Crows take McLeod gamble - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Crows take McLeod gamble

By Steve Larkin 15/07/2010 05:28:32 PM Comments (0)

Adelaide have gambled on the rare recuperative powers of Andrew McLeod for Friday night's AFL match against Geelong.

McLeod hasn't played since round 11 but has been rushed back into the Crows side to host the Cats at AAMI Stadium.

Wingman David Mackay returns from an ankle injury to take Jason Porplyzia's spot, while key defender Nathan Bock has been named an emergency after three games sidelined by a groin injury.

McLeod has been absent since undergoing surgery on his right knee, but the 33-year-old's rare physical traits, as much as his football talent, won him instant recall, according to coach Neil Craig.

"Andrew's injury was a structural injury and once that has surgery, and he does the required amount of training, you can be pretty well assured that he's ready to go," Craig said on Thursday.

"His past is good in terms of coming back from injury.

"He has got a lot of pride in his performance, he wouldn't put himself out there if he wasn't ready to perform."

Craig considers ladder leaders Geelong an opportune fixture for his Crows, who have won three in a row to rise to 10th.

But the victories have come against fellow strugglers Melbourne, Essendon and West Coast rather than the powerhouse presented by Geelong.

"We are now confronted with one of the most successful teams in the history of the AFL and, you can argue, nearly at the peak of their playing performance," Craig said.

"In terms of a step forward for our football club, it's a great opportunity.

"This is as good as opposition in the competition ... it's hardened, it's able to stay there year after year, it has played in the last three grand finals, so you're talking about a special team.

"In terms of purely from a learning aspect, always put yourself up against the best in any walk of life, that is where you learn a lot more very quickly, and that is the opportunity we have got."

Craig said he had searched, but could not find, an obvious weakness in Geelong, who have recalled premiership players Joel Corey and Cameron Mooney to replace Darren Milburn (general soreness) and Mitch Duncan (omitted).

Cats coach Mark Thompson was wary of the Crows, despite their lowly season.

"They've won six out of their last nine and they're playing terrific footy," Thompson said in Geelong on Thursday.

"It's always hard to play and win in Adelaide ... but that's the sort of game we want anyway - it's a great challenge.

"They're doing everything better, they're certainly running better, they're playing with more confidence, they're moving the ball quicker and they're still defending quite well which they've always been able to do."

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