Novice ruckman Reilly O’Brien has joined Adelaide’s travelling squad to Sydney, but the Crows insist there’s no alarm over their regular ruck duo for their AFL semi-final.
O’Brien isn’t among Adelaide’s three emergencies for the SCG final against the Swans on Saturday night with the Crows saying he’s travelling as insurance for lead tap-man Sam Jacobs and his ruck partner Josh Jenkins.
“The only time he gets a game is if Sam Jacobs does something in the warm-up or in training,” Crows assistant coach James Podsiadly told reporters at Adelaide Airport on Friday.
Jenkins has been carrying an ankle injury but was in no doubt for the knockout final, he said.
“He trained pretty solidly on Wednesday and he will train today again,” Podsiadly said.
O’Brien, who made his AFL debut this year, was left out of Adelaide’s official 25-man squad for the semi-final with Riley Knight, Paul Seedsman and Andy Otten named as emergencies.
The Crows are braced for a ferocious start to the final from a Swans outfit eager to atone for their qualifying final loss to Greater Western Sydney.
“We expect that, a side coming off a loss with a proud history like Sydney, they are going to come out pretty hard,” Podsiadly said.
“They are actually a contested side anyway but so are we. We are expecting the first 10, 15 minutes of the game to be pretty hot and we have just got to match them in that area.”
Adelaide were also mindful of the danger of becoming overly-focused on Sydney’s attacking ace Lance Franklin, who has been central to the pre-game planning of Podsiadly, who works primarily with Adelaide’s backline.
“He is one of the premier players and premier forwards in the competition so we have to respect his talent and his ability to change a game,” he said.
“From my perspective, we have done a fair bit of work into him but also we have done a fair bit of work on their other forwards.”
The Crows will have a pre-game training session on Friday afternoon at the SCG, a ground where they have played just twice in the past eight seasons.