AFL 1 year ago

Crows stick with winning formula

  • Crows stick with winning formula

    ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 31: Don Pyke ,coach of the Crows speaks to his team during a quarter time break during the round 19 AFL match between the Adelaide Crows and the Essendon Bombers at Adelaide Oval on July 31, 2016 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Adelaide have resisted the temptation to test their depth against bottom-placed Essendon in the AFL.

With bookmakers placing the sixth-placed Crows at $1.01 to win Sunday's twilight game at Adelaide Oval, few could have blamed selectors for mixing things up.

Adelaide have used just 27 players so far this season, the fewest of any side in the competition.

In contrast, the depleted Bombers have rotated through 38 players, equal to Collingwood and second only to injury-ravaged Gold Coast (39).

But the Crows appear in no rush to change things up, recalling speedsters Paul Seedsman and David Mackay to replace skipper Taylor Walker (ankle) and defender Ricky Henderson (achilles).

"We won't get too cute on the way through," coach Don Pyke said on Thursday.

"I think there's a real risk in doing that.

"If there's clearly guys who are in need of a rest or who have got injuries they're carrying, we'll manage them accordingly but otherwise we'll keep the team rolling."

Essendon have named James Polkinghorne, Craig Bird and Sam Michael to replace James Kelly (rested), Mitch Brown (groin) and Shaun McKernan (illness).

With only percentage separating six of the AFL's top eight sides, a game against Essendon couldn't come at a better time for Adelaide.

The Crows are second only to Greater Western Sydney as the highest-scoring side in the competition.

Essendon are the lowest-scoring team and also have the second-worst defensive record, conceding an average of 110 points per game.

But with the Crows coming off a humbling 30-point loss to Geelong, Pyke said he had no interest in demanding an ultra-attacking performance.

"We're not in that headspace at all," he said.

"The guys are pretty keen to atone for what was a performance which wasn't like us last week.

"We're going to focus on Essendon, focus on playing our way and playing the system we want to play.

"We'll take the result whatever that brings."

TESTING THE DEPTH: MOST PLAYERS USED BY AFL SIDES TO RD19, 2016:

39 - Gold Coast

38 - Collingwood, Essendon

37 - Brisbane, Fremantle, Richmond

36 - Melbourne, Western Bulldogs

35 - Greater Western Sydney

34 - Carlton, North Melbourne, Port Adelaide, Sydney

33 - St Kilda

32 - Geelong, Hawthorn, West Coast

27 - Adelaide

(Source: afltables.com)

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