About 10,000 fans were at Adelaide Oval for the Crows’ training session this morning – the club’s last public appearance on home soil ahead of Saturday’s decider against Richmond.
Most eyes were focused on McGovern, who missed Adelaide’s preliminary final win because of a hamstring strain.
After showing no obvious discomfort during the initial phase of the 90-minute training session, McGovern didn’t participate in end-to-end drills.
The 22-year-old then rejoined his teammates for goalkicking practice at the tail end of the session.
“He hasn’t come up,” Crows coach Don Pyke told the crowd in a brief on-field interview after training, declaring the shattering news for the emerging gamebreaker created “an opportunity for someone else”.
Adelaide chief executive Andrew Fagan said it was a devastating blow for McGovern.
“Mitch needed to get through today’s session and as Pykey said, he didn’t quite pull up,” Fagan told reporters.
“It’s a sad story for Gov. But one man down, another man up.”
Fagan also confirmed Adelaide will move to secure coach Don Pyke on a long-term deal, regardless of Saturday’s result.
Pyke, who has taken the Crows to the grand final in his second year in charge, is contracted to Adelaide until the end of next season.
But Fagan says the club will move in the post-season to extend his tenure.
“I don’t think there is any question about how happy we are with Don’s performance,” he said.
“He has been, obviously, an integral part of the success of the team over the last two seasons… and I expect that will continue for some time yet.”
Less certain is the future of Adelaide’s sought-after defender Jake Lever, who is being wooed by Melbourne-based clubs.
The 21-year-old has postponed contract talks with the Crows amid speculation he wants to return to his native Victoria.
Melbourne are understood to have pitched Lever a five-year deal worth about $800,000 a season.
The Crows have reportedly already met with the Demons about a potential trade but Fagan refused to be drawn on the issue.
“I have been pretty consistent right throughout the course of the season, not talking about player contracting,” Fagan said.
“And I’m hardly going to change that position in grand final week.”
The Crows were treated to a raucous ovation from the crowd when they ran onto Adelaide Oval.
McGovern’s fitness was shaping as the sole selection headache for Adelaide, who will enter the MCG as warm favourites to claim the club’s first premiership since 1998.
He was replaced by utility Andy Otten in their preliminary final team.
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