Crows defender Bock set to face Franklin - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Crows defender Bock set to face Franklin

By Daniel Brettig 25/05/2009 07:35:01 PM Comments (0)

Adelaide's All-Australian defender Nathan Bock appears ready to return from a hamstring strain in time to resume his battle of wits with Hawthorn spearhead Lance Franklin at AAMI Stadium on Sunday.

Bock has been out of action for three weeks, but was always going to be pushing to resume in time to face Franklin, after the pair fought out one of the AFL's more fascinating one-on-one duels last year.

Franklin kicked 1.6 opposed to Bock in round 12 of 2008, most of those behinds caused in part by the Crow's pressure, before playing a key role in Hawthorn's narrow win when shifted into the midfield.

Crows fullback Ben Rutten has been managing reasonably well in Bock's absence, restricting Jonathan Brown and Brendan Fevola over the past two weeks, but he was understandably keen to get his offsider back.

"He trained over the weekend and is looking like being available. That will be a bonus for us in defence against a couple of key forwards for Hawthorn," Rutten said on Monday.

"If we get 'Bocky' back, obviously, he'll play a fairly big role in defence. He has played well on Franklin in the past, so it will be good to have him available for that contest.

"I've missed him a little bit. Stevo (Scott Stevens) has done a reasonable job since he's been back there, but its always good to have numbers available."

Rutten's own form is improving nicely after a slow start to the season, caused in equal parts by his recovery from a knee operation and the Crows' reversion to a more aggressive up-field zone that in turn leaves their defence a little more exposed than in the past should a team successfully pick the lock.

The flipside is that if done well, Adelaide's defensive pressure can render an opponent bereft, as evidenced by two instances of goalless first halves this year, Melbourne in round five and Carlton last week.

"Yeah that's fair enough," Rutten said when asked whether he had been left somewhat exposed at times by the change in zone.

"With a zone sometimes you get caught when you're not even one-on-one, but in the first half on the weekend we had a good example of how the pressure up the field and how we were able to get at the opposition with some of our tackling and pressure was really good."

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