Where and when: Marvel Stadium, Saturday, April 13, 7.25pm AEST
Last time they met: Adelaide Oval, round 22, 2018: Adelaide 12.14 (86) d North Melbourne 11.11 (77)
The Crows were in control for much of the night thanks to a four-goals-to-none second quarter, before conceding four majors in almost as many minutes in the last term to set up a thrilling finish. There were only three points the difference when the final siren sounded, but Eddie Betts extended the margin after taking a Mark of the Year contender in the dying seconds. Matt Crouch racked up 46 touches and Rory Laird had 41, while Josh Jenkins kicked three goals, as did North Melbourne’s Jarrad Waite. Trent Dumont (33 possessions) and Shaun Higgins (29) were the Roos’ leading ball-winners.
What it means for North Melbourne: This is the opportunity for Brad Scott’s players to turn the good signs he saw in the past fortnight into a victory. The Roos are 0-3 and any hope of resurrecting this season starts on Saturday night.
What it means for Adelaide: The Crows were supposed to hit back with a vengeance this season after a year from hell. So far the response has been more like a whimper, with their round two triumph sandwiched between disappointing results. A win here is a non-negotiable.
How North Melbourne wins: Playing better for longer. The Kangas began brightly in both of the past two weeks before their opposition slowly wore them down and landed the killer blow in tense final quarters.
How Adelaide wins: A better-functioning forward line. The heat’s been on Eddie Betts, but captain Taylor Walker has a grand total of one goal from the Crows’ two defeats. The midfield is important again, but the big-name forwards need to hit the scoreboard.
The stat: Plenty is being made of Ben Brown’s reduced production, but it might not be all it seems. He’s being targeted inside 50 more than any footballer bar Jeremy Cameron this year, and North kicks a goal 27.3 per cent of the time when it does. Only six players in the top-30 most targeted – Charlie Cameron (52.9 per cent), Jordan De Goey (33.3), Robbie Gray (31.6), Josh Bruce (31), Tom Hawkins (29.4) and Jamie Elliott (27.8) – boast a better percentage for their team.
The match-up: Rory Laird v Kayne Turner
The much-maligned Turner doesn’t kick many goals, but has proven in the past he can perform an effective stopping job on the game’s dangerous defensive rebounders. Laird is a major key to the Crows’ ball movement and won a stack of the ball in the teams’ last clash, so curbing his influence will be a North priority.
It’s a big week for: Eddie Betts
The critics are coming for the 32-year-old, whose 29 goals last season were his fewest since 2013. Betts was goalless last week and has only three for the year, so an Eddie special might be in order, particularly with Marley Williams out. Or maybe we all need to realise, similar to Gary Ablett, that our superstars can’t go on forever.
Big call: Ben Cunnington breaks his own contested possession record (32).
Thommo’s Tip: Adelaide by 18 points
Leave a comment / Scroll to bottom