Adelaide Senior Coach Matthew Nicks says ruckman Kieran Strachan deserves his opportunity at AFL level this weekend.
Strachan is one of six changes for the Crows ahead of their clash with Brisbane at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night, following the Round Eight loss to Carlton last weekend.
Speaking to the media after missing last week due to the AFL’s Health and Safety Protocols, Nicks said the four inclusions from the SANFL win over West Adelaide deserved their chance while Brodie Smith and Ned McHenry both return from concussion.
“We have got a team below that we’ve talked about a fair bit that are playing great footy at a SANFL level,” Nicks said.
“They are putting pressure on, playing their roles each week, coming in and seeing me weekly about how they can continue to get better.
“That’s a really positive thing for us as a footy Club. These guys we are bringing in are in good form.
“The step up is a big step up, so that’s what we’d like to do, bring them in and challenge them.”
Ruckman Strachan, who won the Club’s 2021 SANFL Best and Fairest, will play his first game of 2022 after featuring in the final two AFL games of last season.
Nicks said his perseverance and dedication in the SANFL was a big reason for his inclusion in the AFL side this week.
“We’ve got guys playing good footy at a lower level who deserve an opportunity and Strachan is one of those,” Nicks said.
“We’ve asked him to keep his head down and keep going to work at SANFL level and he’s really driven that young group as that lead figure in the midfield.
“He’s been doing that week in and week out, putting really strong performances out there, so it was actually hard to go to him each week (earlier in the season) and say ‘do it again this week’, so this one was a nice one.”
Adelaide takes on Brisbane at Adelaide Oval on Saturday, with the first bounce at 7.10pm.
“We’ve played a few very good football sides where we’ve been challenged and gone away from the way we play,” Nicks said.
“Our challenge is now against another good football side, we’ve got a really tough run, is to get back to what we do.
“We know Brisbane is a fantastic footy side, but we’ve got to play our brand and if we don’t do that, then we are going to be exposed.”