Crows' Johncock to miss season opener - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Crows' Johncock to miss season opener

23/03/2009 03:48:54 PM Comments (0)

Brilliant Adelaide defender Graham Johncock will miss the AFL season opener following the death of his mother.

Johncock has returned to his home town of Port Lincoln, where his mother died suddenly last week.

The Adelaide club says the gifted back pocket will attend her funeral on Friday and miss the first round match against Collingwood at the MCG the next day.

"Our thoughts are with Graham and the rest of the Johncock family at this difficult time," Crows chief executive Steven Trigg said in a statement.

The Crows expect Johncock to return to training next Monday in a bid to rejuvenate his AFL career, which hit a pothole last year.

Johncock was suspended by Adelaide's leadership group last July for what his coach Neil Craig described at the time as "losing focus" on football.

The 26-year-old missed two senior AFL games before winning a recall but was unable to recapture his best form.

Johncock's absence from Saturday's encounter with Collingwood could be partially offset by a return of fellow defensive stalwart Ben Rutten.

Rutten hasn't played since injuring a knee in Adelaide's game against an Indigenous All Stars team in Darwin on February 7.

But the former All Australian full back has recovered and is available for selection against the Magpies.

The Crows also have Jason Porplyzia available to face Collingwood after the talented forward emerged unscathed from his first outing, in a SANFL trial match on Saturday, since undergoing a shoulder reconstruction last September.

And Adelaide also rates onballer Nathan van Berlo a selection chance for their season opener, despite the midfielder being sidelined for the past four weeks with a foot injury.

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