The Team –
In – Luke Brown
Out – Riley Knight
The battle with the Hawks resumes on Thursday night at the Adelaide Oval. This one is by no means in the book, because you underestimate Hawthorn at your peril. Sure, their form has been pretty ordinary of late, but the return of senior players in Luke Breust, Grant Birchall and Luke Hodge will help their cause. For Adelaide, they just need to keep notching wins and find some consistency heading into the important part of the year.
Luke Brown returns from his fractured cheekbone to return to defence. It is a major devastation to see Riley Knight left out of the side again, but anybody who was to go out was always going to be unlucky. Knight just needs to keep doing what he has done at times this year in the SANFL. He will not be far away from being back in the senior side if he can do that.
The Hawks have caused issues for Adelaide over the last few years. Even in the clash between the two clubs earlier this year, the Hawks managed to get off to a fast start before Adelaide slowly pegged them back. You do not want to keep this particular Hawthorn side in the game, as they showed against Sydney a few weeks back. The Hawks do indeed still know how to win a close game of football. They will also have redemption on their mind after putting in what was probably one of their worst performances in the last few years against Port Adelaide on this ground, not three weeks ago. Paul Puopolo and Breust have caused issues for the Crows when playing against the Hawks in recent times too. That is why it was vital that Brown returned for Adelaide this weekend.
The second half of the year has to see Adelaide with a better plan to protect Rory Sloane and to be able to take that grunt in the midfield to another level. Brad Crouch has had enough time now to settle into his role in the side after an extended lay off from injury. If Adelaide are to go far, he needs a big second half of the year. Eddie Betts has been down on his usual output in recent time, but the week off should have done him a world of good. Charlie Cameron has not been as prevalent as he was the early part of the year. A week off will have also aided any little niggles he may have been carrying too.
Going into the bye Wayne Milera looked like he was ready to rip a game absolutely apart. Could Thursday night be that game? With pressure coming from the likes of Paul Seedsman, Kyle Cheney, Tom Doedee and Harrison Wigg, there should be no excuse for players not giving one hundred percent out there. The admission of Knight who was more than serviceable against St Kilda in Adelaide’s last game should be enough of an incentive for good form.
The SANFL also returns this week with Adelaide taking on Central District at Elizabeth on Saturday afternoon. It is a ground Adelaide have not had much success on over the journey. Mitch McGovern and Paul Seedsman get the chance to again prove they are ready to return to the senior side. It is an important few weeks for Harrison Wing, Harry Dear and Paul Hunter who may be playing for their AFL lifelines at Adelaide. The Crows have a good opportunity to return to the finals contention if they win this week. Their form has been up and down, but confidence should be high after that great win against the Redlegs a week or two ago.
If Adelaide are indeed a solid contender in 2017, they will get past the Hawks with ease on Thursday. Home ground, playing to keep top spot and another step towards playing finals. It is purely and simply just a game they have to put away, but as we have seen this year, it is never that simple.
Tip – Adelaide by 28 points
Weather – Mostly Sunny. 18.
Game Info –
Adelaide v Hawthorn
Thursday June 22 -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.