Adelaide have resisted the temptation to test their depth against bottom-placed Essendon in the AFL.
With bookmakers placing the sixth-placed Crows at $1.01 to win Sunday’s twilight game at Adelaide Oval, few could have blamed selectors for mixing things up.
Adelaide have used just 27 players so far this season, the fewest of any side in the competition.
In contrast, the depleted Bombers have rotated through 38 players, equal to Collingwood and second only to injury-ravaged Gold Coast (39).
But the Crows appear in no rush to change things up, recalling speedsters Paul Seedsman and David Mackay to replace skipper Taylor Walker (ankle) and defender Ricky Henderson (achilles).
“We won’t get too cute on the way through,” coach Don Pyke said on Thursday.
“I think there’s a real risk in doing that.
“If there’s clearly guys who are in need of a rest or who have got injuries they’re carrying, we’ll manage them accordingly but otherwise we’ll keep the team rolling.”
Essendon have named James Polkinghorne, Craig Bird and Sam Michael to replace James Kelly (rested), Mitch Brown (groin) and Shaun McKernan (illness).
With only percentage separating six of the AFL’s top eight sides, a game against Essendon couldn’t come at a better time for Adelaide.
The Crows are second only to Greater Western Sydney as the highest-scoring side in the competition.
Essendon are the lowest-scoring team and also have the second-worst defensive record, conceding an average of 110 points per game.
But with the Crows coming off a humbling 30-point loss to Geelong, Pyke said he had no interest in demanding an ultra-attacking performance.
“We’re not in that headspace at all,” he said.
“The guys are pretty keen to atone for what was a performance which wasn’t like us last week.
“We’re going to focus on Essendon, focus on playing our way and playing the system we want to play.
“We’ll take the result whatever that brings.”
TESTING THE DEPTH: MOST PLAYERS USED BY AFL SIDES TO RD19, 2016:
39 – Gold Coast
38 – Collingwood, Essendon
37 – Brisbane, Fremantle, Richmond
36 – Melbourne, Western Bulldogs
35 – Greater Western Sydney
34 – Carlton, North Melbourne, Port Adelaide, Sydney
33 – St Kilda
32 – Geelong, Hawthorn, West Coast
27 – Adelaide