ADELAIDE defender Tom Doedee is on track to line up for the Crows in round one next year in his long-awaited return from a knee reconstruction.
After a breakout 2018 when he finished runner-up in the NAB AFL Rising Star award, the 22-year-old tore the ACL in his left knee in last season's season-opener against Hawthorn.
Crows defender Tom Doedee will not return after injuring his knee against the Hawks.— AFL (@AFL) March 23, 2019
Adelaide suspect it is an ACL injury, with scans to come in the following days. #AFLCrowsHawks pic.twitter.com/NdMG46XgOL
Doedee is making positive strides having rejoined the main group during the start of pre-season, with his focus set on playing against Sydney at Adelaide Oval on March 21.
"That's the goal at the moment," Doedee told reporters on Monday.
>> The 2019 NAB AFL Draft runs from November 27-28. Follow all the latest news in the draft hub
"The plan is to continue to build on what I've been doing before the Christmas break and slowly integrate some contact.
"After Christmas, it's about building up to the pre-season games.
"Hopefully I get through one or two of the Marsh Community Series games and round one's the goal.
"So, at the moment, everything's on schedule and all's looking good from that angle."
Doedee used his time in rehab to work as an assistant coach with Adelaide's SANFL team where he mentored the club's young up-and-coming defenders.
He said it gave him a different perspective on the game.
"I didn't realise how much when the pressure builds up in a game and you sort of revert back into yourself and focus on what have I been doing wrong," he said.
INDICATIVE DRAFT ORDER Your club's latest picks
"I feel like now, my mindset is going to be more, what can we do as a team to adjust, rather than, what I can do to help the team.
"That was an interesting element."
The Crows senior players joined the second-to-fourth year players at training for the first time on Monday.
Midfielder Ned McHenry, defender Andrew McPherson and forward Shane McAdam are on modified training programs having had injury issues last season.
The Crows will hold their 2km time trial on Saturday.