INFLUENTIAL Adelaide ruckman Sam Jacobs hates missing games at the best of times, but believes taking extra care with his ankle injury will pay off in the finals.
Jacobs has played 111 out of a possible 115 games for the Crows in the past five seasons.
Two of the four games he missed during that time were in round 20 and 21 this year when he was out with an ankle complaint.
Jacobs told AFL.com.au the ankle wasn't giving him any dramas heading into next Saturday night's elimination final against North Melbourne at Adelaide Oval.
"I'm really happy where it's at," Jacobs said.
"Having that extra week off against Fremantle (in round 21) has enabled it to recover that little bit extra rather than if I rushed back.
"I don't like watching from the sideline, so it was hard when the doc said we're going to give it one more, but I'll back him in and it's all about playing finals and playing well at this time of the year."
Jacobs has enjoyed another consistent season with the Crows, but had his colours lowered by West Coast journeyman Jonathan Giles in the 29-point loss to the Eagles in round 23.
"I was pretty disappointed with my game," Jacobs said.
"There were a few areas where I didn't play as well as I would have liked.
"I got caught on the bench a little bit when he was able to dominate on the ground, but he played well and full credit to him."
The challenge doesn't get any easier for Jacobs, with a familiar foe in Kangaroos star Todd Goldstein next up.
"I love playing against Toddy, we've built a pretty good relationship playing against each other for so long," Jacobs said.
"It's the third time we get him this year so it'll be another good challenge for both of us.
"Hopefully I can get the edge and give our midfielders first use of the ball."
While Melbourne's Max Gawn deservedly claimed All Australian honours, Goldstein and Jacobs are in the upper echelon when it comes to ruckmen.
Their numbers are pretty similar – Goldstein has the edge on Jacobs in average hit-outs (36.7 a game compared to 31.5), but it goes the other way in possessions (14.6 to 13.7 in Jacobs' favour).
The Kangaroos ruckman won the battle in round one at Etihad Stadium, with the home team victorious by 10 points.
"I probably broke even in the first three quarters, then he was able to elevate in the last quarter and he was able to take some contested marks," Jacobs said.
"When we played at Adelaide Oval (in round 14), I was able to take some marks, but neither was able to dominate that night."