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Melbourne down Adelaide, stay top of AFL

Another class double-act from Christian Petracca and Clayton Oliver has helped Melbourne overcome a plucky Adelaide by 29 points for a valuable AFL win.

The Demons keep top spot on the ladder after triumphing 14.10 (94) to 10.5 (65) at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night.

Petracca (33 disposals, three goals) and Oliver (36 touches, 13 tackles) were superb as Melbourne stay one win ahead of second-placed Brisbane.

Defenders Steven May and Jake Lever took 18 marks between them. James Harmes (22 touches, one goal) and winger Ed Langdon (33 possessions, one goal) were busy while Ben Brown and Mitch Brown scored two goals each.

The 13th-placed Crows, inspired by Jordan Dawson (30 possessions, seven inside 50s) were in the hunt – just five points down eight minutes into the final term.

But Melbourne emphatically killed off the challenge with five of the next six goals.

“We were pretty strong defensively,” Demons coach Simon Goodwin said.

“Adelaide, to their credit, they brought a lot of pressure and heat around the contest, it was a tough game in and around the scrimmages.

“But in the end our method, over a long period of time, proved to be the difference.”

Crows coach Matthew Nicks lamented his players conceding 30 intercept marks to their opponents.

“We knew coming in that was going to be a challenge,” Nicks said.

“Against the best teams in the competition, you can’t fail in areas to that level.”

The match started at furious pace when the Demons booted three goals in the initial seven minutes and Adelaide four in the next 10.

Melbourne, courtesy of Petracca’s late second major, held a 5.1 to 4.0 quarter-time lead.

Scoring dried in the second term with the goal-less stretch into the 23rd minute before Crow Riley Thilthorpe converted.

His teammate Wayne Milera ran into an open goal and the Crows hit the front by four points – ultimately, for the last time of the match.

Petracca responded with a classy 45-metre goal to again give Melbourne a lead at the main break, 6.3 to 6.2.

The Demons overpowered Adelaide in the third term with three consecutive goals – the last from Kysaiah Pickett put them 24 points up.

But Pickett will likely face an AFL fine for a third-term punch tackle which sent Crows backman Jordon Butts, holding his ribs, to the bench.

Adelaide’s influential Dawson was swung into attack and, with an accurate 45m set shot, reduced the deficit to 17 points at three-quarter time.

And after majors to Rory Laird (32 touches, nine inside 50s) and Ben Keays (30 disposals, two goals), the Crows were only five points adrift early in the last term.

But Melbourne steamrolled their hosts amid a late flashpoint when Adelaide’s Darcy Fogarty appeared to jab Lever in the ribs with a sharp right.

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