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Coach coy on possible Crouch debut

Brad Crouch poses for a photograph during the Adelaide Crows 2013 team photo day at AAMI Stadium, Adelaide. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Brad Crouch poses for a photograph during the Adelaide Crows 2013 team photo day at AAMI Stadium, Adelaide. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Crouchy did everything right to put his name in front of the match committee.
Brenton Sanderson

Coach Brenton Sanderson is remaining tight lipped about the likelihood of fancied midfielder Brad Crouch making his AFL debut against the Brisbane Lions this weekend.

Crouch featured prominently in Adelaide’s pre-season campaign, but was squeezed out of the team to play Essendon in Round One. The 19-year-old starred for SANFL team West Adelaide on Thursday night, amassing 31 possessions, seven marks and four clearances.

Sanderson said Crouch remained “in the mix” to take on the Lions at the Gabba on Saturday.

“I loved his (Crouch’s) game for Westies last weekend,” Sanderson said on Tuesday.

“He did everything right to put his name in front of the match committee. We’ll select the team tomorrow (Wednesday) and Crouchy will be right in the mix.”

Luke Brown, who injured his foot in the loss to Essendon, is expected to make the trip to Brisbane, while forward Ian Callinan only needs to get through Wednesday’s main training session to prove he’s recovered from a knee injury.

“Ian trained really well yesterday (Monday). After tomorrow’s main session, I’m sure we’ll have a clearer picture about him but it looks like he’ll be right in the mix too,” Sanderson said.

“Brown will be okay. He had some pretty severe bruising in his foot … and if there was a game last weekend he wouldn’t have played, but fortunately for him the weekend off over Easter has allowed him to heal.

“He should be right for this weekend.”

Josh Jenkins was restricted to light duties at training on Tuesday, but Sanderson said he was confident the imposing forward/ruckman would be fit to play.

“Jenkins jarred his wrist quite badly in the game against Essendon. He trained yesterday and will train fully tomorrow. There’s no reason he won’t be available for selection this week,” he said.

The majority of players will be given an opportunity to respond to a disappointing display against Essendon this weekend. Sanderson said he expected only “one or two” changes to the team to play Brisbane.

“A lot (of players will get second chances). You can’t go through a whole career without playing a poor game. You can’t be consistently bad and keep getting games though,” he said.

“If you get a game this week coming off a bad one, you can’t afford to have another bad one. Some guys went back to the SANFL and really played well and that will be the dilemma for us.

“We’ll have to make some tough calls at match committee this week.”

Another standout in the local league last weekend was Tom Lynch. In a greater midfield role for Glenelg, Lynch picked up 30 touches, 11 marks, 11 clearances and kicked 1.3

“Tom’s going to play a lot of footy for us over this career here – I’m really confident of that. It’s just where he fits in the make-up of our team,” Sanderson said.

“Ricky Henderson, Lewis Johnston and Tom Lynch are similar sorts of players – that 190cm, running half-forward, but Lynch went into the midfield for Glenelg over the weekend and played really well. Maybe, we can look at him as a taller wingman, or as a guy who can play across half-back.

“I do really like him. He’s a utility for us, who can play a variety of roles. It’s good to see him in form and he’s an important player for us.”

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs