Is Adelaide set to replace the 1964 Lions as the most recent winless team?
In losing to the Kangaroos on Saturday, Adelaide became the first team since the 2016 Dockers to remain winless after nine rounds. That they were so comprehensive beaten by a fellow straggler means the question of whether they can win a game in 2020 comes into sharp focus.
That they now have lost to teams 14th, 16th, and 17th on the AFL ladder, makes it even harder to see where they will find that elusive win. They will be bouyed however by the fact that not only did the 2016 Dockers win games but they won enough to avoid the wooden spoon altogether.
While the 1964 Fitzroy team, the most recent team to ‘achieve’ the feat, will be hoping that the Crows can relieve them of the mantle. The fact they have held it so long indicates just how unlikely it is that it will ever be matched. That said, with just eight games to go, time is running out for Matthew Nicks and his team.
How the Game Was Won
As much as we love the idea of 20 days of football, the AFL’s ‘Festival of Football’ has not gotten off to the greatest of starts. After Richmond, Port Adelaide, Hawthorn and Brisbane all recorded easy victories, North Melbourne added their name to the list on Saturday. Their dismantling of Adelaide removing the only possible interest from a battle between the league’s two worst performing teams – the possibility of a close contest.
As proud as North could be in their own efforts, they were equally helped by the lack thereof from their opposition. Unable to compete in any category apart from tackles, which was more as a result of them being unable to get their hands on the ball than anything else, the Crows were largely spectators to this contest.
With North able to do as they pleased, they were able to run up the biggest score in the competition this season. Their tally of 119 almost enough to match their totals of the last three weeks combined. It also meant they were able to provide a fairytale return for Majak Daw. Given what he has needed to overcome to return to the field, his fourth quarter goal may well prove to be one of the highlights of the season.
What the Coaches Said
For Rhyce Shaw, the result was secondary in some ways to the emotional return of Majak Daw. “It’s really pleasing for Maj,” Shaw told reporters. “We all know what he has been through and that’s been well talked about but to come out today I thinks its a real good result for our football club. We did it the right way, we were patient with him too, we made him work for it.”
“But he put the work in and got the result that he deserved and it was fantastic to see. I think as a coach and as a coaching staff to see Maj kick the goal and have all the boys get around him, that’s genuine, that’s what we are about at our footy club. I was proud of everyone and I was really proud of Maj today. He did a fantastic job and he well and truly repaid us today.”
As for the game itself he was most pleased that his team were able to get reward for their efforts. “We’ve been working really hard as a football club and as a team and the boys have never shirked and issue,” Shaw said. “We’ve had six losses but we’ve licked our wounds, we’ve reviewed the games and we’ve done it all properly, we’ve done it the right way and they’ve come out today and got reward for that hard work.”
“It’s just good to be able to play the footy that we want to play. That’s the footy we want to play and there are some really key roles played by certain individuals but you could go through all our team and they did their role and played the right way and I was really proud of that as a collective.”
A crestfallen Matthew Nicks was apologetic to his supporters after his teams insipid performance. “I love our people, I love our staff, our players, our coaching group but we took a big step backwards,” he said. “I’m sorry to our supporters, we weren’t at the level, we were nowhere near the level.”
“We are playing AFL level.”
He admitted that he had resorted to a forceful sharing of constructive criticism during the match. “It is an interesting one that, I wouldn’t say I am a carrot coach I do bring the stick,” he said. “It is never an intention for a player to go out and underperform … it is about education and working with these guys to make them a better player. We are not going to drop off and get angry at each other. we are going to find a way to get better.”
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NORTH MELBOURNE 4.1 9.1 12.2 19.5 (119)
ADELAIDE 0.2 3.3 6.7 7.8 (50)
North Melbourne: Zurhaar 3, Davies-Uniacke 2, Hall 2, Higgins 2, Larkey 2, Mahony 2, Pittard 2, Anderson, Daw, Macmillan, Simpkin
Adelaide: McAdam 2, Atkins, Himmelberg, Laird, Murphy, Seedsman
North Melbourne: Anderson, Goldstein, McDonald, Dumont, Davies-Uniacke
Adelaide: Laird, Lynch, Seedsman, Crouch, McAdam
North Melbourne: Larkey (ankle), Taylor (left leg)
Adelaide: Walker (illness) replaced in selected side by Strachan