The Adelaide Crows may be winless and sitting on the bottom of the AFL ladder, but its youngsters are as motivated as ever for success ahead of a jam-packed AFL schedule.
- Essendon defeated the Crows by three points last Sunday
- Crows midfielder Brad Crouch has suffered a hamstring injury
- The Crows are scheduled to play four games in 16 days
The Crows will play four games in the space of 16 days in the coming weeks amid the AFL’s coronavirus-disrupted premiership season.
Will Hamill and Fischer McAsey are among a number of young players to be given an opportunity this season and both say they are looking forward to the upcoming challenge.
But with captain Rory Sloane already out with a long-term injury, the side has been dealt another blow with ball-magnet Brad Crouch out for up to three weeks with a hamstring injury.
The news is better for forward Darcy Fogarty, who will be available for selection after recovering from a shoulder injury, while Ned McHenry is also fit again.
Stand-in captain Tom Doedee will be available despite also injuring a hamstring last Sunday.
The Crows fell just short against Essendon last weekend and are deep into the early stages of a list rebuild with first-year coach Matthew Nicks in charge.
Nicks has blooded five debutants so far this season, with Hamill and McAsey joined by Ned McHenry, Shane McAdam and Andrew McPherson to feature for the senior side.
Youngsters relishing senior opportunities
Despite missing some stars, two of the club’s fresh-faced talents believe there are still plenty of positives ahead of a challenging few weeks.
McAsey, who was handed his debut in Round 1, said the limited turnaround between games could be good thing for his side.
“We’ve spoken a lot about what we can improve on so [with] those tight turnarounds, we’ll be able to sort of rectify it quicker,” he said.
The 19-year-old, who can play in defence or attack, said he was relishing the opportunities handed to him to play at AFL level.
He said he was still learning as much as he could about the speed of the game and battling against bigger-bodied opponents.
“It has been a strange year and a bit challenging at times but I’m just really grateful to be able to be playing footy so early on in my career,” he said.
“I’d probably expect there’d be a few more debutants, I think that will be exciting for the club.”
‘We’ve got to get our bodies right’
Hamill, also 19, made his debut last month in Round 3 against the Gold Coast Suns, picking up nine disposals in his first outing.
He played his best game so far against Essendon on Sunday, racking up 17 disposals and six tackles in the three-point loss.
He said it was important his side got the recovery process right in the next few weeks.
“We’ve kind of really got to get our bodies right to back up and play games,” he said.
“We’ve been going pretty hard on the track the past month especially, so I feel we’re in a good space there.
“It will be really interesting to see, it’s never happened before so it will be really peculiar to see what happens in the next few weeks.”
The speedy defender said he was also relishing his opportunities in the side, and felt he was starting to work with his teammates better in defence.
“We’ve got a good tight-knit group down there.”
The Crows take on 17th-placed North Melbourne at Metricon Stadium this Saturday, and McAsey said both sides would be desperate for a win.
“We see it as a game that will be tightly contested so we’ll definitely be doing a lot of work this week and trying to win that game,” he said.
Meanwhile, ladder leaders Port Adelaide will take on Melbourne on Thursday night without in-form youngster Todd Marshall after he had surgery on a broken thumb.
The club said Marshall would miss about six weeks of football and is in danger of missing the rest of the season due to the AFL’s accelerated fixtures.
Defender Trent McKenzie will be pushing for a recall after missing the side’s 29-point loss to St Kilda on Saturday because of back spasms in the lead up to the match.
The Power still remain on top of the ladder, sitting above the Brisbane Lions on percentage only, with both sides notching six wins and two losses.