Crow Call – PF (v Geelong)

In – Rory Sloane, Andy Otten

Out – Brodie Smith, Mitch McGovern

There may never be a better opportunity for the Adelaide Football Club to win a flag than the opportunity that they currently have before them. The ladder does not lie. Adelaide have been the best team to date in 2017. They are hosting a Preliminary Final at the Adelaide Oval, in front of the sell out crowd and they are well rested. If Adelaide win, the season is an automatic success. If they lose, the jury will remain out as to how good a year it has been. That is the difference between a win or loss this week.

Mitch McGovern misses with a very, very poorly timed hamstring. That is damn, damn annoying. McGovern, while not a big possession accumulator does things that no other Adelaide player can do. He is the best contested mark in the squad and he will be sorely missed. The good thing though is that Adelaide have shown time and again this year that they do have the depth to replace injured players.

Having said that the inclusion of Andy Otten this week is the wrong choice for mine. Pressure is what won Richmond the Qualifying Final against the Cats and pressure is not one of Otten’s stronger points. He will be solid in the air though, which I imagine is the theory Adelaide have gone with at the sacrifice of a bit of the pressure stuff. Wayne Milera would have been my choice. This game is all about pressure. Pressure. It just cannot be understimated.

The start will impact this game hugely. If Geelong do what they did last week and get the fast start, it will settle any nerves that they may have, force Adelaide into playing Geelong’s style of play and restrict the influence of the crowd. On the other hand, if Adelaide are to start well, the crowd will be up and about and the game will be being played on Adelaide’s terms, much like it was when the two teams last clashed. The start is massive.

Geelong will tag and they will tag more than just Rory Sloane. The loss of Brodie Smith means Rory Laird will receive a stack of attention. How he deals with it will be fascinating. Sloane no doubt will be jumping out of his skin in this one having missed the Qualifying Final with appendicitis. Does that help or hinder shaking a tag? If it hinders, Sloane must be thrown forward. There is no reason Sloane could not do what Dangerfield did last week and kick a bag of goals. Particularly with the lack of Mitch McGovern.

The Cats get Tom Lonergan back and I do not think Adelaide will stoop as low as offering him a sausage roll after the match. Nakia Cockatoo has been named and is a proven match winner. The fact that he is playing is a worry for the Crows. He is a tricky match up, particularly with Daniel Menzel and Steven Motlop also in the side. Mitch Duncan also cannot be underestimated, while Tom Hawkins’ year has been sub-par, but not someone you can take lightly either.

Adelaide are the better team across the park. Geelong have some quality top end talent, but it drops off a bit after that. Adelaide meanwhile have not as much top end talent, but a more even spread across the twenty-two. Stopping the influence of Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood is vital. Selwood has been clearly hampered by his sore foot across the finals, but he does not need much of the ball to do damage. In the last meeting between these sides a few weeks ago, Riley Knight did a tagging role on Selwood and the rest of the side pressured the living daylights out of Dangerfield. This has to be repeated on Friday night. It just has to be.

The weather will play no factor. It will be a brilliant night for football with little wind and no rain forecast.

To the result and who would know? Preliminary Finals are just different games and maybe that is a good thing. Geelong have caused Adelaide major issues in recent times and you would not want those issues to return on Friday night. Adelaide have to bring pressure. Half the battle will be won if they can do that. However, there is the unknown element of the lack of football Adelaide have played in recent times and the ability to restrict the influence of Patrick Dangerfield. Geelong have been more consistent when playing Adelaide across the last few years and I am tipping them. Just.

Tip –
Geelong by 11 points.

Game Info –
Adelaide v Geelong
Friday September 22 – 7.20pm (local time) Adelaide Oval

Mostly Sunny. 29.

The Crow Call will be published every Thursday during the AFL Season. Join in the conversation with me on all things Crows on Twitter @liamthompson1.

Crow Call – Finals Edition (QF v GWS)

In – Taylor Walker, Hugh Greenwood, Daniel Talia

Out – Rory Sloane, Wayne Milera, Alex Keath

It seems like a such long time ago when Adelaide last played a game of footy. What a ridiculous week without any football. The momentum is non-existent. However from 7.20pm tomorrow night it will be on for young and old as Adelaide start their third consecutive finals campaign.

What were the chances of two players in Adelaide’s best twenty-two contracting appendicitis in the same season? Not high you wouldn’t have thought. The Crows have had some strange hurdles to clear this year. Rory Sloane has been ruled out of the match having failed to recover in time from his particular bout of appendicitis. It is a huge loss for the Crows and will make the job of overcoming the Giants that little bit harder. It is going to be left to the Crouch brothers to fill that void in the middle. They are more than capable, but Adelaide are in a spot of bother if they fail to fire. There is no margin for error now without Adelaide’s best player.

On the team sheets, there are three big ins with Daniel Talia, Taylor Walker and Hugh Greenwood all returning. They replace Alex Keath, Wayne Milera as well as the aforementioned Sloane. Keath and Milera will no doubt play in Adelaide’s scratch match against the GWS reserves team at Football Park on Friday. That is a great initiative from both teams and will be vitally important in order to keep match fitness in the players who do not line up tomorrow night. Keath can consider himself unlucky to be left out of the AFL side, but Hartigan did make a pretty successful comeback from injury in that Round 23 game against the Eagles and was pretty solid on Josh Kennedy. The experience he can bring into the final on Thursday will be vital.

The Crows enter the finals on the back of two losses, but arguably have had a better lead in than in 2016 when they played a series of weaker teams ahead of September. Talia, Walker and Greenwood have not had a game of footy for quite some time, which will go one of two ways. They all might be really fresh or they could take some time to get a feel for the body again. For Adelaide’s sake, let’s hope it is the former.

The weather forecast is for a shower or two, so it will not be ultra wet. It will be cold no doubt with Spring not quite arriving in Adelaide just yet this week. Neither the cold or the wet then can be used as an excuse for poor goal kicking, which has plagued Adelaide a bit during the last few weeks of the home and away season. The Crows have been fairly accurate all year and their form and mental application has been hard to judge in the last three or so weeks, but kick inaccurately in a final and you are no chance to win.

GWS have got talent to burn. Adelaide did a number on them in Round One, but that was twenty-five or so weeks ago. A lot changes in six months. An area where Adelaide do hold the upper hand is down forward. The GWS defence is not the strong point of their side. It is by no means terrible, but if Adelaide can get enough supply to their forward line, they will kick a score. The key word there is if. That midfield battle and clearance work will be huge come Thursday night. Win that and win the game.

Steve Johnson misses out for GWS. He struggled in that opening encounter earlier in the year and has looked even more puffed as the year has gone on. It is no surprise to see him omitted. Meanwhile Devon Smith is the big out for the Giants. It does not quite cancel the Sloane injury out, but it certainly makes it a bit more of a neutral situation.

To the result and I am predicting heartache for Crows fans on Thursday night. The loss of Rory Sloane is huge. It allows GWS the opportunity to tag Matt Crouch or even Rory Laird, both of which will need big games if Adelaide are to get over the line. Adelaide need to get everything right without Sloane you feel, which in a final is a big ask. A loss sets up a potential Semi-Final Showdown with Port Adelaide next weekend. A win secures a home preliminary final, most likely against Sydney. There is a lot on the line and Adelaide will have to reapture a bit of form and dig that little bit deeper to get the W. It is not beyond them, but it will not be easy.

Tip –
GWS by 13 points.

Game Info –
Adelaide v GWS
Thursday September 7 – 7.20pm (local time) Adelaide Oval

Shower or two. 15.

The Crow Call will be published every Thursday during the AFL Season. Join in the conversation with me on all things Crows on Twitter @liamthompson1.

Wednesday Weekly Wrap

Welcome to a weekly wrap of all things sport. Every week, we will have a look at the big issues kicking around in the world of sport and try to make some sense of them.

Get in touch @liamthompson1 on Twitter or shoot me an email at

Thumbs Up!
1. How can you go past Daniel Ricciardo? Starting from 16th on the grid at the Italian Grand Prix, Ricciardo took it in his stride and made his way through the field. Had the race gone another two laps, he would have caught old rival Sebastian Vettel and secured himself a podium finish. In the end Ricciardo finished fourth in what was another great show of the talent he possesses.

2. On the field, the SANFL Finals delivered two cracking contests on Saturday afternoon at the Adelaide Oval. Halfway though the year, Central District were gone and it was a wooden spoon they were facing. Fast forward a few months and the Dogs have not only snuck into the finals, but have dome some damage. It was a pretty dominant performance from the Dogs when it mattered on Saturday and they have now set up a big game against the Double Blues next weekend. Meanwhile, Sturt themselves gave Port Adelaide a scare coming from seven or so goals down to get within two points late in the last quarter. It was not to be for the Double Blues, but do not rule them out just yet.

3. Australia’s performance against Bangladesh last week brought back a lot of bad habits. However, the win to Bangladesh is good for the game. Cricket needs more strong Test nations and the rise of Bangladesh is one of the feel good stories for the sport over the last couple of years. It is no longer a disgrace to lose to the Tigers, which is something worth remembering when critiquing that game.

Thumbs Down!
1. Why do the Port Adelaide SANFL team not have a number system where the AFL players wear their AFL number and then the top up players wear numbers not taken by an AFL listed player? We saw Matthew Broadbent and Jackson Trengove in different numbers on Saturday. It simply does not make sense.

2. State of Origin it was called. Victoria v the rest in an AFLW exhibition match was anything but that on Saturday night. It was the wrong time slot for the game with a large proportion of the women in the middle of a finals series with their own clubs. Etihad Stadium is not the ground for the game and it was so one-sided that it was not funny. This one needs to be given more thought.

3. Bernard Tomic will never feature at a Grand Slam again. That is the call I am making after Tomic made headlines again this week with his dumb antics. He simply does not care. He is not an elite athlete and he should not be treated as such. So long Bernie. All the best for the future.

The Thought
The emotion and debate at the Socceroos losing to Japan is exactly what the sport needs. It is good to see people debating the style of play, the selections and the coach. Is this the moment football truly made it in Australia?

The question
What did you do with a football free weekend? What a bore.

The wrong call
Steve O’Keefe has been recalled to the squad for Australia’s second Test against Bangladesh. This is despite him being banned from the upcoming JLT One Day Cup, despite Australia having young spinner Mitchell Swepson already on tour and despite O’Keefe being told his form tapered off in India earlier this year. Puzzling.

Wednesday Whinge –
The SANFL finals kicked off over the weekend at Adelaide Oval, but it seems somebody forgot to tell Adelaide Oval that. Several issues plagued the ability to get easily into the ground on Saturday.

There were long lines to get into the stadium, with most gates only having one or two security check points open per gate. This was not nearly enough and meant people were lined up back to the road at the Riverbank End of the ground.

Meanwhile, there was a cash only system in place for purchasing tickets at the gate. For a moment it felt a bit like it was 1980. Cash only outside the ground, but inside Adelaide Oval is trying to become card only. Confusing much. When asked, the ground staff at Adelaide Oval said to direct all complaints to Ticketek as it was their call not to have credit card facilities at the gate and ticket prices would have been increased if that were to happen. Ticketek meanwhile told me to ask Adelaide Oval. So who knows?

The solution is to buy a ticket online through Ticketek, but if you do that, you will be paying a $5.65 booking fee on a $15.00 ticket. That is more than one-third of the original price of the ticket on fees and charges. That is nothing but daylight robbery.

The SANFL is failing to attract big crowds as it is and to hold a market share in a saturated environment. Issues such as not having enough staff on game day and having a cash only system should never occur. They do nothing but annoy the few people who do turn up. Fix it.

Wednesday Weekly Wrap

Welcome to a weekly wrap of all things sport. Every week, we will have a look at the big issues kicking around in the world of sport and try to make some sense of them.

Get in touch @liamthompson1 on Twitter or shoot me an email at

Thumbs Down!
1. Good riddance to Domain Stadium. There will be no more games for AFL points at the Western Australian venue. It is an eyesore Domain. Completely run down, facilities are substandard and the seats, well it is hard to work out what colour they once were. There are plenty of memories for Western Australian footy fans at that ground no doubt, but a move to a world-class stadium in the City of Perth is well overdue.

2. I would love to have been a fly on a wall in AFL House when the call was made to allow umpires to wear blue in all Round 23 games. Blue? A dull colour that clashes and most certainly does not stand out on television or live at the ground. How do calls like that even get made? The grey outfit the umpires roll out in games where Richmond wear their clash jumper is just as dull and dreary too. Seriously.

3. The passing of Drew Morphett took most by surprise. Still calling footy over in Perth, Morphett was one of the best. Personally, I am not old enough to remember some of his early work, but I do have fond memories of Morphett commentating AFL and cricket for ABC Grandstand. His voice is one you would recognise anywhere and he just had a way of calling that many today could only dream of. Rest in peace Drew.

Thumbs Up!
1. The fight for the top eight in the AFL went down to the last three minutes of the West Coast, Adelaide game. The Eagles just did enough to dislodge Melbourne from the eight and end the Demons finals hopes. It has been a season like no other, but unfortunately it is put on hold for a week, while we are subjected to some other rubbish entertainment. More on that later. However, it was a dream home and away season for the AFL and it was not half bad for fans either. Well played.

2. The decision to play Adelaide United’s FFA Cup games at Marden is a genius one. So far, so good on the scoreboard, but the community feel that ground brings is everything the FFA Cup is about. There are plenty of opportunities to play the game at Hindmarsh during the regular A-League season, so nothing lost there. Whoever made this decision deserves a pat on the back.

3. Can anybody else remember watching Ashton Agar bat his way to an almost maiden Test century on debut in England a few years ago? It was an iconic moment in an iconic Ashes Series. It is great to see the young man back in the Test team and given another chance. If he can impress over on the testing pitches of Bangladesh, who is to say a second Ashes Series is not out of the question for Agar later this year.

The Thought
Adelaide took both Jono Beech and Hugh Greenwood across to Western Australia with them as travelling emergencies. Another player in doubt that fans were told nothing about? Most likely.

Tweet of the Week

The question
What plan is in place during the Commonwealth Games period in 2018 for the AFL season and in particular the impact this will have on the Suns?

The debacle
There are two finals in Adelaide next week. Adelaide hosts the Giants on Thursday night, while Port Adelaide open their account on Saturday night against West Coast. Ticket sales are strong, but why oh why were tickets released at the same time creating mass chaos at Ticketek? One of the great mysteries of life.

Wednesday Whinge –
Finishing top four once meant something. It meant you were just that little bit better than the four teams below you on the ladder. It worked for many a year and gave those four teams a slightly better chance of making and winning on that last day in September. A right that had been gained by being one of the top four teams in that particular season, across twenty two games of footy.

Last year the AFL decided in its wisdom (or lack thereof) to introduce a bye for all eight teams before the finals kicked off. An idea repeated again this year. So in 2017, Adelaide and Geelong finished top two and will host home qualifying finals in two weeks time. They, like the other six teams left in the competition get next week off. Then if Adelaide or Geelong were to win that home qualifying final, they then get another week off before eventually hosting a Preliminary Final.

That stop-start action is a momentum buster and almost makes winning in week one a disadvantage. Sure a week off is useful for sore bodies, but with the Dogs coming from seventh to win the flag last year, which was an achievement never dome before in the history of the finals formation as it stands, the game has suddenly changed.

I touched on this issue in a column in the corresponding week last year, but it is an issue worth revisiting. Fans get nothing out of the week off either. We are tortured with having to watch a bunch of has-beens run around on Friday night and on Saturday night watch a game between two hurried together women’s team, which is being billed as a State of Origin game. It is hardly that though is it? It is Victoria taking on the rest. How typical.

The bye is a failure and it just simply makes no sense. It is nothing but a momentum killer at a time where momentum is everything. There is no incentive to finish top four anymore, which goes against everything the top eight is designed to do. It also has done nothing to deter teams from resting players in the last game of the year either. This year was a bit of an outlier given the amount of live games that took place. The one team though who did have a top two position locked in was Adelaide. What did they do? They rested their best defender and their best forward who had minor niggles. You have to laugh.

If the AFL players want more rests, shorten the season to seventeen rounds. Another issue all together, but is solves several others.

While on the issues of finals, can the AFL simply have one rule for where specific teams get to play their home finals? Say, Geelong either get to play every home final at Simonds Stadium or every home final at the MCG. The constant debate every year is tiring and a bore. The same goes for GWS. Is it ANZ Stadium or Spotless or perhaps even play them in Canberra? Make a call, stick with it and keep it fair. It is not that hard.

Picture – The Daily Telegraph

Crow Call – Round 23 (v West Coast)

In –

Out –

Seriously, where has the year gone? Round 23 is upon us and the serious stuff is about to begin. The weather is improving, the days are getting longer and the smell of September is in the air!

Adelaide will finish top if the Giants lose or if the Giants win and then Adelaide win too. How desperately Adelaide want top spot remains to be seen, but they need to play this game like it is a final nonetheless. Nothing good ever came from going half-hearted into a game of footy. That is just asking for injuries and asking for trouble. A loss would also mean Adelaide would take a two game losing streak into a finals series, which is not a death sentence, but after the year they have had, not ideal either.

The Crows will run into a West Coast team who will be desperate to win. They will know what they have to do to make the eight by the time the game starts and there will be no way they will be leaving anything on the park if there is any hope. It also marks the final ever game of AFL for premiership points at Subiaco Oval. The match is sold out and will have a finals feel about it, because for the Eagles, very well could be.

On the team sheets, the Crows are unchanged at this stage. Wayne Milera, Paul Seedsman and Kyle Hartigan are the emergencies. If there is any doubt on Daniel Talia, he simply must not play. Why would you risk him? There is absolutely nothing and I mean nothing to gain by playing a player who is not 100% in Round 23, particularly in Perth. Leave him at home. Talia has played every game this year. Resting him for one week, with the bye to come is not going to do any damage whatsoever. You cannot say that outcome will be guaranteed by playing him. Kyle Hartigan who is the obvious like for like replacement will be better for the run again at AFL level anyway.

Barring a disaster with injury, the twenty-two that took on Sydney on Friday night would be the twenty two to take into that first week of finals. Of course, it is never that simple and there will be a spanner in the works somewhere, but that is the line up to take Adelaide to a flag.

Daniel Talia has traditionally been given the role on Josh Kennedy, so if he were to miss, that match up will be a test for the Adelaide defence. Matt Pridiss and Sam Mitchell will be determined to finish on a good note, as Sunday could very well be their last games of AFL action. It will be another good little test for the Adelaide midfield.

Apart from the opening ten minutes last week, Adelaide matched it with the Swans in the middle. If the Crows had kicked straight, that is a four or five goal win. All the clear indicators pointed that way. As disappointing as the loss was and as frustrating it is to think what might have been, the hit out probably did more good than harm for the Crows. They know that they are not invincible and were reminded that they have to get the basics, such as goal kicking right.
Win or lose against West Coast,

Adelaide must be disciplined, with no reports to emerge from the game. The last thing Adelaide need is a key player missing from that first final due to a silly act. They have been pretty good throughout the year with not one Adelaide player having been suspended for an AFL game, but they must ensure that continues, not only this week, but in the weeks ahead too.

In the SANFL, the Crows blew a huge chance of getting themselves a finals spot. Seven goals up early in the third quarter against the ladder leading Eagles, only to be blown away in the second half and losing the game. It was as impressive early from the Crows as it was as disappointing late. If Adelaide’s senior team is to go deep into September, it will only be training form to pick from now. This may only be a minor thing, but all the minor things do matter come finals time. Troy Menzel played well in the first half, while Harrison Wigg was again busy. The final SANFL game for Adelaide is against South Adelaide at Hickinbotham Oval at Noarlunga this weekend. A win still gives them a chance of making the five, but a series of unlikely results have to fall the right way for it to happen. A big chance wasted last week.

On the injury front this week, Andy Otten returns for a run in the twos after overcoming his ankle problem, while young midfielder Jordan Gallucci’s season is done after taking a knock to the jaw. It will be exciting to see what Gallucci can do in his second year of footy. He has showed some great signs in 2017.

So the result this week? West Coast for mine if their season is still realistically alive. They have a lot to play for and will not leave anything in the tank. The Crows with one eye on that first final would not be human if they rightly or wrongly do not hold something back on Sunday afternoon.

Tip –
West Coast by 21 points.

Game Info –
West Coast v Adelaide
Sunday August 27 – 2.40pm (local time) Domain Stadium, Perth

Mostly Sunny, 23.

The Crow Call will be published every Thursday during the AFL Season. Join in the conversation with me on all things Crows on Twitter @liamthompson1.

Wednesday Weekly Wrap

Welcome to a weekly wrap of all things sport. Every week, we will have a look at the big issues kicking around in the world of sport and try to make some sense of them.

Get in touch @liamthompson1 on Twitter or shoot me an email at

Thumbs Down!

1. Jake Lever’s manager has pulled Lever from his fortnightly radio spot on FiveAA in Adelaide. Some are saying that this is all the evidence they need and that Lever is gone come the end of the season. This may be true, but regardless, it is a gutless decision by Lever and his management. Lever committed to doing the year on radio and should see it out. Poor decision for mine. Fans are paying big bucks to attend the footy and to be a member of a club. The least the players could do is give a bit in return.

2. The AFL said they got it wrong, which is a big admission given they do not say it very often. However this was a disgraceful decision that regardless of Adelaide’s poor goal kicking, changed the momentum of this contest on Friday night. Week after week, poor umpiring is impacting far too heavily on games. Enough is enough and something has to be done in the off-season. There is simply far too much grey area, far too many umpires and not enough accountability.

And how about this, the AFL admitted that Buddy Franklin ‘probably’ ran too far in his goal of the year contender in that game, but ‘stand by’ the call’. Huh?!

3. If there is one change that has to occur when it comes to the AFL’s Match Review Panel in 2018, it is the issue around challenging a ban or fine. There should be no disincentive to go to the tribunal and fight a charge. It is just ludicrous. The MRP have got it wrong week after week this year and the fact very few have challenged charges is partly to blame.

Thumbs Up!
1. An exciting end to the 2017 SANFL season is upon us. There are still eight of ten teams in the hunt for a finals spot and two teams can still lock in second place. The AFL season has gone down to the wire, but keep your eyes on the SANFL as any of these eight teams could very easily win the competition this year.

2. Cricket is back! It kicks off on Sunday afternoon, with the tour of Bangladesh officially getting underway. It will be exciting to see what Ashton Agar can do again at Test level, while all those skills Australia learnt prior to the Indian tour earlier this year will again be put to the test. Is it time to park Matthew Wade and give Peter Handscomb the gloves? Can David Warner work out how to play on grounds away from home? A perfect Ashes build up against a plucky Bangladesh side awaits.

3. Still on cricket and there will be three Sheffield Shield games before the opening Ashes Test match in Brisbane. This is a good number to be able to select the best team possible and get players into form at the right time of the season. Hopefully more emphasis is continued to be put on the scheduling of the Sheffield Shield. As we learnt last year, it is a vital part of the Australian Test summer and in turn the Test team. In other scheduling news, Hobart gets the finals of the JLT One-Day Cup competition, which is great for cricket in Tasmania.

The Thought
Could we be in for an AFL Final Series that only features three games in Melbourne? If results go the right way, the MCG will only feature on Semi-Final and Grand Final weekend in 2017. Watch the stink that will follow in Victoria if this were to occur.

The question
How do teams who play AFL finals, but have their reserves equivalent not playing finals keep their squad match fit?

Wednesday Whinge –
There has to be more liability placed upon AFL clubs to be honest with their members and fans. The rubbish that is released by internal media departments in regards to injuries and the comings and goings at AFL clubs is getting worse. The public deserve better than that.

If you are paying for a product and paying a significant amount mind you, it is not the responsibly of those providing the product to be honest and forthright with information? How often have we seen an injury list released mid-week by a team that fails to mention an injury to a key player? Come the Thursday night selection that injured player is not in the selected twenty-two. Why should fans have to wait until Thursday night to find out about an injury that has occurred earlier in the week?

Membership numbers are the other one in which clubs try to pull the wool over fans eyes. Why are the AFL having to audit club membership numbers and bring the number down year after year? Why is the figure provided in club marketing material so different to the number the AFL release? Should they not be the same? It is mind-boggling.

The lies have filtered down to players within AFL clubs now as well. Contract talks are the other one that frustrates fans. Take the Jake Lever example. A reporter claims that Lever met with Melbourne. Lever denies it. Reporter refuses to back down. Why can’t Jake Lever say publicly that he met with Melbourne? Of if he did not, tell us exactly what went down then. Are we all so naive that we think this sort of stuff does not happen?

We live in an era now where information gets out to the public one way or another. As such, when an organisation blatantly lies and tells half-truths, the actual truth always gets out there somehow anyway. It leaves a lot of egg on face and makes you wonder why stories are made up in the first place.

A bit more honesty to members and fans is the way forward. There are plenty of ways in which to do it in this day age and every AFL side is in the same boat. There are no advanatges to withholding the truth.

Picture –

Crow Call – Round 22 (v Sydney)

In –

Out –

Another solid win against a team that will most likely play finals and barring an absolute disaster, top two spot is locked up. It was not until you sat back and watched the replay that you realised what a good win this was indeed for Adelaide. At times they were challenged and there were huge momentum swings, but the Crows never panicked and just simply did what they needed to do, when they needed to do it in order to get the four points.

The only concerns to come out of that game were some injuries. Despite the fact that Taylor Walker and Rory Sloane have been named this week, it is clear that they are not 100% fit. The Crows took several injured stars into a final series last year and it hurt them. You would be disappointed if both Walker and Sloane are playing this week despite not being right. There is nothing to gain by banging them up any more than they already are. Bigger fish to fry.

Sydney will be a big test for the Crows. Where are Adelaide at mentally with a top two spot all but sewn up? What do they want to leave in the bank ahead of a possible rematch against the Swans in a couple of weeks time? Don Pyke mind you would answer that question with “nothing”. The players would not be human if you did not have some thoughts about not giving 100% with bigger things on the horizon. How will Adelaide cope with that? These are all interesting questions that Friday night will throw up.

Conditions will be a tad damp by all reports, but nothing like some of the other wet games we have seen Adelaide play in so far this year. It does not appear that the rain will be a major factor in this one. One thing you can guarantee though is that Sydney will not be strutting out onto the Adelaide Oval wearing sleeves.

It was pleasing to see Rory Atkins find some form last week. He has had a solid year, without being outstanding. He, along with Brodie Smith were great against Essendon. Matt Crouch is being talked about as a smokey for the Brownlow. While that is an unlikely concept, he has had a brilliant year. Crouch just has to now maintain this sort of pace. He will be a super important player in the finals when it becomes an even more contested sort of game. How long before teams put a bit more attention into Crouch through the use of a tag? You could argue that you would be better off tagging Crouch than Sloane at the present time.

The twenty-two that played last Saturday Night are probably Adelaide’s best twenty-two with Paul Seedsman, Kyle Hartigan and Wayne Milera probably the unlucky three best emergencies. I think Alex Keath in his four games has gone past Kyle Hartigan. He just adds something Hartigan does not in pace and the reading of the ball. The good thing too is that beyond that twenty-five, Adelaide have plenty of depth in the SANFL at the moment, which will no doubt be vital when an injury or two pop up in the next few weeks.

Sydney have been a frightening team since starting the season zero and six. With only two losses since that awful start, both to Hawthorn, Sydney will be a big test for the Crows. The old cliché of winning contested possession will basically decide this game. We saw it in the semi-final last year when Adelaide were heavily beaten up through the middle. The Crows have learnt a lot since then and played some great footy. It would be a huge disappointment if there were to be a repeat of that game on Friday night from Adelaide. Isaac Heeney has to have some work put into him. Could this be another role for young Riley Knight? Heeney has so much talent and can punish on the scoreboard very quickly. In fact, the Swans have serious talent across all lines. Interestingly Kurt Tippett has worked his way back into Sydney’s best twenty-two. Sydney did not miss him during that middle part of the year and it is strange to see him back given the height Sydney already have at their disposal.

There has been plenty of media pointing to the fact the Sydney have the wood on the Crows. That is wrong for mine. Adelaide beat Sydney last year at the Adelaide Oval. Sure, the last clash between these two teams was a blow out, but I do not think the gap was or is as big as some would have you believe.

The finals remain a possibility for Adelaide in the SANFL, but it would take some favourable results from other games for it to happen. The Crows would also have to get past the ladder leading Eagles this week. Paul Seedsman was best for Adelaide last week, while Troy Menzel finally found a bit of form. There are some big ins for Sunday’s game, which will aid Adelaide’s chances. Curtly Hampton and Kyle Hartigan both return from injury, while Kyle Cheney has done his time with suspension. Meanwhile Harrison Wigg would also get a gig after serving as the travelling emergency last week. It was pleasing to see Reilly O’Brien get through the game last week too after an extended period on the sidelines with a back injury. He has a bright future ahead of him.

Adelaide have a lot to play for despite what the ladder position suggests this week. They can dent Sydney’s top four hopes, lock up top spot and gain more confidence. I fear though that the Crows may have mentally switched to finals. Sydney have to win to be any chance of top four and you can just see them coming out a tad hungrier than the Crows. Adelaide have proved me wrong on many an occasion this year already though and perhaps they will do it again tomorrow night.

Tip –
Sydney by 11 points.

Game Info –
Adelaide v Sydney
Friday August 18 – 7.20pm (local time) Adelaide Oval

Shower or two. 14.

The Crow Call will be published every Thursday during the AFL Season. Join in the conversation with me on all things Crows on Twitter @liamthompson1.

Crow Call – Round 21 (v Essendon)

In – 

Out –

How nice is it to be able to watch the second half of a Showdown and be relatively confident that Adelaide will win and win easily? Even if there was still some annoying thought at the back of the mind that this is still is a Showdown and Port Adelaide still could make some sort of grand comeback at any moment. It was not to be though for the Power and in the end they were most ordinary. Adelaide on the other hand looked really good. Perhaps wet weather really is their forte. That is three damp games at home this year in the rain that Adelaide have comfortably come out on top. I was calling for a late change with Paul Seedsman perhaps to come in for Alex Keath. Those calls in hindsight were wrong. Solid crowd too for what were miserable conditions.

Adelaide are now in the great position of controlling their own destiny. A top four spot is secure, but that means nothing. Adelaide must give themselves the best chance of success by continuing to win. A top two finish has to be the goal and it simply has to be the next step achieved on the journey. Forget what comes after that and go out there and lock up that spot. As good as Adelaide were on Sunday, they have not achieved a thing as of yet. Richmond and GWS are still breathing down Adelaide’s neck and with tough games against Sydney and West Coast still to come, Saturday night is as important a game as there has been for the Crows so far in 2017.

Essendon await Adelaide this week over at Etihad Stadium. In a quirky aspect of the draw, this is Adelaide’s one and only game at Docklands for the year. The Dons are a different prospect than they are at the MCG and will be a much harder kill than in the effort they put up against the Crows earlier in the year. Zach Merrett misses through suspension, which is a big out for them, while Orazio Fantasia has a serious hamstring strain and also will not play. Jobe Watson will no doubt be up and about after calling stumps during the week, while Dyson Heppell has been in good form.

There has been some doubt on Daniel Talia this week, but he has been named to play. He is vital for this contest given Essendon have two tall forwards that need conquering in Joe Daniher and Cale Hooker. The x-factor for the Dons is of course Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti. He was a big part of the reason Essendon won last week and he played pretty well in a losing side the last time these two sides met. His pace is electric, his skills brilliant and he looms as a danger man Adelaide must watch on the fast Etihad deck.

Adelaide were horribly inaccurate against Port Adelaide and you just waited for the Power to punish the Crows for it. It did not happen on Sunday, but you cannot afford to do that every week and get away with it. Against Collingwood, Adelaide were insanely accurate, which helped the miraculous fight back, so it is not an issue. However some of the shots that missed on Sunday were not hard. Now is not the time for complacency to sneak in.

A fit and firing full complement of forwards will test the back line of the Dons. Eddie Betts played his best game in a long time and looked really fresh after a week off last week. He somehow needs to sustain that sort of form heading into the finals. He was genuinely enjoying himself out there while taking shots from every corner of the Adelaide Oval against the Power. Charlie Cameron is the one that perhaps has not had a great season. His first month was great, but he just needs to get his hands on the ball a little bit more and show a bit more poise with ball in hand. Do that and he will become even more dangerous and another element that will worry the opposition.

The SANFL action returns for Adelaide this week too with the Crows taking on North Adelaide at Prospect on Saturday. If they are any chance for finals, they simply have to win this game. Kyle Hartigan will miss again with his hamstring, while Curtly Hampton is reportedly a fortnight away. There is something the Club has not released about Harrison Wigg. I think you will find he will not be in Adelaide colours in 2018. It is simply unexplainable how he has not got a game this year and has not even found himself on the emergency list in recent weeks. He is a emergency this week however, despite not playing last week. Strange It is a big game for those on the cusp of selection. Jono Beech, Wayne Milera and Paul Seedsman must keep themselves in good fitness and form. Their services could be required at any time between now and the end of the finals series. Seedsman was solid against the Pies, but his foot skills remain a concern. He can kick it a long way, but must try to be a tad more accurate if he wants to be in the side come the pointy end.

There has been some talk about resting Sam Jacobs in coming weeks ahead of the finals, but that seems unlikely. With O’Brien still a couple of weeks away from full fitness by all reports, he is not going to play AFL footy this year you would not think. While you are not going to expose Josh Jenkins to a full-time ruck load at this stage of the year if you do not have to. It would be nice, but provided he is fit, Sauce will play out the season.

Adelaide have made a little bit of a habit this year of winning big games and then just letting the foot slip off of the gas the following week. Much like what happened against Collingwood. Do that against Essendon and you will get smashed, particularly at Etihad Stadium. Adelaide must be switched on from the first bounce on Saturday Night and put Essendon away early.

Tip –
Adelaide by 23 points.

Game Info –
Essendon v Adelaide
Saturday August 12 – 7.25pm (local time) Etihad Stadium, Melbourne

Depends if air conditioner is on.

The Crow Call will be published every Thursday during the AFL Season. Join in the conversation with me on all things Crows on Twitter @liamthompson1.

Wednesday Weekly Wrap

Welcome to a weekly wrap of all things sport. Every Wednesday, we will have a look at the big issues kicking around in the world of sport and try to make some sense of them.

Get in touch @liamthompson1 on Twitter or shoot me an email at

Thumbs Down!

1. Joel Selwood may be a tough player, but he loses a bit of that tag by the way he blatantly manipulates the rules with his ducking and shrugging. It must be a family trait, because brother Scott also plays with the same cheating like action. We have said it once and we will say it again, umpires have as tough a job as any, stop making it even harder for them to adjudicate.

2. Ben Brown went down concussed in what Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley called the ‘perfect tackle’ performed by Magpie Brody Grundy in the Pies win over North Melbourne on Saturday Night. Sure, the act was not one of thuggery or in any way malicious, but the outcome was that Brown ended up in hospital and yet somehow Grundy got the free kick. There is no simple answer, but this is an area of the game that needs clarity and fast.

I would also love to know whether there has been more concussions at Etihad Stadium than any other ground given the hardness of the surface. Is this becoming a big contributing factor?

3. Aussie quick James Pattinson has gone down again with back soreness. Will this bloke ever get a fair run at it? Fingers crossed he can get it right ahead of the upcoming Ashes Series. Every cricket lover (perhaps English fans aside) want to see a Test match featuring Pattinson, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood. Will it happen?

Thumbs Up!
1. The cricket pay dispute is over and it is not before time. Bring on the Test match tour of Bangladesh, the One Day International tour of India and the home Ashes Series this coming summer. Hopefully the next six or seven months can be about the action on the field rather than all the rubbish we have had to endure off it.

2. ESPN do AFL footy better than anybody. If you have not seen it, the American sport presenters trying to explain Aussie Rules is a highlight whenever it occurs. Paddy Ryder’s tap to Robbie Gray is another great edition of the American sporting media having no idea about analysing Australian sport, but giving it a fair crack anyway.

3. The AFL Footy Show returns this week. Hasn’t it been refreshing not having it on our screens and creating rubbish content over the last couple of weeks? Expect a rating spike as Eddie McGuire takes the reins, but it will be short-lived, because this is one program that is well past it. There are plenty of good shows about AFL on television. This is not one of them.

The Thought
How hard is it for Collingwood to come up with a guernsey that does not clash? A complete white or complete black kit would have been the way to go against North Melbourne on the weekend. No stripes.

Well Played

And well played again

The theory
If your side has more players wearing long sleeve tops than the opposition, you are in for a dirty day. Replay to the start of Showdown 43 and you will see why. Harden up!

Wednesday Whinge
Another Showdown and yet another act of poor crowd behaviour. A Port Adelaide fan ran out onto the ground midway through the third term and has by all reports found himself with a $5000 fine and a three-month ban from the Adelaide Oval. Three months! That will teach him. In fact he was quoted as saying that he would happily do it all over again. Seems he has learnt his lesson then?

This idiot should be banned for life with no questions asked. We do not need people like him at the footy. It ruins it for everyone else and really is a dangerous scenario for players and officials out on the ground. He got awfully close to some players and you can imagine the outcry if he were to injure one or worse.

You will notice during Fox Footy’s broadcast yesterday that there were no images of this joker while the invasion was occurring. Vision of the two coaches boxes was displayed on-screen. Kudos. This is a lesson every other media outlet who this week has given this imbecile air time should be taking on board. This bloke wants publicity, so what do the media give him? Exactly that. Sure, the media have a role to report news, but they do not need to give a voice these types of people. It adds nothing. The same scenario occurred earlier this year when Channel Seven got an interview with two ignorant racist souls who showed no remorse whatsoever for their actions in the first Showdown of the 2017 season.

People who act in an unsociable way at sporting events have no place or right to be in attendance. The girl who threw a banana onto the ground last year, the jokers who racially vilified players at Showdown 42 and the idiot who brought a flare into the ground earlier this year should all never be allowed to step foot in a stadium again. Period.

Security have got enough to deal with at the present time without having to worry about absolute idiots. A life ban has to be the bare minimum given to these sort of characters when these incidents occur. Clearly the message is not getting through at the moment and something must be done before it ends in absolute disaster.

Picture – The Advertiser

Crow Call – Round 20 (v Port Adelaide)

In – Eddie Betts, Brad Crouch, Jake Lever

Out – TBA

Lucky? A great comeback? There are several ways to look at Adelaide’s efforts against the Pies. It was always going to be a danger game, so it is hard to know why Adelaide were not turned on from the opening bounce. We have seen far too many examples this year of a team being just slightly off getting punished by the opposition. This was Adelaide’s first half on Sunday. They have to be better than that. It is not like a top two or even a top four spot for that matter are absolutely sealed up. There is a month of regular footy to play and you want to be controlling your own destiny.

Yes, well done Mitch McGovern, who kicked the goal that drew the game and kudos to Adelaide for coming back from fifty points down, but play as atrociously as that for a half in a final and that is goodnight nurse. Still, the confidence gained from knowing that they have the ability to fight back is important and the two points that they salvaged could come in very handy come the end of the home and away season. Swings and roundabouts I suppose.

It brings us to Showdown 43. Port Adelaide also had a lucky escape last week, kicking the winning goal in the dying seconds against St Kilda. That win though for mine is covering a few cracks in their side at the present time. Port Adelaide looked puffed. The energy is not there, which would be a massive worry for them. They had their bye early and there are signs that fatigue is sinking in. Whether those signs remain for a Showdown however, games both sides always tend to get up for is another question.

Jake Lever and Brad Crouch come back in for Adelaide. Crouch has to be a handy addition given the smashing the Crows got in the contested possession statistic last week. Adelaide will lose by 100 points if the differential is more than fifty against Port Adelaide. Lever too is most certainly in Adelaide’s best twenty two and is a welcome return. Eddie Betts has been named in the squad of twenty five, but the word out of Adelaide is that he is unlikely to play. Betts out would be a huge bonus for the Power, who have in recent times struggled to find a match up for him.

Alex Keath most likely loses his spot, but looks to have a future, while Wayne Milera is just not playing AFL standard footy at the moment and will be lucky to keep his place.

Port Adelaide are not a traditional tagging side at the moment and it will be interesting to see what they do in trying to stop Rory Sloane. Brad Ebert probably spends some time on him, but that means taking him away from a role in the midfield, which he has done quite reasonably this year. The Sloane match up will be an interesting one and could be a game defining decision.

Robbie Gray and Paddy Ryder are the two players Adelaide must stop if they are to make it five Showdown wins on the trot. Gray was quiet in Showdown 42 with Kyle Hartigan playing on him. Jake Kelly and Luke Brown have to play well on Gray this week if Adelaide are to win. Sam Jacobs has been in ripping form over the last couple of weeks and if he can get on top of Ryder, both around the ground and in the ruck, Adelaide will be in the box seat for the four points. There has to be a better hand over of Ryder though when he goes forward, because as good as Sauce is, he is not going to stop Ryder up in Port Adelaide’s forward line.

Meanwhile, another loss for the Adelaide SANFL side, while Kyle Hartigan re-injured a hamstring, which all made for a pretty dirty afternoon at Bordertown on Sunday. Was Hartigan brought back in too early? Could they have given him another week? Who would know. Reports are it is only a minor hamstring, but then again with Adelaide’s dubious injury updates continuing, it is hard to tell. On-field the Crows were again outclassed and SANFL finals now look to be a massive long shot. Troy Menzel kicked four majors, perhaps upset his name was not in calculation to replace Eddie Betts and Harrison Wigg again keeps playing well. Wigg’s non inclusion last week is just baffling. There is no SANFL this week for Adelaide, which might freshen a few players up ahead of the final few games of the year.

Adelaide have most certainly played the better footy over the last month out of these two teams, but again form means nothing when it comes to predicting who wins a Showdown. It will most likely be close, most likely be played in damp conditions and will definitely be a huge win for whoever manages to get the four points. The season we have had to date leaves with me no choice, but to predict our first ever Showdown draw come Sunday afternoon. It just feels like that sort of year.

Tip –

Game Info –
Adelaide v Port Adelaide
Sunday August 6 – 4.10pm (local time) Adelaide Oval

Showers easing. Windy. 15.

The Crow Call will be published every Thursday during the AFL Season. Join in the conversation with me on all things Crows on Twitter @liamthompson1.