Well, Adelaide’s season is officially underway. It was a loss in more ways than one on Friday night as the Crows went down by 19 points to Richmond. It would be fair to say that the Tigers had slightly more key personnel on the park, but regardless for Adelaide and like most teams in February, there were both positives and negatives to take away from their opening clash of the season.
The obvious negative is the loss of Cam Ellis-Yolmen for the season with an ACL injury. That is a huge blow not only for Adelaide, but for Ellis-Yolmen himself, given a midfield position was his to lose this year. If there is a silver lining, perhaps if Adelaide are loyal to him, he will now remain in Adelaide when his contract expires. Other negatives from Friday’s clash were minor injuries to Sam Jacobs (back), Jono Beech (calf) and Mitch McGovern (knee). Beech and McGovern will miss Sunday’s clash, but Adelaide insists it is precautionary. Jacobs has been named, but if there is any notion of doubt, he will not play.
Adelaide looked rusty on Friday night, which given it was the first hit out of the year is permissible. What is not acceptable though, is that at times there was a bit of a sense of going through the motions. That cannot be repeated come Sunday or throughout any of 2017 for that matter. Solid pre-season form, while not vital, it important in creating positivity and maintaining a winning culture.
On a more positive note, Curtly Hampton was impressive and if his body can hold up this year, there is every chance his run could be vitally important for the Crows. Harrison Wigg gave his all, Eddie Betts did Eddie Betts things and Josh Jenkins looked to be over the ankle troubles that plagued him at the end of last year. Myles Poholke played, although I am not sure he received much discussion on the coverage, while Charlie Cameron will be a star. He could win games on his own this year and with the growing injury list, he may need to.
Troy Menzel showed signs, but still looks a pace behind where he needs to be. Menzel will be a major focal point this week in the forward line with a few big outs in that part of the ground for Sunday’s game. That is where the little calf niggle is so frustrating for Beech, who would have had a good chance to show what he could do as well.
One that note, this week Ben Jarman, Jordan Gallucci, Elliott Himmelberg, Riley Knight and Luke Brown come into the 29 man squad. Expect Knight and Brown to play. They should be there come Round One too if they get through the next two games. Josh Jenkins and Eddie Betts are rested this week and they will no doubt return to play in JLT 3. Jake Lever looks on track to play JLT 3 as well, where most likely Adelaide will play a squad as close to full strength as possible.
Round One selection will be interesting. As it stands with doubts over Rory Sloane, Scott Thompson and Brad Crouch, there could be a range of new faces in the middle of the park for Adelaide. Matt Crouch is a lock, but if those aforementioned three do not come up and in all honesty, Sloane is probably the only one who possibly will, who else starts in the middle? The next two JLT Series games will hopefully provide some clear answers. There are options, but the key is working out which ones are the right options.
In other Crows news this week, Alex Keath and Hugh Greenwood were announced as co-captains of Adelaide’s SANFL side. This is a fantastic appointment to two seriously talented sportsman. I would not rule out either of them playing AFL as early as this season if opportunity comes knocking. Watch this space.
This week a higher effort across the board and some young names putting their hand up for Round One will be what Crows fans will be looking for. See you at Richmond.
The Team – (to be trimmed to 26 before the bounce)
Wayne Milera Junior
Game Info –
Adelaide v Geelong
Sunday March 5 – 1.35pm (local time) Richmond Oval
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.