When: Friday March 22, 8:10PM
Where: AAMI Stadium
Forecast: Cloudy, 18 degrees
Sportsbet: Adelaide $1.45, Essendon $2.80
The Toyota 2013 Premiership Season kicks off with the Adelaide Crows and the Essendon Football Club clashing at AAMI Stadium. Both sides had incredibly distracting off-seasons, with the Crows embroiled in the Kurt Tippett/salary cap saga, while Essendon are still in the midst of the ASADA investigation into drug use among players. Both sides will be keen for the first bounce.
Stop him at all costs
The Crows have plenty of dominant matchwinners, such as Patrick Dangerfield, Scott Thompson, Sam Jacobs and Daniel Talia, but the one Essendon defenders will be losing sleep over tonight is Taylor Walker. ‘The Mullet’ hasn’t been outstanding in the NAB Cup, but in 2012 he booted 63 goals, entrenching himself as one of the next dominant forwards of the current era. Who does James Hird send to Tex? Cale Hooker could be a possibility, while Jake Carlisle proved last season he isn’t incapable of playing on the big forwards. Or we could see Michael Hurley thrown back for a mouthwatering contest.
The Crows will have their own worries though. The 2012 Brownlow Medalist needs to be curtailed. Jobe Watson could determine the fate of the match by his own game. As captain, he has been under more scrutiny than most during the off-season drama, and he will be hoping to put in a big performance. The Crows could put Thompson on Watson, which would be an all-star match-up, or they could bring Brent Reilly into the midfield to try and curtail him.
Mini-draft selection Brad Crouch is a strong chance to make his long-awaited debut for Adelaide on Friday night. He spent 2012 training with the group and playing in the SANFL, and is primed to make a big impact from the get-go.
Hird has made it clear that exciting father-son recruit Joe Daniher won’t play, but Nick Kommer will. The mature-age (22) recruit will make his debut for the Bombers after being selected in the fourth round of the National Draft. From East Perth, he is a hardened midfielder who had an impact in the NAB Cup and won’t be overawed on the big stage.
Reliability, consistency, and durability. If you look up the SuperCoach Dictionary, under those words you will find Scott Thompson. The Adelaide midfielder has been a beacon of success in the past two seasons, playing 22 games and averaging 110.5 points each year. He has been carefully managed in the NAB Cup, playing two full-length games and averaging 85 points. But once the real stuff kicks off, you’ll realise that it is $591,000 well spent.
He was one of the biggest movers in the off-season, now it’s time for Brendon Goddard to walk the walk. The St Kilda star of 10 seasons may find himself wearing new colours, but he is still a SuperCoach staple in your defence or midfield. He played two games in the NAB Cup as well as the two shortened versions. In the two full-length games, he scored 102 points, which gives you plenty of confidence in selecting him at $541,500.
It is not often that Adelaide plays Essendon in Melbourne, with this clash being the fifth home game for the Crows in a row. Since 2000, the Crows and the Bombers have played 17 times. From left to right, this is the result of each game from the start of the milennium.
E – E – A – E – A – E – A – A – E – E – A – A – A – A – A – E – A
Adelaide home game (AAMI Stadium)
Essendon home game (Etihad Stadium)
This should be a cracking game, and although there will be plenty of miskicks and poor handballs, it will be great to have the footy back. Given it’s a home game and the crowd should well be in excess of 45,000, i’m tipping the ADELAIDE CROWS to defeat Essendon.
First goalkicker: Brent Stanton