Crow Call – Round Three (v Port Adelaide)

The Team –

FF 23 Charlie Cameron 13 Taylor Walker 18 Eddie Betts
HF 27 Tom Lynch 41 Mitch McGovern 3 Riley Knight
C 26 Richard Douglas 21 Rory Atkins 9 Rory Sloane
HB 33 Brodie Smith 12 Daniel Talia 16 Luke Brown
FB 22 Andy Otten 15 Kyle Hartigan 29 Rory Laird
F 24 Sam Jacobs 17 Curtly Hampton 44 Matt Crouch

Interchange – 6 Jake Lever 8 Jake Kelly 14 David Mackay 30 Wayne Milera

Emergency – 31 Myles Poholke 32 Troy Menzel 43 Reilly O’Brien

In – Jake Lever

Out – Josh Jenkins

It is Showdown weekend and hasn’t the forty second edition had a bit of extra hype about it? One up against two on the AFL Ladder. It is Round Three though, so let’s just calm down a little bit. I am not convinced entirely by Port Adelaide’s form. They have beaten an undermanned Sydney and a Fremantle team who might as well have not been out there, given the lack of resistance that they showed on Sunday. Form aside, Showdown’s are always fifty-fifty games anyway and this one is no different.

No Josh Jenkins for Adelaide. Ribs are an awkward one and against a physical Port Adelaide side, you do not want to take that risk for either the player or the team. Jake Lever comes in and Andy Otten will do a bit of the ruck work as well as play up forward you feel. He was more than handy last weekend and while this is by no means a long-term prospect, Adelaide can probably get away with it for another week. It does raise a good point though in that Adelaide need to fast-track the development of Reilly O’Brien and Harry Dear. O’Brien needs to improve his forward line ability and Dear his ruck work. It would have been interesting to see how Adelaide would had covered Jenkins if the injury was longer term.

The loss of Jenkins will not be ideal, but I do not think it hurts the Crows dramatically. They have actually played better in the seven quarters that they have been without an extra tall in the side. That is without Taylor Walker in the opening game and Jenkins for three-quarters last weekend. Adelaide have looked faster, the smaller they  get. Troy Menzel was another option to bring in to cover Jenkins, but the ruck issue probably throws that idea out the window.

Port have lost Jack Hombsch, but with Jenkins out, that pretty much cancels that advantage out. Nathan Krakouer does not play, which means the match up for Eddie Betts will be interesting. Betts is a big reason as to why Adelaide have won four of the last five Showdown’s. If Port are to win, he needs to be shut down. Likewise at the other end. Chad Wingard is often a barometer for how Port play. If Wingard plays well, Port more often than not get the four points. Charlie Dixon is in good form and Robbie Gray booted six last week, albeit against a weakened opposition. All the more reason to get Lever back in that defensive line.

Port Adelaide probably have the slight advantage with their midfield, but so did GWS in Round One and arguably Hawthorn last weekend and that did not seem to matter. Sam Powell-Pepper has had a breakout start to the year, but if Sam Jacobs can play like he did against the Hawks and give the Crows first supply, half the battle is won there. Jacobs has had a below-par few years, but he has shown in the opening two games, glimpses of the player that earned him All-Australian Honours a few years ago. That form will be vital against a rejuvenated Paddy Ryder.

Adelaide must bring that forward line pressure to ensure that risk does not pay off. Pressure has been a big component of Adelaide’s game plan in the opening two weeks and it must be repeated on Saturday Night if they are to win their fourth Showdown on the trot.

The SANFL finally gets under way this weekend as well. Why is has started two weeks after the AFL season has kicked off is beyond me. Adelaide take on last years premiers, Sturt at Unley Oval on Sunday. Brad Crouch returns after a nasty hamstring strain. He is the forgotten man at Adelaide and is probably three or four solid games away before he would be able to put his hand up for selection. Cross everything so that he can have a good year of footy. Myles Poholke and Jordan Gallucci run out for their first official SANFL games for the club and Ben Jarman gets a chance to develop into a budding footballer for the future. Harrison Wigg is the interesting one for mine. Dropped from the final JLT Series game, he has been in hot form in recent weeks. His time will more than likely come this year and he needs to continue this good form.

A missed opportunity this weekend you feel from the SANFL operators, why not have a SANFL Showdown on Sunday and have Port and the Crows go at it for the second time this weekend? Anything to encourage a big crowd to the footy needs to be trialled by the SANFL and this would have been the perfect opportunity.

Showdown’s are a different type of game. It is Port’s home game and for that reason, I am tipping them Saturday night. Just.

Tip – Port by 3 points.

Weather – Mostly Sunny. 28.

Game Info – 
Port Adelaide v Adelaide
Saturday April 8 – 7.10pm (local time) Adelaide 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.

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