ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 28: Daniel Talia of the Crows handpasses the ball past Tom Lynch of the Suns during the 2018 AFL round six match between the Adelaide Crows and the Gold Coast Suns at Adelaide Oval on April 28, 2018 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by AFL Media)
Dual All Australian defender Daniel Talia should play at least one of Adelaide’s JLT Community Series games after making a speedy recovery from knee surgery, Crows coach Don Pyke says.
Pyke told AFL.com.au on Tuesday Adelaide’s list was in good health ahead of its opening JLT game against Port Adelaide on March 2, with Brad Crouch (groins) on track to return after a year on the sidelines, along with Talia’s defensive sidekick Kyle Hartigan (knee).
In other good news for Crows fans, Pyke was also optimistic midfielder Hugh Greenwood could overcome a lingering abdominal injury in time to play in round one against Hawthorn.
Talia had an operation in December to repair the meniscus in his left knee after tearing it while reaching for his mobile phone as he lay in bed.
With Hartigan having earlier undergone surgery on both knees, uncertainty surrounded the fitness of Adelaide’s best two key defenders as the club headed into the Christmas break.
However, Pyke said both backmen had made encouraging progress since returning to the club last month.
“It think Daniel is now nine weeks post-surgery. From conversations in the last couple of days they’re really confident he’s tracking well to play some JLT,” Pyke said.
“He might be pushing for even both JLTs at this point, which is really positive, but he’s obviously got to get some tick-offs from the surgeons.
“Kyle is a little bit ahead of him, he’s been back in full training for two or three weeks.
“We’d expect both of those guys to play some minutes in JLT and fingers crossed, assuming nothing pops up, put themselves in the spot for round one.”
Crouch, 25, has enjoyed a strong summer preparation after undergoing groin surgery last June, with a minor foot strain last month the only real hiccup.
BRAD’S PROGRESS: Road to recovery
The classy midfielder has not played a senior game since the Crows’ 2017 Grand Final loss to Richmond and has been sorely missed.
“Groin wise, it’s all settled down well. Brad’s strength through there is really good, he’s not reporting any soreness,” Pyke said.
“Fingers crossed for Brad he gets a good run at it because he sort of deserves it given some of the setbacks he’s had in the last four or five years, whether it be groins, feet, hamstrings or the other stuff that he’s had.”
Greenwood has been on a modified program for much of the summer, but Pyke said the former category B rookie was set to increase his work load this week.
“Hugh’s injury has settled down pretty well, I think he’s doing some training this week with us,” Pyke said.
“They’ll graduate him back into training, but probably his last little setback after Christmas has meant he’s chasing himself a little bit.
“But the expectation is he should be around the mark for round one. It will just be a case of how quickly he can build up his training, having been off to allow that to settle down properly.”
Greenwood has quickly become an important player for the Crows since debuting in 2017.
Last season, he finished fifth in Adelaide’s best and fairest award, finishing first at the club for tackles, second for clearances and fourth for centre clearances.
Source: Adelaide Crows website