Adelaide v Geelong
1HOW WILL RORY RETURN?
STAR midfielder Rory Sloane hasn’t played since Round 23, and in that time has had surgery to have his appendix removed. Cats skipper Joel Selwood admitted he was a “little bit rusty” in his return in the qualifying final from a lengthy layoff following ankle surgery, so expect Sloane to be put through his paces this week to ensure he’s ready to fire. Resumed full training last week and has declared he’ll “absolutely” be ready to go. Will he be tagged by Scott Selwood? Quite likely.
2HAVE THEY PLAYED ENOUGH LATELY?
FRIDAY night — the Crows’ first home preliminary final in more than a decade — will mark just their second game in 26 days. After the qualifying final win against GWS, they got in some sun in three days on the Gold Coast. Arguments can be made for rest or momentum from playing. But after a long year, rejuvenation can only be a good thing. They must start well.
3WILL JOSH JENKINS’ COMMENTS HAUNT CROWS?
EXPECT there to be a bit of heat on Friday night. The Crows forward set the stage with comments last week that “if (former teammate Patrick Dangerfield) marches into town with his Geelong teammates, there’d 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 premiership player”. Over to you, Paddy.
1DOES DANGER PLAY FORWARD?
IT was the brainwave that worked at every turn on Friday night. Parking Patrick Dangerfield in a deep forward role was genius by Chris Scott and his coaching team. Everything the Brownlow medallist touched turning to gold. But would it work again? Cats midfielder Mitch Duncan said if the opportunity presented itself, it could be a “luxury” that is used again. But going back to the well twice? Not sure Scott will want to do anything obvious.
2DOES SCOTT CHANGE A WINNING FORMULA?
OH, to be a fly on the wall at selection this week. Tinkering with what works isn’t usually the norm, but Tom Lonergan is expected to return after food poisoning cost him his semifinal chance and Cam Guthrie will face a fitness test on that calf, as will Nakia Cockatoo on his hamstring. Tom Stewart’s scans have cleared him of serious hamstring damage, but he must be in some doubt. Scott said making room for Lonergan was a welcome headache, but a headache is still a headache.
3CAN THEY KEEP UP DAM WALL?
GEELONG’S defence worked beautifully to restrict Sydney to its lowest finals score in 100 years. It was a far cry from the hefty scores coughed up early in the season. The Cats backline will have to be just as good this week. Adelaide is ranked top for points scored, goals per inside 50m and points differential from turnovers. In Round 11, Geelong kept the Crows to 35 points less than their season average of 109 points. It will need to ensure the clamps stay on.
EARLY CALL CROWSBY 12POINTS