Crow Call – Round 9 (v Brisbane)

The Team –

FF Otten, Walker, Milera
HF Cameron, Lynch, Betts
C Atkins, Douglas, Smith
HB Sloane, Talia, Kelly
FB Brown, Hartigan Laird
Jacobs, B Crouch, M Crouch

Interchange – Lever, Gallucci, Hampton, Greenwood

Emergency – Mackay, Beech, O’Brien

In – Greenwoood, Lever, Gallucci

Out – Jenkins, Menzel, Mackay

That was ordinary. Nobody expected Adelaide to dish out what they dished out against Melbourne at home in front of a big crowd. The loss against Melbourne was worse than the loss against North Melbourne as Adelaide had complete control of that game on Saturday Night. They were 28 points up and then decided to drop right off in terms of effort, execution and pressure. The hardness was completely down and nothing was visibly done to try and have Rory Sloane and the leaders brought into the game. Whether all the energy and pressure that was used in the opening six weeks has worn the side out remains to be seen. But it needs to return or Adelaide will be staring down the barrel of a third straight loss. Changes galore this week and that is something that has not happened for a while.

Too many of Adelaide’s best players are out of form and simply look injured. Josh Jenkins showed last year that he cannot play well when he is sore. He clearly still looks troubled by his rib injury, given the way he approaches contests. He drops out of the side this week, which in sloppy Queensland condtions is a good call. Charlie Cameron has spent very little time in the midfield in the last month after ripping games apart in there early in the year. He too does not look right. If players are injured, do not play them. Jenkins and Cameron have offered absolutely nothing in the last few weeks and simply cannot afford to be carried through games at this stage of the year. Get them right for the pointy end, if Adelaide manage to make it that far. David Mackay is a whipping boy for Adelaide fans and this was an unfair assessment a month ago. His last few weeks though have been terrible and he needs to go back to the SANFL to find form. Curtly Hampton is another one who needs to step up and contribute more week to week. His last two games have been poor.

So three changes to the side this week. Jake Lever returns. He adds a bit of grunt and mongrel, which has been non-existent in the past fortnight. Riley Knight does not quite get up from his sore glute, which is a strange injury. Troy Menzel misses with injury too, but would have found it had to keep his spot regardless. I have been all for him having an extended run, but he had to show something last weekend and he showed absolutely zero. Hugh Greenwood gets his much awaited debut for the Crows. It is such a great reward for a very talented athlete. Hopefully he grabs his chance with both hands and can sew up a spot in Adelaide’s side. He adds size and grunt, which Adelaide vitally need. Another one who gets his chance is young draftee Jordan Gallucci. I am not entirely sure about this one, but with Knight still missing and changes required, there is not too much to lose. There could be a big changing of the guard with these calls.

No SANFL action last week, which means there was not a lot of current form to go on when selecting this week’s side. Alex Keath and Kyle Cheney finally return from their hamstring injuries this weekend. They add a bit of experience to a back line that has been thrashed in recent weeks. The Crows take on West Adelaide at Richmond Oval on Saturday, in what will be a good opportunity for a win and a return to form if all can play well after the week off. Harrison Wigg and Jono Beech just need to keep working hard and continue to push for selection. Their time will come.

Brisbane have been pretty hard to get a read on so far in 2017. They played a great quarter against the Gold Coast in Round One and took it up to the Western Bulldogs in Melbourne a few weeks ago. They are a far better team than their one and seven win-loss ratio indicates. Dayne Beams returns which means Adelaide will again have to work hard in the midfield. That is a major area that has let the Crows down in recent times. Brisbane’s forward line, while young has the potential to score quickly and do damage. This will not be an easy game. Adelaide have to go in with the mindset as such or risk once again getting blown off the park. If season 2017 has taught us one thing, it is that if you are 5% off on any given day, the other team will win and win big. There is no such thing as an easy game. Surely the Crows have learnt that lesson by now.

Increased pressure, cleaner ball movement and the ability to adapt better during quarters to situations that arise are all must dos this weekend and indeed for the weeks going forward. Adelaide are a good football side with some talented players, but it will not just happen. A successful year will require solving some major challenges both in games and between them. The road to redemption begins with a few new faces and hopefully attitudes against Brisbane this weekend.

Tip – Adelaide by 29 points

Weather – Shower or Two. 24.

Game Info – 
Brisbane v Adelaide
Saturday May 20 -7.25pm (local time) Gabba, Brisbane

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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