Jamie Kloeden reporting for AFANA from AAMI Stadium, Australia
While unlikely to eventuate, both Adelaide and North Melbourne were still chances to make the Top Eight leading into this game, making it a virtual Grand Final for both sides. The Kangaroos were coming off a great win over the mighty Geelong outfit nine days earlier so with that good form combined with the memory of a heartbreaking loss to the Crows in Round 9, most were expecting a spirited start by Brad Scott’s charges.
It was the home side that was strong early with all of the scoreboard action. A slightly different starting line up for Adelaide saw usual defender Andy Otten begin the match up forward with instant success as he marked and goaled for the first major. Rory Sloane started well in his first game back after suffering a worrying eye injury and he pinpointed a pass to Richard Douglas who kicked the Crows second goal within the first ten minutes. The Kangaroos looked sluggish and a free kick to Lewis Johnston resulted in yet another Adelaide goal. By the time the quarter time siren sounded it was the wasteful Crows with three goals and five behinds to just the two points for North Melbourne.
Second quarter action was an arm wrestle as the Kangaroos certainly looked better although they were unable to make up any ground on the scoreboard. The two teams went goal for goal until the Crows kicked three in a row through promising youngster Mitch Grigg, midfielder Douglas and new forward target Otten. The Kangaroos picked up their play late in the quarter but were only able to manage one more goal through Leigh Adams who kicked the first of his three goals for the day. Half time arrived with the Crows holding a comfortable 26 point lead.
North Melbourne needed to build on their strong finish to the first half and that is exactly what they did. Adams kicked his second but Sloane answered with a quick reply to keep Adelaide with their nose in front. From here on, the quarter became the Daniel Wells' show. His 12 disposals including a goal turned the game on its head as the Kangaroos kicked five goals to two for the quarter to bring the margin back to just four points at three quarter time. While Wells was leading the charge, Adams was also playing a great game as a menacing presence in the forward line.
Todd Goldstein was having a quiet day by his standards but his goal four and a half minutes into the final quarter put the blue and whites back in front. It looked like it may have been for good but the home side kicked into another gear with Sloane again playing a starring role. After setting up Jared Petrenko he took a great mark and goaled himself to push the lead back out to 13 points. The last ten minutes featured just one more goal to the Kangaroos meaning that as the final siren blew the Crows were victors by nine points.
Yet another heartbreaking loss for North Melbourne in what has been a terribly frustrating season for their fans while the Crows have three winnable games to finish the season and with the penalty still an unknown for Essendon, the finals could still remarkably be chance.
Scoreboard Adelaide 3.5 7.7 9.8 11.13 (79) North Melbourne 0.2 3.5 8.10 10.10 (70) Best Players Adelaide: Sloane, Douglas, Crouch, Henderson, Laird, Jacobs North Melbourne: Wells, Adams, Gibson, Thompson, Atley, Cunnington
Article last changed on Tuesday, August 20, 2013 - 5:58 AM EDT