Ins – B Crouch
The Verdict –
Another big test this week as season 2016 resumes where it started against North Melbourne in a Thursday night blockbuster at the Adelaide Oval.
This Crows line up is a pretty hard team to break into at AFL level at the moment. That brilliant win against West Coast in Perth meant changes were always going to be minimal. I would have given Richard Douglas a spell at the fortune of Brad Crouch had Seedsman been fit. The older Crouch boy must be brought back into the side for some time now. Douglas’ form has been down for a couple of months now for mine. He was better against the Eagles, but not overly consistent.
When you’ve got players screaming out for selection outside the 22 because of form and there are players not performing within the 22, you’ve got to reward the good form. Good to see that’s happened now.
North has been stung by injuries this week, but they also regain a few. Andrew Swallow and Ben Cunnington are big ins. Daniel Wells and Luke McDonald (injury) are big outs.
North is coming of a six-day break after a hugely competitive, bruising encounter against Hawthorn. Adelaide is coming off the bye. What difference this makes is an unknown though. We have seen in previous seasons teams struggle with playing after having a weekend off. How’s the mental state? Still in holiday mode or refreshed ready for ten more games?
The Crows were in sensational form heading into the break after four consecutive wins. If they can continue that come Thursday night, North are going to be in for a huge battle for the four points in this one.
Brent Harvey was left to win North the game last time these two sides met. Curtailing his influence is critical. He may be about 90 years old but he can still play some pretty decent footy. He tore the Crows apart in a very short amount of time in round one.
Todd Goldstein also had major influence earlier in the year against the Crows. Sam Jacobs will be out for some revenge come Thursday night.
Winning the clearances and getting the ball down in that powerful Adelaide forward line will go a long way to winning this game. Trying to restrict Goldstein’s ability around the ground is also a must. As round one showed, he is more than just a ruckman.
The forecast is for wet conditions and that might mean this one is a match for the little men. Eddie Betts and Charlie Cameron need big games if it turns into a scrap. North tend to play quite tall, so it will be interesting to see if Drew Petrie and Ben Brown can be as influential in damp conditions. Likewise, Mitch McGovern, Taylor Walker and Josh Jenkins up the other end.
At SANFL level, it is great to see Curtly Hampton back training with the hope of a game in 2 or 3 weeks time. Let’s hope he can find some injury free consistency in the second half of the year. It would be good to see Adelaide’s off season recruits in Troy Menzel, Dean Gore and Hampton try to bang the door down for selection as the year heads towards its conclusion.
It would also be good to see Riley Knight back. That will have to wait a bit longer however as he recovers from a foot issue.
Knight is almost been Adelaide’s forgotten man. He is another one who could apply some selection pressure or be a handy injury replacement later in the year given he has a bit of finals experience now too.
Still no Sam Shaw. His concussion worries extend to another week. Fingers crossed he isn’t too far away.
Adelaide at home should be able to make up for that round one loss. North don’t have an awful list by any stretch, but I think their ladder position flatters them given their draw and would have to finish top four to be any hope of winning the flag.
Adelaide by 31 points.