Brad Crouch has starred for Adelaide reserves against Sturt
BRAD Crouch has starred for Adelaide's SANFL side in his first competitive hit-out of the year, showing no sign of the Achilles issue that has hindered his pre-season.
The runner-up in last year's NAB AFL Rising Star Award moved cleanly in Adelaide's 71-point SANFL trial match win over Sturt on Saturday morning and was clearly the best midfielder on the ground, despite no official stats being available.
Crouch's performance sees him firm as a likely round-one inclusion for the Crows side that will play Geelong on March 20.
But it was forward Lewis Johnston who stole the spotlight on Saturday morning, booting seven goals.
In its first-ever trial match, the Crows' SANFL side thrashed Sturt by 71 points, with Johnston booting seven goals.
Adelaide reserves coach Heath Younie said it wasn't just Johnston's raw output that impressed, but his work ethic.
"It wasn't so much the seven goals that we were happy with, it was more his effort," Younie said.
"I thought he competed really well, and he just got rewarded for that."
Along with Johnston and Crouch, Sam Kerridge and rookie Charlie Cameron also shone.
Kerridge kicked four goals and Cameron two, with the rookie's defensive pressure a highlight.
"We were really happy with Charlie's output when he didn't have the footy," Younie said.
"We'd love for him to kick more goals, but if we put it into perspective, it's his first hit-out with the other boys.
"But he does look exciting."
ADELAIDE 5.3 8.8 12.12 19.18 (132)
STURT 2.2 5.4 8.5 9.7 (61)
Adelaide: Johnston 7, Kerridge 4, Robinson 2, Cameron 2, Burns 2, Graham, Osborn
Sturt: Vitkunas 2, Smith 2, Krause 2, Penfold, Evans, Kelly
Adelaide: Johnston, Crouch, Kerridge, Burns, Battersby, Callinan, Reilly
Sturt: Wilson, Stephens, Coad, Vitkunas, Penfold