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Veteran Crow puts hand up for backline slot

Richard Douglas fires out a handball at Adelaide's training camp on the Gold Coast - AFL,Adelaide Crows,Bryce Gibbs,Richard Douglas,Brodie Smith,Hugh Greenwood
Richard Douglas fires out a handball at Adelaide's training camp on the Gold Coast
I've been working closely with the backs coaches
Richard Douglas

ADELAIDE veteran Richard Douglas has put his hand up as a defensive reinforcement, allowing star recruit Bryce Gibbs to slot straight into the Crows' midfield. 

Douglas has played predominately on the ball during his 205-game career with the Crows, but spent time across half-back and half-forward in the past couple seasons.

The 30-year-old said he'd been learning from defensive coaches Ben Hart and Brent Reilly during the pre-season, knowing he might be called to fill in for the injured Brodie Smith. 

Smith will miss most of the season recovering from a torn ACL suffered in the qualifying final against Greater Western Sydney last year. 

"I'll hopefully try and spend more time across half-back than I did last year and build on my work there," Douglas told afc.com.au. 

"I've been working closely with the backs coaches, so I'm looking forward to building on that work and hopefully providing some run across half-back in the absence of (Brodie Smith). 

"Getting Bryce across from Carlton has been great, so he'll spend more time in the midfield. 

"We've got some good depth in the midfield, and with Brodie going down, there's a spot to be filled there. 

"I feel like I can fill that role."

Douglas was extremely consistent last year, averaging 21.7 possessions, 3.8 tackles, 3.6 Inside 50s, booting 15 goals and playing every game in 2017.

It was his second-highest amount of disposals per game in his 12 seasons with the Crows, behind only 2013 when he averaged 22.8.

The Crows kicked off their first pre-season training camp in seven years with a tough session on the Gold Coast on Monday morning. 

Douglas was happy to break up the grind of the pre-season. 

"It's another way to get some work into the guys," the veteran said. 

"Training has been pretty solid, and we had a good session this morning. 

"It's a good chance to get away and hang out with the boys outside of footy."

Smith is the only player on the Crows' list who won't be available for the season opener against Essendon at Etihad Stadium on March 23. 

Crows general manager of high performance Matt Hass said midfielder Hugh Greenwood – who had Achilles surgery in November to fix a foot injury – will resume training with the main group later this week.

"He's tracking along really well," Hass said.

"We expect him to be joining in with the group this week, so later this week, he'll integrate in with the group and build his training minutes and we're hopeful he'll get minutes in the JLT (Community Series).

"If he continues to progress the way he is, then he should be available for selection (in round one).