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AFL Preview: Crows v Suns

Michael Whiting, AFL Media  April 18, 2017 1:39 PM

Adelaide heads to Metricon Stadium to confront the Gold Coast Suns on Saturday afternoon

Adelaide heads to Metricon Stadium to confront the Gold Coast Suns on Saturday afternoon

Adelaide is the form team of the competition and comes to Metricon Stadium to play a Gold Coast outfit missing co-captain Steven May through injury. The Crows have beaten Greater Western Sydney, Hawthorn, Port Adelaide and most recently Essendon in a scintillating first month, led by red-hot small forward Eddie Betts, skipper Taylor Walker and relentless midfielder Rory Sloane. The Suns have found form in the past fortnight with strong wins over the Hawks and Carlton, although the loss of May to a hamstring problem will upset their defensive balance. Tom Lynch kicked seven goals against the Blues and looms as a pivotal figure, along with former skipper Gary Ablett, who has strung together two superb weeks after early-season criticism. The Suns should mount a spirited defence on their home turf, but it's hard to see the Crows being upset in their current form.

WHERE AND WHEN: Metricon Stadium, Saturday, April 22, 4.35pm AEST

R9, 2016, Adelaide 22.17 (149) d Gold Coast 11.8 (74) at Metricon Stadium
R17, 2015, Adelaide 19.11 (125) d Gold Coast 12.8 (80) at Adelaide Oval
R6, 2015, Adelaide 18.11 (119) d Gold Coast 11.12 (78) at Metricon Stadium
R11, 2014, Adelaide 16.13 (109) d Gold Coast 11.11 (77) at Adelaide Oval
R14, 2013, Adelaide 16.15 (111) d Gold Coast 11.17 (83) at Metricon Stadium

When the teams last met, the contest was over by half-time, with Adelaide kicking eight second quarter goals to lead by 53 points. Taylor Walker kicked five goals and Rory Sloane had 27 disposals, seven tackles and five inside 50ms.

2. Gold Coast is the best centre clearance team in 2017, averaging 18.3 a game. Adelaide isn't far behind, ranked third with 15.8.

3. Adelaide is undefeated in nine matches against the Suns. They've won five by more than 50 points, with the closest result being 28 points in 2013.

4. The Crows are the highest scoring team in 2017, averaging 128 points a game and cracking the century is all four matches.

5. Gold Coast is searching for three consecutive wins for the first time since the first three games in 2016. Adelaide is looking for its first 5-0 start in Club history.

6. Rory Sloane continues his climb up the competition's elite midfielders and is now ranked a career-high fifth overall by the Schick AFL Player Ratings after collecting 34 disposals, eight clearances, nine tackles and two goals against the Bombers.

The jet-heeled Suns defender has had an excellent start to the season, but this weekend could present a different challenge. Saad is the man most likely (although Jarrod Harbrow is also an option) to be tasked with shadowing Coleman Medal leader Eddie Betts. Betts is fresh off six goals against Essendon and needs only a handful of touches to change a game.

AFL MEDIA PREDICTION: Adelaide by 29 points