With the 2019 AFL draft in the rearview mirror and club lists finalised for 2020, we decided – despite overwhelming popular opinion – that it’s not at all too early to start speculating about the season ahead.
A serious knee injury to Josh Jenkins has soured Adelaide’s 33-point AFL triumph over a depleted Richmond.
Jenkins kicked four goals in the Crows’ 15.11 (101) to 9.14 (68) win on Thursday night at Adelaide Oval.
But the key forward’s right knee hyperextended horribly in the last minute, muting the celebrations of his teammates.
Crows coach Don Pyke says Jenkins appears to have avoided tearing his anterior cruciate ligament, which would have ended his season.
“They (medicos) are confident that it is in tact, which is real positive news for Josh,” Pyke said.
“We have got to get it scanned and find out what it looks like, it’s too early to tell.”
Adelaide also lost defenders Daniel Talia (thigh) and Jake Kelly (calf) while forward Lachlan Murphy had some teeth knocked out and didn’t play after quarter-time.
The injuries came as Crow Brad Crouch produced a midfield masterclass with a game-high 43 disposals.
Crouch recorded 11 clearances and six inside 50s while his brother Matt had 35 touches and defender Rory Laird gathered 32 disposals.
The Tigers, with 17 players unavailable due to injury or illness, were superbly served by acting captain Dustin Martin (32 disposals, two goals).
Richmond stalwarts Bachar Houli (23 touches) and Dion Prestia (29 disposals) were prominent while Tom Lynch and Daniel Rioli booted two goals each.
Richmond defied their spate of injuries to be just six points down early in the final term.
But the visitors ultimately paid the price for separate slumbers when they conceded five unanswered goals in both the third and final quarters.
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick lamented Adelaide’s control at the clearances – Crows had 48 to Richmond’s 24.
“When you get done by 24 clearance-wise, it’s always going to hurt, especially putting a younger defence under pressure,” Hardwick said.
The Tigers slipped to a third consecutive loss despite a bright start which defied their undermanned status – they led by 11 points at halftime.
The Crows then went on a third-term scoring spree, booting seven goals to three – including five in a row.
Adelaide turned into the final term with a 13-point break but their lead shrunk to six points when Tiger Josh Caddy goaled.
The Crows rallied with another stretch of five unanswered goals – the last coming from yet another freakish Eddie Betts snap from the boundary line before Jenkins’ last-minute mishap.