How does an AFL side score 10 goals in a quarter and still lose the match? The Adelaide Crows certainly found a way on Sunday afternoon.
Facing the Hawthorn Hawks at Launceston’s UTAS Stadium, Adelaide suffered a 15.12 (102) to 16.3 (99) defeat while simultaneously breaking a league goal-kicking record.
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The Crows started the match by booting 15 consecutive goals without a behind, setting a new record for the most accurate start to an AFL/VFL game in history.
ADEL getting to 15 straight goals before kicking a behind is the most accurate start to a V/@AFL game
But after compiling 84 points in the first half, Adelaide could only conjure 15 points in the final two quarters, and a Tom Lynch debacle was at least partly to blame.
Late in the third quarter, Crows defender Will Hamill suffered a game-ending ankle injury and was helped off the field by two trainers.
Lynch was the team’s delegated medical substitution, but Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks could not make the switch because the 30-year-old was not ready to join the contest.
Damning footage showed a flustered Lynch rushing to change out of his training gear and get his ankle strapped before pulling on his boots and warming up in the sheds.
Lynch was still recovering from a toe injury — he hardly trained during the week — and St Kilda great Nick Dal Santo claimed Adelaide did not intend to play him in the round six contest.
“He’s got to do a warm-up and possibly get some medical treatment before he’s ready to come onto the ground,” Dal Santo told Fox Footy.
“It’s a little bit unusual — I don’t think they openly wanted to use him today.
“He’ll need some treatment before he can take part in this game.”
Lynch was also spotted taking tablets while preparing to join the action, which some pundits speculated were painkillers.
Tom Lynch in the sheds.Source:FOX SPORTS
Tom Lynch in the sheds.Source:FOX SPORTS
The Crows subsequently started the fourth quarter with just three substitutes at their disposal.
Hawthorn great Jason Dunstall responded: “That sounds ridiculous.
“You’ve got a medical sub — he’s there to be used, and if you’re not ready, there’s something wrong. That makes no sense.
“It is unprofessional if the sub is not ready to go.
“He had to go down to the rooms, he didn’t have his boots on, didn’t have his ankles strapped, hadn’t been warmed up and they didn’t want to play him.
“He couldn’t run, when he was out on the field, he couldn’t move … he couldn’t get in motion.”
Adelaide were ahead by 20 points when Hamill left the field, but their lead disappeared soon after the fourth quarter got underway.
The Crows registered just two points in the final 30 minutes of the match, while the Hawks kicked five goals in that period.
The Guardian’s Greg Jericho tweeted: “This is pathetic by the Crows not having the sub ready. Awful second half by the Crows. Terrible player management with the sub.”
The Herald Sun’s Tim Michell posted: “Tom Lynch currently living every cricketer’s nightmare where it’s your turn to bat and you can’t find any gear.”
ESPNcricinfo’s Daniel Brettig tweeted: “If the Crows ever pick an unfit sub again there should be sackings.”
Channel 9’s Corey Norris posted: “Unfortunately, this is amateur hour from Adelaide.”
Tom Lynch injury sub decision might have cost Adelaide victory.
Watched game for 3 quarters on bench and didn't have ankles strapped or even his jumper on. Then couldn't get out of first gear. As village as it gets #AFLHawksCrows
Tom Lynch only now putting his boots on. What’s the point of the medical sub if he’s not ready to go on immediately? #AFLHawksCrows
This Tom Lynch sub situation is bizarre. #AFLHawksCrows
The Herald Sun’s Jon Ralph told Fox Footy: “Adelaide totally butchered their medical sub arrangement … you feel like potentially they threw away four premiership points.”
The Crows did not score 84 points in any AFL game last season, but remarkably passed that tally in the first half against Hawthorn.
Matthew Nicks’ side kicked 14 goals in the first two quarters, but were unable to clinch the much-needed victory after flopping in the final term.
Adelaide will next host the GWS Giants, while Hawthorn will face St Kilda at Marvel Stadium next weekend.
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