After an embarrassing performance on Good Friday, North Melbourne get an opportunity to redeem themselves when they host Adelaide on Sunday afternoon at Marvel Stadium. We’ll be bringing you a dedicated preview and betting tips for EVERY game in the 2021 season so be sure to check our AFL Betting Tips page regularly for updates.
Marvel Stadium, Sunday 11th March, 1:10pm AEST
These two sides occupied the bottom two places on the ladder in 2020, however they’ve taken two very different paths in season 2021. The Crows have shocked many so far this season with wins over the Cats and Suns, whilst North Melbourne are rock bottom on the AFL ladder.
The Kangaroos are the laughing stock of the AFL after suffering three blowout losses to start the season, topped off by a 128 point loss at the hands of the Bulldogs last week. The Crows have been a positive surprise this season, starting 2-1 thanks to an impressive win over the Suns in round three.
Adelaide will be forced into a change after the Crows announced captain Rory Sloane will be out for 2-4 weeks due to a detached retina. Whilst North will be set to ring the changes after last week’s loss, with Jared Polec and Jed Anderson set to miss through injury.
Adelaide’s resurgence has come on the back of some excellent form from their veterans. Rory Laird is averaging 28 disposals per game, whilst Taylor Walker is leading the Coleman medal race with 17 goals from three games. Matthew Nicks’ defensive system looks like it’s starting to take shape, which is keeping the Crows in games. The defence is solid, and the forward line led by Walker, is playing out of their skin at the moment.
The expectations for North Melbourne coming into this season were low, however they’ve managed to disappoint with how uncompetitive they have been. The Roos have lost by 52, 59 and 128 points in their three matches so far this season, with their inability to defend has been a massive concern. Their movement out of the back half has been woeful, they’ve tried to play a possession brand out of their defence. However they don’t have the skilled ball users down there to execute, and they end up going sideways and backwards far too often. The Roos recorded a whopping 79 turnovers last week.
With Aidan Corr unlikely to return from injury the Adelaide tall forwards will be in for a field day. Walker and Billy Frampton are going to have massive size advantages over Ben McKay and Josh Walker. After seeing how Josh Bruce completely dismantled the Roos defence, the Crows forwards will be in for a big afternoon.
The Crows have simply got far too much talent for North Melbourne to handle, and with their senior players finding form, the Roos just don’t have the bodies to go with Adelaide across four quarters. The Kangaroos have lost seventeen of their last eighteen games by an average of forty points, with fourteen of those losses occurring in shorter quarters, North’s average losing margin in games this season is going to blow out even further. With the way both these sides have played this season, this game is set to be another blowout loss for the Roos.
Whilst the Kangaroos have struggled this season, Shaun Atley has been in solid form, averaging a career high 21 disposals per game so far in 2021. With the ball set to spend the majority of the time in the Kangaroos defensive half this season, Atley will continue to rack up plenty of disposals across half back. Atley recorded 27 disposals in the Roos 59 point loss to the Suns, showing he can still find the footy even when North are struggling. With the Kangaroos set to continue their possessive style out of the back half, this should give Atley plenty of opportunities to tally up disposals.
Taylor Walker is in remarkable form to start this season, and after seeing Josh Bruce kick ten against the Roos last week, Tex will be eyeing off a massive night. Aidan Corr is unlikely to return from injury, so it’s likely young Ben McKay will be given the tough task of containing the hottest player in the league. Walker’s strength and craft is going to be far too much for Mckay or Josh Walker to contain. With bags of 5, 6, and 6 goals against quality opponents in Geelong, Sydney and the Gold Coast, it’s scary to think how many he could kick against this North Melbourne defence that isn’t up to AFL standard. The big Tex is back, and he’s set for another bag this week.
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