Melbourne’s circus caravan rolls into Adelaide on Wednesday night, an event that will put shivers up the spine of every Crows’ supporter as they look directly into the face of disaster.
The flakey Demons left their home town a month ago and proceeded to rough up the Gold Coast Suns and Hawthorn in Sydney before moving on to the sunny Queensland where they missed by a bee’s diaphragm against the more or less local second-on-ladder Brisbane Lions. Then, they had to butter up against the top team Port Adelaide smarting after a rare defeat at the hands of a team that kicked 12.1 the week before while Melbourne was coming off a four day break and looked completely bereft of petrol tickets from the very start. When the side that represents the capital city of a State underperforms in the way they did, it’s no wonder that Premier Dan Andrews took little time to declare it a disaster.
We all know a disaster when we see one but when a team looks completely insipid and is outclassed by the best performed side in the competition, the proper authority to deal with the issue is the coaching panel. We didn’t really need the club president however, to lash out at them less than 24 hours after the final siren sounded. Over the course of the previous five days, the team had lost to the two best performed sides in the AFL. Even Eddie McGuire has kept relatively shtumm over the Magpies’ abysmal capitulation in Perth to the Eagles and the bottom four placed Dockers in the course of a week. Where does all this leave Glen Bartlett in the event that his spray backfires and the team goes down in flames to the Crows?
Thankfully, it’s unlikely that he’ll be called upon to answer that question because Adelaide is in a world of despair. It capitulated last week by 69 points to an out of form North Melbourne that had lost six games on end and is now in the middle of its own record losing streak. At the back of its minds would be the fact that those losses include games against all of their fellow cellar dwellers so the game against the Demons on their home turf is virtually the last chance saloon for 2020.
The Adelaide Oval doesn’t hold much fear for the Dees who hold a 3/1 winning record against the Crows and that reflects a period during which the home side was faring so much better than it is at the present time.
At the time of writing, there is some doubt as to whether skipper and the competition’s leading ruckman based on Champion Data’s rankings, Max Gawn, will be taking his place in the team as a result of a soft-tissue strain. Given that the midfield has been struggling to win clearances from Gawn’s ruck dominance, it might not hurt them to work that extra bit harder to win possession at the stoppages.
At least Simon Goodwin seems to have accepted that three talls on the forward line doesn’t work in the team’s set up and they might also appreciate playing against a defence that applies a significant degree of pressure less than that of the competition’s top side.
The club has also decided to follow the state’s premier who this week said when bringing in his stage 4 restrictions:
“This cannot be more serious. If we don’t make these changes, then we’re not going to get through this.”
And changes will be made including the promised return of Aaron vandenBerg who gave the team a massive lift in the club’s back to back wins until fracturing his cheekbone against the Hawks. His strength and courage always inspires and should lift it out of a potential state of disaster.
Melbourne by 37 points.
Adelaide v Melbourne at Adelaide Oval on Wednesday 5 August 2020 at 8:10pm
HEAD TO HEAD
Overall - Adelaide 25 wins Melbourne 15 wins
At Adelaide Oval - Adelaide 1 win Melbourne 3 wins
Past five meetings - Adelaide 3 wins Melbourne 2 wins
The Coaches - Matthew Nicks 0 wins Simon Goodwin 0 wins
TV - Channel 7 Fox Footy Channel Live at 7.30pm
RADIO - TBA
THE LAST TIME THEY MET
Adelaide 14.6.90 defeated Melbourne 12.16.88 in Round 11 2019 at TIO Stadium, Darwin
Melbourne started strongly with a six goal opening quarter and by half time had the game well within its control leading 9.4.58 to 5.3.33. When Mitch Hannan goaled at the nine minute mark of the third term, the Demons held a game-high lead of 31 points which was slowly whittled away to 16 points at the final break. In the last quarter, the Crows came back thanks to their accuracy and Melbourne’s abysmal kicking for goal. The Crows hit the front late in the game but Sam Weideman had the opportunity to atone when he marked strongly in front of goal 30 metres out. His kick after the siren missed. The Demons kicked 1.8 to 5.2 in the final term.
FB Luke Brown Daniel Talia Jake Kelly
HB Rory Laird Tom Doedee Will Hamill
C Brodie Smith Matt Crouch Paul Seedsman
HF Ned McHenry Fischer McAsey Tom Lynch
FF Elliott Himmelberg Taylor Walker Lachlan Murphy
FOL Reilly O'Brien Ben Keays Chayce Jones
I/C Darcy Fogarty David Mackay Harry Schoenberg Lachlan Sholl
EMG Rory Atkins Ben Crocker Bryce Gibbs Kieran Strachan
IN Tom Doedee Darcy Fogarty Fischer McAsey Ned McHenry David Mackay Harry Schoenberg Lachlan Sholl Taylor Walker
OUT Rory Atkins (omitted) Bryce Gibbs (omitted) Kyle Hartigan (managed) Riley Knight (omitted) Shane McAdam (managed) Andrew McPherson (managed) Tyson Stengle (managed) Kieran Strachan (omitted)
FB Jay Lockhart Steven May Michael Hibberd
HB Christian Salem Jake Lever Nathan Jones
C Ed Langdon Clayton Oliver Adam Tomlinson
HF Jake Melksham Sam Weideman Angus Brayshaw
FF Bayley Fritsch Luke Jackson Harley Bennell
FOL Max Gawn Christian Petracca Jack Viney
I/C James Harmes Alex Neal-Bullen Tom Sparrow Aaron vandenBerg
EMG Oscar McDonald Tom McDonald Trent Rivers Charlie Spargo
IN Harley Bennell Alex Neal-Bullen Adam Tomlinson Aaron vandenBerg
OUT Mitch Hannan (omitted) Oscar McDonald (omitted) Tom McDonald (omitted) Kysaiah Pickett (ankle)
Injury List: Round 10
Kysaiah Pickett (ankle) – 1 week
Marty Hore (toe and quad) – indefinite
Harry Petty (groin) – indefinite
Kade Kolodjashnij (head) – indefinite
Aaron Nietschke (knee) – season