positions," Jacobs said. "It goes a long way to building our team's depth."


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Power let win slip away to Dockers

AFL: Fremantle have done just enough to see off Port Adelaide in a cracking opening round contest in Perth.

Port's Angus Monfries after the loss. Source: News Corp Australia

IT'S ONLY Round 1 and it was only four premiership points but last night might as well have been a final and Port Adelaide will be shattered at letting it slip to Fremantle.

Without their ruckman, with five players having barely played all pre-season and facing a brutal opening month which includes playing both last year's grand finalists, the Power almost pinched a win in Perth first-up.

They had their chances but three-and-a-half quarters of hard work came undone in two minutes in the final term when a crucial turnover and clumsy free kick allowed the Dockers back-to-back goals and a seven-point victory.

HINKLEY:We couldn't quite handle the heat

The game was played at breakneck speed and for the most part, Port Adelaide's set the pace.

Their pressure was manic and tackling ruthless which appears the latest weapon in their arsenal.

Chad Wingard gets a desperate to get a handball away. Source: News Corp Australia

The Power had 32-11 tackles in the first half and finished with 73-41 led superbly by Robbie Gray, Ollie Wines and Paddy Ryder.

Wines in particular made two huge tackles in the second half and coolly slotted two goals in a brilliant performance.

Without a typically dominant performance from Travis Boak — who had to contend with Clancee Pearce as the tag for most of the night — or Robbie Gray, Port's attack came from half back.

Jared Polec and Ollie Wines hug after a Power goal. Source: Getty Images

Jack Hombsch, Tom Jonas, Jarman Impey, Jasper Pittard, Jackson Trengove and even Alipate Carlile turned defence into attack.

Carlile did a good job on Matthew Pavlich but when he was subbed out the Fremantle skipper turned match-winner with two final term goals while at the other end Port's talls didn't have the same impact.

Impey was outstanding on Hayden Ballantyne keeping him to one goal for the match and Kane Cornes blanketed Stephen Hill for most of the match.

Much of the pre-game focus was on Paddy Ryder's debut for Port Adelaide and it took a twist before the first bounce when Matthew Lobbe pulled out with a sore quad.

After a mostly underwhelming first half, Ryder came to live in the third quarter.

At one point he stood his ground, drew heavy contact from Lee Spurr but recovered, won the footy at ground level and got it to Chad Wingard who kicked the goal.

Ryder finished with 12 disposals but best to judge him when Lobbe is back in the side and after at least a month of footy with his new team.

Robbie Grey blasts the ball out of the centre. Source: News Corp Australia

A key to Port Adelaide's game was knowing when to attack and when to be patient.

If an option wasn't on they were prepared to back their field kicking and chip it around but if there was half a chance they were in position they played on without hesitation.

Wines' bullocking work combined with Matthew Broadbent, Jared Polec and Brad Ebert's run and creativity was a highlight, and Gray stood up in a frantic final term.

But they struggled to break through Fremantle's defence. Port had three talls in John Butcher, Jay Schulz and Justin Westhoff but they kicked only two goals between them while Pavlich was the difference at the other end.

Nat Fyfe also gave Port plenty of headaches with a strong body around the stoppages then a marking option up forward.

5 THINGS WE LEARNED FROM PORT vs FREMANTLE

1. Matthew Pavlich is 33 but he can keep kicking on for at least another season with a superb four-goal effort. The Fremantle skipper hurt Port at crucial junctures as the standout focal point in a knife-edge clash.

2. Fitness guru Darren Burgess hammered Port in another merciless pre-season but his side ran out of gas in Perth's Dubai-like heat. Port at half-time believed it would finish stronger than the Dockers but was consumed by the game's toughest road trip.

3. Rain, hail or shine Port and Fremantle will be certain top-four contenders after a breathtaking, unforgiving contest. Port and Freo are two well-coached rivals with stars and warriors who run to breaking point.

4. Chad Wingard can produce the goods in the trenches and slot goals against the run of play even when relying on a zero lead-in on return from injury. This kid has style and substance.

5. Star recruit Paddy Ryder worked into the game in the third quarter after Aaron Sandilands prevailed in the first half with Freo enjoying 21 hit-outs to eight. Port beat Fremantle without Matt Lobbe in round eight last year but overcoming the man mountain is not a journey you want to undertake without a tag team.


— Richard Earle

FREMANTLE 2.1 5.3 7.5 11.9 (75)

PORT ADELAIDE 2.5 5.5 7.8 10.8 (68)

BEST

Fremantle: Fyfe, Pavlich, D. Pearce, Spurr, McPharlin, Mundy.

Port Adelaide: Wines, Trengove, Ebert, Impey, Polec, Gray.

GOALS

Port Adelaide: Wines, Wingard 2, Butcher, White, Neade, Ebert, Schulz, Boak.

Fremantle: Pavlich 4, D. Pearce, Ballantyne 2, Walters, Fyfe, Neale.

UMPIRES — N. Foot, D. Margetts, S, Meredith.

CROWD — 34,099 at Subiaco Oval.

MERV AGARS VOTES

5: Wines, 4: Trengove, 3: Ebert 2: Impey, Polec 1: Gray.


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Insipid Kangaroos ‘got ambushed’

AFL: Patrick Dangerfield has produced a brilliant goal for the Crows in their 77-point thrashing of North Melbourne.

North Melbourne players leave Adelaide Oval. Picture: Mark Brake Source: News Corp Australia

A "boiling'' Brad Scott has savaged his North Melbourne team, labelling its 77-point opening round loss to Adelaide as "insipid'' and an "indictment'' on the club.

"That performance is bitterly disappointing to us and is an indictment on us,'' the Kangaroos coach said last night in the aftermath of a defeat which has left questions hanging over the club's premiership credentials.

"We came over (to Adelaide) preparing for an ambush and we got ambushed.

"We got slaughtered in the contest and it was just a really disappointing performance clearly.

''We lost contested possession 141-115, we were dominated around the ball and we fumbled the ball like I haven't seen us fumble in my time as coach at North Melbourne.

AFL: North Melbourne coach Brad Scott fronts the media after his side's 77 point flogging by Adelaide in round one.

"The kicking efficiency was horrific and the opposition's appetite for the contest was much better than ours, which is an indictment.''

North, a preliminary finalist last season, lost an opening round encounter for the sixth consecutive year and Scott vowed to put the heat on his players at training during the week to spark a strong response before next Sunday's home clash against the Brisbane Lions.

"There's no point getting angry, I'm boiling inside, but we've got to do something about it,'' Scott said.

"Everyone these days talks in cliches and it's about actions, not words.

"You can rip paint off walls and you can do those sorts of things and the players will get what's coming to them but it's about what we do about it that's going to make the difference.

Brad Scott and Andrew Swallow lead North Melbourne off. Source: Getty Images

"As a group we were disappointing. Individuals fought hard but as a team of 22 we didn't show anywhere near the fight required.''

The Kangaroos conceded six goals in each of the first, second and final quarters and were only on top for a 15-minute burst in the third term when they kicked five unanswered goals.

They were pushed aside physically by a super-competitive Crows outfit, which was playing its first game under new coach Phil Walsh.

But Scott put that down to nothing else but mindset.

"Clearly its mindset because physically we are better than we were last year,'' he said.

Lindsay Thomas kicks a goal for North Melbourne. Source: Getty Images

"We tried to steel our guys for a contest and we didn't respond.

"So we've just got to get back a really aggressive mindset in the contest because really everything else is secondary.

"We'll train it really strongly, you can train that. We pride ourselves on being a good contested side and we were beaten by a much better contested side on the day.

"The flip side is that Adelaide are a really strong outfit, they are really well organised, they are hard at the contest and they've got both sides of their game - offence and defence - working really well.

"But that doesn't excuse for a second the insipid performance of our guys.''

Asked about the perception of North now as a premiership contender, Scott said: "Who cares about that.

"Do you seriously think that people internally in footy clubs care about what external people write about you?

"Whether positively or negatively, it's irrelevant to us. Internally is all we care about and what we've got to do about it.''

The only bright spot on a horror day for the Roos was former Bulldog Shaun Higgins bagging four goals in his first game for his new club, although even that didn't please Scott.

"He did what he is capable of do doing but Shaun is not going to hang his hat on that - a 12-goal loss,'' Scott said.

North's other prized off-season recruit, former Blue Jarrad Waite, had a day to forget, managing just 10 disposals and failing to hit the scoreboard.


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Walker, Crows thump flat Kangas

AFL: The Crows have belted North Melbourne by 77 points at Adelaide Oval.

Taylor Walker celebrates one of his six goals in his first match as captain. Photo: Sarah Reed Source: News Corp Australia

THIRTY-SEVEN minutes. That's all it took to understand why new Adelaide coach Phil Walsh made Taylor Walker his first captain.

With the game's greatest forward Wayne Carey watching from the stands, Walker ensured the Walsh coaching era got off to a flying start, producing one of the great first captaincy games in VFL-AFL history at Adelaide Oval.

SCOTT: INSIPID KANGAROOS GOT AMBUSHED

By the eight-minute mark of the second quarter, Walker had hauled in 10 marks, destroyed two opponents - Joel Tippett and All-Australian full back Scott Thompson - and inspirationally set the Crows on their way to a 77-point thrashing of last year's preliminary finalist North Melbourne.

The 24-year-old affectionately known as "Tex'' had made a statement reminiscent of the great key forwards.

And his teammates followed in a dream head coaching debut for Walsh, whose first senior coaching stint was 20 years in the making after serving a two-decades-long apprenticeship as an assistant.

Taylor Walker was into everything against North Melbourne. Pic Mark Brake Source: News Corp Australia

By the time Walker had reached double-figures in marks - and been at the heart of most of Adelaide's forward thrusts - he had pushed his team 47 points clear and the match was as good as over.

There was a mini-fightback by the Kangaroos in the third quarter but Walker, who kicked six goals for the match, again stepped up to stop it.

His steadying goal from one of his 15 marks for the day ended a run of six unanswered goals from the Roos.

"A lot of people thought it wasn't the best decision to name him (Walker) captain,'' said Carey, who was on commentary duties.

AFL: Adelaide coach Phillip Walsh fronts the media after his side's 140-63 win over North Melbourne.

"On evidence of his first game he is relishing the role. If that's not a three-vote (Brownlow Medal game), I'll go he.''

Walker, 24, was controversially picked by Walsh as skipper ahead of midfield stars Patrick Dangerfield and Rory Sloane.

On Sunday's display, it was the right decision.

Walker - less than a year after returning from a knee reconstruction - finished with 15 marks, 22 disposals and 6.5.

Only some shoddy goalkicking let him down.

Brad Scott and captain Andrew Swallow lead the North Melbourne players from the ground. Photo by Michael Dodge. Source: Getty Images

Former Geelong, Port Adelaide and West Coast assistant Walsh, who has replaced sacked Brenton Sanderson, vowed he would bring a new hard edge to Adelaide and it was evident from the start of the premiership season opener.

His players hit the ground running, showcasing a tough, aggressive mindset which saw the often-prolific Roos kick just three goals in the first half.

They only got off the leash once - in the opening 14 minutes of the third term when they kicked six of their nine goals as North's Round 1 hoodoo continued.

The Kangaroos have now not won a round one encounter since 2009.

While Walker led from the front brilliantly, plenty of Crows enjoyed days out.

AFL: Adelaide coach Phillip Walsh fronts the media after his side's 140-63 win over North Melbourne.

Eddie Betts was superb as a small forward and midfielder, kicking four goals and having a game-high four score assists, onballers Dangerfield, Richard Douglas and Sloane were prolific, combining for 82 disposals, Rory Laird completely blanketed veteran superstar Brent Harvey, Brodie Smith was damaging on a wing and Daniel Talia was rock solid in defence.

In other positive signs for Adelaide, former skipper Nathan van Berlo made a successful comeback after missing the entire 2014 season with a ruptured Achilles and big-bodied midfielder Cam Ellis-Yolmen showed some good signs in just his second AFL game.

Former Bulldog Shaun Higgins was the Roos' best in his first match for his new club, kicking four classy goals.

Taylor Walker flies high against North Melbourne at Adelaide Oval. Pic Mark Brake Source: News Corp Australia

ADELAIDE 21.14 (140)

NORTH MELBOURNE 9.9 (63)

BEST - Adelaide: Walker, Betts, Dangerfield, Laird, Douglas, Sloane, Smith, Talia.

North: Higgins, Goldstein, Cunnington.

GOALS - Adelaide: Walker 6, Betts 4, Jenkins 3, Dangerfield, Sloane 2, Lynch, Smith, Cameron, Laird.

North: Higgins 4, Thomas 2, Bastinac, Petrie, Gibson.

INJURIES - Adelaide: Brown (thigh). North: Brown replaced in selected side by Jacobs.

UMPIRES - L. Fisher, M. Nicholls, J. Mollison.

CROWD - 46,491 at Adelaide Oval.

AFL: Patrick Dangerfield has produced a brilliant goal for the Crows in their 77-point thrashing of North Melbourne.

FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED

1.TAYLOR WALKER can carry a team as its new captain, a forward system as its main go-to player and a club with its burning desire for on-field success. Seven marks in the first term by "Tex" was a phenomenal statement of intent. Defenders are shaking.

2.NEW Crows coach PHIL WALSH – just as he wants - will get fewer and fewer questions about his complete gameplan when it is so evident that he has "a team that is committed to playing for one another". And the playbook thrives on winning the 50-50 ball.

3.RORY LAIRD, with just 35 AFL games to his name, is a manic defender who will ignore taller players to attack the ball in the air just as eagerly as he does on the ground or in one-on-one match-ups with the game's stars such as Brent Harvey.

4.ATTACK is the best form of defence. All concerns for Adelaide's raw defence and the lack of a genuine second tall defender to partner Daniel Talia vanished to an effective team system that keeps the ball pinned at the Crows' goalfront.

5.NORTH MELBOURNE'S horrible record in season-openers deepens to now read: No win in Round One since 2009 – and only one victory since 2006. The flat-footed start, the high error rate and the inability to stop Adelaide's 10-goal run from late in the first term – and it was game over early.

Originally published as Walker, Crows thump flat Kangas
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We couldn’t quite handle the heat: Hinkley

AFL: Fremantle have done just enough to see off Port Adelaide in a cracking opening round contest in Perth.

Ken Hinkley at the final break. Source: News Corp Australia

PORT Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley has praised his players for the heat they put on Fremantle but says they needed to be better when the pressure was on them.

The Dockers won an arm-wrestle at Subiaco last night with a final quarter burst which Hinkley said was the result of the home side winning crucial contests and putting it on the scoreboard.

"They were able to convert when they needed it most and we couldn't quite get what we wanted for a long enough period," Hinkley said.

MATCH REPORT: Power go down to Fremantle

"I think if it went for one or two more quarters the same thing would have happened, a pretty tough game of footy and they would have probably just come out in front because they just won the couple that they needed to win.

"We pride ourselves on playing that way and we like to handle the heat inside (but) I think tonight by the end we didn't quite handle as much heat as we needed to.

"We put a fair bit of pressure on but it was when the pressure was being applied to us a couple of times we didn't quite clean it up.

Angus Monfries gets tackled by Matt de Boer and Stephen Hill at Domain Stadium. Source: Getty Images

"I think it's (fast pace) the way we like to play, we enjoy being in those contests, it's good for us, great against a great opposition where we get some real pressure on us."

Hinkley said the club took a no-risk approach with ruckman Matthew Lobbe who had quad soreness before the game so left him out, while Travis Boak suffered nothing more than a corkie and Alipate Carlile was subbed out because he was cramping.

Asked whether he had noticed Fremantle's new-found run and attacking style, Hinkley said without doubt.

"We know they've been having a look at us," said Hinkley, who had words with a man believed to be a Fremantle spy during a pre-season training session at Alberton.

"Absolutely, it's not just this pre-season, Fremantle are a great side and credit is given to us that we were running strong throughout last year and they've acknowledged that.

"I reckon that's good coaching, that's a club that knows what they've got to do."

Robbie Gray breaks clear of a tackle by Hill. Source: Getty Images

The Power boss described recruit Paddy Ryder's performance as "pretty solid first up", given his less than ideal preparation and said he finished the game strongly.

He was also very pleased with young defender Jarman Impey's game on Hayden Ballantyne who he says is an "absolute gun" of the competition.

"We know there's some significant upside for us with Paddy and when we get Lobbes into the side it will certainly help us," Hinkley said.

Ryder was one of five Power players last night who barely played during the NAB Challenge series due to injury and the Essendon drugs investigation.

But he said that was no excuse for the Power not over-running the Dockers and he was content with the output of the five who included Jackson Trengove, Chad Wingard, Hamish Hartlett, Ryder and Angus Monfries who was subbed into the game in the final quarter.


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