In – Alex Keath
Out – Jake Lever
Last week I refused to tip the Crows, because they so often play a big game, but do not back it up the week after. Adelaide did it convincingly against the Demons up in Darwin and ticked just another small box in the quest for premiership glory.
Rory Sloane has been named this week, but it will be no surprise to anyone if he drops out of the side on match day. All reports are that he trained pretty well and no doubt he would be keen to play. Reading between the lines, you would think he does play however. Josh Jenkins has been under the weather all week, but in his own words turned a corner yesterday (Wednesday) after a bout of food poisoning. He has also been named and should be fine to play.
Tom Doedee, long discussed as the pick Adelaide should have used to get Hawthorn’s Ryan Burton was surely a chance to finally make his debut at the expense of Jake Lever this week. Buyer beware, Lever’s body is not the most bullet proof of commodities. He has popped a hamstring and had highness several times this year. His exclusion is a big out for Adelaide. It was not to be though for Doedee with former cricketer Alex Keath set to play his first AFL game instead. The bigger body and the fact he is more of a key position player got him over the line this week. His SANFL form has been solid for a few weeks now and it will be exciting to see him unleashed on the big stage.
Keath is the fourth Adelaide player to make their debut this year and the third from the rookie list. You have to hand it to Adelaide’s recruiters. They know talent when they see it. If only they could do a better job of retaining it.
Patrick Dangerfield has been named for the Cats, but all the interviews during the week from various sources seem to indicate he is unlikely to take his place on Friday Night. As the Crows have done with Lever, it would be silly to risk a player at this time of the year. If Dangerfield does not play, it significantly swings the game into Adelaide’s favour, but Joel Selwood will still be out there. His influence has to be quelled.
If Adelaide concede again that they will not win the middle or the ‘toughness’ battle by any great margin, they have to then be able to get their rebound game going. It worked well against the Dogs, but Geelong have seemed to have been able to find a way in recent time to shut down that run off the half back line. Brodie Smith, Rory Laird, Luke Brown. These players have to be able to find ball and use the ball well if Adelaide are to win. I almost would have liked to see Paul Seedsman come into the side this week for that extra bit of run he can provide.
It was raised in this column prior to the most recent fixture between these two teams that Geelong’s forward line causes major issues for the Crows. Adelaide were very loose last time the two sides met with players allowed too much space. This cannot be allowed to happen again on Friday Night.
Similarly Adelaide’s supply was stifled and their key forwards failed to be able to get into the game. One who found plenty of the ball was Taylor Walker, but he did not have his kicking boots on that night. His form since has been outstanding and if he can continue that this week, Adelaide are a big chance. Eddie Betts has had probably his quietest year since being at the Crows. Now that may sound harsh, but he has drifted out of games more than we are used to seeing and has failed to hit the scoreboard in key moments as much as he and the team probably would like. He is due for a big game. Could it be this week? Adelaide’s forward line is the best in the AFL at the present time. It has to be used as the asset it is against the Cats to stretch their defence. There is no point in having six great forwards if the ball is not going down there with great supply or not at all.
Chris Scott can deny it as much as he likes, but Geelong do have the wood over the Crows and do have a game plan that ruffles Adelaide’s feathers. Adelaide have to expect this is again the way Geelong will play and have to be seen to be trying something slightly different in order to get around it. The bottom line is that if Adelaide are to win the flag this year, they will most likely have to beat Geelong at some stage. Josh Jenkins said Adelaide have worked out a way to beat the Cats, but just have not been able to do it when it counts. Friday night, it has to be achieved. This is when it counts.
Over at SANFL level, there was not too much to report from Adelaide’s loss to West Adelaide. Troy Menzel, Ben Jarman and Harrison Wing all tried hard, but there was not much help coming from elsewhere. The SANFL side were severely depleted of AFL listed talent, which will change this week. Harry Dear, Matthew Signorello and Kyle Cheney all return from injury. Cheney could still play an AFL role later this year if his body can hold up. Meanwhile Jordan Gallucci and Jono Beech return from their duties as AFL emergencies. I am not entirely sure what Beech’s role in that was last week, but nonetheless he is back for Sunday’s match against the Redlegs. Ben Davis will line up for his first game in Crows colours at The Parade after overcoming a foot injury that has written off most of his season. Great news for the youngster.
There is one other concern on the injury front for Adelaide, which has not really been discussed. Reilly O’Brien is missing and has been out of action for a few weeks now with a back injury that the club have listed as an ongoing assessment. If the unthinkable happened and Sam Jacobs went down, Adelaide currently do not have a recognised back up ruckman. Josh Jenkins and Andy Otten could not ruck for a whole game with great reward you wouldn’t imagine, while rookie listed player Paul Hunter is not ready for AFL action. That is a major concern.
Back to the game and there is no Simonds Stadium to contend with for Adelaide this week. It is Friday Night under the comfort of the Adelaide Oval lights with the possibility of a record attendance figure. A loss will not completely wipe Adelaide’s season, but a win certainly makes a top two finish all that more secure. Crows just for mine.
Tip – Adelaide by 11 points
Weather – 18, Sunny. Low of 6.
Game Info –
Adelaide v Geelong
Friday July 21 – 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.