Dan­ger’s date with mates

Geelong Advertiser - - SPORT - MICHELAN­GELO RUCCI

ADE­LAIDE’S play­ers in­sists Fri­day night’s pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal is about them – and not Pa­trick Danger­field – as the Crows note the task of end­ing a 19-year AFL grand fi­nal drought is no laugh­ing matter.

Crows for­ward Tom Lynch has stepped away from the al­most-scripted ban­ter be­tween fel­low Ade­laide for­ward Josh Jenkins and Danger­field to highlight the real fo­cus on West Lakes. “I’m more in­ter­ested in get­ting my­self to a grand fi­nal than wor­ry­ing about stop­ping some­one else be­ing there,” Lynch told.

“It is not very of­ten you get the prospect of be­ing one game from the grand fi­nal, so a pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal makes you ex­cited — and gives you goose­bumps. So the prospect of us get­ting there is more im­por­tant than what hap­pens at any other club or any other player.”

Jenkins last week opened the off-field barbs with Danger­field — once kept on so- cial me­dia — to tell Fox Sports: “If he marches into town with his Gee­long team­mates, there’ll be noth­ing bet­ter than beat­ing him and re­mind­ing him that per­haps he should have stuck around with us and he could be a Brown­low medal­list and a premier­ship player.”

But Lynch re­veals the strong ties — and re­spect — Danger­field still com­mands with so many Crows play­ers, af­ter play­ing 154 AFL games at Ade­laide, makes a mock­ery of the mock­ing game be­tween Jenkins and the Gee­long Brown­low medal­list.

“Pa­trick was a fan­tas­tic player for our club,” said Lynch, to un­der­line the true rap­port be­tween the Crows and Danger­field.

“And he was a cham­pion of our club (with the Mal­colm Blight Medal in 2015). He is a player at an­other club now and hope­fully he has great suc­cess, but only if we don’t get it.”

Danger­field this week will re­turn to Ade­laide for his third match against his for­mer Crows team­mates — af­ter a win last sea­son and a loss in Fri­day night foot­ball on July 21.

And the prime-time mid­fielder al­ready is ab­sorb­ing the heat, not only for his jibes with Jenkins (above) but also his re­mark in the post-game with Chan­nel 7 that ap­pears as a dig at the city of Ade­laide.

Cast in the role of “Roam­ing Brian”, af­ter Chan­nel 7 com­men­ta­tor Brian Tay­lor handed Danger­field the mi­cro­phone to in­ter­view team­mate Steven Motlop, Danger­field said of Ade­laide the city: “Yeah, it’s not that good, but thanks for join­ing us.”

Danger­field’s re­match with his for­mer Ade­laide team­mates headlines the pre­lim­i­nary fi­nals — and grand fi­nal — putting play­ers who were once mates in the roles of heated foes.

There is Danger­field with Ade­laide and in the Greater West­ern Syd­ney-Rich­mond pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal Brett De­lidio plays his 250th AFL game by fac­ing his for­mer Tigers team­mates as they chase their club’s first grand fi­nal since 1982.

The grand fi­nal pair­ings could have Ade­laide fac­ing for­mer Crows de­fender and Giants cap­tain Phil Davis — or Gee­long deal­ing with club hero Steve John­son as he com­pletes his ca­reer in the GWS at­tack.

Danger­field, like Lynch, recog­nises there is a more­mean­ing­ful theme to the pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal than hammed up ri­val­ries be­tween the play­ers.

“I don’t know if it’s ex­tra spice,” said Danger­field of the bat­tle with the Crows. “It doesn’t matter who our op­po­nent is — we’re go­ing (to the pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal) to win. We’ve got two games to go.”

Pic­ture: ALAN BAR­BER

TURN­AROUND: Darcy Lang ar­rives at Gee­long’s re­cov­ery ses­sion at Kar­dinia Park.

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