Izak Rankine celebrates a goal during Adelaide's clash against Essendon in round six, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

ADELAIDE is bent on killing the game early when it takes on reigning wooden spooners North Melbourne.

The Crows were left with a sour taste in their mouths after a late long bomb from Essendon's Nic Martin condemned them to a three-point loss at Adelaide Oval last weekend, despite a four-goal burst in the third quarter.

Determined to avoid the same fate when they cross the white line at Hobart's Blundstone Arena on Saturday, Adelaide has adopted a new mantra for the game against North Melbourne: bring the contest earlier.

Assistant coach Jack Hombsch expects the Kangaroos (0-6) to burst from the blocks as they try to claim their first win of the season, and it will be the Crows' job to outdo the Kangaroos' intensity.

"(We're) very wary. We're going to bring what we've spoken about this week, which is really important coming off of last week's game: bring the contest earlier," Hombsch said on Friday.

"The contest is the fundamental in our game. If you're not winning that, you're not getting the ball forward and you end up playing the majority of your game in your back half, which is what we did last week.

"We know that's the biggest takeaway for us. We've got to be 100 per cent ready to go in that first quarter.

"North Melbourne are going to bring that and they're going to be raring to go."

Adelaide midfielder Matt Crouch will return to the side after serving a one-game ban for rough conduct, with forward Luke Pedlar and utility Elliott Himmelberg among the inclusions.


Himmelberg has been out of action since suffering a hamstring injury during a SANFL game in August.

"He's always working hard. He's put the work in with his rehab," Hombsch said.

"They're not easy to come back from, so credit to him to come back and show us how hungry he is. 

"He's certainly earned his spot and we're really excited to see him out there."

Elliott Himmelberg in action during Adelaide's training session at West Lakes on March 8, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

While remaining tight-lipped on Himmelberg's role on Saturday, Hombsch expects James Borlase and Mark Keane to prove their mettle and contain prolific goalscorer Nick Larkey.

Coming off a career-high haul of 71 goals from 23 games last season, Larkey has already slotted 13 majors from six appearances this year.

North Melbourne midfielder George Wardlaw will return after being managed last weekend, while half-back Riley Hardman (pick No.23) is set to debut.