Sport

Crows pray history repeats itself

ADELAIDE has a history of shocking Hawthorn.

One of the biggest upsets of all time came when the Crows humbled the then mighty Hawks in their first ever game in round one, 1991.

Comprising a bunch of SANFL players with just 194 AFL games to their credit, Adelaide flattened Hawthorn early - and out of frustration Hawk forward Dermott Brereton returned the favour by laying out the Crows' inaugural skipper, Chris McDermott, in the fourth term.

The Hawks had the last laugh when they defeated West Coast in the grand final later in the season to clinch their fifth flag in nine years.

But, while Hawthorn would aim for one more premiership during its golden era two years later, another surprise Adelaide win would put paid to it.

Playing their first final, the Crows would end the Hawks' run of dominance by holding them off in an elimination final at the MCG.

While the Hawks were sent packing from the flag race, Brereton would literally pack his bags and join the Sydney Swans, while captain Gary Ayres would be forced into early retirement and coach Allan Joyce would be sacked.

Adelaide beating Hawthorn in tonight's preliminary final at the MCG would rank alongside those upsets, and the 1999 preliminary final result which saw Carlton snatch a grand final berth from Essendon.

The Hawks are as short as $1.13 to win, and even Crows coach Brenton Sanderson admitted during the week, his side ($6.85) would need the Hawks to be well below their best to progress.

In typical Alastair Clarkson fashion, the hard-nosed Hawk coach wasn't buying into any of it yesterday though when he spoke to the media during his team's final training run at Waverley.

"We know that Adelaide have been a good side all year and despite odds and favoritism and all that sort of stuff we know that the scoreboard is going to say 0-0 at the start and whatever games have been won before ... everyone starts equal on preliminary final day," he said.

Hawthorn has made two changes to the side that dismantled Collingwood in the qualifying final a fortnight ago, bringing in star pair Jordan Lewis and Clinton Young for Tom Murphy (omitted) and Brendan Whitecross (knee).

Adelaide, already weakened by the loss of Rising Star winner Daniel Talia from the backline (forearm), has been forced to replace fellow defender Sam Shaw (hamstring) from the side that overran Fremantle in last week's draining semi-final with Andy Otten, while Jared Patrenko (shoulder) remains under an injury cloud.

Solidly-built tall Josh Jenkins is an emergency, along with Brodie Martin and Aidan Ryan, and may still be brought into the team to stretch the undersized Hawk defence.

"If Jared doesn't come up, one of those three will come in but we're still quietly confident 'Pup' will be passed fit," Sanderson said. "He's really eager to play and I can't see there being any issues with that."

Topics:  adelaide crows, afl, aussie rules, hawthorne hawks


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