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Lefties on right track

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 26: Rory Atkins of the Crows celebrates a goal during the 2016 AFL Round 23 match between the Adelaide Crows and the West Coast Eagles at Adelaide Oval on August 26, 2016 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by James Elsby/AFL Media)
Rory Atkins is among seven Crows left-footers in the current squad

There’s just something about left-footed footballers.

Lefties are often associated with silky skills, elusiveness and poise in footy folklore.

While players are obviously expected to kick on both feet in the modern game, players who prefer to use their left often excel at the sport's most important skill. 

Former captain Simon Goodwin remains the Club’s most celebrated left-footer. The five-time All Australian and triple Crows Club Champion boasted a raking left-foot kick that helped him slot 162 goals from 275 AFL games.

Currently, St Kilda has the most left-footers of any club in the competition with 14 in its squad. Grand Finalist Sydney has 12 lefties, ahead of West Coast, Fremantle and premiers the Western Bulldogs (all 11).

The average number of left-footers on a list is just below nine per club. Geelong, Greater Western Sydney and Richmond have the least with six left-footers each.

Adelaide has seven left-footers in its squad who will all be looking to make an impact in their own way in 2017.

Rory Atkins and Matt Crouch led the charge last season for the Crows’ left-foot brigade.

Atkins was one of only seven Crows to play every game, averaging 21 possessions and booting 11 goals including clutch match-winners against Sydney and West Coast. The 22-year-old has quickly earned a reputation as one of the best kicks at the Club courtesy of his lethal left boot.

Crouch compiled a career-best year in 2016. He played 22 matches, leading the Club for total disposals (609) and ranking second in contested possessions (251) behind only Club Champion winner Rory Sloane. The strong-bodied left-footer has become a vital cog in Adelaide’s midfield and is on track to play his 50th AFL game early next season.

Defender Jake Kelly is another competitive Crow targeting a big 2017.

The former rookie had a consistent SANFL season last year, averaging 20 disposals at 81 per cent efficiency, but was unable to break into Adelaide’s settled back six. Kelly has excelled during pre-season time trial testing and will be eager to earn a return to the senior side.

Troy Menzel possesses sublime skill but was hindered by a stop-start debut season as a Crow. The goalkicking left-footer sustained several concussions playing at SANFL level last year but has impressed so far this summer on the pre-season training track.

Youngster Harrison Wigg showcased his booming left boot with a 70m bomb during Adelaide’s SANFL Elimination Final win over Central District. The 20-year-old was named senior emergency on several occasions last season and has his sights set on an AFL debut.

Category B rookies Hugh Greenwood and Alex Keath showed positive signs in their first season in the SANFL. Greenwood grew in confidence with every game and regularly impressed with his strength at the contest, while Keath slotted seamlessly into the line-up, using his size and athleticism to make an immediate impact.

How will Adelaide’s left-footers fare in 2017?

Crows left-footers
Jake Kelly
Harrison Wigg
Hugh Greenwood
Rory Atkins
Troy Menzel
Alex Keath
Matt Crouch

Club No. of left-footers
Adelaide 7
Brisbane 9
Carlton 7
Collingwood 7
Essendon 8
Fremantle 11
Geelong 6
Gold Coast 9
Greater Western Sydney 6
Hawthorn 10
Melbourne 10
North Melbourne 9
Port Adelaide 7
Richmond 6
St Kilda 14
Sydney 12
West Coast 11
Western Bulldogs 11

Statistics provided by Champion Data

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