How nice is it to be able to watch the second half of a Showdown and be relatively confident that Adelaide will win and win easily? Even if there was still some annoying thought at the back of the mind that this is still is a Showdown and Port Adelaide still could make some sort of grand comeback at any moment. It was not to be though for the Power and in the end they were most ordinary. Adelaide on the other hand looked really good. Perhaps wet weather really is their forte. That is three damp games at home this year in the rain that Adelaide have comfortably come out on top. I was calling for a late change with Paul Seedsman perhaps to come in for Alex Keath. Those calls in hindsight were wrong. Solid crowd too for what were miserable conditions.
Adelaide are now in the great position of controlling their own destiny. A top four spot is secure, but that means nothing. Adelaide must give themselves the best chance of success by continuing to win. A top two finish has to be the goal and it simply has to be the next step achieved on the journey. Forget what comes after that and go out there and lock up that spot. As good as Adelaide were on Sunday, they have not achieved a thing as of yet. Richmond and GWS are still breathing down Adelaide’s neck and with tough games against Sydney and West Coast still to come, Saturday night is as important a game as there has been for the Crows so far in 2017.
Essendon await Adelaide this week over at Etihad Stadium. In a quirky aspect of the draw, this is Adelaide’s one and only game at Docklands for the year. The Dons are a different prospect than they are at the MCG and will be a much harder kill than in the effort they put up against the Crows earlier in the year. Zach Merrett misses through suspension, which is a big out for them, while Orazio Fantasia has a serious hamstring strain and also will not play. Jobe Watson will no doubt be up and about after calling stumps during the week, while Dyson Heppell has been in good form.
There has been some doubt on Daniel Talia this week, but he has been named to play. He is vital for this contest given Essendon have two tall forwards that need conquering in Joe Daniher and Cale Hooker. The x-factor for the Dons is of course Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti. He was a big part of the reason Essendon won last week and he played pretty well in a losing side the last time these two sides met. His pace is electric, his skills brilliant and he looms as a danger man Adelaide must watch on the fast Etihad deck.
Adelaide were horribly inaccurate against Port Adelaide and you just waited for the Power to punish the Crows for it. It did not happen on Sunday, but you cannot afford to do that every week and get away with it. Against Collingwood, Adelaide were insanely accurate, which helped the miraculous fight back, so it is not an issue. However some of the shots that missed on Sunday were not hard. Now is not the time for complacency to sneak in.
A fit and firing full complement of forwards will test the back line of the Dons. Eddie Betts played his best game in a long time and looked really fresh after a week off last week. He somehow needs to sustain that sort of form heading into the finals. He was genuinely enjoying himself out there while taking shots from every corner of the Adelaide Oval against the Power. Charlie Cameron is the one that perhaps has not had a great season. His first month was great, but he just needs to get his hands on the ball a little bit more and show a bit more poise with ball in hand. Do that and he will become even more dangerous and another element that will worry the opposition.
The SANFL action returns for Adelaide this week too with the Crows taking on North Adelaide at Prospect on Saturday. If they are any chance for finals, they simply have to win this game. Kyle Hartigan will miss again with his hamstring, while Curtly Hampton is reportedly a fortnight away. There is something the Club has not released about Harrison Wigg. I think you will find he will not be in Adelaide colours in 2018. It is simply unexplainable how he has not got a game this year and has not even found himself on the emergency list in recent weeks. He is a emergency this week however, despite not playing last week. Strange It is a big game for those on the cusp of selection. Jono Beech, Wayne Milera and Paul Seedsman must keep themselves in good fitness and form. Their services could be required at any time between now and the end of the finals series. Seedsman was solid against the Pies, but his foot skills remain a concern. He can kick it a long way, but must try to be a tad more accurate if he wants to be in the side come the pointy end.
There has been some talk about resting Sam Jacobs in coming weeks ahead of the finals, but that seems unlikely. With O’Brien still a couple of weeks away from full fitness by all reports, he is not going to play AFL footy this year you would not think. While you are not going to expose Josh Jenkins to a full-time ruck load at this stage of the year if you do not have to. It would be nice, but provided he is fit, Sauce will play out the season.
Adelaide have made a little bit of a habit this year of winning big games and then just letting the foot slip off of the gas the following week. Much like what happened against Collingwood. Do that against Essendon and you will get smashed, particularly at Etihad Stadium. Adelaide must be switched on from the first bounce on Saturday Night and put Essendon away early.
Adelaide by 23 points.
Game Info –
Essendon v Adelaide
Saturday August 12 – 7.25pm (local time) Etihad Stadium, Melbourne
Depends if air conditioner is on.
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.