The Adelaide Crows are set to host the West Coast Eagles in the final round of the AFL’s pre-season NAB Cup competition this Saturday night at AAMI Stadium in Adelaide.
Despite it being a pre-season competition, both sides are set to come out firing with each declaring they will field their best available line ups for the decider.
Both teams have performed exceptionally throughout the first three rounds of the NAB Cup, having both come through the qualifying stages undefeated.
There is plenty up for grabs on Saturday night, most importantly being the momentum and confidence that will be carried in to the regular season which kicks off on March 24.
West Coach John Worsfold said earlier this week his charges would not be taking the game likely and are set to welcome back a host of experienced players from injury.
The likes of Josh Kennedy (foot), Luke Shuey (ankle), Andrew Embley (shoulder) and Andrew Gaff (groin) could all potentially have their first hit out of the season.
“We’re confident the team we put out next week will play with great intensity [and] that’s what we challenge them to do,” Worsfold said.
“We like to win every game we play, so that will be the aim.
“There’s some players that might be playing their first game for the pre-season.”
If West Coast are to take top honours on Saturday night they will have to topple an Adelaide team that is buzzing with youthful exuberance.
In their round three NAB Cup clash, the Crow’s team included eight players with less than 15 games of AFL experience and have a roster that includes 24 players under the age of 23.
Despite the youthful line up, coach Brenton Sanderson said his young Crows will be up for the challenge.
In a boost to the Adelaide side, they have been awarded the right to host Saturday’s final by the AFL.
This has come despite the likelihood of West Coast being able to draw a larger gathering in Perth.
The AFL have justified their decision to award hosting rights to Adelaide on the basis that West Coast have had a lack of travel so far throughout the pre-season competition.
Adelaide have responded to the AFL’s decision to award them the game by offering free tickets for Saturday’s clash to all junior members.
Adelaide’s last pre-season final match came when they hosted and lost to St Kilda in 2008 while West Coast last contested the pre-season decider in 2005 when they lost to Carlton.
The first bounce is set to be undertaken at 7.10pm (AEDT) this Saturday March 17, 2012.