Crow Call – Round 12 (v St Kilda)

The Team –

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

Interchange – Beech, Knight, Kelly, Greenwood

Emergency – Doedee, Mackay, O’Brien

In – Knight, Beech

Out – Brown, Mackay

No toughness. No accountability. No leadership. No win. That’s a simple way to describe the current Adelaide side in big games against sides who clearly intimidate them. That may be harsh, but it has happened three times this year and again against the Swans in the Semi-Final last year. That is enough of a sample size to gauge that this is a problem and cannot be swept under the carpet. The Crows can play breath-taking footy when things are going their way, but if they are not allowed to play the game on their terms and get roughed up a bit, they just simply cannot adjust. Everything Geelong brought to the table, in personnel, tactics and pressure really was to be expected last Friday Night, yet the Crows looked under prepared. There was very few excuses for Adelaide to not be ready for that. That is what is most disappointing.

A lot has been said about Taylor Walker’s leadership this week and that is fair enough. Walker is a very good footballer, but he is not the sort of leader who leads by example enough and unfortunately for him, that should be a vital quality of an AFL captain. He had opportunities to have an influence on the game on Friday Night, but did not take them. He gave away silly free kicks early in the game and missed shots on goal that a player of his calibre really should nail. His three goal tally was extremely flattering. You do not sack captains mid-season, but Rory Sloane must get the mantle in 2018. Simple as that.

Adelaide have to respond this week against St Kilda under the glare of Friday Night lights once more. The Crows have not enjoyed the big stage recently and tomorrow night is an opportunity to begin to turn this around. A loss and it brings the Crows right back into a logjam of teams in a battle to, dare we say it, even make the eight.

Luke Brown goes out of the side with a fractured cheekbone, which is pretty unfortunate, because he has had a great year. Always reliable is Brown. There was probably the option to bring Kyle Cheney into the side. His form at SANFL level has been solid, but it appears Richard Douglas may go back based on the inclusion of Riley Knight. Knight had a reasonable couple of games in the SANFL over the last couple of weekends without being brilliant. He is in Adelaide’s best twenty-two however. Jono Beech finally gets his turn to show what he can do as an AFL player. His selection is warranted as his form in the SANFL has been exceptional for a number of weeks now. He adds something a bit different too, which will not hurt.

St Kilda have a pretty handy and tough midfield. The likes of which seem to be giving Adelaide a lot of trouble at the moment. It cannot be the Crows undoing again this week. The Saints can be pretty brutal up forward too when they want to be, even without Nick Riewoldt in the team. The loss of Brown will test Adelaide in this area. Jack Carlisle stiffens up St Kilda’s defence, but I think they will struggle to contain Adelaide’s forward line if the supply is allowed.

The Crows were smashed in contested ball against the Cats. Every contest seemed to see the ball spill out Geelong’s way and off the Cats would go and score. Every time. Lots of talk centred around bringing Scott Thompson into the side to provide a bit of toughness this week. While this thought does has some merit, does Thompson offer enough now? He looked slow last year and his disposal is not great. Plus he is not going to be there beyond this year. It is a band-aid solution at best. Brad Crouch is the one that needs to take his game to another level at the present time. Hugh Greenwood must be given as much midfield time as possible and Charlie Cameron has to play in there more too. That is where Adelaide can improve in that area for the rest of the year. Harrison Wigg and Knight must also be given opportunity through the middle at some stage too. Jordan Gallucci is another option to slot in there in the coming weeks.

Speaking of Greenwood, a team high eleven tackles should hopefully have been the big taking point in the review this week. He knows his spot is not guaranteed so he brings that extra pressure to the table every week. It might be time for a few of his teammates to start doing the same. As we have said many a time before, when Adelaide bring toughness and pressure, they most likely win.

Daniel Talia played one of his worst games of his career last week with a stingy two disposals. He has to lift his output this week. Jake Lever was probably Adelaide’s best in a losing side against the Cats. He is growing week by week and has to be given whatever money he wants to encourage him to sign a long-term deal.

It was a terrible weekend for Adelaide last weekend. The SANFL side also put in a fairly sub-par performance failing to do much after quarter time against a plucky Glenelg team. There were too few contributors in what was another contested possession type game. Knight, Harrison Wigg, Jono Beech and Scott Thompson had their moments, but after that, it was a day to forget. The SANFL side take on Norwood at the Parade on Saturday Afternoon. Paul Seedsman and Mitch McGovern make their long-awaited returns. They could play a big role in the AFL side in the second half of the year. McGovern needs two games in the SANFL and then slot him back into the senior side. Seedsman can offer some more run off half back and play that Mackay role once he has gained some match fitness as well.

Adelaide should get past the Saints, who are not the best travelling team going around. It will take a response from last week though. Win and Adelaide head into the break nine and three. You would definitely take that going into the year, but you just feel at the moment that the bye has come at a good time. Adelaide need to win on Friday Night, reset, get a few handy players back into the side and really take on the second half of the year. It is not over yet.

Tip Adelaide by 31 points

Weather – Partly Cloudy. 16.

Game Info –
Adelaide v St Kilda
Friday June 9 -7.20pm (local time) Adelaide Oval, Adelaide

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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