Match report: Classy Crows inflict first defeat on Roos to go top

ADELAIDE has moved to the top of Conference A in the NAB AFL Women's competition, overpowering previous benchmark team North Melbourne by 35 points at Avalon Airport Oval in Werribee.

The win marked the Crows' fourth consecutive victory, with co-captain Erin Phillips typically brilliant with 23 disposals and two goals through the midfield and in stints up forward.

AFLW Match Highlights: North Melbourne v Adelaide

05:55 Mar 3. 2019. 6:30 PM

The Kangaroos and Crows clash in round 5 of the AFLW

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Phillips fought a highly entertaining battle with North's Emma Kearney, who was the game's highest disposal winner with 31 – the marquee stars having received the AFLW best and fairest award in successive seasons (Phillips in 2017 and Kearney in 2018). 

After the Roos booted the first two majors of the contest, the Crows kicked 10 of the last 12 goals of the game to cruise away to a commanding victory and position themselves as the team to beat in AFLW.

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Adelaide's ball movement was far superior to North's and its speed across the ground, led by Stevie-Lee Thompson (two goals), caught the Roos' defenders napping on multiple occasions.

Kearney was the standout for the Roos, but Jess Duffin (23 disposals and 11 marks) was also excellent in defence in what was North's first loss of the season.

The ladder now

As mentioned above, there is a new team that sits atop Conference A with two rounds remaining in the AFLW season. On the back of the victory, Adelaide now has 16 points with a percentage of 178.1 per cent. The Roos have dropped to second place, however remain equal on points with an inferior percentage (138.4). Melbourne is the clear danger team, with the Demons' healthy percentage of 160 putting pressure on the Roos to stay in the top two.

Did you see that?

The first double 50m penalty of the AFLW competition was paid in the first quarter. Roo Kaitlyn Ashmore received the first 50m penalty after an Adelaide player encroached on the mark. Ashmore then took off sprinting to advance her way further afield. Caught out, Jessica Foley tried to wrap Ashmore up to stop her from running on. However, under the new rules (for both AFLW and the AFL competition) you are no longer allowed to infringe on the player with the ball and therefore delay the game. Foley admitted after the game that it was a bit of a "brain fade". Amazingly, there were four 50m penalties paid in the first quarter alone.

The battle within the battle

The match-up between Erin Phillips and Emma Kearney was one of the game's biggest subplots, with both stars influential throughout the game. Kearney told the media after the game that she spoke to coach Scott Gowans about taking the role on Adelaide's matchwinner: "I wanted to take it to her. I knew her weakness was probably her defensive work and I wanted her to be accountable around the stoppages. At the end of the day, the Crows won so it doesn't really matter about the match-up too much."

On the rise

Collingwood captain Steph Chiocci clearly liked what she saw of Crows young gun Danielle Ponter. The 19-year-old, last week's AFLW Rising Star nominee, booted two goals from 10 disposals and waxed brilliantly with fellow Territorian Stevie-Lee Thompson (two goals). Ponter is the niece of Essendon legend Michael Long and the cousin of retired Hawk Cyril Rioli.

Say what?

"It's obviously a seven-game season so there's not a lot of margin for error. We lost the first one and we've now put ourselves in a strong position but equally with a couple of games to go we get back to work come Tuesday, we'll give them a couple of days to enjoy it, but we've got to stay on task. - Adelaide coach Matthew Clarke

"We got a really good wake-up call. It's not one you want but to Adelaide's credit I thought they were terrific today. What we learnt today is that we've got a bit of work to do so we'll go back to the drawing board and see what we get out of it." - North Melbourne coach Scott Gowans

What's next?

North Melbourne will look to get back on the winner's list against winless Collingwood at Marvel Stadium next Saturday in an AFLW double-header which also sees Melbourne play the Western Bulldogs. The Crows return home with a match-up against Greater Western Sydney at Unley Oval on Sunday.

NORTH MELBOURNE      2.1          3.3          4.3          4.5 (29)
ADELAIDE            3.0          5.1          6.3          10.4 (64)                             

GOALS
North Melbourne: Ashmore, Hope, Em King, El King
Adelaide: Ponter 2, Phillips 2, Thompson 2, E Jones, Riley, Scheer, Li

BEST 
North Melbourne: Kearney, Duffin, Abbatangelo, Garner
Adelaide: Phillips, Randall, Marinoff, Foley, Hatchard, Thompson

INJURIES 
North Melbourne: Trend (right ankle)
Adelaide: Nil

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Toner, Heffernan, Bailes

Official crowd: 2107 at Avalon Airport Oval