Crows topple Demons in upset of AFL season

·2-min read

Coach Matthew Nicks is hailing Adelaide's new-found belief after Taylor Walker's last-minute goal delivered a one-point victory over Melbourne in the upset of the AFL season.

Last year's wooden-spooners kicked three goals in the final seven minutes for a stirring 15.8 (96) to 14.11 (95) triumph at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night.

The unfancied Crows ended ladder-leader Melbourne's unbeaten season start with Walker coolly slotting the match-winner, a 40 metre set-shot, with 47 seconds remaining.

"If you're going to have a player from your team at 40 metres, dead in front, he is the guy to have with the ball," Nicks said of Walker.

The Crows then endured a frantic finale: after Walker's strike, the Demons attacked and Adelaide's five-gamer Nick Murray handballed towards the boundary line deep in defence.

The handball went perilously close to being a point - and was also perilously close to being deliberate out-of-bounds and giving Melbourne a shot at goal.

"It (deliberate out-of-bounds) is still one of those areas that we are still finding our way as a game," Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin said, refusing to be drawn further.

His Crows counterpart Nicks admitted a heart-in-mouth moment waiting for the umpire's call.

"My thought was 'I hope his teammate was close enough'," Nicks said.

"I believe there was someone nearby ... it's one of those hard ones, isn't it, to make a call on."

The flashpoint was a dramatic finish to what Nicks described as a "great win" which broke the Crows' six-game losing stretch.

"Today was a really complete game for us," he said.

"I know we lost too many games in a row, but behind closed doors, the belief is there."

And he said his young group's belief would only grow after being 16 points down with nine minutes remaining after Melbourne's Clayton Oliver snapped his third goal.

Oliver produced one of the all-time great individual displays: 38 disposals - 27 of them contested - 13 clearances, nine tackles, eight inside 50s and a trio of goals.

His teammate Christian Petracca was also superb with 32 touches and 11 inside 50s while Max Gawn (20 disposals, 10 marks, 30 hit-outs) ruled the rucks.

Yet Adelaide ultimately just silenced the Demons' big guns with Walker booting three goals and midfielders Ben Keays, Rory Laird and Paul Seedsman instrumental.

Keays (two goals), Laird and Seedsman collected 34 disposals each while backman Brodie Smith (22 possessions, six inside 50s) was also influential.

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