CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 08: Brodie Smith of the Crows attempts a goal during the 2019 JLT Community Series AFL match between the Greater Western Sydney Giants and the Adelaide Crows at UNSW Canberra Oval on March 08, 2019 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Tracey Nearmy/Getty Images)
The JLT Community Series gave players, coaches and fans their first look at the new rule changes for 2019, including the mandatory 6-6-6 setup for centre bounces.
AFL media gave its verdict on the Crows ahead of the start of the home and away season on Saturday, March 23.
Midfield: The Crows started their wingers on the defensive side of centre, allowing them to drop back and help their defenders if they lost the centre clearance.
It made sense they did that given last year the Crows often started one or two extra players in defence at the centre bounce.
Rucks: The Crows played two ruckmen, Sam Jacobs and Reilly O’Brien, in their first JLT Community Series game, but went back to their usual model of having Jacobs as their one specialist ruck in their second match against GWS.
Jacobs played 77 per cent game time, with forward Josh Jenkins pinch-hitting when Jacobs was off the ground.
With the new set-position rules, the Crows are at a disadvantage when Jenkins contests a centre bounce.
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Back six at the bounce: The Crows’ defenders stood close to their direct opponent at the centre bounce, but weren’t afraid to zone off and help a teammate if the ball came in quickly.
The return of experienced key defender Daniel Talia in last weekend’s game against GWS helped with the Crows’ structure and organisation.
Forwards at the bounce: Key forward Josh Jenkins started from the goalsquare most of the time, while they also tried having goalsneak Eddie Betts as the deep forward at times. The other five forwards were generally 40m out from goal.
Kick-ins: Defender Brodie Smith took the majority of the kick-ins. Smith is a booming kick, but didn’t always go long. He was more than happy to pick out a teammate with a 30-40m pass and find holes in the opposition’s zone coming out of the defensive 50.
Other observations: The Crows have such an experienced side that they didn’t seem to be overly disrupted by the new restrictions on runners.
Source: Adelaide Crows website