North Melbourne and Adelaide do battle at Blundstone Arena as both sides fight to salve something out of the second half of the season.
The Kangaroos (1-12, 52.3%) now find themselves on the bottom of the ladder after West Coast’s win over Essendon. David Noble’s side will look to end an 11-game losing streak as it calls on six changes including the returns of Ben McKay, Cameron Zurhaar and Tarryn Thomas while unveiling father-son draftee Jackson Archer.
The Crows (4-9, 80.1%) are in the midst of their own rough patch including just one win from their last seven games.
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There were no late changes for either side, with Flynn Perez (North Melbourne) and Chayce Jones (Adelaide) names the medical subs.
The match gets underway at 1:10pm EST from Blundstone Arena.
Watch it live on Fox Footy (channel 504) and Kayo from 1pm EST.
QUARTER-BY-QUARTER MATCH REPORT
There was a beautiful moment pre-game when son-of-a-gun Jackson Archer received his first AFL jumper from ex-Kangaroo Jamie Macmillan before his dad, Glenn, gave his son a cuddle.
The Kangaroos pulled a shock move at the start of the game, with regular key defender Ben McKay swung forward to give his side more presence close to goal.
“I’m wondering whether Ben can have the same influence as Harry,” dual premiership Kangaroos David King told Fox Footy.
“They have been wanting to do this for quite some time. They think his body work’s really strong, he’s clearly not going to understand forward leading patterns, but you do have to experiment when your team’s in a rut like the Kangaroos are.”
After Adelaide kicked the first goal of the game through Taylor Walker, North pushed the ball forward where the returning Cam Zurhaar took a stunning contested mark and converted his set-shot attempt.
North’s Aaron Hall then dropped a simple mark in defence, giving Darcy Fogarty an easy snap-shot goal before Ben Keays drifted forward to quickly add another major for the Crows.
“It’s just too easy out of the middle. The Crows’ midfield is on top,” King said.
“It is an unbelievable avalanche … they (the Roos) have to make a change.”
McKay then entered the game, taking a brilliant contested mark and importantly kicking his first AFL goal in 45th AFL match.
“That’s encouraging signs,” King said. “The coach has tried something to give the team some energy and that’s as solid a contested mark as you’ll see.”
Luke Davies-Uniacke then took over in the midfield, exploding out of clearances as Paul Curtis marked and goaled to reduce Adelaide’s lead to one point.
But Walker responded at the other, taking another strong mark and converting his set-shot to kick a steadying goal.
“He’s been remarkable with what he’s been able to do the last 18 months,” King said. “He looks as fit and as fresh as he’s ever been, he’s such a dominant target.”
Crow Shane McAdam then gave away a downfield free kick — prompting a tense scuffle between the two teams, in which Archer was involved in — and Zurhaar pounced, kicking his second goal.
But Walker couldn’t be stopped, converting a long-range set-shot to kick his third goal to give the Crows a nine-point leat at quarter-time.
“He could kick 10 today,” Power great Kane Cornes told AFL Nation.
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