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Crows still cautious on Crouch after 'little breakdowns'

Harry Thring  March 2, 2016 2:12 PM

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We'll give him all the time he needs so he doesn't have those little breakdowns again

ADELAIDE midfielder Brad Crouch remains in doubt for the Crows' final NAB Challenge clash against Gold Coast on March 11. 

Crouch missed the club's opening pre-season match against West Coast after pulling up sore from an internal trial and also missed last weekend's two-point loss to Fremantle.

While a long history of crippling injuries meant the Crows have treated Crouch's latest hiccup conservatively, it was expected the 22-year-old would be fit to face the Suns. 

Teammate Brodie Smith admitted on Wednesday that he wasn't sure if Crouch would make it.

"He trained on his own today – we had a bit of a lighter session and he's at the stage where he needed a bit more in the legs for next week," Smith said.

"We're taking a really cautious approach with him because obviously he's had a few issues.

"He's trying to get right for next week, but whether that happens or not we're not sure, so we'll wait and see." 

Whilst Crouch's return to competitive football appears precariously placed, Smith denied he or any of the Crows felt nervous for the midfielder.

"[We're] not nervous [for him], we're excited to get him back … I guess it's a little frustrating for us because we are being so cautious with him … we really just want to have him out on the park," Smith said.

"He put in some really good sessions over the summer when we did match play and you saw what he could do.

"We'll give him all the time he needs so he doesn't have those little breakdowns again."

Smith signed a new two-year deal to remain at Adelaide on Tuesday – a decision he said was easy. 

At training on Wednesday he was seen launching a number of long-range torpedoes from the goal-square, one of which almost made it to the middle of the ground. 

Smith said coach Don Pyke had spoken to him about the potential of using his kicking as a weapon during games. 

Smith doubted he would be used as a go-to kicker from full-back though, insisting the responsibility would fall to whoever was closest to the ball in order to launch a rebound attack.