Crows expect Tippett to perform

Sportal September 13, 2012, 4:09 pm
Kurt Tippett

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Adelaide coach Brenton Sanderson says star forward Kurt Tippett will play this Friday in the Crows' cut-throat semi-final clash with Fremantle at AAMI Stadium.

Tippett has come under fierce scrutiny in past month following his recovery from a series of concussions sustained towards the back end of the season.

The 25-year-old has kicked just four goals from four games since his return with three of those majors coming in one game against Melbourne in Round 22.

Tippett's insipid displays have had inaugural Adelaide coach Graham Cornes and Port great Warren Tredrea calling for his head, with suggestions the 203cm big-bodied tall may be more concerned about his future.

While Sanderson said he would make two or three changes to the side that lost by 29 points to Sydney last week in the second qualifying final, Tippett would not be one of them.

"There a lot of different things that get talked about (at the selection panel), but leaving Tippett out wasn't one of those things this week," Sanderson said.

"Match committee is fascinating... you put the magnets up and look at different scenarios regarding who is in-form, who is playing well, what are Fremantle doing well, how we combat that... but we never really considered it (axing Tippett).

"It's a cut-throat final, loser goes home and it's really important we put a 22 out there that wins us the match."

One forced change for Sanderson is the injury to key defender Daniel Talia, who will miss the rest of the finals series after breaking his arm following an awkward fall in the loss to Sydney.

The 2012 NAB Rising Star's omission couldn't have come at a worse time for the Crows who will welcome the red-hot Matthew Pavlich to Adelaide this Friday.

Talia was able to keep Pavlich to just two goals when the Crows last prevailed over the Dockers in Round 20 with a 28-point win somewhat of an exceptional feat considering the Fremantle skipper had booted 41 goals since the duo had last squared up in Round 10.

Sanderson kept his cards close to his chest and would not reveal Talia's replacement but said a like-for-like defender would be included, paving the way for either Andy Otten or Luke Thompson.

"We will bring in another key defender - simple as that," Sanderson said.

"We've been really fortunate this year with our injury management, but the Talia injury was one just out of the blue, so another player will come in and get his opportunity and hopefully play well.

"We've got a few different options and will look at not just one player playing on Pavlich - there will be different players playing on him at different times.

"We also rate (Chris) Mayne, (Kepler) Bradley, (Aaron) Sandilands going forward and obviously (Hayden) Ballantyne and (Michael) Walters... Fremantle have got some weapons offensively.

"If we put all of our attention into Pavlich those other guys will hurt us, so someone has just got to do the job on him."

An unlikely option to slot in defence and replace Talia is former Essendon ruckman Josh Jenkins.

While Sanderson admitted Jenkins was being considered as a third tall forward to support Tippett and Taylor Walker and stretch Fremantle's disciplined defence, he may utilise the rookie draftee in a defensive role.

"Jenkins will certainly be right in the mix for us this week, obviously following good form and eight goals in SANFL (for Sturt)," Sanderson said.

"He's still very raw in football terms and still very much learning the game, but his raw stuff is exceptional... he's had some great games for us this year.

"We haven't used him down back this year but he's certainly an option for us to be a tall defender."

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