When: Thursday 29 March 7.20pm Central
Venue: Adelaide Oval
Well, not the start we were hoping for against the Bombers last Friday night, but not entirely unexpected in view of some key injuries and maybe the team being one or two weeks off peak match fitness. Losing to the Bombers first up isn’t the end of the world, but any away win is handy and, given our tough opening six weeks, the loss could come back to haunt us.
You’d be forgiven if you thought the club was imploding with the media barrage this week. Led by Spud Frawley, the focus was on a training camp over two months ago, with suggestions that some senior players were unhappy with it and reconsidering their positions at the club. I guess it’s just an interesting coincidence that we’re facing the Tigers this week and Spud just chose this week to bring this (non) story up…
That said, the Crows do appear up against it this week. Despite the return of the captain and the inclusion of Wayne Milera, key losses of Douglas (suspension) and Hampton (injured) and the ongoing absence of the Chief through illness leaves Adelaide looking unsettled and a little thin through the midfield. The Tigers defeated us with pace and intensity in that game that shall not be mentioned and have only been strengthened by the return of Bachar Houli, following their win over the Blues in Round 1. Adelaide looked a little one paced against Essendon and we wonder whether they will be able to lift a gear this week.
Also missing last week was our trademark rebound from defence, with transition looking slow and not many goals scored “coast to coast”. Teams appear to have worked out that you need to clog Adelaide through the corridor and leave a man behind the forwards, and without the hard running Lynch to provide a link up, Adelaide will be looking for their half backs and mids to be more aggressive and adventurous with their ball movement and spread harder to create space and options going forward. Big Josh Jenkins had an indifferent match but he was no orphan up forward, with both Betts and McGovern also well held. These three must step up and be more assertive this week, as Adelaide will not win if it has to rely on midfielders to kick a winning score.
Key Match Ups
Kyle Hartigan v Jack Riewoldt
We expect Harto to get the nod first up on Richmond’s dynamic forward, simply because he has the pace to stay with him as he roams up the ground. Richmond’s forward line is versatile and you will see mismatches at times as the Tigers rotate through their forward line, but holding Riewoldt in the air will be largely Hartigan’s first priority.
Sam Jacobs v Toby Nankervis
Sauce was quiet against the Bombers and Bellchambers certainly had his measure around the ground. Both these ruckman can be useful as link men for their respective teams, and Jacobs needs to lift his work-rate to provide options on transtion. I also expect to see the big fella drift forward to make Nankervis accountable, but he will need to watch the Richmond ruckman going the other way.
Rory Sloane v Dustin Martin
These two may not go head to head, but their respective outputs will be key to this match. Both players are the “barometers’ for their clubs and Rory had a difficult night out against the Bomber midfield. I’d like to see Rory work harder in general play and provide options in transition. Don Pyke seemed to play him forward a little last week, but I think Sloane is best suited to the hard running through the middle of the ground we so admire. Getting space and shaking off his inevitable tag seems to be Rory’s main difficulty and with our midfield rotations down, it’s not going to get any easier for the Sloane-dog this week. We all know what Martin can do and it would have been a perfect match for Gibson to make his Crows debut with a job on the Brownlow medallist, so it’s going to take team defence to keep Dusty in check. And just once, can we see him penalised for a high fend off? Please?
Five Talking Points
Tex Walker – tough week for the Skip and, following an injury interrupted start to the season, he will be looking to make an impact. He must.
Alex Rance – he’s had the match up on Betts once or twice with some success, will Hardwick go the well again?
Richmond Theme Song – with rumours that the Richmond song was played continuously during a session at the pre season camp, will the players start twitching when the Tige’s run out to their song? Will Don order that the song be played non stop throughout the match?
The start – a loss this week leaves us 0-2. Not a start you want if you’re looking to go one better this season. The Crows should be itching to atone in some way for last years grand final capitulation and, whilst a home and away win is not a flag, there should be ample motivation this week.
The Crowval – in such a tight competition, asserting home ground dominance is vital. The Crows smashed Richmond here last year and should be looking to, once again, make the Adelaide Oval a painful roadtrip for all opposition. A top four spot depends on it.
Im not liking the look of the Adelaide side at the moment. Defence appears to lack a fast outlet and struggles when isolated, the midfield appears one paced and short of a run and the forward line all of a sudden appears a little impotent. It’s a marathon, but at this early stage the Crows appear a little off the pace and will need a lift from key players to overcome a Richmond side that does not appear to be suffering a premiership hangover. The capacity crowd (no free tickets give-aways required) will be worth a couple of goals, but will it be enough? Not this week.
Richmond by 27 points