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AFL Media's mid-season review

Lee Gaskin, AFL Media  June 14, 2017 5:26 PM

The AFL's mid-season report card Jen Phelan takes a look at the Crows season so far

The season so far

The Crows started the year brilliantly with six straight wins to charge into premiership favouritism. But losses to North Melbourne, Melbourne and Geelong exposed flaws in their game that could again prove to be their undoing in the finals. In those three losses, the Crows were unable to stand up when the pressure was applied, got smashed at the contest and couldn't change the momentum. Star midfielder Rory Sloane needs to find a way to be effective when confronted with a hard tag. With a sound defence and an electric forward line, it's still the midfield that has the major question marks going into the second half of the season.

Quarters won: 33

Players used: 28

Yet to play: Kyle Cheney, Ben Davis, Harry Dear, Tom Doedee, Cam Ellis-Yolmen, Dean Gore, Elliot Himmelberg, Paul Hunter, Ben Jarman, Alex Keath, Reilly O'Brien, Myles Poholke, Paul Seedsman, Matthew Signorello, Scott Thompson, Harrison Wigg.

Stats leaders

Disposals: Matt Crouch (383)
Marks: Tom Lynch (86)
Goals: Eddie Betts (34)
Tackles: Rory Sloane (101)
Goal assists: Taylor Walker (19, No.1 in the AFL)

Best win

Round Six against Richmond. The Crows completely dominated the Tigers from start to finish in a clash of the competition's only two unbeaten teams.

Taylor Walker and Andy Otten do the dance of joy at Adelaide Oval. Picture: AFL Photos

One that got away

Round Eight against Melbourne. The Demons booted nine straight goals in the second and third quarters to overhaul the Crows at Adelaide Oval.

Best and fairest leader: Rory Sloane

Surprise packet: Hugh Greenwood

Missing in action

Scott Thompson. Hampered by shoulder and hamstring injuries at the start of the season, the 34-year-old midfielder hasn't been able to add to his 307 games.

The concern

Rory Sloane needs to find a way to still be effective when he is tagged by the opposition. Sloane has to run harder to burn off his tagger, but his teammates also need to help him out.

Pass mark

Finishing in the top-two at the end of the home and away rounds and seriously challenging for the premiership.

The coach

Don Pyke has fine-tuned his game-plan going into his second season in charge of the Crows. However, he has been criticised for not making changes quick enough during games, and not having a "Plan B" when things go wrong.

How the best 22 has changed

Category B rookie and former basketballer Hugh Greenwood has looked assured in the senior side with his tough work at the contest. He's made the most of his opportunity after Curtly Hampton's ankle injury. Hampton could still return for the finals, but he'll miss the next 9-11 weeks and will find it difficult to force his way back in. Andy Otten is extremely unlucky. It's hard to find a place for him once Mitch McGovern returns. Otten has been outstanding as the third key forward alongside Jenkins and Walker. Paul Seedsman will be a handy player to have back in the side once he regains match fitness after missing a lot of football with a groin injury. The experienced David Mackay will also be in the mix providing he puts together some strong form in the SANFL.

B: Luke Brown, Kyle Hartigan, Jake Lever
HB: Brodie Smith, Daniel Talia, Rory Laird
C: Rory Atkins, Rory Sloane, Wayne Milera
HF: Tom Lynch, Taylor Walker, Charlie Cameron
F: Eddie Betts, Josh Jenkins, Mitch McGovern
Fol: Sam Jacobs, Matt Crouch, Richard Douglas
I/C: Brad Crouch, Hugh Greenwood, Jake Kelly, Paul Seedsman

In from pre-season best 22: Hugh Greenwood, Paul Seedsman, Jake Kelly, Brad Crouch

Out from pre-season best 22: Harrison Wigg, Curtly Hampton (ankle), David Mackay, Andy Otten.

Crows fans: what's your mid-season verdict?

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