Roos rue late slump in AFLW loss to Crows

·3-min read

North Melbourne coach Darren Crocker will spend the coming days analysing why his side fell away so badly late in their 14-point AFLW loss to Adelaide.

After scores were tied at the end of three dour quarters on Saturday, the Crows ran away with the contest in the fourth to prevail 4.6 (30) to 2.4 (16) at Unley Oval.

The home side had more contested possessions (19-9), clearances (10-5) and inside-50s (10-0) for the term.

"I'm hoping it's got nothing to do with effort," Crocker said.

"The Crows play a very ballistic game and we felt in the second quarter they were starting to get the game looking that way.

"(We) hung in there until three-quarter-time and the game was there to be won but the most disappointing aspect for us is the last quarter - we lost the contested footy heavily.

"Hopefully, as coaches, we can give the players reasons why we fell away so poorly in that last quarter."

Best-afield Ebony Marinoff (29 disposals, 13 tackles, seven inside-50s, six clearances) put on a midfield masterclass, while Danielle Ponter, the niece of Michael Long and cousin of Cyril Rioli, lit up Indigenous Round with two goals from the top shelf.

The Crows controlled proceedings from quarter-time onwards after being jumped by the Kangaroos, who booted their only two majors - through Alice O'Loughlin and Vikki Wall - during a period of first-quarter ascendancy.

North's tackling pressure was immense and their gun midfielder Jasmine Garner began exerting her influence.

They moved ahead by 12 points early in the second term before a moment of misfortune sparked the stagnant Crows.

Centre half-back Sarah Wright accidentally toe-poked the ball out of bounds before receiving a 50m penalty for not giving the ball directly to Hannah Munyard, who duly strolled in to kick Adelaide's first.

The reigning premiers finished the half strongly and trimmed North's advantage to one point when Ponter threaded a classy checkside goal with 52 seconds remaining.

The Kangaroos were without winger Amy Smith after half-time after she was concussed in the second term in a collision with Marinoff, and were unable to get back on top.

Behind a notable midfield lift, the Crows had the better of a goalless third-quarter arm-wrestle to draw level at the last change before dominating the fourth.

Captain Chelsea Randall, who had her hands full with Garner in an engrossing four-quarter duel, won a crucial 50/50 ground ball against the Roos superstar, which set the table for Ponter to shine.

Ponter gathered the pill, spun around Jasmine Ferguson and Wright, and finished brilliantly to put Adelaide in total control before ruck Caitlin Gould iced it with a late major.

"It was a really tense, tough, tight battle, but our ability to come through in the last quarter, a bit similar to last week (against Richmond), was really pleasing," Crows coach Matthew Clarke said.