Seriously, where has the year gone? Round 23 is upon us and the serious stuff is about to begin. The weather is improving, the days are getting longer and the smell of September is in the air!
Adelaide will finish top if the Giants lose or if the Giants win and then Adelaide win too. How desperately Adelaide want top spot remains to be seen, but they need to play this game like it is a final nonetheless. Nothing good ever came from going half-hearted into a game of footy. That is just asking for injuries and asking for trouble. A loss would also mean Adelaide would take a two game losing streak into a finals series, which is not a death sentence, but after the year they have had, not ideal either.
The Crows will run into a West Coast team who will be desperate to win. They will know what they have to do to make the eight by the time the game starts and there will be no way they will be leaving anything on the park if there is any hope. It also marks the final ever game of AFL for premiership points at Subiaco Oval. The match is sold out and will have a finals feel about it, because for the Eagles, very well could be.
On the team sheets, the Crows are unchanged at this stage. Wayne Milera, Paul Seedsman and Kyle Hartigan are the emergencies. If there is any doubt on Daniel Talia, he simply must not play. Why would you risk him? There is absolutely nothing and I mean nothing to gain by playing a player who is not 100% in Round 23, particularly in Perth. Leave him at home. Talia has played every game this year. Resting him for one week, with the bye to come is not going to do any damage whatsoever. You cannot say that outcome will be guaranteed by playing him. Kyle Hartigan who is the obvious like for like replacement will be better for the run again at AFL level anyway.
Barring a disaster with injury, the twenty-two that took on Sydney on Friday night would be the twenty two to take into that first week of finals. Of course, it is never that simple and there will be a spanner in the works somewhere, but that is the line up to take Adelaide to a flag.
Daniel Talia has traditionally been given the role on Josh Kennedy, so if he were to miss, that match up will be a test for the Adelaide defence. Matt Pridiss and Sam Mitchell will be determined to finish on a good note, as Sunday could very well be their last games of AFL action. It will be another good little test for the Adelaide midfield.
Apart from the opening ten minutes last week, Adelaide matched it with the Swans in the middle. If the Crows had kicked straight, that is a four or five goal win. All the clear indicators pointed that way. As disappointing as the loss was and as frustrating it is to think what might have been, the hit out probably did more good than harm for the Crows. They know that they are not invincible and were reminded that they have to get the basics, such as goal kicking right.
Win or lose against West Coast,
Adelaide must be disciplined, with no reports to emerge from the game. The last thing Adelaide need is a key player missing from that first final due to a silly act. They have been pretty good throughout the year with not one Adelaide player having been suspended for an AFL game, but they must ensure that continues, not only this week, but in the weeks ahead too.
In the SANFL, the Crows blew a huge chance of getting themselves a finals spot. Seven goals up early in the third quarter against the ladder leading Eagles, only to be blown away in the second half and losing the game. It was as impressive early from the Crows as it was as disappointing late. If Adelaide’s senior team is to go deep into September, it will only be training form to pick from now. This may only be a minor thing, but all the minor things do matter come finals time. Troy Menzel played well in the first half, while Harrison Wigg was again busy. The final SANFL game for Adelaide is against South Adelaide at Hickinbotham Oval at Noarlunga this weekend. A win still gives them a chance of making the five, but a series of unlikely results have to fall the right way for it to happen. A big chance wasted last week.
On the injury front this week, Andy Otten returns for a run in the twos after overcoming his ankle problem, while young midfielder Jordan Gallucci’s season is done after taking a knock to the jaw. It will be exciting to see what Gallucci can do in his second year of footy. He has showed some great signs in 2017.
So the result this week? West Coast for mine if their season is still realistically alive. They have a lot to play for and will not leave anything in the tank. The Crows with one eye on that first final would not be human if they rightly or wrongly do not hold something back on Sunday afternoon.
West Coast by 21 points.
Game Info –
West Coast v Adelaide
Sunday August 27 – 2.40pm (local time) Domain Stadium, Perth
Mostly Sunny, 23.
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.