Image: James Ross/AAP
Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks has praised the fighting ability of his side after they kicked two goals in the dying stages to steal a three-point victory against Hawthorn.
The Crows trailed by nine points with mere minutes remaining at University of Tasmania Stadium in Launceston on Sunday before pieces of brilliance from Izak Rankine and Darcy Fogarty.
Rankine cut the margin to three with a snap on the run before an ice-cool Fogarty put his team ahead with a set shot from the boundary line with less than two minutes remaining.
The Crows held their nerve to triumph 11.13 (79) to 11.10 (76) – their fourth win in a row.
It is the first time the club has achieved the feat under Nicks, who took the reins in 2020.
“I’m extremely proud. For a while there we found ourselves in a bit of trouble,” he said.
“(During) the last seven minutes of the game where most maybe thought it was over … we were able to fight back.”
Nicks conceded it was a bit lucky the ball ended up with sharp-shooter Fogarty when the result was in the balance.
“There is not many (who) you’d like it their hands more than Darcy Fogarty,” Nicks said.
“Tex (Taylor Walker) will get really upset with me saying that, but at the moment he’ll probably agree with me.
“Darcy is an outstanding set shot for goal. (But) I was lying if I said I thought that would go through as a drop punt.”
The result leaves Hawthorn at the foot of the ladder with one win from six matches.
It was their second tight loss in as many rounds after a heartbreaking two-point defeat at the hands of the Giants.
“It’s a game of small margins for us at the moment. Even after they kicked that (last) goal we had three or four really good (inside 50) entries,” Hawthorn coach Sam Mitchell said.
Walker kicked a game-high four goals for the Crows, while Hawk Fergus Greene slotted three including a clutch major in the final term that put his team ahead by 13 points.
Hawthorn turned up the defensive heat from the outset, registering 32 tackles in the first quarter – the best of any side in an opening term this season.
They were without Max Lynch for much of the contest, with the ruckman substituted out in the second quarter after failing a concussion test.
It was Lynch’s latest such setback, after he missed multiple matches at different stages last season due to ongoing effects of head knocks.
“Hopefully it’s not too bad. It’s disappointing for him because he’s worked so hard to get back in the side,” Mitchell said.
“There are obviously some concerns, but we’ll wrap our arms around him and look after him.”
The match was tit-for-tat throughout, with neither side leading by more than three points at any break.
Adelaide’s Rory Sloane topped the overall possession count with 30, alongside his seven tackles and one goal assist.
Conor Nash was among Hawthorn’s best with a team-high 28 disposals and seven clearances, as well as a bone-rattling tackle on Jake Soligo in the third term.
It was Adelaide’s first win in Launceston since 2005.