AFL Friday Night Blockbuster
With top two teams Adelaide Crows and Geelong Cats going head-to-head at the Adelaide Oval on July 21, only one question seems to be relevant at all: will the Crows finish what they have started? The Crows have without a doubt been this season’s all-round favourites – and the team that has been setting the pace.
Mention must however be made of the troublesome fact that the Cats have only suffered one loss in their past eight matches. Whether this is cause for concern in the mind of Crows’ coach Don Pyke is arguable. Pyke seems ever-confident despite the Cats having torn apart his game plan during the last three matches.
The bottom line here is that the Crows have not beaten the Cats since 2013, with the Cats showing an uncanny almost super-skill in exploiting the Crows’ signature strategies. This did not go unnoticed by Pyke, who on being questioned regarding the clawing apart of his team’s game plan, said that due notice had been taken regarding certain ways in which other sides were trying to play against the Crows. He went on to say that he and the team had recognised the need to adapt and implement and perfect key changes before the upcoming match on July 21.
The question begs whether the Crows will have learned all that they need to learn in time before Friday’s play-offs. Previous match statistics highlight that this had not been the case in the past – the learning curve had been steep and the Crows had fallen short.
There’s no two ways about it: the Cats have perfected finding the ball and holding on to it, into an art. Historically, this has flabbergasted the Crows on more than a couple of occasions. Since 2014, the Crows have managed to enjoy an average of 11 more ball possessions than their opponents during any given game – with the exception of the Cats. The Crows’ defence against the Cats has also been a game changer – their lack of defence that is.
This having been said, the Crows’ playing style is said to have changed since last going up against the Cats – this statement by those apparently in the know. James Podsiadly, assistant coach to Pyke and former Cat, seems to be drawing courage from the fact that both sides’ game plan and playing style had changed considerably since their last head-to-head.
July 21st will reveal all.
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