1. Perfect 10 for the first quarter
Nobody, not even the most one-eyed Shinboner on the hill at Blundstone Arena could have imagined the way North Melbourne would take control of the contest and annihilate the Crows during the opening term in Hobart. But by booting 10.4 for the quarter, the Kangaroos simultaneously posted their best single-quarter score in Hobart and their fourth best first-quarter score of all time. Jarrad Waite led the way with six goals in his return for the Roos and was arguably the best player on the ground during the early exchanges with seven kicks, three marks inside 50 and three goals for the quarter to give the besieged Adelaide defenders real headaches.
2. Nervous wait for Waite?
While his influence in the forward half wasn’t as obvious during a goalless second term, Waite still managed to give Tom Lynch a headache – this time literally – following a heavy tackle just before half-time that may come in for closer scrutiny by the Match Review Panel. Lynch was slow to his feet and required assistance from trainers as he left the ground to undergo concussion tests. The Adelaide forward didn’t return to the field after the long break and was forced to watch from the sidelines as Waite continued to torment the Crows and underline his importance as a key player for the resurgent Kangaroos. Crow Charlie Cameron may also be in hot water after appearing to hit Kayne Turner in the stomach midway through the opening term.
3. Betts at the double
Adelaide star Eddie Betts came into the match looking for goal 500 and, as is his way, managed to bring up the milestone in memorable fashion. Despite missing a gettable effort in the opening term, Betts’ first for the afternoon was a genuine poacher’s goal, toed off the ground in the square. Then, in the blink of an eye, came goal number 501, Betts capitalising on a Scott Thompson brain explosion to drive home a free kick from the goal line without the ball even going back to the centre to be bounced again. He finished with three for the afternoon and was generally well marshalled by Marley Williams and Scott Thompson in the last line of defence for North.
4. Brown bounces back
As the Kangaroos raced clear of the Crows and piled on their 10 first-term goals, it looked like being the perfect day for North’s dedicated Hobart fan-base. But when Ben Brown collided with Jack Ziebell and left the ground nursing a very sore left shoulder, the afternoon began to look slightly less rosy. The in-form forward headed straight to the rooms after being assessed by trainers, but returned soon after and was cheered heartily as he warmed up in front of the Ricky Ponting Stand. Brown capped his return to the action with a clever goal in the third term, again to the delight of a parochial Hobart crowd, as the Kangaroos all but sealed victory by taking a 53-point lead into the final break.
5. Cunnington makes amends
Ben Cunnington came into Saturday’s game in the wake of a disappointing performance a week ago where he only managed 12 disposals and 41 AFL Fantasy points in his 150th game. This week, the gritty midfielder was among the best players on the ground and had eclipsed his round six possession tally by half-time where his stats line boasted 16 disposals, 11 contested possessions, seven clearances and a goal. He continued to rack up stats and helped the Roos to midfield supremacy over a disappointing Adelaide onball brigade, adding a second goal for the afternoon with a classy snap late in the game to finish with 28 touches, 13 clearances and 116 Fantasy points in a timely return to form.