Mitch Hinge tackles Elliot Yeo during the AAMI Community Series match between Adelaide and West Coast at Hisense Stadium on March 2, 2024. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

ADELAIDE forward Riley Thilthorpe suffered a jarred knee and will require assessment after limping off in the final quarter of the Crows' 67-point win against West Coast in the AAMI Community Series on Saturday. 

Thilthorpe has been the standout performer at West Lakes in his fourth pre-season and appears primed for a breakout year after adding the size needed to take on key defenders and growing in confidence as a result. 

CROWS v EAGLES Full match coverage and stats

The 21-year-old didn't return in the final quarter on Saturday and is in a race against time to be fit for round one as the Crows cruised to a 17.15 (117) to 7.8 (50) win at Hisense Stadium in Adelaide on the back of forward/midfielder Izak Rankine's creative brilliance. 


"It was a jarred knee and we're hopeful – the doctors are hopeful – that that's nothing major. We'll have to wait another 24 hours just to confirm that," Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks said of Thilthorpe after the match. 

"That's part of pre-season. We go hard, that's how we've trained right throughout. So we've been pushing the envelope, let alone playing games like this. Sometimes your heart is in your mouth and today was one of those moments."  


Rankine, who is earmarked for a more prominent midfield role, finished with 18 disposals and four goals – including three in the third quarter – but could have had a bag of six after passing off opportunities to Josh Rachele and Jordan Dawson before resting in the final term. 

He was the standout player in a match that saw the Eagles compete hard and apply significant defensive pressure but often break down with skill errors in the front half that undid their good work.  

They trailed by 27 points at the main break before Rankine sparked a third-quarter blitz with the help of midfield pair Dawson (28 disposals and seven inside 50s) and Matt Crouch (23 and six clearances) and dominant big man Reilly O'Brien (34 hitouts and eight clearances), who took advantage of the Eagles' understrength rucks. 

Reilly O'Brien and Bailey Williams compete in the ruck during the AAMI Community Series match between Adelaide and West Coast at Hisense Stadium on March 2, 2024. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

O'Brien made a hot start and helped set up a 13-5 clearance dominance in the first quarter with 11 hitouts and five clearances of his own. He was a workhorse throughout as the Eagles tried Bailey Williams, Coen Livingstone and later Harry Barnett in the ruck.

The Crows were then able to connect their possession chains well and looked slick in a win that built confidence ahead of round one, with the team holding up when West Coast ramped up its pressure and dragged the game into a contest battle. 

Tim Kelly (26 and seven clearances) was a standout in the midfield with support from Elliot Yeo (16 and six clearances), while No.1 draft pick Harley Reid was much-improved and spent time forward, finishing with 20 disposals and five clearances in a confident display. 

With captain Oscar Allen missing, premiership forward Jack Darling returned from a hamstring injury and kicked two classy goals to tune up for the round one clash against Port Adelaide.  


New faces 
Reid was impressive and looked like the midfielder who has shone in match practice, with the Eagles giving him more opportunities around the ball and even pushing him forward at times. He finished with 20 disposals and five clearances, showcasing his sidestep in the midfield, pushing off opponents, and laying some strong tackles. Loch Rawlinson is in the mix for round one but may find himself squeezed out when others return, with the young forward energetic and applying front half pressure. Category B rookie Tyrell Dewar was rewarded for a strong block of work with match minutes in the second half. Barnett and Livingstone were both outpointed against an experienced and strong AFL ruckman. 


Round one chance
Midfielder Sam Berry spent the majority of 2023 in the SANFL, playing just four AFL games after a terrific 2022, but he looks back and has plenty to offer the Crows ahead of round one. The hard-tackling onballer has 22 disposals and booted two high-quality goals and could easily join the rotation of players spinning through half-forward and midfield for the Crows. Reid can be locked in for a midfield role at West Coast, while there is work to do on the best ruck structure without Matt Flynn, with Bailey Williams likely to get the nod, sacrificing his planned move forward.


Medical room 
Thilthorpe was the major concern out of the match, with Eagle Brady Hough able to play on after landing heavily on his back in a marking contest. The Crows are without Nick Murray (knee) in defence for the start of the season, while Mark Keane (concussion) was also unavailable this week. Rory Sloane (eye) is also on the comeback trail. The Eagles have suffered several recent setbacks but will hope important trio Oscar Allen (knee), Tyler Brockman (knee) and Reuben Ginbey (concussion) can all return for round one. Ruckman Matt Flynn (hamstring) is a significant loss, while Dom Sheed (ankle), Elijah Hewett (foot) and Liam Ryan (hamstring) will remain sidelined for some time. 

Fantasy watch 
It was the Izak Rankine (FWD, $670,000) show at Richmond Oval. Splitting time between midfield and forward, Rankine kicked four goals to go with 18 disposals to score 109 points in just three quarters. Tim Kelly (MID, $891,000) was the Eagles' top scorer with 104. No.1 draft pick Harley Reid (MID/FWD, $300,000) improved on his performance last week, finishing with 20 disposals and 73 points. A popular pick this pre-season, Elliot Yeo (DEF/MID, $633,000) had 81 points. Crows Jordan Dawson (MID, $1,024,000) and Matt Crouch (MID, $734,000) finished with 85 and 68 points respectively but were managed throughout the second half. Sam Berry (MID, $624,000), who averaged 84.3 in 2022 before dropping off last year, impressed with 22 disposals and two goals for his 108. – Dejan Kalinic


ADELAIDE             4.0   7.5   14.7   17.15 (117)
WEST COAST        1.0   3.2   6.6   7.8 (50)  

Adelaide: Rankine 4, Rachele 3, Berry 2, Murphy 2, Walker 2, Dawson, Keays, Pedlar, Sholl
West Coast: Darling 2, Petruccelle 2, Edwards, Kelly, Waterman  

Adelaide: Rankine, Dawson, O'Brien, Berry, Crouch, Worrell, Milera 
West Coast: Kelly, McGovern, Barrass, Yeo, Cole, Reid 

Adelaide: Thilthorpe (jarred knee) 
West Coast: Nil