Highlights: Adelaide v North Melbourne
The Crows and Kangaroos clash in round 20
Ben Cunnington and Bernie Vince tangle during Sunday's thrilling contest
ADELAIDE has survived a fierce North Melbourne fightback at AAMI Stadium on Sunday, securing a nine-point win and all-but snuffing out the Roos' finals hopes.
The Crows kicked the first three goals of the game and lead by as much as 32 points in the second term, before Daniel Wells sparked a Kangaroos comeback.
Wells amassed 12 disposals, kicked a goal and assisted two more in the third quarter as his side fought back and took the lead.
But in a week when coach Brenton Sanderson questioned the players' composure in pressure situations, Adelaide settled and found a way to win.
The final score was 11.13 (79) to 10.10 (70).
"To be honest, from the coach's box the body language from our boys didn't look great," Sanderson said.
"To their credit they dug deep and we saw some boys that didn't want to lose."
The result leaves both teams on 32 points, three wins behind eighth-placed Port Adelaide with three matches remaining, making a finals appearance very unlikely.
Rory Sloane was magnificent for the Crows, with 28 possessions, 10 marks and two goals. He played a huge role in the last term as Adelaide grimly hung on.
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Sloane missed last weekend's game with a torn retina, but there was nothing wrong his eyesight when he set Richard Douglas up for Adelaide's second of the afternoon.
Lewis Johnston made no mistake form a tight angle but the Crows again wasted opportunities inside 50 and despite eight scoring shots to two, they could only manage a 21-point lead at quarter-time as North was held goalless.
Aaron Black nailed North Melbourne's first major and reduced the deficit to 14 points, but goals to Dangerfield, Mitch Grigg and seconds to Douglas and Otten pushed it out to 32.
The Crows tried to maintain possession as much as possible late in the quarter; the instruction from the coaches' box obvious after dropping a nail-biter last weekend.
There was barely an effective possession in the opening five minutes of the second half before Kangaroo Leigh Adams snapped truly and Sloane converted from a near impossible angle.
Adams kicked his second of the term to reduce the margin to three goals and when Wells benefited from several kind bounces to convert from the centre circle, the Kangaroos were within two kicks.
Wells was on top of his game with 12 touches for the term, and set up the next two goals as the visitors took the lead for the first time, 25 minutes into the third quarter.
It was a lead short-lived though, as Tom Lynch converted sweetly from 50m minutes before three-quarter time.
Ruckman Todd Goldstein's major snatched the lead back for the Kangaroos, only for Jared Petrekno to edge the Crows back in front against the run of play.
Crowd favourite Sloane then capped an impressive return from injury with a courageous mark running back with the flight of the ball and converted from close range to effectively seal the deal.
"I want to give credit where credit's due, I thought their pressure was really good," Scott said.
"Clearly we had our chances, got back in front, but I thought Adelaide deserved their victory."
Adelaide duo Mitch Grigg and Rory Sloane tackle Sam Wright on Sunday. Picture: AFL Media
ADELAIDE 3.5 7.7 9.8 11.13 (79)
NORTH MELBOURNE 0.2 3.5 8.10 10.10 (70)
Adelaide: Douglas 2, Otten 2, Sloane 2, Johnston, Dangerfield, Grigg, Lynch, Petrenko
North Melbourne: Adams 3, Wells 2, Thomas 2, Black, MacMillan, Goldstein
Adelaide: Sloane, Douglas, Crouch, Henderson, Laird, Dangerfield, Jacobs
North Melbourne: Wells, Adams, Gibson, Thompson, Cunnington, Atley
North Melbourne: Ziebell (leg)
Adelaide: Matthew Wright replaced Scott Thompson at three-quarter-time
North Melbourne: Taylor Garner replaced Taylor Hine in the fourth quarter
Umpires: Schmitt, Hay, Mollison
Official crowd: 31,801 at AAMI Stadium