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Roosters roll Crows in cliffhanger

Matt Crouch in action during Adelaide's clash with North Adelaide at Prospect Oval
Matt Crouch in action during Adelaide's clash with North Adelaide at Prospect Oval

Adelaide has lost its opening SANFL game of the year to North Adelaide by three points despite a courageous performance from Heath Younie’s young side.

The SANFL Crows led for much of the afternoon in perfect conditions at Prospect Oval, but surrendered the lead in the dying stages of the contest to go down 12.15 (87) to 13.12 (90).

Fielding an inexperienced lineup featuring nine League debutants and another four players with less than five games experience at SANFL level, Adelaide was unable to withstand the Roosters’ final-quarter fightback where the home side booted five goals to two to secure victory.

Adelaide led by as much as 22 points at the 23-minute mark of the third term before the Roosters began their resurgence.

Injuries to veteran James Podsiadly (lower back) and forward Harry Dear (shoulder) further soured the loss, with both men helped from the field in separate incidents early in the third term. Both players are being assessed and the Club hopes to have more information about the extent of the injuries on Monday.

Scott Thompson (29 disposals, nine clearances) and Matt Crouch (23 disposals, 12 clearances) were Adelaide’s leading midfielders, while teenager Reilly O’Brien battled manfully in the ruck with 36 hit-outs, 14 possessions and two goals.

Keenan Ramsey, Jarryd Lyons and Jack Osborn were Adelaide’s other multiple goalkickers with two apiece.

Sam Pfeiffer held former Crow Lewis Johnston to two majors, while Charlie Molyneux was again among Adelaide’s better performers with 21 disposals and six clearances.

SANFL Stats: Round Two

The last two encounters between the two sides have now been decided by a total of seven points, following a four-point cliffhanger in Round 11 last year which was won by Adelaide.

In the corresponding game of 2014, North Adelaide demolished the Crows by 47 points in Adelaide’s maiden SANFL appearance.

Although disappointed to miss out on victory, Crows SANFL coach Heath Younie said Saturday’s battle proved just how far his team has come.

“I’m really proud of the efforts of the guys,” Younie told afc.com.au after the game.

“Twelve months ago we were in this position and we got smashed off the park. Today we were able to compete and I think we’ll be better for it going forward.”

The former North Adelaide vice captain said the Crows blew their chances to win late in the game despite losing Podsiadly and Dear for almost the entire second half.

“It is what it is - I thought out boys fought the game out and we had opportunities to stay in front,” he said.

“Ideally, you want 21 fit men, but I just hope those two boys are okay.”

Younie was unsure how serious the injuries were to either player and said both men would be assessed over the weekend.

Missed opportunites cost us says Reilly O'Brien

Nine Crows made their League debuts in perfect conditions at Prospect Oval, including 2014 draftees Jake Lever, Harrison Wigg and Dear.

Rookies O’Brien and Ramsey also made their SANFL debuts, while another four players in Sam Pfeiffer (four games), Matthew Stent (two), Charlie Molyneux (two) and Justin Smart (one) battled gamely with only limited experience at senior SANFL level.

The Crows controlled play early as Ramsey, off the back of three goals in Adelaide’s final State League trial last weekend, provided a strong focal point up forward with four marks in the opening term.

The Port Lincoln product slotted the game’s first goal within the opening minute following a pinpoint pass from ruckman O’Brien. But two other Ramsey set shots went astray, as did misses from Thompson, Lyons, Wilson and Wittwer as the Crows failed to convert their dominance onto the scoreboard.

Instead, it was the Roosters who led by nine pts at the first change.

O’Brien rucked, roved and snapped a terrific goal from the pocket to put Adelaide back in front early in the second quarter as again the Crows looked to make the early running. Five goals straight saw the visitors take an 11-point lead into the main break.

Coach Heath Younie was forced to re-structure his side as key talls James Podsiadly and Harry Dear were both helped from the field after separate incidents early in the third term.

With just one player on the bench for much of the second half, Adelaide was unable to resist the run of the Roosters as the game wore on.

Adelaide’s next SANFL game will be next Friday night at Richmond Oval against West Adelaide.

 

ADELAIDE   1.6   6.6   10.12   12.15 (87)
NORTH ADELAIDE   3.3   4.7   8.8   13.12 (90)

GOALS
Adelaide:
Lyons 2, Ramsey 2, Osborn 2, O’Brien 2, Dear, Callinan, Stent, Wilson
North Adelaide: Shillabeer 3, Johnston 2 Motlop 2, Ryswyk 2, McMahon, Kulikowski, Schulz Caldwell

BEST
Adelaide:
Thompson, Pfeiffer, Molyneux, Lyons, O’Brien, Osborn, Lever, Callinan
North Adelaide:
O’Keefe, Motlop, Shillabeer, M. Thring, Gregg, Read

INJURIES
Adelaide:
Harry Dear (shoulder), James Podsiadly (lower back)
North Adelaide:
Nil

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs