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Forward ruled out

September 21, 2017 12:02 PM

Don Pyke Presser September 21 Don Pyke speaks to media ahead of our Preliminary Final clash with Geelong.
AFL 2017 Round 23 - West Coast v Adelaide

Mitch McGovern

Mitch McGovern has been ruled out of Friday night’s Preliminary Final against Geelong at Adelaide Oval.

The high-flying forward reported hamstring soreness after training last Saturday.

Scans cleared McGovern of major damage, but Crows coach Don Pyke told reporters on Thursday the 22-year-old wouldn’t be ready to confront the Cats on Friday night.

“He won’t play tomorrow night,” Pyke said.

“We’re hopeful he could be right for the following week (should we advance).

“He’s made some good progress since Saturday. It was a bridge too far for tomorrow night, but we remain hopeful (for next week) should we progress and we’ll give him every chance.”

McGovern missed 10 matches with a serious hamstring injury in his opposite leg earlier in the year.

He’s kicked 20 goals from 13 AFL games this season.

Pyke also confirmed Rory Sloane would replace injured teammate Brodie Smith, who suffered a season-ending knee injury against Greater Western Sydney a fortnight ago.

The 2014 All Australian was in hot form before sustaining a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee.

While it’s a blow to Adelaide’s backline, Pyke was confident the Crows could shuffle the magnets to cover Smith’s absence.

“We’ve got some options down there with some guys who’ve played some footy down back,” Pyke said.

“David Mackay went back for us last (game) and did a good job against GWS. We’ve had (Paul) Seedsman down back before, we’ve had (Richard) Douglas down back, so we’ve got some options there.”

Preliminary Final preview: Crows v Cats

Sloane will return after missing Adelaide’s Qualifying Final win over the Giants due to an appendectomy.

“He’s looking forward to tomorrow night,” Pyke said.

“He’s not short of energy, Rory. He’s going to be ready to go.”

Adelaide travelled to the Gold Coast for a training camp as part of its preparation for Friday night’s Preliminary Final.

With no game and an extended break between matches, Pyke said the Club had managed its training program carefully to best prepare for Friday night’s final.

“We understood we had 15 days to prepare for this game and that’s why we took the path we took – to not only to try and freshen the prepare the players mentally and physically – but also to then train them up to be ready to perform tomorrow night,” Pyke said.

“The temptation is to try and go a bit easy and sort of cruise your way through to the next week.

“We’ve taken a different view. We want to train with a level of intensity and purpose that has got our guys ready to play give that we’re not able to get a game in in those in-between weeks.

“You can’t replicate a game, but ultimately it’s about preparing them to perform. We think we’ve given them every chance to do that.”

Another massive crowd is expected at Adelaide Oval on Friday night.

More than 52,000 fans packed into the venue for the Club’s big win over the Giants last fortnight.

It’ll be the first ever AFL Preliminary Final at the redeveloped stadium.

“It’s the benefit you get of having a home Prelim Final,” Pyke said.

“We’re going to get 53,000 screaming Crows fans who are behind their team, and that’s not to be underestimated.”