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Crouch to miss Crows opening game

Football

Key midfielder Matt Crouch will miss Adelaide’s AFL season opener on Saturday, with the Crows set to blood two debutants as they look to prove the critics wrong against a highly-fancied Geelong side.

 

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Crouch will miss round one and possibly longer because a hip and groin issues which have lingered since having off-season hip surgery.

“Matty has pulled up a little sore through the hips and the groins and just lacked the power that he was after today during the (training) session,” Crows coach Matthew Nicks told reporters on Thursday.

“From more of a medium, longer term view, we didn’t want to take a chance this week.

“(It’s) a little bit of setback for Matty but more management for the time being to make sure we don’t put him out there and he can’t perform at his best.

“It’s a tough one for me to put a (recovery) time on it.”

Adelaide will give AFL debuts to fresh draftees Sam Berry and James Rowe against the Cats at Adelaide Oval.

The Crows welcomed Berry with pick No.28 and Rowe at pick No.38 at last year’s draft.

But Nicks and his selection committee opted against debuting the club’s highest-ever draft pick Riley Thilthorpe, the No.2 selection last year.

“We thought about round one … there’s a certain amount of guys that you would love to get in and play at the level,” Nicks said of Thilthorpe.

“It’s a matter of how many (debutees) do you want to get into a footy side or you’re lack of probably experienced leaders.

“This week we go up against the most experienced team in the competition so on the balance of how we went about that, it led to Riley not playing this weekend.

Meanwhile, Port Adelaide will give club debuts to ex-Sydney backman Aliir Aliir and former Essendon forward Orazio Fantasia for their clash their clash against the unfancied Kangaroos at Docklands on Sunday.

Last night, reigning premiers Richmond pulled away late against Carlton – kicking the final three goals of the match to come out 25 point winners.

It is Carlton’s ninth straight loss to Richmond in the first game of the season.

-with AAP

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