Nic Naitani gave Reilly O’Brien a new phone post-game. Picture: Getty
Nic Naitani gave Reilly O’Brien a new phone post-game. Picture: Getty

Is 26 games enough to captain an AFL club?

Could a 26-gamer become the Crows' interim captain?

Key defender Tom Doedee is one of four players in line to skipper Adelaide while Rory Sloane is sidelined for up to six weeks with a fractured hand.

Doedee is just 23 and in his first year in the Crows' leadership group but is the ideal choice if the club wants to make a bold call with a nod to the future.

Adelaide's three other official leaders are: Tom Lynch (29, 145 games), Brodie Smith (28, 173) or Matt Crouch (25, 114).

The Crows do not have a vice-captain. Lynch or Smith would be more conservative choices, while Crouch getting anointed would be unusual considering he was dropped in Round 4.

Handing the interim captaincy to Doedee, who played just one match last season due to an ACL injury but was runner-up in the league's Rising Star Award in 2018, would represent a continued changing of the guard for a club that debuted its seventh player this year on the weekend, and switched coaches and football managers during the off-season.

Taylor Walker also stepped down as captain in September after five seasons, including sharing the mantle with Sloane last year.

Kayo is your ticket to the 2020 Toyota AFL Premiership Season. Watch every match of every round Live & On-Demand. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >

Is Tom Doedee the man to lead the Crows? Picture: Sarah Reed
Is Tom Doedee the man to lead the Crows? Picture: Sarah Reed

Walker, who the AFL Players' Association voted as best captain in 2016-17, could provide invaluable guidance to Doedee, seven years his junior, if he took on the role temporarily.

Doedee is the least experienced member of a leadership group in the league and the sixth-youngest - Carlton's Sam Walsh, 19, is the only teenager.

Smith this year described Doedee as "being a 30-year-old since he got here".

According to former St Joseph's College First XVIII football coach Jono Holt, Doedee "oozed leadership and always has".

Doedee was just 11 when his brother, Harley, lost both feet in a car accident, which Holt said would have made the Crow grow up quickly.

Later, Doedee became deputy school captain of St Joseph's.

Holt was unsurprised to see Doedee in the leadership group at Adelaide and texted "once a leader, always a leader" to him when he was elevated in January.

"He's a ripper," Holt said.

Doedee grew up in Lara, near Geelong and was an under-18 Vic Country basketballer who became serious with footy in his draft year.

Geelong Falcons talent manager Mick Turner said having the right young players in leadership roles could spur older teammates.

"Tom was a pretty quiet kid when he was with us but he knew where he was heading and was very organised and focused," Turner said.

"Your leaders have to play well and he has the character to do that - he's always had leadership qualities."

Doedee arrived at the Crows via pick 17 in the 2015 national draft and his games total would not be so low if not for his ACL injury.

His first AFL defensive coach, ex-Crow and Cat James Podsiadly, called Doedee a natural leader.

"He understands to be an elite player, you have to have your head screwed on your shoulders," Podsiadly told News Corp.

"In his first season, every week he would be at (development coach) Paul Thomas's desk, watching vision, asking how he could get better.

"He was really attentive in line meetings - and knew all the answers too."

As for the question as to who will replace Sloane as skipper for Monday night's game against St Kilda and beyond, Crows assistant Matthew Clarke said the club had yet to discuss it.

"The model of leadership group is that you've got a number of people there who are able to step up and toss the coin," Clarke said on Tuesday.

A young Tom Doedee (right) with Geelong Falcons teammates Darcy Parish and Rhys Mathieson. Picture: Peter Ristevski
A young Tom Doedee (right) with Geelong Falcons teammates Darcy Parish and Rhys Mathieson. Picture: Peter Ristevski

BICKLEY: CROWS SHOULD SHARE CAPTAINCY ROLE

Simeon Thomas-Wilson, Reece Homfray

Rory Sloane is expected to spend at least a month on the sidelines with a broken hand, opening up a leadership void at the struggling Crows.

As the side searches for its first win, dual premiership winning captain Mark Bickley says the Crows should not anoint a replacement captain, but share the role around to cover for Sloane.

As revealed by News Corp on Monday, scans showed that Sloane had fractured his left hand in Saturday's loss to West Coast.

After weighing up surgery, Crows head of science and medicine Steve Saunders said the club's captain would undergo surgery to repair the fracture at the base of the thumb on his left hand.

Rory Sloane will be sidelined for some time with a broken hand. Picture: Sarah Reed
Rory Sloane will be sidelined for some time with a broken hand. Picture: Sarah Reed

Saunders said Sloane was facing a four-to-six week spell on the sidelines, depending on the procedure and how he recovered from the surgery.

"The latter stages of rehabilitation will be based on the return of function of Rory's thumb rather than a specific time frame," Saunders said.

"Rory will undergo surgery in the coming days."

Sloane's absence for at least the next month means the Crows have a decision to make on who leads the team out at Adelaide Oval against St Kilda on Monday.

Brodie Smith, Tom Doedee, Matt Crouch and Tom Lynch are all in the leadership group under Sloane after Taylor Walker stepped down as co-captain.

Key defender Daniel Talia was another to leave the Crows' leadership group in the off-season.

Who steps up with Sloane out was yet to be discussed by the club when contacted on Monday.

 

Rory Sloane stats that matter
Rory Sloane stats that matter

Bickley said the Crows should share the captaincy between Smith, Doedee, Crouch and Lynch until Sloane returns.

"For me it is largely ceremonial, you toss the coin and talk to the players before the game," he said.

"I don't expect any of those (members of the leadership group) to play any better or worse with the captaincy.

"If it is four to six weeks for Sloane, I would like to see all of them have a go at it."

It continues a luckless year for Sloane, who has also suffered a corked thigh and rolled ankle in the Crows winless season so far.

He is also spending a considerable amount of time out of his usual midfield position.

Stats by Champion Data reveal that Sloane is spending just 52 per cent in the midfield in 2020, as opposed to the 80 to 85 per cent he has racked up in the middle of the ground from 2016 to 2019.

He is being played more on the wing and in the Crows' forward line, with his time in those two positions for 2020 at 24 and 22 per cent respectively.

This is up for a previous high of just 7 per cent on the wing in 2016 and 14 per cent in the forwards in 2018.

Young gun Tom Doedee is one possible replacement as captain. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt
Young gun Tom Doedee is one possible replacement as captain. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt

Sloane didn't attend a single centre bounce in the Crows' loss to Fremantle as Adelaide looks to rejuvenate a midfield mix that was largely panned for being too slow in 2019.

Overall, he is averaging 9.8 centre bounce attendances in 2020 after averaging 18.5 in 2019.

Even if Sloane's 2020 stats are "normalised" they are still down on his previous four seasons.

He is averaging 19 disposals a game, down from 24.6 last season, and his 3.4 score involvements is nearly half he had in 2016.

In 2017, Sloane averaged 7.8 tackles a game in a season where he laid the most tackles out of anyone in the AFL, in 2020 the average is 4.1 for his pressure points to be 42.1 down from 62 in the season where the Crows reached the Grand Final.

Bickley said Sloane had clearly been hampered by his knocks.

"He has tried to do the right thing and play every week but the decision has been taken out of his hands."

FOGARTY EYES RETURN

Meanwhile, there is positive news about Darcy Fogarty who looks a chance to return from a mysterious shoulder injury he suffered at training two weeks ago.

"He progressed really well through the week just gone, he'd be an outside chance to play this week and we'd be hopeful for that, if not then the following," Adelaide football manager Adam Kelly told ABC.

"He's not too far away and he's certainly made a lot of progress during the week."

Rory Sloane will be hoping for good news on his injured hand. Picture: Jono Searle/AFL Photos/via Getty Images
Rory Sloane will be hoping for good news on his injured hand. Picture: Jono Searle/AFL Photos/via Getty Images

Adelaide is also hopeful Shane McAdam's rolled ankle in the last quarter is not serious and he will be right to play St Kilda next Monday night.

 

Originally published as Is 26 games enough to captain an AFL club?

Darcy Fogarty could make a return from injury this weekend. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images
Darcy Fogarty could make a return from injury this weekend. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images


Inside troubled job training courses

Premium Content Inside troubled job training courses

Jobseekers being lured into training for jobs that don’t exist

COVID cancels celebration of most vulnerable

Premium Content COVID cancels celebration of most vulnerable

Granite Belt senior citizen leaders say there’s never been a more important time to...

‘ARMAGEDDON’: Winery’s dicey encounter

Premium Content ‘ARMAGEDDON’: Winery’s dicey encounter

The swift action of firefighters has been praised by owners of Savina Lane Wines...