Talia ready for AFL return against Swans

Adelaide expect key defender Daniel Talia to return for a likely AFL duel with Sydney star Lance Franklin on Saturday.

Talia missed Adelaide’s 45-point win against Gold Coast because of illness, and he was concussed in the previous game.

The Swans are hopeful Franklin will overcome a back injury and face the Crows after being a late withdrawal from their loss to West Coast.

Sydney’s premiership stocks have plummeted with heavy defeats to the Eagles and Hawthorn, while Adelaide cling to seventh on the ladder.

Talia’s return will strengthen a Crows outfit who travel to the SCG on a two-game winning streak as they settle after last month’s death of their coach Phil Walsh.

“Each week that we play now gets a bit easier, kind of,” Crows utility Rory Laird told reporters on Monday.

“The week before, that was obviously very emotional.”

Laird, who said Saturday’s home win against Gold Coast felt more “normal”, has risen from bit player to key plank ahead of his 50th AFL game on Saturday.

Laird was promoted from the rookie list in 2013 but fell out of favour last season under Brenton Sanderson.

“Last year I was a bit down on confidence and doubted myself at times,” he said.

“This year I had a good pre-season and really clear messaging from the coaches, Phil and then onto Campo (interim coach Scott Camporeale) now.

“It’s down to that and also my teammates giving me the confidence to get the ball and use it.”

But the versatile 21-year-old laughed off suggestions his breakout season could be rewarded with a club champion award or All Australian selection.

“I’m just happy to play my role,” he said.

“If that’s to play in the midfield or down back, a shutdown or playmaking role – whatever the coaches want, I’m more than happy with.”

* All Offers and Promotions posted in this article excludes NSW residents.
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