Adelaide expect a desperate Fremantle to fully test the Crows’ red-hot midfield despite the Dockers’ woeful start to the AFL season.
The home side will go into Saturday’s clash at Adelaide Oval unchanged and full of confidence after falling just three points short of beating reigning premiers Hawthorn at the MCG.
The 0-5 Dockers have regained captain David Mundy but are missing the likes of Nat Fyfe (broken leg), Aaron Sandilands (ribs) and Michael Johnson (hamstring) and look a shadow of the team which claimed the minor premiership last year.
But Adelaide assistant coach David Teague says that’s no reason to write off Fremantle, who may capitalise if Saturday’s forecast rain produces a scrappy contest better suited to their strengths.
“Fremantle have been a really good defensive side for a long time,” he said on Friday.
“They limit your inside-50s and then they can trap the ball in their front half and pin you down there.
“The challenge for us will be winning the contested ball, getting the game played in our half and making sure from there that we hit the scoreboard.
“If it rains it’ll probably just make it a greater contest. It’s something we pride ourselves on and it’s something we want to step up and play against another team that are good in the contest.”
Teague said promising midfielder Brad Crouch would play in the SANFL after missing three games with a hamstring injury.
The Crows are conscious of managing the injury-prone youngster, who missed all of last season with a foot injury.
“We think he’s going to be a long-term player for us,” Teague said.
“We want to be smart. We understand it’s a long season and we want to make sure that he’s firing at the end of the season.”
Midfielder Connor Blakely will play his second AFL game for the Dockers after debuting in round 23 last year.