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Gibbs returns from Crows exile

Football

Bryce Gibbs’ AFL exile is over, with Adelaide summoning the veteran for Saturday’s game against North Melbourne.

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Gibbs was dropped after round one but will replace injured midfielder Brad Crouch (hamstring) for the fixture on the Gold Coast.

Acting Crows captain Tom Doedee will also be sidelined by a hamstring strain.

Winless Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks says Brodie Smith will lead the side against the Kangaroos.

Gibbs will add to his 226 AFL games after a tormented time – the high-profile recruit from Carlton fell out of favour when managing only a dozen games last year under ex-coach Don Pyke.

But first-year head coach Nicks says the 31-year-old’s attitude to his recent period of non-selection has been faultless.

“Gibba will play, I think it’s one we have all been waiting for,” Nicks told reporters on Friday.

“Last week we spoke about how he performed on-field (in practice games).

“We have been really pleased with what he has been doing off-field – leadership, working with our younger group, his attitude, he has been up and about.”

While Crouch will miss up to three weeks, Nicks was confident Doedee – acting skipper in the absence of regular leader Rory Sloane (broken hand) – would return for Adelaide’s next game.

Nicks declined to detail Doedee’s replacement ahead of teams being named later Friday but fellow backman Jake Kelly is in the frame after being dropped last week.

The Crows face North on a club-record losing streak of 11 games, across two seasons.

And while the Kangaroos are also struggling, in 17th spot and on a six-game losing stretch, Nicks was loathe to deem the encounter his side’s best chance yet of a breakthrough win.

“There’s not a week where we feel like we can’t win a game,” he said.

“But some are bigger challenges than other.”

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