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Talia doubt, star forward confirmed starter

AFL Media  July 11, 2018 1:51 PM

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 6: Daniel Talia of the Crows looks on during the Adelaide Crows 2018 official team photo day at AAMI Stadium on March 6, 2018 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 6: Daniel Talia of the Crows looks on during the Adelaide Crows 2018 official team photo day at AAMI Stadium on March 6, 2018 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)

Eddie will play, I can confirm that and we'll wait a little bit on Daniel

Adelaide will give key defender Daniel Talia until the last minute to prove his fitness for Thursday night's encounter with Geelong at Adelaide Oval.

While Talia remains in doubt with a foot strain, the Crows' attack will get a welcome boost with the return of star forward Eddie Betts.

The goalsneak has missed the past two games with a hamstring injury sustained in the round 13 loss to Hawthorn.

Crows coach Don Pyke confirmed on Wednesday that Betts would return, however he said Talia had a couple of hurdles to jump before he was given the green light.

Talia injured his foot in the first quarter of last Friday night's loss to Richmond, before having it strapped up and finishing the game.

"Eddie will play, I can confirm that and we'll wait a little bit on Daniel," Pyke said.

"Daniel's still a little bit sore, so we've probably got to test him tomorrow and just see how he comes up on a six-day break.

"It's going to be important we use as much time as we can.

"We'll see how that pans out tomorrow."

Former first-class cricketer Alex Keath, who played the last of his six AFL games in round 23 last year against West Coast, will likely come into the side if Talia is ruled out.

The Crows (7-8) will be buoyed by the massive re-signing of vice-captain Rory Sloane to a five-year deal until the end of 2023.

Sloane said the Crows hadn't given up hope of playing finals football despite losing five of their past six games.

"This group knows what we need to do," Sloane said.

"We haven't been at our best, and that's what we need to get back to tomorrow night against a really quality side in Geelong, who have played some outstanding footy this year and had a great win against Sydney last week."