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Talking Points: Cats v Crows

Patrick Dangerfield was prolific against his old side - Geelong Cats
Patrick Dangerfield was prolific against his old side

1. Birthday ‘Rat’ provides early gift
After languishing in the SANFL for three weeks, Rory Atkins had a point to prove in the first quarter. He collected 10 possessions (included five contested) and levelled the scores with a quick left foot snap from 35 metres. Atkins – who celebrated his 24th birthday on Thursday – went on to complete a 28-disposal performance at 71 per cent efficiency. Adelaide’s midfield appears deeper with Atkins confident and in form.

2. Battered and bruised in high-stakes encounter
Ice packs will be in high demand after this match with a number of big hits flattening players on both sides. Joel Selwood was left dazed after an incident involving Bryce Gibbs in the first quarter; the Cats captain was then given a shove and a spray by his direct opponent Riley Knight as he came to the bench. Geelong defender Zac Tuohy was bleeding following a head-high Taylor Walker bump and in the second quarter Hugh Greenwood was lucky to bounce back after a marking collision with Mark Blicavs.

3. Jeers and cheers for ‘Sliding Doors’ mates
There was warm applause for every Rory Sloane possession and pressure act after the Crows vice-captain announced this week he’d be putting footy ahead of family support for the next five years. The biggest roar and team celebration came after the 28-year-old’s 50-metre goal in the third quarter put the home side 30 points in front. In contrast former fan-favourite turned villain Patrick Dangerfield – who decided to head home at the end of the 2015 season - was jeered for reminding Crows fans of the class he brings to the footy field. He also kicked a long fourth-quarter goal that silenced the crowd of 46,095. Both players are desperate to cap off their decorated careers with a premiership – who will get there first?

4. Crows still in the hunt – Cats are vulnerable
This result could have huge ramifications for both sides at the business end of the season. The Crows will start the weekend only a game and percentage outside of the top eight and with plenty to like about their performance against the Cats. They broke through the 100-point barrier for the first time since round seven and had nine different goalkickers – including Lachy Murphy, who’s third major proved the match-winner. Rory Sloane will only get better after his comeback from a serious foot injury and ruckman Sam Jacobs has been more influential after recharging his batteries during the bye. Geelong came to Adelaide still hopeful of a top-four finish, but the loss could see them drop out of the top eight by the conclusion of the round.

5. Fogarty’s yo-yo season set to continue
Crows captain Taylor Walker could find himself on the sidelines after being reported in the first quarter. For the second week in a row the skipper didn’t have a big impact on the match but he did kick a fourth-quarter goal and set-up Josh Jenkins for a major earlier in the game. Young forward Darcy Fogarty has been dropped five times in his 10-game first season, but would be the obvious choice if Walker is suspended. Fogarty will have a chance to press his claims in the SANFL Showdown on Sunday - the Crows need more of an impact and defensive pressure from him before he can cement his spot.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs