20 April, 2024
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Pickett faces AFL scrutiny after Dees’ win over Crows

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Melbourne livewire Kysaiah Pickett again faces scrutiny for high contact with an opponent after the Demons extended their winning streak to four matches with a 15-point victory over Adelaide.

Christian Petracca was outstanding and Bayley Fritsch kicked three goals in an important third-quarter burst to set up the Demons’ 10.18 (78) to 8.15 (63) triumph in the Gather Round opener at Adelaide Oval on Thursday night.

It left the winless Crows’ season teetering on the brink with four straight losses ahead of a testing interstate trip to take on Carlton next week.

Adelaide battled hard but are up against it with an 0-4 record.

Petracca finished with 29 disposals, eight clearances and a goal while midfield mates Tom Sparrow (20 touches, five clearances), Jack Viney (19, three) and Clayton Oliver (16, six) all had influence at different stages.

Captain Max Gawn (15 disposals, five clearances) led from the front in the ruck and young defender Judd McVee (20 touches) impressed again.

Back after just one week out with fractured ribs, key defender Steven May grimaced in pain after an early bump and did well to hold Crows spearhead Taylor Walker to one goal.

Melbourne have some cause for concern after Pickett left the ground in an attempt to smother Crow Jake Soligo’s handpass before tucking his arm in and collecting his opponent high.

The contact did not cause major damage to Soligo, who was one of Adelaide’s best players on the night.

Pickett, who kicked two goals from 11 disposals, was twice suspended for high bumps on opponents last year.

“Obviously he was trying to smother a handball and that will be looked at through the week, I’m sure, but we’ll just wait and see with that,” Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin said.

“He puts enormous pressure on, he tries to intercept the ball – that’s his game.

“He’s modified a lot of what he’s done previously and I don’t see that in his game much at all anymore. Tonight’s a little bit different.”

Steven May copped a bump but did well on his return for the Demons.

The win in front of 48,020 fans completed a successful trip to South Australia for Melbourne, who beat Port Adelaide at the same venue five days earlier.

“I’m really happy and proud of what they’ve been able to do,” Goodwin said.

“To come to Adelaide and play two really good teams and come away with two wins is a huge effort by our boys.

“To back it up from five days ago in the first game of Gather Round, big stage, to deliver again – I’m just so proud of our players.”

Adelaide’s Matt Crouch (29 disposals, five clearances), Mitch Hinge (24, four) and Soligo (27, seven) fought hard in a losing battle, and Darcy Fogarty kicked two goals.

The Crows started brightly, dominating the clearance and territory battles in the first term, but their wastefulness in front of goal meant their lead was just five points at quarter-time.

They were made to pay when Demons trio Kade Chandler, Pickett and Jacob van Rooyen kicked consecutive goals in time-on of the second term to give the visitors a 17-point halftime buffer.

It swelled to 33 points when Fritsch booted all three of his majors in the third quarter.

Adelaide challenged in the final term and got within 13 points but had left themselves with too much work to do.

“There’s just incredible frustration amongst all of us,” Crows coach Matthew Nicks said.

“We get glimpses of who we know we can be and then we have periods of time where we look so far off with fundamentals and execution and decision-making.”

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