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Grand Final 2017: No injury concerns for Tigers or Crows

Football

The Richmond and Adelaide coaches have given their AFL grand final sides a clean bill of health after this morning’s final training sessions.

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Crows coach Don Pyke has dismissed any concern over midfielder Hugh Greenwood’s suspected calf complaint after Adelaide trained at the MCG today.

“All fine,” Pyke told reporters.

And Tigers coach Damien Hardwick says his side has no fitness worries entering Saturday’s premiership decider.

“We are in a good state … we have probably been unchanged for the last three weeks,” Hardwick told reporters.

Both clubs named unchanged sides as they seek to end long grand final droughts – Richmond haven’t claimed the premiership cup since 1980 and Adelaide’s last flag was in 1998.

While the Crows will enter the MCG as favourites, Pyke said only a total team effort would win the premiership.

“We have got to make sure we use all the tools and all the weapons we have got to find our way through whatever defensive mechanism Richmond have got,” Pyke said.

https://twitter.com/Adelaide_FC/status/913586730967613441

Grand Final 2017 – Key details and match-ups

Adelaide v Richmond at MCG, 2.30pm

Head to head: Crows 23 Tigers 12

Last clash: Round 6 2017 – Crows 21.14 (140) bt Tigers 10.4 (64) at Adelaide Oval

Head to head in finals: first finals meeting

Grand final record: Crows 2 wins (1997, 1998), 0 losses; Tigers 10 wins (1920, 1921, 1932, 1934, 1943, 1967, 1969, 1973, 1974, 1980), 11 losses

The wait is finally over for the two sides with the longest active AFL grand-final droughts. Adelaide last competed for the flag in 1998, while Richmond have had to wait 35 long years between drinks. Tigers fans are daring to dream but they will face an imposing opponent in the Crows. Already boasting elite forwards like skipper Taylor Walker and Eddie Betts and a strong back line led by Daniel Talia, the minor premiers have turned their supposed weakness – their midfield – into a huge strength with Rory Sloane and the Crouch brothers, Matt and Brad, important cogs. But Richmond have enormous belief and momentum, not to mention the best player in the AFL in Dustin Martin. Their stifling pressure game has proved too much for many opposition teams to overcome this season and they’ve taken it to even greater heights in the finals. Jack Riewoldt leads a unique forward line that relies on a brigade of smaller, more mobile players that has got the job done on the back of their relentless work-rate. Both coaches named unchanged line-ups for the clash.

The big question: Can the Crows stop Martin? The record-breaking Brownlow Medal winner has had a strong finals campaign and loves performing on the big stage. His strength and ability to fend off opponents makes him extremely difficult to match up on in the middle. His dynamism and contested marking ability means he’s also hard to stop when he is played up forward. If the Crows can keep ‘Dusty’ quiet, they’ll go a long way towards winning a third flag.

Key match-ups

Taylor Walker (Adelaide) v Alex Rance (Richmond)

This heavyweight stoush between Walker, the captain of the minor premiers, and Rance, the All-Australian captain, will go a long way to deciding the match. Walker hasn’t gone goalless all season and also leads the league in goal assists. Watching Tex duel with Rance, the most influential defender in the league, might just be worth the exorbitant price of admission alone.

Sam Jacobs (Adelaide) v Toby Nankervis (Richmond)

Nankervis has performed one of the most selfless roles of 2017, soldiering the bulk of Richmond’s ruck work to allow coach Damien Hardwick tremendous flexibility elsewhere on the field. The ex-Sydney tall is one of the recruits of the year, and faces his biggest challenge on Saturday. Jacobs is the league’s hitouts king – more than 100 ahead of anyone else.

Eddie Betts (Adelaide) v Dylan Grimes (Richmond)

When Betts is up and about, so are Adelaide. The creative genius has the ability to change games like few others and must be closely minded from anywhere in the 50-metre arc. The 30-year-old’s emotion on the final siren last week shows his desire to finally play in a grand final. But in Grimes, he has a worthy adversary. The vastly improved 26-year-old has enjoyed a breakout season by blanketing talls and smalls alike.

Daniel Talia (Adelaide) v Jack Riewoldt (Richmond)

Riewoldt’s 52 goals is the biggest haul by any Tiger forward by some margin – Brownlow Medallist Dustin Martin has 35, with small forward Dan Butler next best with 29. So if two-time All Australian Talia can produce a lock-down job on the mercurial talent, Richmond might find it hard to kick a winning score against the best attack in the league.

– AAP

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