Posted: 25 July, 2014
Adelaide coach relishes build-up to season-defining clash with Magpies
(Image: AFL Media)
It's a mini-final. It's whatever cliche you'd like to use, according to Adelaide coach Brenton Sanderson.
Sanderson's Adelaide (8-8 win-loss) sits just outside the top eight midway through Round 18 and face Collingwood (9-7) at the MCG on Sunday.
"It's the only game on Sunday this round which is awesome," Sanderson told a media conference in Adelaide on Friday.
"So we'll be in the spotlight on Sunday."
Sanderson says he can't resist breaking into a smile listening to talkback radio callers and media commentators discuss the importance of the Collingwood clash.
"I like all the cliches ... eight-point game, mini-final, all that stuff," Sanderson said.
"The four points is really important for us."
David Mackay and two-time club champion Scott Thompson, who has played 99 consecutive games, are both in some doubt with hamstring concerns.
However, Sanderson says he's quietly confident they'll play.
Thompson owns the second-longest active streak in the AFL, behind Sydney's Josh Kennedy on 123 consecutive games.
Midfielder Thompson was subbed out at three-quarter time in Round 17 against Hawthorn on July 11 at Adelaide Oval.
"You're always a little bit wary, particularly with Scotty, because he got through three quarters last time and then just felt a bit of tightness," Sanderson said.
"It's a really important game for us and we can't take anyone in who we think might be able to just get through three quarters.
"He'd be a really good player to have in our side this week."
Sanderson is expecting Collingwood's tagger Brent Macaffer to go to Patrick Dangerfield, while the Crows are keen to shut down Collingwood onballer Scott Pendlebury.
"Pendlebury's an absolute star. He's their jet," Sanderson said.
"We can't allow Pendlebury to be running free.”
"I'm also concerned about Dayne Beams, Steele Sidebottom; Travis Cloke looms large."
Sanderson says swingman Ben Reid is a key inclusion for the Magpies.
"Ben Reid's a very important player for Collingwood. We're still unsure about which end he's going to line up," Sanderson said.