Explosive Adelaide onballer Brad Crouch says he’s poised to take his game to the next level after extending his stay at West Lakes.
The 22-year-old on Friday signed a four-year contract extension believed to be worth about $2.2 million, bringing to an end months of speculation about his future.
Like teammate Josh Jenkins, who inked a new five-year deal last month, Crouch attracted plenty of interest from clubs in his native Victoria.
And he admits he was briefly tempted to return home to his parents after struggling with injury and the shock death of former coach Phil Walsh.
“There were definitely times where I thought I might be better off back home in Victoria,” he told reporters.
“Probably over the last couple of years when things weren’t going so well, with the injury last year and the death of Phil, stuff like that’s been very hard to deal with.
“(But) I’ve still got my brother here, I’ve got a girlfriend here and I’ve got a great club that’s supported me the whole way through.
“They’ve been really good to me and I think I owe them something for that.”
Crouch, whose younger brother Matt has also cemented a spot in the Crows’ midfield this year, has had a cursed injury run during his short career.
He debuted strongly in 2013, finishing second in AFL Rising Star voting, but broke his leg the following year and missed all of last season with a fractured foot.
Crouch appeared ready to help fill the void left by departed superstar Patrick Dangerfield this year but was injured again and got dropped to the SANFL after struggling for form.
He has since strung together seven consecutive games, including a best-on-ground performance against Brisbane last Saturday.
“Last year I had a full pre-season and then on the eve of round one I hurt my foot,” he said.
“I thought then that I was really ready for a big season because I hadn’t missed a session.
“I still haven’t really had that yet.
“Once I do have a few pre-seasons under the belt I’m hoping I can take my game to another level.”
Adelaide coach Don Pyke said Crouch’s tenacity and ability to win the ball had made him a key part of the side’s midfield plans.
The Crows’ on-field success this year has helped them retain a number of quality players, with Daniel Talia, Brodie Smith, Mitch McGovern and Rory Atkins all signing new deals.