The Crows went goalless in the first half before coming back to beat the Saints 29-13 (Image: Adelaide Crows/Twitter)

In miserable conditions, the Adelaide Crows were able to withstand the early dominance of a spirited St Kilda side to escape with the points to lock up the double chance in the competition’s first look at a top-eight finals series.

Swirling winds made life difficult for both sides at RSEA park in the Saturday afternoon clash, with the home side coming out with a determination the Crows simply couldn’t match. The Saints applied constant pressure that saw Adelaide go into the main break goalless for just the third time in club history.

Crows Coach Matthew Clarke was disappointed with the way the team started, but proud they found their way back into the game.

“The first half was pretty poor, to be honest, but credit to St Kilda. They brought energy, pressure, and were using the ball better,” Clarke said.

“We were probably just a little off our best, but the ability to respond and find an outcome was really positive.

“We’re very happy with the win, to get top-four is a great result.”

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After the break, Adelaide came out with a fire, the connection between the midfield and the forward worked itself out as it outscored St Kilda four goals to one in the second half.

Danielle Ponter continued her hot run of form into the finals with another two goals, making it six goals in four games after returning from injury. She kicked the Crows’ first not long after the main break and just two minutes later she intercepted a messy kick across the Saints’ goal to bag her second and put the Crows eight points up.

Clark was thrilled with the forwards’ return and said she’s had a huge impact on the team.

“Danielle has had a really influential impact on our team over the last few weeks,” he said.

“At times when we haven’t quite been able to get going, she’s the one who steps up. And that happened again today.”

While Ponter brought Adelaide back into the game in the third quarter, Ash Woodland put it to bed in the last. Woodland looked the most likely to put the Crows on the board early but didn’t get any reward for effort until the final quarter where she netted herself two incredible goals.

A banana from the right pocket and a perfect snap under pressure from the left were enough for the travelling side to kick away and secure the double chance. The coach was happy she was able to finish on the scoreboard.

“She [Woodland] was working really hard without getting any reward through the first part of the game,” Clark said.

“So it was nice for her to finish off with a couple of goals.”

The win will see Adelaide travel to play against either Melbourne or Brisbane next week pending Richmond’s result. While it puts an end to the Saints’ season, finishing with three wins and seven losses.

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