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Scouting Report: Adelaide

Ricky Mangidis  April 1, 2015 12:42 PM

A Round 1 match always has a sense of unpredictability to it and when the opposition is a side in its first match under a new coach, that sense of the unknown increases.

What has been evident so far is that Phil Walsh’s Adelaide side has been open in its desire to have a heavy focus on keeping the ball pinned in the forward half.

The result of this during the NAB Challenge has been two-fold – firstly the scoring aspect has worked well for the Crows; they were the second most efficient forward line in the league.

It compares favourably to their 2014 numbers under Brenton Sanderson. Considering the threats both in the air (Taylor Walker, Josh Jenkins, Tom Lynch) and on the ground (Eddie Betts, Charlie Cameron) it’s perhaps more reflective of their standing in the competition.

While it would be unwise to take the specific numbers as gospel, the fact there has been such a sharp rise so early in Walsh’s reign demonstrates its importance to Adelaide.

Score % of inside 50's

2015 NAB Challenge

2014 season

Adelaide 46.9 40.9

When Adelaide hasn’t had the ball, teams have struggled to rebound effectively from their defensive 50. That’s where the pressure on the ground becomes a focus.

The ‘score launches’ statistic tracks each scoring shot, and where the particular passage of play started on the ground. Split into three areas – forward 50, midfield and defensive 50, it gives a summary of which areas of the field teams excel both with and without possession.

Normally a side will score approximately 15 per cent of the time after gaining possession in the defensive 50, including kick-ins. In the NAB Challenge, Adelaide’s opponents struggled to score at even half of the rate they did last year.

Score % from defensive 50

2015 NAB Challenge

2014 season

v Adelaide 8.3 16.3

With pressure the backbone of the developing Adelaide game plan, such an intense, high-energy game can take some time to master. It has been evident in the scores by quarter statistic.

Looking at the scores by quarter - when Adelaide has tired, opposition sides have been able to take advantage late in games.

Scoring shots





Adelaide +6 +4 +5 -14

The relevance to North Melbourne is significant. All throughout 2014 Brad Scott’s team made a name for itself with excellent finishing performances, winning more quarters in the second half than all but one team.

In a season-opener, with the pace sure to be frantic early, late cramps are a common occurrence and the lungs are burning with the finish line in sight. It means a strong last term can be the deciding factor. Eight of the nine winners in Round 1 last year had the scoring edge in last quarters.