Adelaide coach Don Pyke has cautioned against expecting too much too soon from comeback midfielder Brad Crouch.
Crouch, who missed the entire 2015 premiership season because of a foot injury, will play his first AFL match in a year in Friday’s pre-season fixture against Gold Coast.
Some pundits believe the 2013 Rising Star runner-up can fill the void created by Patrick Dangerfield’s departure to Geelong but Pyke isn’t among them, admitting some surprise at the attention surrounding Crouch’s return.
“We’re not going to be a footy club that is going to rely on an individual,” Pyke told reporters on Wednesday.
“And I think it’s probably flattering for Brad to get the attention he’s getting.
“We’re keen, as he is, to get him back out on the park and playing footy. But we’re not sitting here going ‘if we don’t get Brad Crouch back, we can’t win’.
“We have got other guys who have had really good pre-seasons are pressing their claims for a game as well.”
The Crows have summoned an experienced core for the away fixture against the Suns with captain Taylor Walker, Scott Thompson, Sam Jacobs, Eddie Betts and Daniel Talia all to play after sitting out the club’s last pre-season game.
Similarly, Gold Coast have also recalled a senior brigade including Nick Malceski, Rory Thompson, Steven May, Matt Rosa, Michael Rischitelli and Tom Lynch for a game to be played under a new premiership-season condition – an interchange cap of 90 rotations, which wasn’t enforced in the opening two pre-season matches.
“It’s a good final preparation for us as we head into round one,” Pyke said.
“It will be a bit of a trial. It’s important the players get some exposure to the type of time on ground they’re likely to experience in round one so it’s not a shock.”