The Team –
FF 23 Charlie Cameron 13 Taylor Walker 18 Eddie Betts
HF 3 Riley Knight 22 Andy Otten 21 Rory Atkins
C 14 David Mackay 44 Matt Crouch 33 Brodie Smith
HB 6 Jake Lever 12 Daniel Talia 26 Richard Douglas
FB 29 Rory Laird 15 Kyle Hartigan 16 Luke Brown
F 24 Sam Jacobs 9 Rory Sloane 30 Wayne Milera
Interchange – 2 Brad Crouch 17 Curtly Hampton 27 Tom Lynch 32 Troy Menzel
Emergency – 1 Jonathon Beech 10 Harrison Wigg 43 Reilly O’Brien
In – Brad Crouch
Out – Jake Kelly
Keep on keeping on is the perfect way to sum up what Adelaide need to do. A four, zip start to the year should be celebrated, but the challenge now is to keep doing it for another twenty-two or twenty-three weeks. As well as Adelaide have played, there is still plenty of room for improvement.
The Crows were as good as you will see a football team in the first half against Essendon, but the second half was pretty terrible to be honest. Granted, it is hard to maintain that high level of football that was played in the first half for four quarters, but they cannot afford to be complacent. The competition is far too close for that. Elements such as percentage may not be important now, but come the pointy end of the year, it could make all the difference.
Every week this year Adelaide have been challenged during the game with a player going down with injury. Last weekend that player was Jake Kelly who misses due to an eye complaint sustained in the Essendon game. Kelly is an important player for structural purposes, so his omission will be noticed on the weekend.
In comes Brad Crouch. I was in the camp of giving him another week to be really pushing for selection. He has not done one thing wrong so far in pushing for a recall, but needed to continue to bang down that door for mine. Adelaide have rushed him back before and paid the consequences. Time will tell as to whether this was the right call.
I do not think Adelaide should tinker with their midfield too much. The pace of Charlie Cameron, Wayne Milera and Curtly Hampton with the grunt of Rory Sloane, Matt Crouch and Richard Douglas has not faltered as of yet. Persist with it. Adelaide have not looked this fast and polished in the middle in a long, long time.
I would also give Troy Menzel a bit of time now in the senior side in the absence of Mitch McGovern. He looks like a player a bit devoid of confidence and we have seen what he can do when that confidence is found. He kicked 1.2 on the weekend. If he kicked 3 goals every week, he will be more than handy.
Gold Coast are minus a few big name players this week, particular in the defensive area of the ground, which could really hurt. Steven May misses with a hamstring and Rory Thompson with a quad injury. If Adelaide can manipulate that, they should be able to get past the Suns on Saturday evening. However, Gary Ablett must be watched, because despite some writing him off, you can’t have him dominating in the middle. Down back, big Tom Lynch is in career best form along with Brandon Matera. Extra attention must also be given to those names. Adelaide’s defence was a little leaky last weekend, which was not helped by Kelly going down. It is an area to watch.
At SANFL level this week, Adelaide do battle with Central District at Elizabeth. Harrison Wigg and Brad Crouch have been the standouts in the opening two games. Reilly O’Brien and Hugh Greenwood keep on putting their name in selection calculations and for the second week in a row Elliot Himmelberg has impressed. Scott Thompson returns for his first major SANFL hit out for 2017 this weekend. There is quality depth in the Crows SANFL side and that is not to mention players like Kyle Cheney, Paul Seedsman and Alex Keath who will all return at some stage in coming weeks.
The exciting thing for Adelaide is the potential ins if all goes well for next weekend. Josh Jenkins will be close and Jake Kelly should be back after a week on the sidelines. They could be all very handy against Richmond.
In the meantime, the Gold Coast is another game the Crows just have to tick off, bank the four points, come home and regroup. It is as simple as that.
Tip – – Adelaide by 28 points.
Weather – Shower or two. 25.
Game Info –
Gold Coast v Adelaide
Saturday April 22 – 4.35pm (local time) Metricon Stadium, Gold Coast
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.