ADELAIDE has turned the finals race upside down, stunning Greater Western Sydney for its second straight win and placing the GIANTS' post-season hopes in jeopardy.
The Crows and their rookie coach, Matthew Nicks – Leon Cameron's senior assistant at GWS last season – had suffered 13 losses in a row until their 35-point victory over Hawthorn seven days ago.
CROWS v GIANTS Full match coverage and stats
They rode a 10-2 clearance dominance to a three-goals-to-one opening term and never trailed, despite the Giants threatening to run over the top of them at various stages.
Ex-Adelaide ruckman Sam Jacobs kicked the only major in the final quarter – a remarkable effort after grabbing the ball in the goal square – but the Crows hung on for an 8.11 (59) to 7.5 (47) triumph.
GWS faces fellow finals contender Melbourne on Saturday, then sixth-placed St Kilda in round 18, and may need to win both to book a fifth consecutive post-season trip.
The result was a boon for both the Demons and the Western Bulldogs, the Dogs reviving their own chances with an upset win over West Coast on Sunday night.
Adelaide set up the victory at the coalface, with Rory Laird's emergence as an onballer continuing with a match-high 11 clearances and 18 contested possessions.
No other player had more than five, although the Crouch brothers, Brad (31 disposals, four clearances) and Matt (27, 12 tackles), and skipper Rory Sloane (seven score involvements) were influential as well.
The Crows also defended extremely well, strangling the GIANTS' ball movement to the point they had only 26 inside 50s compared to Adelaide’s 49.
Former teammates Reilly O'Brien and Jacobs had an entertaining ruck duel, with the former narrowly taking the honours despite both having their moments.
There was plenty else to like for Adelaide, which got two goals apiece out of big improvers Elliott Himmelberg and Shane McAdam.
Lachie Whitfield (29 disposals, game-high 553m gained) was again the GIANTS' best player and looked the man who could win them the game, but there was nowhere near enough support.
Tim Taranto (23 disposals, five clearances) and captain Steve Coniglio (20) were busy too, but there is now genuine concern whether the GIANTS will get the chance to redeem their Grand Final loss.