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Laird to debut against Dogs

Rory Laird of the Crows evades Aaron Young of Port during the 2013 NAB Cup round 01, week 01 match between the Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide Power at AAMI Stadium, Adelaide. (Photo: AFL Media)
Rory Laird will make his AFL debut on Sunday
The Club has a great history of rookies, who have gone on to have really good AFL careers. We’re hoping Lairdy will be another one of those success stories.
Brenton Sanderson

Upgraded rookie Rory Laird will make his AFL debut against the Western Bulldogs at AAMI Stadium on Sunday.

Laird is one of three inclusions in the Crows team, with in-form pair Sam Kerridge and Tom Lynch also called up to play their first games of the season. The trio replaces captain Nathan van Berlo (knee) and Bernie Vince and Graham Johncock, who have both been left out of the side.

Laird, 19, was elevated to Adelaide’s senior list on Thursday as a replacement for injured defender Sam Shaw. Recruited from West Adelaide, Laird was selected with pick No.5 in the AFL Rookie Draft of December, 2011. The 178cm, 76kg, defender impressed in his second pre-season at West Lakes, making his Crows debut in the 2013 NAB Cup. Laird has continued his good form, averaging 28 possessions in the opening three games of the SANFL season.

“Lairdy deserves his spot and I know he’ll make the most of it because he’s made of the right stuff,” Sanderson told

"It’s always great when a rookie gets an opportunity. Every player is hungry to play AFL, but it’s a great feeling when you see a rookie beat the odds, so to speak. Lairdy’s done it the hard way. He didn’t get drafted (in the national meet), and those guys typically feel as though they’ve failed at the first hurdle. But he got himself onto a rookie list and is going to be an AFL player after this week.

“It’s a great story. The Club has a great history of rookies, who have gone on to have really good AFL careers. We’re hoping Lairdy will be another one of those success stories.”

Kerridge, who turns 20 next week, will play just his second AFL game. The athletic midfielder made his debut against Hawthorn in Round Three last season, starting the match as the substitute.

Recruited from St Kilda at the end of 2011, Lynch played six games in his first year at West Lakes. He earns another opportunity following several standout displays in the midfield for Glenelg.

“The guys we’re bringing in have certainly been in the best form,” Sanderson said.

“You could add Jarryd Lyons to that mix as well. His form has been excellent for Glenelg and he’s a bit stiff to miss out this week. Kerridge didn’t play last week because we held him out to be the emergency, but his form for Sturt has been exceptional as well – and the same with Lynchy.”

Vince will line up for SANFL club Woodville-West Torrens, while Johncock’s Port Magpies have a bye.

“Last time Graham was left out of the team, he went back to the SANFL and played really well. He was poor last week, but he wasn’t alone,” Sanderson said.

“Bernie needs to get back to being the Bernie Vince we’ve seen over the last 4-5 seasons. He’s just not getting his hands on the footy enough, but he understands where he sits. He’s too good a player to be out for too long, so hopefully he gets a bit of the ball for the Eagles and he’s back in our side as soon as possible.”

Brodie Smith has recovered from a fractured collarbone and will play alongside Vince at the Eagles.

“There was a temptation to bring Brodie straight back, but it’s been 7-8 weeks since the last time he played a competitive game,” Sanderson said.

“We saw it with Ian Callinan a couple of weeks ago and even last year when we brought back Taylor Walker from a three-week suspension, they were a bit rusty. Just for Brodie’s own confidence and our peace of mind, it’s better for him to play at least one game in the SANFL to get a bit of a feel for footy again.

“I’m sure he won’t be out of the team for long. He’s one of our really bright prospects and a player we’re excited about.”

The squad is:

B: Luke Brown, Ben Rutten, Andy Otten

HB: David Mackay, Daniel Talia, Brent Reilly

C: Rory Sloane, Scott Thompson, Sam Kerridge

HF: Matthew Wright, Josh Jenkins, Richard Douglas

F: Jared Petrenko, Taylor Walker, Ricky Henderson

RUCKS: Sam Jacobs, Patrick Dangerfield, Brad Crouch

INT: Matthew Jaensch, Tom Lynch, Jason Porplyzia, Rory Laird

EMERG: Graham Johncock, Jarryd Lyons, Shaun McKernan

IN: Kerridge, Laird, Lynch,
OUT: van Berlo (knee), Vince (omitted), Johncock (omitted)


Tickets for Sunday’s game are available online, by phoning 136 100, or at a Ticketmaster outlet.

Can’t make it to the game? Follow the action on Twitter with the Club’s official account @Adelaide_FC.

Match day event & gate times:

12.15pm             Car parks
12.45pm             Member Service Centre
12.45pm             Stadium Gates
12.45pm             Fan Zones
1.15pm               Shed Pre-game
2.50pm               Adelaide v Western Bulldogs (Please note start time has been delayed by 5 minutes)
5.15pm               Shed Party



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The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs