Crow Call – Round 11 (v Geelong)

The Team –

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

Interchange – Atkins, Mackay, Greenwood, Otten

Emergency – Knight, Beech, O’Brien

In –

Out –

Are Adelaide back or are Fremantle a little stinky? The answer is probably somewhere in between, but there was not much more Adelaide could have done right in their dismantling of the Dockers last weekend. The Crow Call was critical of the amount of tall players Adelaide had in the predicted wet conditions, but while it did turn out to be one of the wettest games Adelaide have played in for some time, the skills in the damp conditions were really good from all players, big and small. Hugh Greenwood in particular did a couple of pick ups in the rain to again just remind the football world that he really belongs at this level.

An unchanged lineup heads down the highway to Geelong on Friday Night. No rain is forecast on what looks to be a crisp night for footy.

It would be fair to say that Geelong have well and truly been Adelaide’s bogey team over the last few years. In 2016, Adelaide’s two lowest scores were achieved in the two encounters against the Cats. Simonds Stadium has also posed issues for the Crows, having not won there in over a decade.

So what has to change for the Adelaide to win at Geelong this week?

Geelong have not played great footy all year. They have managed to win seven of ten games, but were probably lucky in four or five of those including against Port Adelaide last Thursday Night. They are not the Geelong of old, particularly down back. Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood hold that team together and if you can restrict their influence, you are almost guaranteed a win against the Cats. It is a job easier said than done though. Adelaide have not been a tagging team in some time and are not expected that to change notion on Friday Night. The midfield battle will be intriguing and how much influence Rory Sloane can have will go a long way in deciding the outcome of the game. He seemed to adjust well to the tag last week and will need to put in a similar performance this week. Matt Crouch is in career best form and Brad Crouch is slowly showing signs of returning to his best. They must ensure they provide toughness and aggression around the ball in the middle. Contested possession is a must win statistic against the grunt and hardness of Dangerfield and Selwood.

If Adelaide allow Geelong to get off to a great start, like they have so many teams this season, there is no coming back at Simonds Stadium. On the other hand if Adelaide can have a dominant first quarter like they did against the Dockers, that will take the crowd out of it and that will mean that they will be hard to beat. The quarter time score will be telling this week.

Adelaide’s back line has been caught out by the Cats in recent years with Daniel Menzel, Steven Motlop and Tom Hawkins causing issues for Adelaide’s defence. Menzel is hard to match up on given his allusive style of play. The Crows defenders were not required to do much against the Dockers, so that back line should be fresh to go. They also need to remember to not fall into the trap of kicking it out on the fall down at the narrow Simonds Stadium when coming out of the backline.

At the other end, if Geelong can manage to restrict the influence of Adelaide’s normally heavy scoring forward line like they did last year, Adelaide must do more to get those players into the game. Eddie Betts and Charlie Cameron through the middle. Josh Jenkins into the ruck. They cannot afford to sit up forward getting cold and not influencing the play while Geelong restrict supply and do what they please. It will be really disappointing if Adelaide learnt nothing from Geelong’s plans against them last season and North Melbourne’s similar tactics earlier this year.

If Adelaide win this one, it would really set up the rest of the year, both in confidence and on the ladder. Every win is going to be so vital and those two earlier games lost this season have to be cancelled out by winning a fifty-fifty game such as this one.

A very impressive win over North Adelaide in the SANFL topped off a great weekend for the Adelaide Football Club last week. It was the best game Dean Gore has played for the Club in conditions that really suited his grunt style of footy. Harrison Wigg was again strong, along with Jono Beech who gathered 30 touches all over the ground and kicked three goals. Harry Dear has played the last two weeks down back, while Alex Keath has been moved forward. Whether this is tactical or just trialling something remains to be seen. Tom Doedee and Kyle Cheney has excellent games across the backline against the Roosters too, who were severely restricted on the scoreboard after quarter time. Paul Seedsman and Mitch McGovern are set to return in the next fortnight through the SANFL, which will really strengthen this side. Troy Menzel returns to SANFL action this weekend. Some players just attract injuries. Menzel is one of those. Hopefully this is the last of them. Adelaide play Glenelg on Saturday Afternoon. Play like they did last Saturday and this should be a win.

Adelaide have had a solid two weeks, but is it enough to go down to the Cattery and have a win? Time will tell, but past history indicates that the Cats will get the chocolates again this week. Geelong just have more toughness around the ball through Selwood and Dangerfield and the ability to know how to impact positively on the big moments. Adelaide’s hardened footy, which this game will be right from the outset is a work in progress and they do not appear to be quite there yet. Adelaide need a great start if they are any chance, which down at Simonds is no easy feat.

Tip Geelong by 23 points

Weather – Partly Cloudy. 14.

Game Info –
Geelong v Adelaide
Friday June 2 -7.50pm (local time) Simonds Stadium, Geelong

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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