Chris Judd remains on the sideline this pre-season. Image courtesy of theaustralian.com.au/George Salpigtidis
Carlton is one win away from the NAB Cup and a shot at a fifth pre-season/night premiership. To get there, they’ll have to topple last year’s winner, Adelaide , and to illustrate the peculiarities of this warm-up competition, last season the Blues finished bottom of the table without a win.
New coach Mick Malthouse has little choice but to play a strong team on Friday night with several young players succumbing to injury throughout the NAB Cup, although Chris Judd will skip the match despite being made available for selection. Andrew Collins (ankle), Rhys O’Keeffe (heel) and Nick Graham (knee) are all out for around a month, while improving midfielder David Ellard (hamstring) also set to spend some time in the physio room. The good news is that veteran Heath Scotland will play his first match of the pre-season, giving the Blues’ midfield added punch.
A Crows team which looked on paper to be stronger and more experienced than Geelong was quite simply smashed by the Cats last weekend, and a concern for coach Brenton Sanderson must be the early efforts of forward Taylor Walker who was held goalless by Harry Taylor. Adelaide won’t be far off full strength for the match at AAMI Stadium, stiffening up the backline with the inclusion of Rising Star award-winner Daniel Talia and Sam Shaw, while Rory Sloane, Ian Callinan and Jared Petrenko will also play.
Adelaide has won four of the last five at home against Carlton, and beat the Blues by 69 points in the only clash between the teams last season. The Crows won the shortened round 1 NAB Cup match last year at AAMI Stadium by 11 points.
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