Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks admits the odds are against his young team, but he’s backing the Crows to upset Sydney on Saturday and shake up the AFL finals picture.
At 5-12, the Crows won’t play in September but their round 19 opponent will, with sixth-ranked Swans just one game back from third as they desperately pursue a double chance.
While sixth versus 16th might shape as a lopsided affair, Nicks says his crew travel to the SCG full of belief despite the stiff test.
“Not many people will have us for the win on this one, but we will,” he told reporters.
“We enjoy those challenges and I’d say if you look across the year we’ve risen to probably the tougher challenges and this is definitely one of those.
“There’s a fair few things we’ve got to get right. They (Sydney) are an outstanding side especially on the SCG.
“They’ve changed a little over the last few years, they are now quite an attacking side … they’d be one of the best teams in the competition at taking the ball the length of the ground.”
The Crows enter unchanged after a gutsy showing against Collingwood last weekend that they ultimately lost by five points.
Nicks said walking the tightrope between picking a side for the present and the future was always a tough ask.
“We’re still in both spaces, we have been all year … you don’t make a selection purely on short-term, although we are there to win games of footy and ultimately performance outweighs,” he said.
“Even though we didn’t get the result in the end (last week) we were quite pleased with the way the guys went about it.
“Especially from a development point of view and the way the group performed, we were in the fight, one kick away … it’s a good time for our group and we go in unchanged.”
The Swans produced the perfect response to their shock loss to Essendon a fortnight back, thumping the Western Bulldogs before their stirring 17-point win against red-hot Fremantle in Perth last round.
Unchanged also from that match, they can strike a serious blow in the top-four race across three consecutive games against non-final teams, with GWS (15th) and North Melbourne (18th) to follow the Crows.