Crows coach Don Pyke told reporters at Adelaide Airport today that small forward Riley Knight was likely to come into the team for his first game of the season at the SCG tomorrow night.
Goal-kicking star Eddie Betts has already been ruled out, prompting Adelaide to take Knight, Curtly Hampton, Jordan Gallucci, Andy Otten and Myles Poholke in an extended squad that travelled to Sydney today.
Sloane has been struggling with a foot injury and wasn’t his usual self in last week’s 48-point loss to Collingwood at Adelaide Oval.
Pyke admitted the team had more than one player who had been struggling with injury on the field.
“We’ve got some guys who we played who were less than 100 per cent, to be honest, but they’re progressing…,” he said.
“Rory’s still a bit sore.
“He’s one which we’ve got to look at and (decide) what’s best for Rory and best for the team to give him a chance to perform and play at the level we know he’s capable of.
“Clearly in the last couple weeks, as much as he’s been really willing, clearly his body is not in the space it needs to be for him to be able to perform the way we know Rory Sloane plays.”
Captain Taylor Walker, criticised by some commentators for his performance last week, had “turned the corner a little bit”.
“As is normal with guys who haven’t done a lot of pre-season, they get a bit sore and maybe his load and his build-up was a bit quicker than his body was ready to cope with, and that’s just meant … we’ve been trying to manage him,” Pyke said.
“He trained really well the other day so we’re really confident with Tex and his availability this week.”
He said the team had gone in to last week’s match – played in soggy conditions – with too many tall players.
“I think on reflection last week, we went in too tall so we’ll look at that in selection,” Pyke said.
Hard-running Knight was likely to play.
“He’s the sort of guy we have missed this season: he can not only get some good forward pressure on, but can give us some run around the midfield as well.”
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