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Crows may swing axe after Bomber loss: Bickley

Harry Thring  March 27, 2013 2:41 PM

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Brad Crouch could force his way into the Crows side if he plays well in the SANFL

When you lose when you're expected to win, that's generally not a good sign (of selection security)
ADELAIDE is set to closely monitor the opening round of the SANFL season as the Crows ponder swinging the axe after the upset loss to Essendon last Friday night.

Assistant coach Mark Bickley has flagged possible changes for the round two match against the Brisbane Lions as the Crows look to rebound from their opening round defeat.

The SANFL season starts on Thursday night and several Adelaide-listed players will feature in games across the weekend.

Bickley said on Wednesday the club would keep a close eye on several players who could come into the side to face the Lions.

"There's a number of guys we'll be looking at - Ian Callinan whether he can get himself fit, Sam Shaw's another, 'Crouchy (Brad Crouch) is another, there's a couple that were unlucky to miss out as well," Bickley said.

"Richard Tambling's been in really good form after a slight back injury… Shaun McKernan probably fits into that category as well.

"There's a whole range of guys and for most of those blokes they get an opportunity to play in the SANFL this week…we get a chance to go along and have a look.

"When you lose when you're expected to win, that's generally not a good sign (of selection security) … all players would recognise that they need to improve."

Callinan, in particular, would come into heavy contention to play in round two, should he recover from a knee injury.

The 30-year-old was Adelaide's second-highest goalkicker last season behind Taylor Walker with 39 majors and Bickley said he had "proven his worth".

"He's still in that sort of rehab phase and doing everything he can to give himself a tilt at training fully next week and making himself available," he said.

"Whether we pick him or not, look I think Ian has probably proven his worth … he's a really difficult match up for teams.

"He'd be very, very close to playing."

Bickley said he wasn't surprised by Essendon's impressive performance last weekend, given its 9-1 start to last season before injuries took their toll.

"If you look back at last year, do you remember what their record was after 10 games, the Bombers? Nine and one," Bickley said.

"When they had their players out there they performed really well and they had their players out there on the weekend.

"They've got the Brownlow medalist in the midfield, they've got two genuine rucks in Ryder and Bellchambers, they've got one of those guys up forward along with (Stewart) Crameri and Hurley and they've got some good tall backs as well.

"They're well equipped to play some really good footy…Essendon will be a strong team."

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