Crows grind out AFL win over sloppy Saints

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Eddie Betts (R) has kicked three goals to help Adelaide to a 49-point AFL win over St Kilda.Not pretty, but Adelaide have notched their second win of the AFL season, the Crows overcoming St Kilda by 49 points at Etihad Stadium.
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Eddie Betts booted three goals in the 15.14 (104) to 7.13 (55) win in front of 19,324 fans just hours after his wife gave birth to twin girls.

Betts got a call from his wife after she went into labour early and, with no time to rush back to Adelaide, watched the births on FaceTime.

A beaming Betts revealed the news in the rooms after the win, which was set up by a six-goals-to-one third quarter.

The Saints were just eight points down in a dour Saturday night contest when Josh Bruce kicked their fourth goal 10 minutes into the third term.

But the Crows sprang to life to boot the last five majors of the quarter.

Sam Jacobs (20 possessions and 37 hit-outs) and Bryce Gibbs (26 disposals and 10 tackles) were influential at the stoppages for Adelaide.

Rory Laird (32 touches) and Paul Seedsman (26 possessions and two goals) were outstanding across half-back.

On a clear night with the stadium roof open, both sides were guilty of committing some basic errors in a scrappy first half.

A week after their Good Friday disaster against North Melbourne, in which they kicked 2.10 in the first half, the Saints were only slightly better with 3.9.

But the out-of-sorts Crows weren’t able to capitalise.

Betts’ brilliant opening goal – his first of the season – was a rare highlight.

The spark, pressure and pinpoint ball movement of last week’s win over Richmond were nowhere in evidence for the most part as Don Pyke’s men scratched out a 10-point halftime lead.

“It was a fairly contested and pretty scrappy affair in the first half and to our guys credit they hung in there and played some better footy in the second half,” Pyke said.

“We didn’t play as well as we would have liked, but to be able to get away with a win … it’s what we came for.

“So we’ll take that and move on.”

Adelaide skipper Taylor Walker managed just two possessions to halftime, but he added two of his three goals as the visitors jumped out to a 40-point three-quarter time lead.

Seb Ross (32 disposals), Luke Dunstan (30) and Jack Steven (28) were important for St Kilda.

Coach Alan Richardson was pleased with the competitiveness of his side in the first half, but bemoaned costly poor ball use.

“You just can’t beat quality teams if you don’t maximise your opportunities,” Richardson said.

“We felt like the boys had big periods of control in the first half and just weren’t able to get any sort of scoreboard pressure.”

Forward Tim Membrey was a late out for the Saints with knee soreness, replaced by Nathan Wright.

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