Adelaide has progressed to the semi finals for the second year in a row after thrashing North Melbourne 21.15.(141) to 12.7.(79), to ended the Kangaroos season.
In true North Melbourne style, the game started in a niggling fashion with Michael Firrito leading the way. However the push and shove failed to put Adelaide off their game as some great teamwork led to a Charlie Cameron goal within a minute of the opening bounce.
More skirmishes ensued after the goal, and while Eddie Betts gave away a free kick in the aftermath, the Kangaroos were the team struggling to compose themselves, barely getting their hands on the ball in the opening few minutes.
The Kangaroos badly needed a steadying influence and that came in the shape of Lindsay Thomas who kicked the KNorth Melbourne’s first. The goal seemed to raise the Roos’ spirits, but they were let down soon after by set shot misses from Thomas and Drew Petrie.
Those missed opportunities were compounded by a Brent Harvey error deep in defence, which led to a Josh Jenkins goal.
If the crowd wasn’t already fired up, an Eddie Betts mark and goal sent the Adelaide Oval crowd into raptures with the Crows leading by 14 points at quarter time.
The second quarter saw North Melbourne start to get a foothold in the game with Thomas lively up forward and Trent Dumont nullifying the impact of the Crows main ball winner Rory Sloane.
For the first time in the contest Adelaide were under pressure, and there were further worries for them with defender Kyle Hartigan being put on report for a trip on Thomas.
Goals to Shaun Higgins and Majak Daw saw the margin cut to 12 points at half time and the visitors had some momentum.
The early stages of the third quarter were always going to be crucial and it was the Crows who made all the running. Captain Taylor Walker, Jenkins and Jake Lever kicked goals in quick succession to blow the lead out to 30 points.
The teams alternated goals before Eddie Betts took to centre stage. The mercurial forward kicked three goals in an eight-minute period to seal the contest with the lead at 42 points at three-quarter time.
Betts kicked his sixth goal in the early stages of the last quarter and from there it was a matter of how much the Crows would win by.
To North’s credit, they continued to fight it out with Daw and Thomas kicking 7 goals between them on the evening, and were two shining lights in the defeat.
Three late goals by the Crows blew out the final margin to 61 points. The final siren not only meant the end of the season for the Kangaroos but the final game in blue and white colours for club icons Harvey, Firrito and Drew Petrie.
The loss also closed the curtain at the club for Nick Dal Santo who has made a big impact since his move from the Saints three seasons ago.
While this hurdle was cleared convincingly, a trip to Sydney to take on the Swans next Saturday night will be a much sterner test of their premiership credentials.
Adelaide Coach Don Pyke was thrilled with the response of his team after their disappointing performance against West Coast in Round 23.
“I thought tonight they responded in the way good sides do.”
“With the kind of resilient players we have in the group we were always confident we would get a response.”
Conversely Brad Scott was in a reflective mood about a season of two halves and a seachange at North Melbourne in the years ahead.
“There is no doubt the legacy will look completely different next year.”
“It’s the legacy that those four players have left which the next generation will get to experience.”
THE FIVE POINTS
The Brilliance of Betts
The turnaround in Eddie Betts career is one of the great Football stories of the last decade. He teased us at his time with the Blues, and many good judges thought the Crows were paying well over the odds for his services at the end of 2013. The fact that he is probably the most popular current day player in South Australia speaks for itself. While his goal kicking output is what he gets marked on the most, every facet of his game has improved in his three years at the club. His match winning qualities were again on show against the Kangaroos especially in the thrid quarter.
The Importance of Smith
While much was made of the absence of Rory Sloane for their clash against the Eagles, the impact of not having rebounding defender Brodie Smith out there should not be understated. Saturday night was the 16th game this season that Smith had passed the 20 possession mark and he has come very close to rivaling his All-Australian 2014 campaign after an up and down 2015. His 29 possession and two goal effort against the Kangaroos were both season highs.
Under the radar Crows
Ask a casual AFL fan to pick out Jarryd Lyons, Kyle Hartigan, Jake Lever or Luke Brown out of a line of modern day players and its fair to say they would struggle. It was a big surprise to note that Lyons was drafted way back in 2010 so his rise has a steady build rather than an overnight success. As recently as last season he was in and out of the side, but in 2016 he has almost doubled his possessions per game to 21.8 from 11.5 in 2015 and has kicked 15 goals. For the other three they are part of a rock solid back six. While Daniel Talia gets the majority of the headlines, the young trio more than play their part.
The Making of Majak?
Majak Daw’s career to date has been one of a stop start nature. There have been times where he looked he could be a regular fixture in the seniors, but for many reasons he has failed to fire. He has all the natural tools to be a star of the game and against the Crows, Daw was the one key forward that stood up for the Roos kicking four goals. Daniel Talia destroyed Ben Brown while Drew Petrie cut a sad figure in his final game. The old adage is that the big time players come out at finals time. While his performance wasn’t enough to see the Kangas progress, coaching staff and fans alike hope that it can be the catalyst for the 25-year old to become a consistent performer.
Talkin’ bout this generation
In the post match press conference, Brad Scott talked at length about the legacy that Brent Harvey, Drew Petrie, Michael Firrito and Nick Dal Santo will leave. There is little doubt that it will be one that is one that will last for a long period of time. A more pertinent question is the present. Who can North Melbourne fans rest their hopes on for the next 10 years. Jack Ziebell is undoubtedly a captain in waiting while the likes of Jamie Macmillian and Robbie Tarrant have come on in leaps and bounds in 2016. However, it is the likes of Ben Brown, Mason Wood, Ryan Clarke, Trent Dumont, Kanye Turner, Taylor Garner and Corey Wagner who North Melbourne hope can take them to future success. The big question is- Are they good enough to take the club forward in the long term?
Jarryd Lyons (111)
Sam Jacobs (106)
Tom Lynch (106)
Brodie Smith (106)
Todd Goldstein (104)
Taylor Walker (103)
Matthew Crouch (101)
FOOTY PROPHET’S BEST FINALS’ PLAYER
3- Eddie Betts
2- Brodie Smith
ADELAIDE 4.6 6.10 14.11 21.15 (141)
NORTH MELBOURNE 2.4 5.4 8.5 12.7 (79)
GOALS Adelaide Crows: Betts 6, Lynch 4, Jenkins 2, Walker 2, Smith 2, Cameron, Lever, M.Crouch, Walker, Lyons
North Melbourne: Daw 4, Thomas 3, Higgins 2, Goldstein 2, Ziebell
BEST Adelaide Crows: Betts, Lynch, M.Crouch, Smith, Lyons, Thompson, Walker North Melbourne: Ziebell, Higgins, Daw
INJURIES Adelaide Crows: Nil North Melbourne: Nil
Report- Kyle Hartigan(Adelaide) for tripping Lindsay Thomas(North Melbourne) in the second quarter.
Official crowd: 49,007