Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks and Brad Crouch celebrate the Crows' round 16 win over GWS at Adelaide Oval. Picture: Getty Images

ADELAIDE is set to play hardball if it fails to receive pick No.2 as compensation for losing restricted free agent Brad Crouch to St Kilda.

The midfielder last week indicated his preference to land at the Saints next season.

A five-year deal is on the table for the 26-year-old, who is seen as another piece in the puzzle as the Saints chase an elusive premiership.

Under free agency rules, the Crows will have the right to match the Saints' bid for Crouch which would then force a trade.

However, if they let him walk, the Crows will be handed free agency compensation from the AFL.

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Head of footy Adam Kelly told Trade Radio on Wednesday that this year's complicated draft is a key reason behind the tough stance.

"We're obviously hopeful the compensation would be resulting in pick two, and it's only really under those circumstances we would consider matching and looking to force a trade or obtain Brad's services," he said.


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"Fortunately, in this situation, Brad's been fairly open about his love of Adelaide and of the footy club, so we don't think it would be a scenario where the player would not be wanting to come back to the club, so we would certainly look to match if it's not resulting in pick two.

Asked what the ideal scenario for the Crows would be, Kelly replied: "We'll certainly be looking for a better outcome than what that compensation would be if it's not pick two, because [otherwise] it would be end of first round or start of second, which because of our ladder position is effectively the same thing. 

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"That pick itself could push out to the mid-20s after all the Next Generation Academy [bids] come through. We don't see that as adequate compensation for a player of Brad's calibre, so we would certainly be looking at matching."

Crouch's brother Matt is still tied to the club for another year, but Adelaide is working on extending his contract.


Meanwhile, wantaway Bomber Orazio Fantasia is unlikely to end up in the tricolours, Kelly said.

"We haven't spoken to Orazio for a number of weeks now. We did have some discussion with him a few weeks ago, and have an interest in him if he was to return to SA, but we haven't spoken to him for a number of weeks now," he said.

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"It'd be fair to make that assessment (that he has chosen Port Adelaide). We haven't heard that directly from Orazio, so it's not our place to say, but we haven't heard from him for a few weeks now."