Betts back for AFL Crows, Talia in doubt

Michael Ramsey
Eddie Betts (right) is readying himself for a return to the Crows line-up against Geelong

Star Adelaide forward Eddie Betts will return for Thursday night's AFL clash with Geelong but key defender Daniel Talia remains in doubt with a foot injury.

Talia would likely have been tasked with stopping Geelong spearhead Tom Hawkins at Adelaide Oval but is battling to recover from a foot strain suffered during last week's loss to Richmond.

"We'll wait a little bit on Daniel," Adelaide coach Don Pyke said on Wednesday.

"Daniel's still a little bit sore, so we've probably got to test him tomorrow and just see how he comes up on a six-day break. It's just going to be important to use as much time as we can."

Pyke confirmed Betts would play, having missed the Crows' past two games with an injured hamstring.

Geelong are expected to confirm the long-awaited return of Daniel Menzel, who has been sidelined since round five with a groin injury.

Veteran utility Harry Taylor has been battling foot soreness and remains in some doubt.

The 11th-placed Crows sit two games outside the top eight and have only managed one win from their past six games. A loss to Geelong would almost certainly extinguish their chances of making the eight after playing in last year's grand final.

Geelong have conceded the lowest average score of any team this season, and Pyke wants his players to be bold with their ball movement to break through the Cats' miserly defence.

"Clearly tomorrow we need to come prepared to take on the opposition," Pyke said.

"I think we've seen when we do that, we move the ball a little bit quicker and it gives us the chance to get through and score.

"We're looking forward to creating some more opportunities tomorrow night."

The Crows received a major boost on Wednesday with star midfielder and free agent Rory Sloane resisting overtures from Victorian clubs and signing a five-year deal.

Geelong onballer Scott Selwood may well be tasked with tagging Sloane, having returned from injury to provide a harder edge to the Cats' midfield.

"There were a few weeks where we really brought the heat and it sort of didn't really look like I had a spot in the side anymore," Selwood said at Melbourne Airport.

"I thought that the team was playing quite well without me but then (you get) injuries and all that sort of stuff.

"You've just got to work really hard to get back into the side, which is a great position to be in."