Crow Call – Round 19 (v Collingwood)

In – Jono Beech, Paul Seedsman, Wayne Milera, Myles Poholke, Kyle Hartigan

Out – Brad Crouch, Eddie Betts

What a night. Adelaide showed us that they have what it takes to win the 2017 AFL Premiership. In their kit bag now is a toughness, a hardness and an ability to hunt and intimidate the opponent. Now that we have seen it, it has to be rolled out far more often. Adelaide have five weeks and five big games to continue to tweak what they need to in what will be a perfect preparation for finals.

From Rory Sloane finding some form to the Crouch brothers getting in and under to big Sam Jacobs throwing his weight around, it was the night for the ages. A huge crowd on what just was the perfect night for footy.

You cannot stop and reflect on Friday night for too long though, because there are alarm bells going off everywhere this week. So often after a big game with a massive build up and massive effort spent, the game after is a big let down. Adelaide have had a nine-day break, so fatigue cannot be an excuse this week. A couple of crucial forced changes, but if Adelaide are to finish top two, they cannot afford to drop this one against the Magpies on Sunday. The competition will eat you alive if you rest on your laurels.

Collingwood’s midfield is minus Scott Pendlebury, but don’t be fooled by that. Adam Treloar, Taylor Adams, Steele Sidebottom. They can all do damage. The defensive line is the one Adelaide must exploit. It is probably Collingwood’s biggest weakness and I am sure they were quietly celebrating the fact that Eddie Betts will miss this week because of appendicitis. You can bet your bottom dollar that Levi Greenwood will go straight to Sloane. It will be fascinating to see whether Sloane can take the form of last weekend into this game. This will be a nice little test for the Crows. As Collingwood showed last week, underestimate them at your peril.

The Adelaide forward line will likely see the presence of Richard Douglas and Charlie Cameron a bit more in the absence of Betts. Josh Jenkins should be better after looking groggy after his bout of food poisoning last week. I would not mind Riley Knight having another run with role to see if that is really a job he could do more often.

It is no surprise to see Brad Crouch out of the team with a fractured cheekbone. Hopefully he will return for the Showdown or at worst the game after that. His comments on Channel Seven after the game on Friday night that he was keen to play this weekend, fractured cheekbone or not is hopefully the spirit that is within the group at the moment. That and the fact he played out the game with the fracture, tells you all you need to know about the team’s hardness last week. They want to play and they want to win. That could take them far, but they have to sustain it.

Through the middle Harrison Wigg should have been given the gig in place of Brad Crouch. It is time to blood the youngster. His form has been pretty solid throughout the entire 2017 SANFL season and if you are not playing him now, it is hard to see him playing at all. You never know who will be required come finals time and Wigg would have been better for the run now than to be making a debut in the big time. It appears though that Paul Seesdman will get that spot this week.

Down back, Jake Lever misses another week, but you are not going to rush him back at this stage of the year with his dodgy hamstrings. Kyle Hartigan returns and Alex Keath keeps his place. Keath did not look out-of-place last week and along with other Category B rookie Hugh Greenwood, you can see them playing a lot of footy. They are both great stories.

The Adelaide SANFL side is in a bit of trouble and it is hard to see them playing finals. This is an interesting one, because it will mean that there will be no regular footy to keep players in form while the AFL team is playing in a finals series. Paul Seedsman is pushing for a recall and Harrison Wigg cannot do much more to press his case. In the absence of Reilly O’Brien, big man Paul Hunter is playing the footy of his life. Again, there was not enough from Dean Gore or Harry Dear, while the younger brigade of Ben Jarman and Matthew Signorello did some really nice things. Signorello’s pressure is brilliant, while Jarman has got some skills. Jordan Gallucci and Myles Poholke are going to play a lot of senior footy. This week, the SANFL Crows head to Bordertown to take on Glenelg in a match which will almost decide fifth place. Kyle Cheney will not be there. His season is now pretty much done after getting himself suspended for two games. It is most frustrating for Cheney who has missed far too much footy this year now. If Adelaide are any chance of finals, they must beat the Bays on Sunday.

Collingwood are no easy beats and Adelaide simply have to get this one done. We will learn more about this side and their chances of success this week than what we did from last week’s game. Adelaide, but not by much for mine.

Crow Call Extra –
It is sad to see Scott Thompson hang up the boots this week. He has been a great servant to the Adelaide Football Club and still may have a role to play if injuries hit in the latter part of the year. It was also great to be able to watch the vision of Thompson telling the players of his retirement during the week. Well done to all involved.

Tip Adelaide by 11 points

Weather –  Showers, 16.

Game Info –
Collingwood v Adelaide
Sunday July 30 – 3.20pm (local time) MCG, Melbourne

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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