Where and When: AAMI Stadium, Saturday March 17, 7.10pm ACST
Adelaide will try to avoid the drama around ex-recruiting coach Matt Rendell and star midfielder Bernie Vince as it focuses on the task at hand tonight, the 2012 NAB Cup Grand Final.
The midweek preparation for the Crows has not been ideal, with the club coming under scrutiny for the revelations about Vince’s late-night antics and Rendell’s racial slur.
However, no off-field fracas can take away from the form that the South Australian side are currently in.
Rebuilt and rejuvenated under new coach Brenton Sanderson, the Crows have cruised through the pre-season competition, taking the significant scalps of Carlton and Collingwood, the latter who they embarrassed by 77 points at home last week.
The selection team have had to make some hard choices ahead of the grand final tonight.
Left out is All-Australian fullback Ben Rutten who is still suffering with a foot injury as well as Richard Douglas with general soreness.
Youngster Sam Shaw is yet to debut for the Crows, but his exciting promise has seen him granted the chance to play in Adelaide’s first pre-season championship since 2003.
In the Crows’ way is West Coast, who has also been in stellar form on the field.
The Eagles have continued the momentum that saw them finish in the top four last season, last week defeating a full-strength St Kilda by 33 points in humid conditions.
The forwards will be out to correct the inaccuracy that plagued the Eagles last week and prevented the margin from blowing out to something even bigger.
Perhaps the most exciting fact to come out of last week’s game was that West Coast had eight individual goalkickers, including new recruit Josh Hill (two goals) and goal-sneak Koby Stevens.
Unfortunately for West Coast, it goes into tonight’s match without two key forwards in Jack Darling and Quentin Lynch, but its hard-running midfielders have proven in recent weeks that they can fill the gaps.
CROWS: Brent Reilly, Kurt Tippett, Scott Thompson, Nathan van Berlo, Rory Sloane, Matthew Jaensch, Michael Doughty, Daniel Talia, Taylor Walker, David Mackay, Bernie Vince, Graham Johncock, Andy Otten, Jared Petrenko, Sam Jacobs, Tom Lynch, Sam Kerridge, Patrick Dangerfield, Brodie Smith, Sam Shaw, Shaun McKernan, Ian Callinan, Jason Porplyzia, Ricky Henderson, Matthew Wright.
EAGLES: Andrew Gaff, Daniel Kerr, Mark Nicoski, Chris Masten, Beau Waters, Nic Naitanui, Scott Selwood, Matthew Priddis, Luke Shuey, Koby Stevens, Eric Mackenzie, Dean Cox, Darren Glass, Matthew Rosa, Shannon Hurn, Sam Butler, Jack Darling, Scott Lycett, Will Schofield, Andrew Embley, Josh Hill, Patrick McGinnity, Adam Selwood, Ashton Hams, Gerrick Weedon
BigFooty Team Board Previews: