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"We'll be going out to win"

Richard Douglas Presser March 5 Richard Douglas speaks to media ahead of JLT 2.
It’s a really good group, and a group that’s really hungry to keep improving and to drive each other to go forward
Richard Douglas

Richard Douglas says the decision to play an intra-club match in between the Crows’ two JLT Community Series games was an invaluable one.

The evergreen midfielder sat out the Club’s first JLT appearance against Fremantle but took to the field in Saturday’s scratch match for an extended period of time.

With a host of younger players pushing for senior opportunities, Douglas believes the squad is gelling at the right time, with less than three weeks until the home and away season kicks off.

“It was definitely a good hit out,” he said. 

“We played five quarters, or fifths, the boys got some good minutes.

“I was able to have a bit of a run across half-back and play probably about 120 minutes of game time.

“It was a really good hit out and will hold us in good stead for Saturday.”

The Crows will take on cross-town rivals Port Adelaide in their final JLT match at Alberton Oval on Saturday, with Douglas likely to again spend some time in defence as the Crows consider their Round One side make up.

While the trial game will serve the main purpose of seeing where the playing group is at ahead of the season proper, Douglas conceded that there would likely be some feeling in the contest between the two teams.

"There's not much on the end of it to be honest, no four points, so we will be trialling a few things,” he said.

"But at the same time, when you can get one over the team down the road it's always nice, so we will be going out to win.

"We want to beat Port and they want to beat us.

"We are obviously going out to win so we will pick a really strong side.”

Established onballer Matt Crouch and ruckman Sam Jacobs have both been outspoken across the pre-season about the depth of the Crows midfield group heading into season 2018.

The Crows added veterans Bryce Gibbs and Sam Gibson in the off-season, with Cam Ellis-Yolmen and Curtly Hampton also both returning from injury-affected 2017 campaigns.

With Gibbs and Brad Crouch both sitting out the intra-club match, a host of younger Crows spent time in the midfield, prompting to Douglas to echo the sentiments of his team mates.

“I think (the midfield group is) probably as deep for as long as I’ve been at the footy club,” he said.

“We’ve got some really quality in there, some A-graders and a nice blend of some guys who can rotate through the midfield, forward and also on the outside through the wings.

“It’s a really good group, and a group that’s really hungry to keep improving and to drive each other to go forward.”

With Adelaide ultimately falling short of the grand prize last season, Douglas knows the Crows need to build on the impressive form they showed in the majority of their 2017 outings before disappointment struck.

A fierce desire to succeed burns in the group, with the players all determined to make amends when they take to the field against the Bombers in Round One at Etihad Stadium on March 23.

“We can’t wait to get out there against Essendon on the Friday night and play our best football,” he said.

“For us, round one can’t come quick enough.

“We’ve had a long summer and a lot of reflection has been done.

"We’re a stronger group and a more mature group for it.”