Adelaide’s emotional roller coaster ride through the 2015 season came to a shuddering halt on Friday night but the brave Crows exit the finals with their heads held high.
A 74-point semi-final belting by Hawthorn will sting for a bit but when the smoke clears the remarkable achievement of making it into the second week of the finals after the tragedy of Phil Walsh’s murder will remain.
“We could’ve went to water but we didn’t want that and it’s not what Walshy would’ve wanted either,” Ricky Henderson told AAP.
“He put in place some ideals throughout the club that we’ll continue to try to uphold.
“It was a shocking season, to be honest. It’s been really hard with everything that we’ve been through. We didn’t finish the way that we would’ve liked but I think we can hold our heads high … just with where we’ve been and where we managed to get to.”
The Crows were put on the back foot early by the Hawks, who were stung into action after a poor showing against West Coast last week.
Brilliant first-quarter goals from the boundary by Josh Jenkins then Patrick Dangerfield – who was outstanding in what could be his final game for the club – had their many travelling fans on their feet but it wasn’t a sustainable avenue to goal.
“We were expecting a hot start but we couldn’t stand up to that pressure,” Henderson said.
“They put a fair bit of scoreboard pressure on us and we couldn’t recover from it.
“I think this really shows us where we need to get to. They showed us how to play finals football. We’ll learn a lot from that.
“We have a young group and we have a lot of learning to do. A lot of blokes played tonight in what was only their second final.”