Adelaide edged nearer to a spot in the top eight after recording a 36-point victory over North Melbourne on Saturday night in veteran Crow Brent Reilly’s 200th AFL game at Adelaide Oval.
A five-goal third term inspired by the versatile Sam Kerridge, who booted four goals in a cameo forward role, was the driving force behind the Crows steamrolling the Kangaroos 16.13 (109) to 10.13 (73).
Kerridge, who kicked a career-high six goals against the Kangaroos last season, bagged three of his majors in the decisive third quarter, while Brodie Smith (28 disposals, nine marks) was arguably best on ground for the Crows following a classy display across halfback.
Also impressive were midfield pair Scott Thompson (30 disposals, nine tackles) and Rory Sloane (25 disposals, eight marks), ruckman Sam Jacobs, who won his duel with Todd Goldstein, power forward James Podsiadly (19 disposals, eight marks) and the crafty Eddie Betts, who kicked three goals in a dominant first half.
Former Kangaroos skipper Brent Harvey (31 disposals, two goals), midfielder Levi Greenwood (32 disposals) and the hard-nosed Ben Cunnington (24 disposals, six tackles) were among the best for the Kangaroos.
Both sides kept each other tight in the first quarter and it took a Kangaroos defensive turnover for Podsiadly to kick the game’s opener.
Podsiadly’s goal broke the game open as Betts and Matthew Wright goaled in quick succession for the Crows – the first a stunning checkside finish tucked up against the boundary, although replays showed the ex-Carlton man had taken the ball over the boundary line before scoring.
Thomas replied for the Kangaroos, but another Betts goal before quarter-time ensured the Crows regained the ascendancy.
The Crows carried that momentum into the second term when they kicked three goals in eight minutes to build a healthy lead. The Kangaroos responded, though, with three unanswered majors of their own to cut the deficit and give themselves a sniff of a comeback heading into the second half.
But Betts had other ideas as he threaded his third major of the encounter on the siren to give Adelaide a 28-point lead at the main break.
Both sides traded blows with goals at either end before Smith bombed through a 50-metre goal for the Crows that lifted the 47,205 crowd to its feet and gave the home side further breathing room.
Kerridge added two more to his haul, including a clever soccer-style finish off the deck, to push the Crows’ lead out to 45 points at three-quarter time.
The Crows kicked three goals to North Melbourne’s four in the final term to seal a vital win.