Fly­ing high for flag

Sunday Mail - - SPORT - JESPER FJELDSTAD

ADE­LAIDE great Tony Mo­dra has iden­ti­fied Mitch McGovern as the Crows’ Xfac­tor in its chase for a premier­ship as they pre­pare for Friday night’s pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal against Gee­long at Ade­laide Oval.

Mo­dra, who was part of the flag-win­ning 1997 squad but in­jured him­self in the pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal win against the Bull­dogs, could see some sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween the sides.

He was con­fi­dent his old club, in which he is still in­volved, had the goods to make it to the grand fi­nal and break the premier­ship drought.

McGovern’s re­turn to the side af­ter be­ing side­lined for much of the year through in­jury added an­other edge.

“Ev­ery­thing’s gone their way this year: they’ve got two home fi­nals and twenty years since the last one,” Mo­dra said.

“There could be two re­unions in the same year.

“There are some fa­mil­iar­i­ties. Ed­die Betts, Tay­lor Walker and Tom Lynch in the for­ward line and they’ve got the X-fac­tor in Mitch McGovern there now.

“McGovern’s stepped up. He showed hints last year but this year he’s re­ally stepped up.

“Him re-sign­ing has been fan­tas­tic for us. It was a re­lief be­cause I played with his fa­ther (An­drew) at Fre­man­tle and I was a bit wor­ried Mitch might end up back in WA.

“I think the line-up there is prob­a­bly stronger than what we had in 1997.”

Mo­dra said the club was close to bul­let-proof, hav­ing rec­ti­fied a mid-sea­son slump and learnt to deal with heavy tags be­ing ap­plied to vice-cap­tain Rory Sloane.

But if there was one area of con­cern, it was the num­ber of con­tested marks taken — a strength of McGovern’s.

“If any­thing, con­tested marks (might be a weak­ness),” Mo­dra said.

“More con­tested marks would be handy in the for­ward line.

“But we’ve got the hun­ters and gath­er­ers there in Ed­die and Char­lie Cameron and those guys if it does come to ground.

“But if I were a bet­ting man, which you’re not al­lowed to be, I’d be back­ing them.

“They’d def­i­nitely been my favourite.”

Mo­dra was at Glenelg Golf Club to pro­mote Golf Aus­tralia’s Golf Month in Oc­to­ber, dur­ing which golf clubs and fa­cil­i­ties in South Aus­tralia and across the coun­try will throw open their doors and wel­come peo­ple to take part in a Golf Month ac­tiv­ity.

Mo­dra loves a round of golf when he can squeeze it in and plays off a hand­i­cap of 10 — he has blown out be­cause foot­ball and work has taken up too much of his time.

“With the footy sea­son I’m a bit busy but I’m look­ing for­ward to play­ing a bit more golf af­ter the sea­son,” Mo­dra said.

It was a mini-re­union on the course on Friday with Mo­dra hit­ting balls with 1997 team-mates Ben Hart and Darren Jar­man and get­ting a few tips from for­mer Aus­tralian crick­eter Greg Blewett, who is a low-fig­ure sin­gle hand­i­cap­per and plays pen­nant golf when his cricket coach­ing com­mit­ments al­low.

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