Crows coach wary of Barker’s Blues

Adelaide coach Phil Walsh says facing a John Barker-coached Carlton makes him nervous.


The Crows meet the AFL’s bottom side at the MCG on Saturday with Walsh wary of what the Blues’ interim coach can bring.

“There is an element of unknown,” Walsh told reporters on Friday.

“John Barker, he has had a week with them whereas last week he probably only had one training session.

“So we expect the unexpected. It makes me slightly nervous.”

Walsh’s Crows, on a two-game losing stretch, have been bolstered by the return of prime movers Rory Sloane and Brodie Smith.

Sloane missed the past three games because of a fractured cheekbone while Smith was sidelined a fortnight after being concussed for a second time this season.

“The names look good but they have got to play their role, as simple as that,” Walsh said of the inclusions.

Carlton, winners just once this season and with Barker in charge for a second game after the sacking of Mick Malthouse, summoned Matthew Kreuzer for his first AFL match since round one last season.

Kreuzer has overcome a foot injury and the Crows expect him to be deployed as a forward target.

“He has obviously had his injury problems but he has been a really good player and I’m sure they’ll try and stretch our backline with him at some stage,” Walsh said.

Carlton captain Mark Murphy and star midfielder Chris Judd also return, though Dale Thomas (toe) will miss Adelaide’s sole game at the MCG this season.

The seventh-placed Crows have lost their past two games at the venue, a fact not lost on Walsh who believes non-Victorian clubs aren’t rated until they consistently win in Melbourne.

“We’re looking forward to getting back onto that ground, it’s our only game at the MCG, a lot of our fans come over for this game,” he said.

“We want to win. It’s a performance industry and we haven’t performed for two weeks. So expect to see a reaction from our players this week.”

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