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No leadership void for Crows, says Douglas

Richard Douglas of the Crows in action during the 2013 AFL Round 21 match between the Western Bulldogs and the Adelaide Crows at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on August 18, 2013. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Richard Douglas says the Crows have plentiful options to replace injured captain Nathan Van Berlo
ADELAIDE says it has the leadership depth to cover the loss of skipper Nathan van Berlo, who is set to spend at least six months on the sidelines with an Achilles injury.

Van Berlo ruptured his Achilles in a freak training accident on Monday, when he was struck on the back of the heel by a weighted sled, and is expected to be out of action until late in the season.

His absence means the club is likely to name an interim skipper within the next few weeks, with Patrick Dangerfield or Rory Sloane expected to be offered the job.

Star midfielder Richard Douglas wouldn't name names but said there were several players capable of filling the primary leadership role.

"It's not ideal, but we've got enough leaders in the group to fill the void.

"We’ve got some really senior players that aren't in the leadership group as well, and then of course we've got our leaders.

"There's a number of guys – I'm not prepared to name guys, but you obviously know who's up for the running.

"Whoever does get the opportunity is really going to do a good job and will get plenty of support from the other boys out there, and VB will be an excellent mentor for that person."

After a career best season in 2013, Douglas is one who has been talked up as a possible replacement captain.

The 26-year-old finished runner-up in the best and fairest last year after averaging 23 disposals a game, better than in his club champion 2010 season.

"It's nice to be talked up as a leader around the club, it's just been a natural progression for me with my footy," he said.

"That's nice but as I said, we've got some really good young developing leaders and it's something we're really working towards with our culture."

Douglas said his fine form in 2013 had carried through the summer, during which he had worked on remaining in contests for longer.

The tweaking of his game comes after improving his fitness last summer to get to more contests.

Now he wants to have a greater influence on them once he's there.

"I'm probably a little bit fitter and a bit stronger and probably a bit smarter as well," he said.

[I'm trying to stay] involved in contests – you see a lot of the best players will get a possession and they're able to get a chain of two or three.

"Probably in the past I've got one possession and I've exited the contest maybe a bit quickly."

Twitter: @AFL_Harry