25/04/2024
Ben Keays. Picture: Daniel Cohen

Ben Keays. Picture: Daniel Cohen

Adelaide star Ben Keays says the Crows used Opening Round as a learning opportunity ahead of their clash against ladder-leading Gold Coast.

Last week, the Suns put Richmond to the sword, ending the game by half-time.

Keays said the Suns have ‘clearly improved’ on last season, as they search for their first ever finals berth in the men’s competition.

“They look really good, as everyone sort of expected,” he said.

“I think they have some really talented players and are working really hard. They’ve also had big pre-season.”

“It was good to be able to get a look at them, being able to play them this week and have the week off. So we had a little bit of extra look at them, (we) sort of know what to expect.”

“They’re going really well. They’ve had a good summer, and clearly doing some some things really well.”

“We’re not sure, its probably to early in the season to swing it either way,” he said.

“We’ve had a great preseason block, we’ve had two pretty high intensity matches against Port and then West Coast. Then we had a good hit out against ourselves last Friday, so we’re feeling pretty good.”

“We’re pretty much fit and we’ve got to have an extra look at the Gold Coast and see what that will bring to bring to the table in Round 1.”

“I don’t think it’s one of those things will swing either way.”

Injured Crow Harry Schoenberg echoed Keays’ sentiments.

“You could look you look at it both ways,” he said.

“You could say yes, they’ve (Gold Coast) got the jump (having) played one game already, but then you could also say, you know, we’re well-rested and we haven’t played yet.”

“I did enjoy Opening Round and I thought it was a great round.”

Suns midfielder Matt Rowell accumulated the second-highest tally of clearances on record with 20, and Keays was quizzed if his role will be to run with him.

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“I’m not sure what I’m going to do this week, but I have trained forward pretty much all summer. That’s been my role,” he said.

“The options there hopefully, if the coaches need, it’s just good to have that versatility.”

Harry Schoenberg was asked if he knew who would tag the Gold Coast superstar.

“I’m not sure we haven’t really talked about that too much yet,” he said.

“That’s probably further discussion to come, but he obviously he had a really good game.”

The Crows are looking forward to getting the opportunity to rectify the away form from last year.

Adelaide played 10 games away from the Adelaide Oval last year – it won just two, with wins over the 16th placed Hawks and the 18th placed Eagles.

“(The lack of wins away from home) was something we spoke about at the end of last year,” Keays said

“As (far as) reasons as to why we sort of didn’t get to where we thought we should have, that was one of the main reasons.”

“So perfect opportunity this weekend to try and get that right now to start the season.”

Keays was also asked about the reasons he thought the Crows struggled on the road in 2023.

“There’s a lot of different factors that go into it,” he said.

“You can sort of go down to a rabbit hole of looking at the travel and when you train the day before and do all these little things.”

“I think it’s essentially just going to be how do we handle the pressure and how do we stick to our way stick to our footy. Just the pressure of playing away we just sort of change ourselves.”

“Now that we’ve had another preseason together, (we’ve) really nailed down, our style, our game plan, how we want to play and it’s just gonna be about sticking to that.”

The Crows will also be without spearhead Riley Thilthorpe, while Taylor Walker will also miss.

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