Setback: Brenton Sanderson has revealed Graham Johncock has suffered a recurrence of his long-standing back injury. Picture: Sarah Reed. Source: Sunday Mail (SA)
CROWS veteran Graham Johncock will not be handed a farewell game - and the fan favourite does not want his last game at Adelaide to be a gift.
Crows coach Brenton Sanderson last night declared he will not recall 227-game Johncock simply to allow the converted defender to take a bow before the Adelaide supporters.
"I don't like farewell games - and I'm not going to give players a (free) game," said Sanderson in his a mid-term report with FIVEaa last night.
"And Graham said to me today `don't give me a game'. He wants to earn his spot."
But Johncock - who has not played in the AFL since the round three Showdown against Port Adelaide - still appears far from an AFL recall for his third game of the season.
Sanderson last night revealed Johncock, 30, has suffered a recurrence of his long-standing back injury.
"Physically," Sanderson said of Johncock, "he can't meet the demands of the AFL game.
"We need him at his best to contribute.
"Graham still has a big role to play. It's up to me to keep him motivated and engaged in the group because he is an important player for us."
Sanderson last night finally conceded his club's new fitness program - after losing long-standing fitness coach Stephen Schwerdt to Gold Coast - had failed to maintain standards.
"Externally, the Crows always have been seen as super fit but this year we had an emphasis on being stronger, for finals," said Sanderson, whose 11th-ranked team may not qualify for September.
"It is an area we need to get better at ... we need to run out games better."