AFLW Round 5 – North Melbourne v Adelaide: The slippery slope



I remained dry and hopeful as I pedalled to North Hobart, in spite of the threatening skies that undoubtedly contributed to a slightly disappointing turnout of 2843 (though as James Bresnehan of the Hobart Mercury was quick to point out, still more than turned up to the AFLM Hawthorn-Melbourne pre-season game in Launceston the night before).  Though the game started precipitation-free, it quickly became apparent that the turf slicked by earlier showers had imparted soap-like qualities to the ball.


Initially Adelaide started brightly, getting the majority of possession and numbers around the footy.  But they generally failed to adjust to wet weather footy until far too late in the game.  The rot set in from overuse of handball that swiftly led to turnovers as North increased their pressure.  Just need to get it on the boot in the wet and get it skidding downfield, especially once the drizzle returned from mid-1st quarter onwards. Moreover, when the Crows did manage to control the footy, they made the classic North Hobart rookie mistake of going down the dead downhill side too often.  Once the pill has some momentum heading down the slope towards the south-eastern pocket, you may as well sit back and wait for the throw in.


Speaking of throw-ins, the boundary ump coming in 10 metres from the line to do their thing is looking like one of those typical AFL overreactions to a non-problem.  In the tight confines and shallow pockets of North Hobart, it resulted in balls that had gone out 5 metres from the behind post landing at centre-half-back – effectively almost a free kick to the defending team.  And on throw-ins from the wings, the rucks took a long time to adjust to the ball sailing over their heads and landing well within the centre square.


Anne Hatchard and Ebony Marinoff were prominent early, with Hatchard in particular continuing to battle hard throughout.  But an initial looseness in defence saw the North forwards grow in confidence, then dominance. From the start of the second quarter that dominance spread all over the ground as North’s Emma Kearney-led midfield got on top.  Adelaide weren’t wasting possession any more, because they weren’t getting it at all.  The Kangaroos were aerially superior and generally exhibiting greater surety as the game went on, in spite of misty rain persisting intermittently.  The Crows had no answer, especially when Jasmine Garner went forward and continued to mark everything that came near her, Adelaide’s backs looking distinctly overmatched in Erin Phillips’ absence.


A couple of running burst goals from Stevie-Lee Thompson pulled the scoreboard back from embarrassment territory, but in the end still told the story of a commanding display by the Roos.  I was glad of the downhill run back towards the Intercity Bikeway, so that I could get away swiftly.



NORTH MELBOURNE      2.2          5.5          7.8          9.9 (63)
ADELAIDE                             1.1          1.1          1.2         3.3 (21)



North Melbourne: Ashmore 4, Abbatangelo 2, Garner 2, King
Adelaide: Thompson 2, Ponter


Crowd: 2843 at North Hobart Oval.


Planting the flag at the entrance to North Hobart Oval



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About Mark Duffett

Expatriate Croweater in Tasmania, still following Centrals in the SANFL. You can take the boy out of Salisbury, but...


  1. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    I lasted until half time MD, then decided that an afternoon walk would leave me far better off. Did I miss much?

  2. Mark Duffett says

    No. If anything the Roos control of general play only tightened in the second half, until they lifted their foot off the pedal a fraction in the last ten minutes.

  3. Is that an e-bike Mark? Those Hobart hills are a bugger after the flat City of Churches. Keep the faith.

  4. Mark Duffett says

    Well spotted, PB. It’s a very recent acquisition, a milestone birthday present I’ve been promising myself for a few years now. As the crest of middle age approached, the Hobart hills were feeling a little steeper each year. They’re certainly still noticeable on the new machine, but so much easier.

    Time was I ranged far and wide over the Adelaide Plains (and even the Mt Lofty Ranges on occasion) on two wheels; it must be one of the best cities in the world for utilitarian cycling in that sense. While not fully recapturing those days of my youth, I hope the e-bike with all its other attendant advantages like easy parking etc. (I wasn’t kidding about being *at* the oval entrance in the photo above) will keep me in the saddle for a few decades yet.

  5. John Butler says

    After watching the Crows last week, I was genuinely surprised at this scoreline, Mark. I really expected they’d make a last stand of sorts.

    It’s looking like Chelsea and a fully fit Erin really are the difference between premiers and a middling team.


  6. Mark Duffett says

    I reckon that’s on the money, JB. I can’t recall from AFLW level such an impression of superiority in contested marking as North showed on Saturday. The difference surely can’t be that great in skill and stature, rather a lot of it is down to confidence, which in turn you’d think has a lot to do with the absence of Randall and especially Phillips.

    It all sounds predictable enough in hindsight. But I for one didn’t see it coming, I tipped Adelaide to win, so the margin magnitude was indeed a shock.

  7. I am curious about the smallish crowds in Tassie for the AFLW, Mark. Does this reflect anything broader?
    I was very disappointed by the small crowd which attended the Kangaroos game in Launceston a few weeks back.

  8. Mark Duffett says

    Other that the weather which as mentioned I don’t reckon would account for more than a thousand or so (it wasn’t *that* bad), I’m struggling to put my finger on it, Smokie. There was a moderate amount of pre-game publicity in local media mainly focusing on the home-grown North players; not too much blame to be ascribed there.

    It could be pointed out that 2843 will probably still be in the top 3 crowds at North Hobart this year, but nevertheless it’s a far cry from the 6000 that was bandied about ahead of the match.

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