Crows veterans will be ready

Written By Unknown on Jumat, 24 Januari 2014 | 12.50

The Adelaide squad, with Eddie Betts with James Podsiadly centred, are in good shape. Picture: Sam Wundke Source: News Limited

ADELAIDE has rated its pre-season as one of its best in recent years with all but two of its veterans and high-profile recruits expected to be ready for Round 1

There is still the elephant in the room - the ruptured achilles tendon that put captain Nathan van Berlo on the long-term injury list - but aside from that the Crows could not be more pleased with how they're tracking on the eve of annual trial matches.

Their first NAB Challenge practice match is against Port Adelaide at Richmond Oval on February 16.

Brent Reilly, who had a shoulder reconstruction in July, is close to full training, asked only to avoid heavy tackles. Scott Thompson, the 2011 and 2012 Malcolm Blight Medallist, is effectively training at full pace but like several of the senior players, is allowed to gradually build up to taking part of every drill.


Those senior player also include ex-Blue Eddie Betts and ex-Cat James Podsiadly, both of whom add significant depth to the club's forward line.

The situation is a far cry from some of the pre-seasons wracked by injury and bad luck under Neil Craig, and puts the club in a better position than last year, when it was numbed by the Kurt Tippett scandal and would lose key forward Taylor Walker against Carlton in round five at the MCG.

Brent Reilly gets a kick away at training. Photo: Sam Wundke Source: News Limited

Walker, the second senior player who is unlikely to play in round one, has met every target as he recovers from his knee reconstruction and the club has been impressed with his dedication.

Walker is a character, one who lights up the club rooms with his jokes and also fires from the hip on social media, but he has impressed the coaching panel with his business-like approach to his recovery.

He is now kicking and catching in old-fashioned lane-work, working tirelessly in the gym and is on the brink of beginning agility work that includes twisting and turning.


The latest medical advice is that he will return no later than at the generally proscribed 12-month mark from knee reconstruction, but appears likely to play earlier.

``He's training really well,'' football operations manager Phil Harper said. ``The medical guys haven't given us a starting date for him, but it certainly won't be longer than the 12 months.

``He's right on target; in fact, he's probably ahead of target. It will just be when the medical guys give him the all clear.

``But he's champing at the bit. He'd play tomorrow if it was up to him but he's also happy to listen to what the medical guys say.

``Reilly, his range of movement is not 100 per cent yet but it's improving and they're really happy with his progression. `Thommo', his hip surgery has restricted his pre-season but he's up and running now.


``They might not be ready in the middle of February but they'll certainly be ready by late February.

``The van Berlo one was a really unfortunate accident but other than that we've had a pretty injury-free run. They've been really conservative with bringing guys back.

``But most of the older guys, it probably isn't hurtful for them to ease into the pre-season games as well.''

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