ADELAIDE midfielder Lachlan Sholl is anticipating a bigger role for running players under the 2021 rule changes and is hopeful a strong summer has set him up to deliver for the Crows.

Sholl prepared for the increased importance reduced interchange and full-length quarters would put on endurance athletes, staying in South Australia and completing an extensive program in his off-season and continuing to build his running base during the pre-season.

He emerged in round one to play 95 per cent game time against Geelong and typified the Crows' improved running game and the defensive pressure demanded by coach Matthew Nicks.

"Something I do like to think I can bring to the team is my ability to run, whether that be offensively or defensively, and my teammates can hopefully trust I will bring that," Sholl told

AFL FIXTURE Check it out here

"With the longer quarters and less rotations I believe it's going to make it more of a running game and hopefully I can bring that.

"It's something I tried to work on in the off-season and pre-season and hopefully I've set myself up for a strong season in terms of running."

The Crows' finish to 2020 gave Sholl and his young teammates the motivation to train together in South Australia during their off-season and now it was giving them confidence to perform.

Lachlan Sholl leads the way during a run at Adelaide training on January 7, 2021. Picture: Getty Images

They will tackle Sydney's young bloods at the SCG on Saturday aiming to give Adelaide its first 2-0 start to a season since the 2017 Grand Final year.

"You do work hard over the off-season to set yourself up for a good pre-season, but you do that off the back of the motivation we had from what we were able to do in the last month last year," he said.

"We wanted to try and implement that and keep the ball rolling going into this year.

"We stuck together through the off-season and really put our heads down and put in a lot of work, so to see it all click together the way that it did was really awesome."

The defensive pressure against Geelong of young players like debutant Sam Berry, who had a team-high seven tackles, was celebrated during the week, and will be an asset against the Swans.  

It was a trait that showed the Crows had responded to their coach's warning, revealed in the Making Their Mark documentary, that if they did not value defence they would not play for the club.

"We do put a big emphasis on team and doing what's in the best interests of the team," Sholl said.

AFL STATS SURVEY Take it today

"When something like that (a chasedown tackle) happens it gets the recognition it deserves, even in the moment when you're celebrating those little moments with the team.

"It was our emphasis on that during the pre-season and wanting to do what's right by the team and sticking to what we want to achieve as a team. That's something we value.

"To see guys doing that on the weekend and implementing what we were working on during the pre-season was a good reward."