Crows hope Hentschel can bounce back - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Crows hope Hentschel can bounce back

By Daniel Brettig 20/02/2009 07:02:18 PM Comments (0)

A new Adelaide will look to an old face for both inspiration and system when they battle AFL heavyweights Geelong in the pre-season cup at Telstra Dome on Saturday night.

Trent Hentschel has not played an AFL match of any kind since August 2006, when his knee buckled horribly under a tackle from Port Adelaide hard man Matt Thomas.

In so many ways it is extraordinary that he has even been named to play against the Cats, yet coach Neil Craig is seeking more than simply a gentle run-on role for 26-year-old Hentschel, who had steadily become a star of the league at the time of his injury.

"We're treating him as any other player in terms of what we expect on the training track, and we'll now be treating him as any other player when he now puts his hand up to be selected," Craig said on Friday.

"It's still (pre-season) cup so there's an element there of the trial game mentality for all teams, but it's another important stepping stone for Trent.

"We've all sat and watched his rehab, it was a horrendous injury and we've seen in probably the last 12 months the little setbacks and disappointments for him.

"This is another step, the true test will come about whether or not the coach has the courage to pick him when there's four points to play for. But he's done everything possible, we're not giving him a game just to find out, he's got that game based on his training performance."

Hentschel, youngster Taylor Walker and the enigmatic Nick Gill will provide Adelaide's frontline in attack, augmented by moonlighting ruckmen and rotating midfielders.

Craig wants to see if the aforementioned trio can work together, with Hentschel's creativity, Gill's athleticism and Walker's natural eye for goal appearing a potent mix on paper.

"That's one thing we need to use the next four weeks to settle down. The names you'll see up there will be Hentschel, Taylor Walker, Nick Gill, Jarrhan Jacky, our ruckmen and midfielders," Craig said.

"So there'll be a lot of different names and faces going through there, you could argue at the end of the game that it might be a bit unsettled, but we need to make sure that not only do we look at individuals up there but also look at the combinations - can Walker, Gill and Hentschel play up there together?"

Ever-present backman Ben Rutten is missing for the next month while he recovers from knee clean-out surgery, meaning the defensive half will also sport a different look.

By contrast, the Cats look quite settled, with Paul Chapman, Gary Ablett and Cameron Ling among the usual suspects who performed well in the club's one and only 2009 internal trial.

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