Australian Rules Football: Adelaide win final verdict

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The Independent Online
ADELAIDE CONTINUED to celebrate the successful defence of their Australian Football League title, with a crowd of 50,000 welcoming home the team which beat North Melbourne by 35 points on Saturday.

Fans started arriving at the Adelaide Showgrounds early yesterday morning to get a prime position and entertained themselves with repeated singing of the club song.

Adelaide won Saturday's final 15.15.(105) to 8.22.(70) at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The team will be honoured again on Tuesday with a motorcade through the city, an event that attracted 120,000 people last year.

Captain Mark Bickley felt that this year's victory was probably even more special than last year's first Premiership for the club. "It was just fantastic,"he said. "A lot of people thought we wouldn't go as far as we did, but we hung in there and came up trumps."

Adelaide made a remarkable second-half comeback before a crowd of almost 95,000, including the former boxing champion Muhammad Ali, the half-time guest of honour.

Adelaide's Darren Jarman and Andrew McLeod excelled for the second year in a row - Jarman was the top scorer while McLeod was voted best player in the final.

North, winners of their previous 11 matches and pre-match favourites, wasted their chances with poor kicking.