PREVIEW OF AFL ROUND-17 THURSDAY NIGHT OPENER (all times AEST):
THURSDAY, July 12
Adelaide v Geelong at Adelaide Oval 7.50pm
Head to Head: Crows 19 Cats 23
Last clash: Preliminary final 2017 - Crows 21.10 (136) bt Cats 10.15 (75) at Adelaide Oval
Tab Sportsbet: Crows $2.05 Cats $1.78
William Hill: Crows $2.00 Cats $1.82
The equation is simple for the Crows: win and their season is still alive. Lose and they can book September holidays. Last year's grand finalists sit two games outside the top eight and simply cannot afford any slip-ups. The Cats were jumped last time they made the trip to Adelaide Oval, conceding six goals to one in the first quarter of last year's preliminary final on the way to a 61-point defeat. Another fast start is a must for the Crows, and they'll need skipper Taylor Walker to lead from the front after a quiet showing during last week's loss to Richmond. Cats star Patrick Dangerfield will undoubtedly be keen to deliver against his former club.
Key: Expect Rory Sloane to receive a rapturous home-crowd reception after committing his future to the Crows with a new five-year deal. The gun midfielder was huge in a losing side against the Tigers and looks to have recaptured his best form. Geelong's midfield bats deep but if Sloane can deliver again - and shrug the likely attention of Cats tagger Scott Selwood - the Crows are in with a big chance.
Tip: Crows by 4 points.