Crow Call – Round 17 (v Melbourne)

In – Hugh Greenwood Tom Lynch

Out – Wayne Milera, Scott Thompson

This column asked the Crows last week to show us that they are still in the premiership race. They did exactly that with a thumping win over the Western Bulldogs. The Dogs form has been ordinary of late, but Hawthorn had not played great footy in 2017 either when they came to town, but seriously challenged Adelaide on their home turf and won. This was a good win by Adelaide.

At half time last Friday night, you wondered whether the script that was rolled out against Hawthorn a few weeks earlier was repeating itself. A closely fought first half saw the Dogs have the better of the in and under stuff, but they failed to capitalise. After half time, Adelaide were able to reset, dig deep and managed to get the game on their own terms again.

The Scott Thompson move went as predicted. Thompson has been a great part of the Adelaide Football Club for many years, but his time has come. He was meant to be nothing more than injury insurance this year, so to play him last week was always a strange move. There were plenty of times during the year where it may have made sense to bring him in. Last week just was not really one of those. Regardless, his addition did not harm Adelaide in any way last week, but when a senior player is being run down easily, giving away frustrating free kicks and not getting the ball much himself, it is time to move on. Hugh Greenwood come in this week to take back his spot in the side after being managed last week. Hopefully his managing is nothing too serious as there was a bye less than a month ago.

Speaking of veterans who have limited games ahead, David Mackay is struggling. Players almost look in two minds to give him the ball, because when they do the delivery to him is terrible. Paul Seedsman surely comes into that role soon. Mackay has had too many chances now and has been recalled twice when his form in the SANFL has not really warranted it. He is not in Adelaide’s best 22.

It is surpising to see Tom Lynch back in this week. Long plane trip, warm conditons. Surely one more week on the sidelines would not have hurt. He has to be right come the pointy end. What is the point of playing him now?

Melbourne await this week up in Darwin. Not sure Darwin suits the Crows, much as Hobart did not suit them earlier in the year. Humid, sticky, wet conditions will be tough to play in, but Adelaide maybe that is unfair as Adelaide have shown in games against the Dockers and the Dogs just last week, that they like it when it is a little damp. The Max Gawn, Sam Jacobs match up is a juicy one. Interestingly last week Adelaide easily won the hit outs, but got smashed in the clearances. The centre has been a problem for the Crows this year, so perhaps they are willing to lose the clearance and back in their rebound run. Jake Kelly and Jake Lever were both outstanding in this regard last week.

Melbourne beat Adelaide at the Adelaide Oval a couple of months ago, because they were the tougher team and choked Adelaide’s supply. So there should be no surprises this week when Melbourne try to do that again. The Dogs backed their own game against Adelaide and failed miserably. Melbourne will no doubt revert back to tagging Rory Sloane and playing extras behind the ball. These are moves that have really troubled the Crows this year, so it provides another little test to see where they are really at.

The SANFL Crows played in patches against Port Adelaide last week, but mostly in the first half. Their second half was pretty lacklustre. Tom Doedee made a few uncharacteristic errors, perhaps brought on by the pressure of selection this week. Kyle Cheney will come back next week after a hamstring problem and untried youngster Ben Davis is by all reports set to debut shortly too. Harrison Wigg was again close to best last weekend. Elliot Himmelberg kicked four goals, while Myles Poholke and Jordan Gallucci both showed glimpses of what they can do. Poholke and Gallucci are in and under type players. They attack the ball, which is the sort of player Adelaide have been lacking in recent times. Himmelberg meanwhile is a player in the fold of a Mitch McGovern. He is extremely athletic and can clunk a big mark. Three great signs for the future of this football club.

Speaking of futures, the next few weeks will be interesting for Harry Dear who is now playing permanently in defence and Dean Gore who are both failing to have enough impact to be in the conversation for AFL selection. Both can play, there is no doubt about that, but both need to try to find some consistency in their game.

Back to the AFL and the Darwin factor has me leaning towards tipping the Demons in this one. If Adelaide can repeat what they did last week, they will win given the personnel Melbourne have out. No Jack Watts, Nathan Jones, Dom Tyson or Jack Viney has to impact. However, I have not seen the sort of form Adelaide produced against the Dogs consistently enough in recent time from Adelaide and am not willing to give them the benefit of the doubt just yet.

Tip Melbourne by 18 points

Weather – Sunny, 32.

Game Info –
Melbourne v Adelaide
Saturday July 15 – 7.10pm (local time) TIO Stadium, Darwin

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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