Adelaide finally added another win to its ledger on the weekend with a convincing victory over a disorganised Western Bulldogs. The conditions were awful and required hard, contested wet-weather football. Adelaide’s players set a club record of 99 tackles, which helped set up their win over the struggling Bulldogs.
Adelaide has clawed its way back into eighth position on the ladder by playing the kind of team football that it’s coach demands; uncompromising, contested football, with a team focus. Yet if the Crows wish to continue their winning ways and find a return to the form that they held last year, they might be well served to take a leaf out of the book of their cross-town rivals in Port Adelaide.
Ken Hinkley has made a point since he took over at Port Adelaide at selecting players based purely on the form that they show. Former Captain Dominic Cassisi had to bide his time in the SANFL until round four to finally make an appearance for the club, despite his importance to the side.
Brenton Sanderson made a step in the right direction for round four when he dropped Graham Johncock and Bernie Vince after less than inspiring performances in the Showdown. The time has come now for Jason Porplyzia to return to the SANFL and find his missing spark and some much needed form.
After an abysmal start to the 2013 season, if Adelaide wish to have a chance of making another Preliminary Final and going a step further this year, every game is a must win game. Adelaide cannot afford to have any passengers when it faces an equally under-siege Carlton in round five.
While the blame for Adelaide’s poor start to the season rests with the team as a whole, it is undeniable that Jason Porplyzia has been far from his best in 2013, even accounting for poor entrances to the forward 50 by his midfield.
Porplyzia has gone from averaging 18 disposals at 62% efficiency in 2012, to only 11.2 disposals at 51.1% in 2013. As the substitute against the Bulldogs, Porplyzia came on in the last quarter, only managed four touches — which were at 25% efficiency –20% lower than his closest team-mate (Ricky Henderson at 45.5%). Even accounting for the weather, he was well below what is required of an AFL player. Of the Crows 99 tackles, Porplyzia contributed none.
Sanderson needs to continue to make the tough calls and like he did with the substitute from the previous week – Bernie Vince – send Jason Porplyzia back to the SANFL until he finds some of the form that makes him such an important player for Adelaide. Crows who performed well in the SANFL on the weekend include Jarryd Lyons ( 25 disposals, six clearances), Mitch Grigg (20 disposals, 5 clearances), Brodie Martin (27 disposals, 10 marks, scored 2.1), Angus Graham (15 disposals, 34 hit outs) and Kyle Hartigan (21 disposals, 10 marks). Brodie Smith, who made way in the team after breaking his collarbone, returned after a two month hiatus with 17 disposals.
Of the Crows banging on the selection door, Brodie Martin would be an excellent replacement for the out of form Porplyzia, but there are many young men that deserve a call up to the team, and the opportunity to play as impressively as Brad Crouch, Rory Laird and Sam Kerridge did against the Bulldogs.