If 2016 was the dream year given the lack of injuries for Adelaide, 2017 is shaping up to be the complete opposite. Let’s just have a quick look at who is unlikely to play, not only for Round One, but for the opening weeks of the season.
Taylor Walker – Slight hamstring strain. You would not be risking that. He will not play Round One.
Rory Sloane- Fractured Eye Socket – Wear a mask. Sloane plays.
Jake Lever – Hamstring Strain – Fully recovered. He plays.
Brad Crouch – Hamstring – Who knows? When Brad Crouch does an injury, he does it too well. Unlikely to be seen in the near future. Will come back through SANFL.
Scott Thompson – Shoulder Injury – Is this worse than first thought? Unlikely to play in near future.
Riley Knight – Achilles soreness – Club insists this is minor and he will be available Round One. Will come back through SANFL, but important he gets himself fit as he provides balance to Adelaide side.
Paul Seedsman – Groin. I actually thought he may have passed on, given we heard absolutely nothing from Adelaide about him during the pre-season. Will come back through SANFL, hopefully sooner rather than later, given the run he provides to the side.
Adelaide again this week refused to release an injury list that provided the number of weeks out against a player’s name. This is simply not good enough. What is with the secrecy? When you are paying for a membership, the least you expect is some transparency.
Reading between the lines though, it will be Round Five at the earliest where the best 22 could be potentially selected. A long way away. Not helping the situation is that there is no SANFL until Round Three of the AFL season. There are two SANFL trial games during this time, but getting returning players back into form through trial games will not be ideal.
Adelaide failed to play a consistent game throughout the JLT Series. Saturday’s game at Noarlunga was a fine example, where there were some great patches of footy and at other times, some footy that told you players minds were awaiting Round One. It has been difficult to get a read on Adelaide’s form, but there were some individual positives to take from the Series. Jake Kelly and Andy Otten both played themselves into opening round contention, Josh Jenkins and Mitch McGovern look as dangerous as ever. Matt Crouch appears to have taken his game to a new level, while Curtly Hampton has shown he could be a vital part of the midfield brigade.
The player I was most impressed with, particularly in JLT 2 and 3 was David Mackay. He needs a big year this year after several down years and all indications are that he is ready to go. He seems to have found that speed again.
So who plays Round One-
Taylor Walker (injured)
B: Luke Brown, Daniel Talia, Rory Laird
HB: Brodie Smith, Kyle Hartigan, Jake Lever
C: Rory Atkins, Rory Sloane, David Mackay
HF: Tom Lynch, Josh Jenkins, Charlie Cameron
F: Eddie Betts, Mitch McGovern, Troy Menzel
Foll: Sam Jacobs, Matt Crouch, Richard Douglas
I/C: Jake Kelly, Curtly Hampton, Wayne Milera, Hugh Greenwood
That means Hugh Greenwood gets promoted from the Rookie List and plays as perhaps a tall midfielder in the Cam Ellis-Yolmen type. He could also play forward if requried. I thought Harrison Wigg would be a lock in for this spot, but after playing in the SANFL trial last week, you would have to think he is unlikely to get a game in the AFL at the moment. After Jake Kelly’s performance on Saturday I am playing him, but Andy Otten would be very stiff to miss out. That could go either way. Walker’s injury opens the door for Troy Menzel to make his debut for the Club. He would probably be the luckiest to get a gig, but without Walker, he is next in and slightly ahead of Harry Dear at this stage.
Adelaide will be fine in defence, although they were sloppy on the weekend. Hopefully that had more to do with it being JLT 3 than anything else. They will also be fine up forward, despite the fact that the Walker injury does reveal a lack of depth in that department beyond the regulars. The midfield, as has been much talked about is the area that is going to make or break the Crows this year. That is why having Hampton, Greenwood, Cameron, Milera in the side is so exciting. All offer something different from the personnel in there last year and all could be game breakers if they can find some confidence and consistency. Along with Sloane and Matt Crouch, how these midfielders play this year will have a massive bearing on where Adelaide finish at the end of the year.
We will discuss all the ins and outs in the Crow Call ahead of Round One next week. Enjoy the weekend of no footy, because for the next 27 weeks or so, AFL is back!
Game Info –
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.