North Adelaide turned its ”tough slog” into a priceless 15-point victory against Woodville-West Torrens at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval as it pursues a berth in the top five.
Now sitting in fifth spot, the Roosters can lock away their place in September with a win against fellow finals contender Central District at Prospect next round.
This will be a much easier task if they can replicate their second-half form against the Eagles, having endured an underwhelming opening first two terms which yielded just two goals before half-time.
But a match-turning six-goal third quarter swung the momentum in the visitors’ favour as key forwards Dyson Hilder (four goals) and Noah Casalini (three goals) benefited from a standout display from North midfielder Sam Mayes.
”It was a tough slog in first half,” Mayes told Channel 7 after the match.
”Woodville-West Torrens rocked up to play and we were slow to start so from there it was pleasing to get the win given we struggled to move the ball well in the first half.
”It (the win) will give us some confidence now on to Central next week. We have got plenty of improvement, we just have to rock up ready to play, we are keen for it.”
Selected as the Coles Value Player, Mayes finished with 29 disposals, seven clearances and two goals while teammate Harrison Wigg found touch with 28 possessions and four clearances.
Powerade Breakthrough Player Jack McCann impressed across half-back with 26 disposals and 10 marks while Mitch Harvey was dominant in the ruck with 23 disposals, seven marks and 26 hit outs.
Milestone man Campbell Combe was also influential in his 100th match with 23 disposals, 10 tackles and seven clearances.
The Eagles, who could have led by more at half-time if not for inaccuracy in front of goal, had James Rowe leading the way with 27 disposals, eight clearances and a goal.
Bigman Connor Ballenden returned to form with four goals for the hosts while Luke Beecken earned 21 disposals.
But outgoing coach Jade Sheedy will be most pleased with the encouraging signs shown by inexperienced players such as Kade Herbert (16 disposals), Harrison Dawkins (12 disposals, seven marks), Jay Watson (11 disposals) and Jordan Lukac (two goals).
Adelaide kicked 10 goals without a blemish after a slow start to claim honours in the inaugural Neil Kerley Memorial Match by 38 points against West Adelaide in Murray Bridge.
The Bloods booted the opening two majors of the contest before the Crows troubled the scorers but from there, Michael Godden’s charges applied plenty of scoreboard pressure as Lachlan Gollant continued his fine display of set shot kicking.
Gollant finished with a match-winning haul of six majors from his 15 disposals and five marks as he calmly nailed his opportunities from a variety of angle and distances at a rain-soaked Johnstone Park.
Crows ruckman Kieran Strachan edged Gollant to be named best afield in claiming the first Neil Kerley Medal after finishing with 19 disposals, six marks, four clearances and a whopping 59 hit outs.
Adelaide’s first behind didn’t arrive until Louis Sharrad missed in the ninth minute of the third quarter, illustrating how efficient the Crows were throughout the afternoon considering they only had two more inside 50 entries.
Patrick Parnell racked up a team-high 29 dipsosals while midfielders Jackson Hately (26 disposals, 16 tackles) and Sam Berry (25 disposals, 11 tackles) were equally effective offensively as they were defensively.
The Crows’ win was even more meritorious given they lost Elliot Himmelberg to a suspected hamstring strain early in the first term, leaving them without a rotation for the majority of the match.
West didn’t have a problem getting its hands on the ball considering it only had 10 fewer kicks than the Crows but were unable to translate enough possession onto the scoreboard.
Michael Mattingly impressed in front of the club’s new country zone fans to tally 33 disposals, six clearances and eight tackles while Callum Park had 31 disposals and seven marks off half-back.
Impressive first-year Bloods midfielder Kobe Ryan worked hard for 28 disposals, 10 tackles and six clearances while veteran Jono Beech also kicked like a true sharp-shooter to nail four goals from four set shots.
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