A fast-finishing Adelaide steamrolled a flagging North Melbourne by 33 points on Thursday night to bank a fifth consecutive win of the AFL season.
The Crows suffered goalkicking yips yet prevailed 12.28 (100) to 10.7 (67) at Adelaide Oval.
Captain Taylor Walker, Eddie Betts, Matt Crouch and Richard Douglas each booted two goals for Adelaide as the Kangaroos’ mid-season stutters continued – they’ve lost four of their past five games.
Polarising North forward Lindsay Thomas kicked three majors, including a goal of the year contender with a checkside punt pinned on the boundary line, and key forward Ben Brown booted two.
But the Roos, who entered the game with just six days’ rest, were overwhelmed in the final quarter by the Crows, who enjoyed their bye last weekend.
Adelaide, with onballer Matt Crouch (32 disposals) and rising star Rory Atkins (21 touches, one goal) prominent, led by six points at three quarter-time.
And their fresher legs then proved decisive, Adelaide kicking four majors before the Roos scored a late consolation goal – the Crows had 14 scoring shots to two in the final stanza.
The home side had earlier failed to capitalise on their dominance, kicking 3.8 to 1.2 in the first quarter before a crowd of 37,890 – the lowest for the Crows at Adelaide Oval, with many spectators scared off by forecast thunderstorms which didn’t eventuate.
The misses proved costly in the second stanza when North found fluency.
The Kangaroos, with Jack Ziebell (24 disposals) and Ben Cunnington (26 touches) influential, booted five goals to one to take a four-point advantage into halftime.
The finals aspirants then went toe-to-toe in the third quarter, with Adelaide goalsneak Betts booting two of Adelaide’s four goals to help his side to a 8.18 to 9.6 lead at the last change.
The Crows then powered to a ninth win of the season – one less than North, who lost utility Farren Ray to concussion in the opening term.