If ever the Crows were going to get “on the board” this season it will be against the struggling Hawks
By Tom McLean

Despite falling short of that elusive first win for 2020, Adelaide will enter the match against Hawthorn with renewed confidence after a vast improvement against Geelong. The Crows matched it with one of the premiership favourites for the first three quarters, trailing by just nine points, before being overrun in the final term. 

In his 200th match Taylor Walker displayed great energy, laying four tackles, but was kept goalless for the fifth time this year. Matt Crouch (22 disposals, 14 tackles) was the Crows’ best midfielder. Kyle Hartigan showed his potential as a key defender keeping Tom Hawkins to four marks, though he still managed to kick three goals and extend his lead in the Coleman Medal.

Hawthorn made Port Adelaide work hard to secure the four points on Saturday night, trailing by less than a kick with two minutes left in the match, before falling 10 points short. Best players for the Hawks were James Worpel (26 disposals, four clearances), Tom Mitchell (25 disposals, five clearances) and James Cousins (17 dispoals, eight inside 50s) who stepped up to fill the void left by the injured Jaeger O’Meara, who broke his hand against West Coast.

Hawthorn are officially the ‘home team’ in the match – their third in a row at Adelaide Oval. The Hawks have called the Barossa Valley home for the past fortnight and have been using the facilities of the Tanunda Football Club.

South Australians playing for the Hawks include veteran midfielder Shaun Burgoyne (Mallee Park), half forward Chad Wingard (Murray Bridge Imperials) and Will Day (PHOS Camden/Sacred Heart College) playing his first season of AFL.

After having one of the shortest injury lists for most of the season, Hawthorn had a horror match against West Coast. James Sicily ruptured his right ACL and will miss the remainder of this season and most of 2021. James Frawley (dislocated thumb) and Jack Gunston (back) also missed the match against the Power and, along with O’Meara, will be unlikely to recover in time for Tuesday night’s match. Another factor giving the Crows a chance is their nine day break between matches, compared to Hawthorn’s five day break. 

Adelaide will arguably still be missing more key players than Hawthorn. The hamstrung Brad Crouch and Tom Doedee will leave the Crows a midfielder and defender short against the Hawks and unless the less-experienced players can lift accordingly, Adelaide will fall agonisingly short of victory.

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