ADELAIDE'S must-win clash with North Melbourne at Blundstone Arena on Sunday has become a checkpoint in the club's ongoing rebuild and a chance to see how far advanced its young midfielders are as a group.

The Crows have made the bold decision to drop 2017 club champion Matt Crouch ahead of the match in favour of young onballer Harry Schoenberg, putting a flag in the ground after weeks of backing their senior onballers.

Schoenberg's elevation is overdue in the eyes of some, having split his season with seven games in the SANFL and seven at AFL level after playing all 22 last season.

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Smooth Schoenberg nails running goal

Harry Schoenberg produced this brilliant running goal to continue his side's recent momentum

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He is part of a young midfield crew that coach Matthew Nicks hoped pre-season would announce itself to the rest of the competition and grow in prominence, however they are yet to fire as a collective.

Luke Pedlar, 20, was another the coach had high hopes for at the top level, but he has played just three games at senior level and seven in the SANFL, which is where he will line up this week.

Sam Berry, 20, is the best performed of a group that has largely sat behind senior players Crouch, Rory Laird and Ben Keays in the midfield pecking order this season.

Sam Berry warms up before Adelaide's round 14 match against Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium on June 19, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

That appears to be changing with Crouch's omission this week, however, giving Saturday's clash against North Melbourne an added layer of interest in the wider context of Adelaide's rebuild.

Last week's loss to Gold Coast appears to have been a tipping point after six losses in seven weeks, with the sole win coming against West Coast at Adelaide Oval.

The Crows' senior players dominated the club's centre bounce attendances against the Suns, with Keays (25), Laird (24) and Crouch (19) joined by Berry (19) as the preferred ground-level group.

Adelaide's Ben Keays gets past Gold Coast's Touk Miller in round 14 at Metricon Stadium on June 19, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

Berry was the dominant stoppage player with a game-high 12 clearances, but the Crows lost the centre clearances for the third time in four weeks, prompting the need for change.  

Saturday's clash will be only the second time all of Jackson Hately, Jake Soligo, Berry and Schoenberg have lined up in the same team together this season. The other was the round 12 win against the Eagles.

A good result against the Kangaroos would be to see that quartet take the opportunity to do the heavy lifting in the midfield and prove the Crows' rebuild is on track.