ADELAIDE coach Brenton Sanderson says emerging forward Lewis Johnston isn't for sale as the Crows prepare to be aggressive in the AFL trade market.
Johnston's stocks rose on Saturday when he kicked six goals in his seventh AFL game, a 68-point thumping of Melbourne at AAMI Stadium.
He falls out of contract at season's end but Sanderson warned rivals off the 22-year-old.
"He will certainly play for us next year. He will be offered a contract without question," Sanderson said.
Johnston's rise comes in a grim year for the Crows, who will miss the finals after being beaten preliminary finalists last year.
Adelaide have taken injury hits this season with key forwards Taylor Walker (knee reconstruction) and Josh Jenkins (broken ankle) both sidelined.
Their replacement Tom Lynch was a late withdrawal from Saturday's game and will have foot surgery next week.
"It has been one of those seasons for us - it seems like every corner we turn, we are met with a trauma injury and a player going in for surgery," Sanderson said.
Adding insult to the injuries is that Adelaide have been barred from the initial two rounds of the looming national draft, penalties imposed on the club for their rule-breaking 2009 contract with now-Sydney forward Kurt Tippett.
"We will explore every avenue to make our squad better in the off-season," Sanderson said.
"We understand that we haven't got the draft picks in rounds one and two but there is going to be opportunities for free agency, for trading, and hopefully opportunities to move up in the draft.
"How that is going to play out, we will just wait and see."
"I don't think we're playing bad footy, we're just not playing good footy often enough,” Sanderson remarked.
"We're just showing little signs in games where we look horrible.
"We've got to eliminate those patches and that will be a focus over this summer."
Daniel Talia copped a nasty knock to his glute while Sam Kerridge also took a hit to the ribs. Both will be ready for next week's game against West Coast.
In the last quarter the Adelaide crowd conducted a Mexican wave that best-afield Scott Thompson thoroughly enjoyed.
"It was a bit old school and it was actually a great feeling," he said.
"I did sneak a moment there to have a look around and it was great to see the crowd enjoying themselves."
Despite a disappointing season for the Crows, Thompson believes they can be a late September contender next season.
"Heading forward the club's got great depth and we'll get back some good players next year." he said.
"I think we're in a good position to still give it a really good nudge at that final week in September [next year]".