The tropics await for St Kilda, who will be looking to right the mistakes from last week, as they travel up to Cairns on Saturday to take on a hardened Adelaide outfit, who are coming off their own close loss to the Pies last week.
It will also be the first time that Brad Crouch will encounter his old side in a highly anticipated matchup, after crossed the border last season in a trade to the Saints.
Despite skipper Jarryn Geary being added to the injury list, St Kilda will still be keen to come home with the four points, with a win of the upmost importance heading into the bye round, but it will not come easy.
Having their backs to the wall is nothing new for the Saints though, and with the Crows also after a chance to get back onto the winner’s list, Saturday’s clash at Cazaly’s Stadium is set to be a cracking one.
Round 13 | 2021
St Kilda v Adelaide
Saturday 12 May
7:25PM, Cazaly’s Stadium
Broadcast live on Channel 7, Fox Footy and Kayo
Up there, Cazaly(s)
After hosting four matches last season in the shortened 2020 season, Cazalys Stadium will once again see AFL action as the Saints take on the Crows, after the club was granted border exemption to play in Queensland.
It is the first time either side have played at the stadium, which was built in 1957.
A former Test cricket ground, the stadium is the premier sporting stadium in Cairns, with the picturesque venue providing a relaxing place to watch sport.
With cloudy and humid conditions forecast for Saturday night, players will be expecting some wet weather footy in the dew of the tropical night.
Crouch vs the Crows
It is a matchup that many have been waiting to see, ever since Brad Crouch crossed the border and became a Saint last season.
For the first time this year, Crouch will face off against his former side in a battle that footy fans have been eager to see since he left for Victoria.
The 27-year-old has found his groove and put out numbers of 28, 21, 26 and 38 disposals in his last four games, proving himself a vital member to the St Kilda midfield.
The Saints will also be pleased that Crouch is lining up on their side this time around, with the former Crow racking up 26 disposals the last time they took on Adelaide.
Walker, Texas Ranger
Beware the Texan.
Over halfway into the year, Taylor Walker is sitting second on the Coleman Medal leader board with 36 goals, rediscovering the form that saw him feared as one of the most dangerous forwards in the competition.
Walker has kicked bags of five goals or more three times this year, with the Crows’ big man relishing in the new rule changes which allow him to run and jump at the footy.
It was confirmed on Thursday that Dougal Howard will head to the 32-year-old, and told SEN Adelaide that he would be hoping to provide a lockdown job on Walker and minimise his impact on the game.
"No doubt I'll be on Tex a bit," Howard said.
"He uses his body so well in the marking contest, to put himself in the right positions. Probably not the quickest, but he is so clean at ground level, and usually a pretty good finisher in front of goals."
St Kilda has made three changes to the side that took on Sydney at the SCG, with Jack Lonie, Paul Hunter and Ben Long coming into the side.
All three had been in good touch in the VFL before the league’s Victorian games were put on hiatus due the COVID-19 lockdown in Melbourne.
Both Seb Ross and Tim Membrey flew back to Melbourne last Saturday due to personal reasons, while co-captain Jarryn Geary was left out due to injury (dislocated shoulder).
Some words from Ratts
On the radar
While all eyes have been on Tex Walker this season, Rory Laird has been quietly going about his work in the midfield.
An important cog in the centre of the ground for the Crows, Laird is averaging 32 disposals and six tackles per game.
The former defender has relished in his new position as a midfielder, and the Saints will look to shut down the impact of the 27-year-old.
It will not be an easy job though, with Laird coming off the back of a 40-disposal game against Collingwood last week.
Keep an eye on
When Paddy Ryder takes to the field on Saturday night, he will tie the record for the 10th most games played by an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.
Ryder has played 263 games at the AFL level, and will equal Chris Johnson’s record of 264 games in a remarkable achievement.
Since his return in Round 7 against the Hawks, the 33-year-old ruckman has been in sublime form, averaging 35 hit-outs per game.
In fact, Ryder has only dropped below 34 hit-outs in a game once this season, providing the St Kilda midfield with first use of the footy.
Last time we met
History was made.
St Kilda had never won at Adelaide Oval, and after an inconsistent start to the year, it seemed as though the streak would continue.
But three majors to Dan Butler, as well as 26 disposals and a goal to Jack Steele saw that the Saints would bring home their first ever win at the ground, as well as four points to boot.
Butler and Steele were particularly impressive, while Dean Kent and Max King kicked two goals apiece, supported by Zak Jones with 20 touches, seeing Brett Ratten’s men to a 23-point victory.