Pyke expects Brad Crouch AFL deal soon

Adelaide coach Don Pyke says he’s highly confident gun onballer Brad Crouch will sign a new deal in the coming weeks.

There are reports the 22-year-old, who is out of contract at the end of the season, has agreed to terms for an extension which will keep him at West Lakes until the end of 2020.

“Clearly, he’s a wanted player and that’s been communicated clearly to Brad in terms of where the contract sits,” Pyke said on Thursday.

“We remain really confident that we’ll be able to sign Brad pretty shortly.”

Securing a new deal for Crouch would represent a big win for Adelaide after a number of Melbourne-based clubs were linked to the Victorian.

The powerful midfielder, who gathered a season-best 34-touches in Adelaide’s 138-point flogging of Brisbane on Saturday, is considered a key figure in the Crows’ midfield plans following the departure of Patrick Dangerfield.

Crouch missed games early in the season with a hamstring injury and was dropped to the SANFL after struggling for form but has since strung together seven consecutive games and played some of his best football.

“I know there was a period there where he was a bit frustrated when he was looking to play AFL footy,” Pyke said.

“It was always part of the plan in my eyes to get him back (to the SANFL) to give him the confidence in his body and how he was playing so that when he came back in we’d see this sort of form.

“It’s good from a coaching viewpoint because it’s validated our approach towards him and how we tried to manage him.

“I think he’s now seeing the benefit in terms of being able to play the way we know he can play with his explosive speed and ball-winning ability and he’s able to do it through four quarters.”

Crouch, whose younger brother Matt has also cemented a spot in the Crows’ midfield this year, has had a cursed injury run during his short career, missing all of last season with a foot injury and breaking his leg in 2014.

He finished second behind Gold Coast’s Jaeger O’Meara in AFL Rising Star voting in his debut season in 2013.

Pyke meanwhile confirmed ruckman Sam Jacobs will miss Sunday’s clash with Fremantle at Subiaco Oval after struggling to recover from an ankle injury.

His absence means rookie Reilly O’Brien will go head-to-head with imposing Dockers star Aaron Sandilands.

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