Adelaide will give two of their brightest prospects a chance to impress in their AFL clash with struggling Brisbane.
The Crows have named debutant Reilly O’Brien to replace injured ruckman Sam Jacobs on Saturday, while powerful midfielder Cam Ellis-Yolmen will line up for the first time this season in place of rested veteran Scott Thompson.
It’s the first time fifth-placed Adelaide have added new blood to their side since they included defender Ricky Henderson in their round seven loss to the Western Bulldogs.
The Crows have opted to rotate through the same group of 27 players, which are the fewest used by any side in the 2016 competition and a far cry from the likes of injury-ravaged Gold Coast (39).
For players such as Ellis-Yolmen, who played 11 games in 2015, the Crows’ hot form and good run with injuries has proved a major obstacle to senior selection.
Adelaide assistant coach James Podsiadly says the 23-year-old’s inclusion against Brisbane presents him with an opportunity to be considered for the finals.
“From the match committee’s perspective, we’ve been looking at him all year,” Podsiadly said on Friday.
“He’s shown some resilience to wait until round 20 to get his first game.
“You can say he’s a bit unlucky, but at the same time we’ve had some good guys in some good form.
“We wouldn’t pick him if we didn’t think he could have an impact in finals.”
Breaking into the side has proven even tougher for O’Brien.
First-choice ruckman Jacobs had notched up 93 consecutive games – the second-longest streak in the AFL – before being ruled out for the Brisbane game with a sprained ankle.
O’Brien will go head-to-head with another rookie in second-gamer Archie Smith, who accumulated 30 hitouts and 19 touches in his debut against Port Adelaide last week.
Crows captain Taylor Walker, who was sidelined for a week with an ankle injury, has also been added for the Saturday night clash at Adelaide Oval.
He replaces rookie forward Mitch McGovern, who will be managed after playing every game this season.
With just two wins to their name this season, Brisbane could be in for more pain after conceding the highest score of the year in their 25.23 (173) to 11.13 (79) loss to the Power.