Adelaide coach Brenton Sanderson maps out strategy at quarter-time. Photo: Sebastian CostanzoAdelaide’s season suffered twin blows at the MCG on Friday night with the 27-point loss to Collingwood making its chances of mounting a late finals run slim and an injury to Patrick Dangerfield making it nigh on impossible for the Crows to make the eight.
The Adelaide star sprained his right shoulder in a fierce collision with Pie Sam Dwyer in the first quarter and was clearly in pain and limited for the rest of the contest.
“I grabbed the doctor just before I came in because I knew that would be the question and he said that he could play next week, but the reality is he could be out for two to three weeks,” Brenton Sanderson said after the match.
“That’s probably what a sprained a/c joint [demands].”
With six wins and nine losses after 16 rounds, the Crows’ unlikely finals chances hinge on beating one, or more likely both, of their next two opponents.
They host the equal-top Cats next and then travel to Patersons Stadium to take on Ross Lyon’s well-drilled Dockers the week after with that enormous task made even tougher with the likely absence of their star playmaker.
Sanderson said that he had considered subbing Dangerfield out of the game, but the club doctor had assured him there was little risk of the onballer doing any further damage.
The coach did, however, move Dangerfield out of the firing line in the middle of the ground and into the forward line for most of the second and third terms before putting him back on the ball as the Crows made one last desperate lunge for the win.
“I just didn’t feel comfortable putting him in the middle, but then – and this is the character of this player – he grabs me at three-quarter time and says ‘just put me in there – I won’t let you down’,” Sanderson said.
“It’s a sign of an incredible young player who loves his footy club and wants to win.
“Maybe we should have done that earlier, but I just didn’t feel comfortable putting him in there. You could see the pain he was in with his arm and his shoulder.”
Adelaide went into the round two wins outside the eight and will drop three wins behind if Port Adelaide can muster an upset win over Hawthorn at AAMI Stadium, but Sanderson said his team wouldn’t throw in the towel.
“Clubs now can go two ways [in this situation] – you either drop your bottom lip and you give up or you put your shoulders back, you keep your chin up and you look for ways to get better as an individual and as a team,” he said.
“I just told the players that we’ve got to ensure that we come to work on Monday and we still keep looking for ways to get better as a football team.
“The boys are disappointed tonight, they’re very shattered in the rooms, and I’m a disappointed coach, but we’ll come to work on Monday and we’ll keep working hard to get better.
“There’s still seven games to go. We’re not going to give up and that’s the most important message for our fans. This football team, and me as coach, we’re not going to roll over and die now.”
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.