Betts at his best as Crows down Hawks

Eddie Betts of the Crows outruns James Frawley of the Hawks.
Eddie Betts of the Crows outruns James Frawley of the Hawks. JOE CASTRO

SELL the candy. Take a step. Kick a goal.

It's as easy as one, two, three for Eddie Betts.

The Adelaide forward was at his talismanic best as the Crows downed Hawthorn by 24 points on Saturday at the MCG.

After a quiet first half in which he had a miserly four touches and one goal, Betts exploded in the third quarter.

And wasn't it mind-blowingly magical.

His first piece of brilliance came when he marked on the 50m arc - or at least when he saw who was manning the mark.

James Frawley was made to look silly, watching Betts in slow motion as he wheeled around him, ran in to 35 metres and goaled.

It was like watching the Titanic trying to steer around the iceberg. By the time Frawley knew what was happening, it was too late. He was sinking.

Eddie tasted the applause and was hungry for more. He had that dangerous look in his eye, just like a lion stalking his pray.

The next bit of theatre came some five minutes later, when Betts pulled off the unbelievable.

Deep in the right forward pocket at the Punt Road end of the ground, Betts delivered a right foot banana through the smallest of windows to record his third goal of the day.

The applause this time was belated.

Not because Betts didn't deserve it, but because the crowd didn't believe it had happened. And apparently, neither did the coach.


Will Langford of the Hawks is tackled by David Mackay of the Crows.
Will Langford of the Hawks is tackled by David Mackay of the Crows. JOE CASTRO

"The goal he kicked in the front pocket, I'm still trying to figure out how he got it through to be honest," Don Pyke said after the Crows' win.

While Pyke was mesmerised by Betts' freakish ability, he indicated he was more impressed with the way his star picked himself up after a modest first half.

"By his own standards, he didn't have a great first half," Pyke said.

"Yet he was able to bounce back in the second half and really give us something.

"A couple of those goals in the third were really pivotal to just building on some of the work we were doing up the ground."

It was a day dominated by small forwards.

Up the other end, Hawthorn's trio of Luke Breust, Cyril Rioli and Paul Puopolo wreaked havoc.

At quarter time, they had five majors between them, with Breust kicking three on his own. While Puopolo took an early contender for mark of the year in the second term.

"Mosquito fleets" are the AFL's latest buzzwords.

Richmond's new game plan is built around the likes Daniel Rioli, Dan Butler and Jason Castagna.

While at Essendon, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, Josh Green and Orazio Fantasia wreaked havoc last weekend with their electric speed.

But when it comes to small forwards, Betts rises above them all.

He may not have a fleet of mosquitoes alongside him, but he remains the superior small in the competition.

Betts may be vertically challenged. But that's his only deficiency.

While some players require an entire match to have an influence, Betts needs 10 minutes. Or in this case, two kicks.

Topics:  adelaide crows afl eddie betts hawthorn hawks

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