In – Eddie Betts, Brad Crouch, Jake Lever
Out – TBA
Lucky? A great comeback? There are several ways to look at Adelaide’s efforts against the Pies. It was always going to be a danger game, so it is hard to know why Adelaide were not turned on from the opening bounce. We have seen far too many examples this year of a team being just slightly off getting punished by the opposition. This was Adelaide’s first half on Sunday. They have to be better than that. It is not like a top two or even a top four spot for that matter are absolutely sealed up. There is a month of regular footy to play and you want to be controlling your own destiny.
Yes, well done Mitch McGovern, who kicked the goal that drew the game and kudos to Adelaide for coming back from fifty points down, but play as atrociously as that for a half in a final and that is goodnight nurse. Still, the confidence gained from knowing that they have the ability to fight back is important and the two points that they salvaged could come in very handy come the end of the home and away season. Swings and roundabouts I suppose.
It brings us to Showdown 43. Port Adelaide also had a lucky escape last week, kicking the winning goal in the dying seconds against St Kilda. That win though for mine is covering a few cracks in their side at the present time. Port Adelaide looked puffed. The energy is not there, which would be a massive worry for them. They had their bye early and there are signs that fatigue is sinking in. Whether those signs remain for a Showdown however, games both sides always tend to get up for is another question.
Jake Lever and Brad Crouch come back in for Adelaide. Crouch has to be a handy addition given the smashing the Crows got in the contested possession statistic last week. Adelaide will lose by 100 points if the differential is more than fifty against Port Adelaide. Lever too is most certainly in Adelaide’s best twenty two and is a welcome return. Eddie Betts has been named in the squad of twenty five, but the word out of Adelaide is that he is unlikely to play. Betts out would be a huge bonus for the Power, who have in recent times struggled to find a match up for him.
Alex Keath most likely loses his spot, but looks to have a future, while Wayne Milera is just not playing AFL standard footy at the moment and will be lucky to keep his place.
Port Adelaide are not a traditional tagging side at the moment and it will be interesting to see what they do in trying to stop Rory Sloane. Brad Ebert probably spends some time on him, but that means taking him away from a role in the midfield, which he has done quite reasonably this year. The Sloane match up will be an interesting one and could be a game defining decision.
Robbie Gray and Paddy Ryder are the two players Adelaide must stop if they are to make it five Showdown wins on the trot. Gray was quiet in Showdown 42 with Kyle Hartigan playing on him. Jake Kelly and Luke Brown have to play well on Gray this week if Adelaide are to win. Sam Jacobs has been in ripping form over the last couple of weeks and if he can get on top of Ryder, both around the ground and in the ruck, Adelaide will be in the box seat for the four points. There has to be a better hand over of Ryder though when he goes forward, because as good as Sauce is, he is not going to stop Ryder up in Port Adelaide’s forward line.
Meanwhile, another loss for the Adelaide SANFL side, while Kyle Hartigan re-injured a hamstring, which all made for a pretty dirty afternoon at Bordertown on Sunday. Was Hartigan brought back in too early? Could they have given him another week? Who would know. Reports are it is only a minor hamstring, but then again with Adelaide’s dubious injury updates continuing, it is hard to tell. On-field the Crows were again outclassed and SANFL finals now look to be a massive long shot. Troy Menzel kicked four majors, perhaps upset his name was not in calculation to replace Eddie Betts and Harrison Wigg again keeps playing well. Wigg’s non inclusion last week is just baffling. There is no SANFL this week for Adelaide, which might freshen a few players up ahead of the final few games of the year.
Adelaide have most certainly played the better footy over the last month out of these two teams, but again form means nothing when it comes to predicting who wins a Showdown. It will most likely be close, most likely be played in damp conditions and will definitely be a huge win for whoever manages to get the four points. The season we have had to date leaves with me no choice, but to predict our first ever Showdown draw come Sunday afternoon. It just feels like that sort of year.
Game Info –
Adelaide v Port Adelaide
Sunday August 6 – 4.10pm (local time) Adelaide Oval
Showers easing. Windy. 15.
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.