Adelaide v North Melbourne
Sunday, January 16 @ 3:10pm AEDT (2:40pm ACDT)
The North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos travel to Norwood Oval to take on Adelaide in the second fixture of the season, with both sides entering the clash with a 1-0 record.
After a difficult week with Covid related issues in the lead up to their Round 1 clash against Geelong the Kangaroos were made to fight for victory, eventually overcoming a gritty and tough Cats side by eight points. Ash Riddell was the star of the show with 35 disposals, 22 contested possessions and 7 clearances, while Mia King shone with 15 disposals and a goal en route to a Rising Star nomination.
The Crows laid some demons to rest against the Lions in Round 1, defeating the Brisbane side that proved too good for them in last season’s grand final by five goals. Restricting the Lions to just nine points for the game, Adelaide has thrown the gauntlet down to the rest of the competition and, at this stage, look like they could well be the team to beat. Anne Hatchard found plenty of the ball, finishing with 26 disposals and 7 tackles, while Ashleigh Woodland kicked four goals in a stunning display of forward craft.
Last time we met:
Round 6, 2020
After not playing each other last season, there is very little recent form to help in predicting this clash. It was North who put on a dominant display when these teams clashed at North Hobart Oval in 2020, overcoming Adelaide by 42 points.
Kaitlyn Ashmore was in irresistible form as she kicked four goals straight, while Jas Garner and Sophie Abbatangelo chipped in with two goals apiece. Emma Kearney led from the front with 26 disposals and six tackles. Ebony Marinoff worked hard in midfield for the away side, finishing with 26 touches, while Anne Hatchard had 23 disposals of her own.
Tahlia Randall v Chelsea Randall
Round 1 saw Tahlia Randall used in a new role for the Kangaroos. After making her name as a key defender and earning a place in last season’s 22Under22 side at full back, she’s made the move forward to become her side’s key target inside the forward 50.
A booming kick with a strong aerial presence and defensive instinct, Tahlia Randall is a strong candidate to become a real point of difference for the Kangaroos in 2022, and even though she finished last week’s clash with just 2 disposals, early signs are promising. After taking on All-Australian Meghan McDonald last week, Randall will once again be taking on one of the competition’s finest players this week, going head to head with Chelsea Randall.
Although she was listed on the half forward line in last week’s clash with Brisbane, Chelsea Randall is equally as capable shifting back and locking down some of the best key forwards in the competition. If her Kangaroo opponent is allowed a free run inside 50, she’s a dangerous threat for any team to deal with. If she doesn’t mark it she can provide her teammates with first use of the ball, however if the battle of the Randalls becomes reality on Sunday she’ll have to contend with one of the most intelligent players the competition has to offer.
The key women:
Jas Garner and Ebony Marinoff
Two of the top midfields in the competition will go head to head on the weekend, and whichever side comes out on top will more than likely have won the battle in the middle of the ground.
While Jenna Bruton and Ash Riddell may have taken the headlines for their performances against Geelong, reigning best and fairest winner Jas Garner was something of a quiet achiever in the clash. Garner finished the game with 22 disposals, and her class through the midfield shone through when the game was on the line in the final term. Ranked third in Sarah Black’s top 30 players Garner’s quality is there for all to see, and her production as a goalkicking midfielder is almost unrivalled.
The one-two punch of Ebony Marinoff and Anne Hatchard through Adelaide’s midfield is almost irresistable at times, with the pair often winning the midfield battle almost on their own. Marinoff has been a consistently strong performer since entering the competition in 2017, and at the age of 24 she’s primed to only improve. Adelaide’s club champion last year, her 23 disposal effort against Brisbane may not have set the world on fire, but her strong efficiency and decision making were still on show.
If either of these players get off the leash and are able to play the game on their own terms, it could spell trouble for the opposition.