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"Mature" Crows "better placed" for finals assault, says Lynch

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AFL minor premiers Adelaide have learnt some harsh lessons from consecutive failed finals campaigns, forward Tom Lynch says.

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Lynch says a more mature and worldly-wise Crows will enter this year’s play-offs, compared with the beaten semi-finalist versions of the past two years.

“We are better placed this time because we have evolved as a team,” Lynch told reporters today, ahead of next week’s first qualifying final against Greater Western Sydney.

“We have had continuity with our football, we have played together and got to understand the way (coach) Don (Pyke) wants us to play.

“And I think we’re more mature and experienced.

“So all that together, as a number of teams that are in that same space, we have put ourselves up for a good shot.”

Lynch said the Crows had taken a key lesson from their past two finals series.

“Just to stay in the moment,” Lynch said.

“Things are not always going to go your way, you have to be in an arm wrestle at times.

“But when your momentum comes, you have got to ride the wave.

“We are going to draw on times where we haven’t been great positions and have come out on top.

“But we have have got a great confidence in this group and a great belief that, at our best, we can mix it with anyone.”

The Crows, who topped the AFL ladder by percentage from Geelong, host GWS at Adelaide Oval on Thursday week.

But Lynch dismissed any relevance from their most recent clash against the Giants, when Adelaide won by 56 points in this year’s opening round.

“It was a long time ago and we’re both completely different sides,” Lynch said.

“Obviously we played well that [day] but, if we were in their position, we wouldn’t be thinking about a loss or round one.”

Crows captain Taylor Walker and key defender Daniel Talia are certain to return from injury for the game.

Walker (toe) and Talia (ankle) sat out Sunday’s loss to West Coast along with emerging midfielder Hugh Greenwood but the trio will be recalled for Adelaide’s home qualifying final against GWS.

“I would say so, we’re pretty confident,” assistant coach Matthew Clarke told reporters yesterday.

“All year we have talked about needing a really strong squad and obviously a few guys got opportunities yesterday which was good.

“So selection is going to be tough, no doubt.”

Talia is a likely swap for rookie Alex Keath, who suffered concussion in Sunday’s 29-point loss to West Coast, a result which stung the ladder-leaders.

“Obviously really pleased to finish on top but a bit disappointed with how we played, not the way we wanted to finish,” Clarke said.

“But the overall outcome from the season is really positive so we move on.”

Eight Crows were named on Monday in a 40-man All Australian squad, reflecting Adelaide’s stellar home-and-away season.

“All those guys are really deserving and had really strong seasons,” Clarke said.

“Probably Brodie Smith might have been a bit stiff (to miss) but you can’t complain if you get eight in there, it’s great recognition for those guys.

“Clearly if the team is not performing well, it’s hard for individuals to shine.”

Crows players will have an extended recovery entering a training phase for the qualifying final likely to include two arduous sessions.

“We will focus on recovery but we will also probably get an extra quality training session in,” Clarke said.

“Through the year we have found the longer breaks, when we have trained twice and trained well, we have played better.”

-AAP

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