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Pyke praises mid for playing with facial fracture

Pyke: 'Super proud of them' Crows coach Don Pyke was delighted with his side's outstanding pressure, but questioned the umpiring of the game
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 21: Rory Sloane celebrates with Brad Crouch of the Crows after kicking a goal during the round 18 AFL match between the Adelaide Crows and the Geelong Cats at Adelaide Oval on July 21, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia.  (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images/AFL Media)
Rory Sloane (l) and Brad Crouch (r) earned praise for their courage from Don Pyke
That shows the sort of quality (Brad Crouch) is as well as a hard, inside midfielder
Don Pyke

ADELAIDE clearance king Brad Crouch could face a stint on the sidelines after fracturing his cheekbone in Friday night’s 21-point victory against Geelong at Adelaide Oval.

Crouch sustained the injury late in the third quarter, but finished the game as the Cats made a late surge to try and steal victory.

"I might have to have some surgery early in the week, but hopefully won't miss any games,” Crouch told Channel 7.

Full match coverage and stats

Crouch was outstanding for the Crows, picking up 29 possessions, 14 of those contested, to go with a game-high 10 clearances and seven tackles.

Crows coach Don Pyke lauded Crouch for being able to play through the discomfort of the injury.

“It’s fantastic for Brad to play out the last quarter,” Pyke said.

“That shows the sort of quality he is as well as a hard, inside midfielder, to go out with a facial fracture and to continue to play and to perform in the last quarter knowing the game was still on the line.”

While Crouch was optimistic he would be right for next Sunday’s clash with Collingwood at the MCG, Pyke said it was too early to tell.

“Don’t know, we’ll assess that with the docs to see what the procedure will be and we’ll inform you in due course,” Pyke said.

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If Crouch is ruled out, it opens the door for the Crows to recall 308-game veteran Scott Thompson.

The 34-year-old had just 10 possessions in his one game this season, but has continued to push his name forward with solid performances in the SANFL.

Half-forward Riley Knight is certain to keep his spot after doing an impressive tagging role on Geelong skipper Joel Selwood, who had 26 possessions.

“Joel still got some ball, but I thought he nullified his influence on the game which is ultimately what you want from that role,” Pyke said.

“Riley embraced the role, did some work with our midfield coach Scott Camporeale and came up with a plan and executed it.

“The reality is, if you continue to do what you’ve always done, you continue to get the result you’ve always got, so we recognised the need to do something slightly different in various phases of the game tonight.”

WATCH: Don Pyke's full media conference

Key defenders Jake Lever and Kyle Hartigan could both return next week from hamstring injuries.

In their absences, former cricketer Alex Keath made a sizeable contribution on the big stage.

“He did some good things,” Pyke said.

“I thought in the last quarter there were a couple of classic examples, big spoils early and late.

“He got outmarked a couple of times, but that’s going to happen to young defenders.

“I thought a couple of his efforts early where he took some intercept marks and some hard spoils, that’s what we liked about him.

“If he was going to get beaten, he was going to get beaten having a real, red-hot go.”