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Adelaide scout to fill in for banned Bailey

Harry Thring  February 27, 2013 2:53 PM

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Brenton Sanderson (centre) says Rob Harding will do a good job in filling in for Dean Bailey

ADELAIDE'S Melbourne-based forward scout Rob Harding will take over Dean Bailey's match-day role during his 16-round suspension.

The AFL banned Bailey from having anything to do with the Crows during matches in the wake of the Melbourne tanking scandal.

Crows coach Brenton Sanderson knows Harding from the time they spent together at Geelong, with Adelaide poaching the scout from the Cattery when Sanderson was appointed at West Lakes.

"Rob Harding, who does our forward scout work … he'll effectively be Dean Bailey on match day," Sanderson said.

"He's been great for us in the last 12 months and he's worked at Geelong and North Melbourne.

"We sort of pinched him from Geelong when I got the job and he's based in Melbourne, saw about 80 games live last year, does a lot of our trends and obviously opposition analysis.

"He'll be [in Adelaide] more now and he'll be in the box on match day … which will be a great experience for him and we are confident he can step up and do that role really well."

Bailey's suspension has only just begun, but that of the side's football manager Phil Harper will end on Friday.
 
The AFL suspended Harper for two months last November for his role in Adelaide's salary cap breaches regarding Kurt Tippett.
 
After stepping in during his suspension, list manager David Noble is expected to absorb part of Harper's role, although the Crows are yet to decide what responsibilities the football manager will relinquish.
 
"It'll be great to get Phil back and we're looking forward to having him back at work on Friday, his role's changed a little bit, but he's still football manager," Sanderson said.
 
"He'll still be heavily involved on match day and I guess 90 per cent of the work he was doing before he'll continue to do."

Adelaide heads to Simonds Stadium on Saturday for the second round of the NAB Cup to face Geelong, a side Sanderson predicted would remain a competition benchmark in 2013.

He said the Cats would retain their 'top four' status this season, having lost it last season for the first time in five years.

"They're dangerous, I think they'll be a top four side again this year," he said.

"You put up their best 25, they're still very strong, there have been some significant retirements over the two or three years but they're still strong."

A further challenge for Sanderson on Saturday will be the capping of rotations to 80 for the remainder of the NAB Cup.

Sanderson said his side had "reached the ceiling" when it came to rotations in 2012, averaging a League-high 152 per game.

"Physically you just can't rotate any more than about what we're doing anyway … we've pretty much reached the ceiling," he said.

"The AFL are looking at data to potentially bring in an interchange cap down the track.

"They're probably just having a look at 80, they might settle on 100, they might just let it go, hopefully they make the right call there and don't jump at shadows."

Harry Thring is a reporter for AFL Media. Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_Harry.