YOUNG midfielder Brad Crouch has been biding his time with the Crows and this year, is ready to get his chance.
Crouch has done everything seemingly right – promising performances in all Adelaide NAB Cup and practice matches, two solid pre-seasons and a season on the park with West Adelaide SANFL list while ineligible, too young, for AFL matches.
Adelaide coach Brenton Sanderson this week made clear he had a near-fully fit squad of 47 players champing at the bit to play in the AFL season opener against Essendon tomorrow night.
Final selections were likely to go close to deadline today and there was a lot of anticipation about the playing group.
There has been plenty of media and fan hype about Crouch leading into the season, especially with potential for an AFL debut at AAMI Stadium in round one.
“It’s a difficult one. Crouchy’s an enormous raw talent,” Sanderson said.
“It was the same sort of thing with (Sam) Kerridge last year – Kerridge had a really good season last year but only played one match.
“We’ve got some good, young talent coming through and Crouchy’s one of those boys.
“He’s right in the mix this week.”
Crouch, drafted from North Ballarat Rebels, joined the Crows as a 17-year-old via the 2011 Greater Western Sydney mini-draft.
He has been living and training as a fully-fledged Crows player – learning team structures and fine-tuning his fitness and conditioning – the past year in readiness for his time to step up on the list and push for selections.
His father Phil Crouch, former Beaufort coach, said the year in waiting has been a great experience for his son and an AFL debut would be when the time was right.
“He’s been going well,” Crouch said.
“He’s played quite a few NAB Cup and practice games in a long pre-season. I think he’s happy to be finally into the the game side of things this summer.
“... The advantage is he’s had two pre-seasons with Adelaide now to work on his fitness.
“The senior players about the club have been a really great support network.”