Crows Sloane, Walker to face fitness tests

Adelaide will be sweating on the fitness of Rory Sloane after he copped a knock against Essendon.
Adelaide will be sweating on the fitness of Rory Sloane after he copped a knock against Essendon.

Adelaide are hopeful leaders Rory Sloane and Taylor Walker will be available for a huge AFL showdown with Sydney next week.

The star duo pulled up sore during the Crows’ 43-point win over Essendon at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.

Sloane limped from the ground late in the third quarter after Bombers defender Matt Dea fell on his left knee while attempting a smother.

The gun midfielder went straight to the rooms but returned to play out the game as Adelaide claimed an 18.15 (123) to 12.8 (80) victory.

Crows skipper Walker also spent a brief period in the rooms during the first quarter after hurting his foot.

The pair face a five-day break to prove their fitness before the ladder-leading Crows host fifth-placed Sydney on Friday night.

“I didn’t see the replay but the message came up to me that he’d just jammed his knee up a little bit,” coach Don Pyke said of Sloane.

“He was able to play out the last quarter so we’ll assess that tomorrow when he’s cooled down.

“(Walker) was just a bit sore in the foot.

“He was green-lighted to continue, which was fine. He’s another one we’ll just assess tomorrow.

“They both completed the game so we’re hopeful for them for next week.”

The Crows are six points clear of second-placed Greater Western Sydney and virtually guaranteed to host a home final.

Sydney are certain however to present a huge test, having won nine out of 10 games since their mid-year bye.

Adelaide have again used the fewest players of any team this season, but Pyke said he didn’t see any need to manage his list despite their position on the ladder.

“As I’ve said before, we won’t take any unnecessary risks with guys,” he said.

“But I’m still a great believer that for our guys and for any team, it’s about creating good habits.

“It’s easy to go ‘let’s put everyone in cotton wool’ … but the reality is at this time of year, these guys are conditioned to play and they relish playing.

“We want to make sure that we continue to ingrain some of the habits that we’ve built in the way we want to play.”