North Melbourne are off the mark in 2019, running down Adelaide at Marvel Stadium to record a welcome 9.17 (71) to 8.11 (59) victory.

The much-hyped Crows, on the other hand, slump to 1-3 and their season of redemption is in serious danger of being just as fruitless and disappointing as last year.

For much of the night it seemed as if North's brutal inefficiency, especially in comparison to the other end, would undo the good work it was doing.

Enter Ben Brown (four goals), the mop-haired spearhead whose own form was a source of discussion throughout the week, with club legend Wayne Carey among the harshest critics.

His third-quarter heroics changed the match's direction for good, although the result was still up for grabs inside the final two minutes as the Roos continued to win the midfield battle.

Brown was fortunate to score two of his three goals in the term from free kicks – one in a ruck contest against Reilly O'Brien and another opposed to Daniel Talia – but he created headaches.

He won seven disposals (three contested) and took a couple of marks in the same period to rattle the usually unflappable Talia.

With Kayne Turner, Tarryn Thomas and Cameron Zurhaar ramping up the pressure around Brown, North's forward line belatedly thrived after repeatedly squandering opportunities in the first half.

That trio combined to lay 15 tackles, many of them inside their attacking 50.

Adelaide led by 20 points when Wayne Milera goaled on the run almost eight minutes into the third term, but the Roos responded with the next six majors to charge over the top.

They went to three-quarter time with a five-point edge, but the final two goals of that North streak – to Ben Cunnington then Zurhaar – gave Scott's men a more comfortable buffer.

Midfield bull Jed Anderson's return made a significant difference, evident in him winning a game-high seven clearances and laying six tackles.

Anderson's toughness in the clinches provided strong support for dashers Shaun Higgins (30 disposals) and Jared Polec (26), while this week's inclusion Paul Ahern provided an early spark.

Earlier, Crow Eddie Betts represented everything North Melbourne wished it could be.

The Roos found a way not to be in front at half-time despite having more than double as many inside 50s (33-16) as the visitors.

Betts had as many goals as North at that stage.

The first came from a set-shot snap, the second was a mid-air strike, then the third was an audacious checkside effort from so deep in the pocket he had to ditch the Gatorade seat.

Ironically, the Kangaroos' only goal from their first 10 scoring shots came courtesy of a brilliant Higgins set shot from just inside 50 and barely inside the boundary.

Eight consecutive behinds of varying difficulty followed the Higgins kick as they threatened to shoot themselves in the foot.

Making matters worse, 100-gamer Luke McDonald gave away a crude free kick for late and high contact that gifted top-10 draftee Chayce Jones a shot at goal.

Jones was later assessed for a concussion and ruled out for the night soon after.

Usual suspects Rory Laird (31 disposals) and Matt Crouch (29) were prominent from go-to-whoa, but most Crows were down on the night.

North Melbourne: Defenders Jasper Pittard (calf) and Luke McDonald (calf) both spent time off the ground receiving treatment in the second quarter, but returned to the field.

Adelaide: Top-10 draftee Chayce Jones' night was over at quarter-time. He missed a set shot shortly before the first break after Luke McDonald made late and high contact to him in a marking contest. McDonald conceded a 50m penalty for his actions. Brad Crouch (broken nose) also came from the field for an extended period in the third term after an accidental hit from Cameron Zurhaar. Tom Lynch (corked thigh) was off briefly in the opening quarter. 

North Melbourne enters its annual Good Friday contest off the back of a belated victory and looking to maintain the momentum against a suddenly in-form Essendon. The Crows will be desperate for a win when they host Gold Coast at Adelaide Oval on Easter Sunday.

NORTH MELBOURNE  1.6   3.10  7.14   9.17 (71)
ADELAIDE                  2.4   6.6    7.9    8.11 (59)

North Melbourne: Brown 4, Ziebell 2, Higgins, Cunnington, Zurhaar
Adelaide: Betts 3, B.Crouch, Milera, Sloane, Jenkins, Walker

North Melbourne: Higgins, Tarrant, Anderson, Polec, Brown, Pittard
Adelaide: Laird, M.Crouch, B.Crouch, Keath, Lynch

North Melbourne: Nil
Adelaide: Jones (concussion), B.Crouch (nose)


Umpires: McInerney, Fisher, Harris

17,207 at Marvel Stadium