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Crows keen to sign hot defender as Vic clubs put out the feelers

Higgins speaks after shoulder surgery, Tigers' double blow Nat Edwards with all the latest news

ADELAIDE is doing everything it can to retain out-of-contract defender Alex Keath as Victorian rivals circle for his signature.

The 27-year-old former cricketer has been a revelation this season, with his intercept marking and positional play putting him in the discussion for All Australian honours.

 

Keath has played 24 career games, with half of those coming this season, but is yet to ink a new deal with the Crows.

Veteran Richard Douglas said it was imperative the Crows hung on to Keath, who joined the club as a category B rookie at the end of 2015.

"The club would be very keen to secure Alex," Douglas told reporters on Wednesday.

"His development this year has been outstanding.

 

"I understand he'd be in high demand, particularly back in Victoria, but for the club and for Alex, it'd be fantastic to get a deal done."

The 197cm Keath has averaged 17.8 disposals and 6.3 marks per game this season.

He is ranked first in the competition for intercepts with 107 at an average of 8.92, while he is 20th in the League for marks.

Keath also won the Showdown Medal for his 26-disposal, five-mark performance in his side's 20-point win against Port Adelaide in round eight.

He will play a vital role as the resurgent Crows aim for their third straight win when they host Richmond at Adelaide Oval on Thursday night.

Fresh off an upset victory over Greater Western Sydney last Saturday night, the Crows have performed strongly to vindicate the tough selection decisions in overlooking experienced players Bryce Gibbs and Sam Jacobs in recent weeks.

"We like to pick a side that's well balanced and players that are in good form," Douglas said.

"The squeeze is definitely on for selection at the moment.

"To get to the break at 8-5 would be fantastic and really launch us for the back half of the season."

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Douglas said the Crows couldn't afford to underestimate the wounded Tigers, despite losing captain Trent Cotchin with a hamstring injury.

It's also the 100th game for Crows midfielder Matt Crouch, who has added different elements to his game in the past few seasons.

"He's always been really clean and strong in the contested area, but his foot skills have certainly improved," Douglas said.

"He's elite over 20-30m kicking the ball.

"Off-field, his leadership has gone to another level.

"He's one of our best young leaders and driving the culture and standard of the footy club going forward."