Thu, Jun 23, 7:44am by Staff Writer
Adelaide Oval plays host to the second Thursday night contest of the season and what a contest it will be, one of the most important of the season to date.
The Crows are shooting for five straight while North, who were 9-0, have now slipped to 10-3 and although they were brave last week, need a win to arrest their slide down the ladder.
All the money has been with the home side, which has seen Sportsbet reel them into $1.38, while the Kangas are friendless at $3.05.
All of the talk in this week in Adelaide has focused on the Crows’ top four chances after their season-defining victory in the west against the Eagles. It’s easy to see why they are in such good form as they have quality at both ends of the ground and in the midfield.
Taylor Walker, Josh Jenkins and Eddie Betts are all proving hard to handle up forward. Defender Rory Laird is in All-Australian contention, while in the midfield Rory Sloane is staking his claim to join him in that side.
After flying the flag bravely last week, under-strength North Melbourne ultimately came up short against the reigning champs Hawthorn in a bruising encounter.
In a match that has been labelled the best of the season so far, the Roos shot themselves in the foot in front of goal, kicking 11.18 to fall frustratingly short by only nine points.
In big selection news they will welcome back their skipper Andrew Swallow and contested ball animal Ben Cunnington at the expense of in-form Daniel Wells who misses with a calf injury and Luke McDonald who tore his hamstring last week.
The tale of the tape points to a close contest with the Crows holding the slightest of advantages since winning four games to three since 2012. Both sides have several offensive weapons; the home side are the highest ranked offence while North are ranked sixth.
The visitors have broken the 100-point barrier five of the past eight times in this fixture and will need to do it again if they are to come out on top in this one.
The last time they met the Kangas trailed at both half and three quarter time before running out 10-point winners in what was an epic round 1 encounter.
North has never won at this venue and they’ll have to be at their best to change that here.
The Crows are coming off the bye and I think they’ll be able to run out the game slightly better. But it will be a tight that I’m staying away from the head to head market. I’m backing North to cover the line (+19.5) in what should be an epic in front of a full house in the City of Churches.
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