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Match Preview: Crows vs Cats

Last time we met: Crows Watch the highlights from the 2017 preliminary final against Adelaide
Rhys Stanley will be looking continue his recent strong form - Geelong Cats
Rhys Stanley will be looking continue his recent strong form

If its finals dreams aren't already gone, a loss to Geelong would all but certainly write off Adelaide's season. The Crows (7-8) are two wins outside the top eight and also have to make up a massive percentage gap in the remaining seven games. The Crows will need to move the ball quickly, play on at every opportunity and take risks if they are to get back to the entertaining, high-scoring brand of football they displayed in the last quarter against West Coast in round 15. A win for the Cats (9-6) would consolidate their spot in the top eight, while staying within striking distance of the top four. Prime movers Joel Selwood and Mitch Duncan are in superb form, while the electric Tim Kelly is one of the finds of the season. And then there's 2016 Brownlow Medallist Patrick Dangerfield, who always produces something special against his former club.

WHERE AND WHEN: Adelaide Oval, Thursday, July 12, 7.20pm ACST
TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide

PF, 2017, Adelaide 21.10 (136) d Geelong 10.15 (75) at Adelaide Oval
R18, 2017, Adelaide 13.13 (91) d Geelong 10.10 (70) at Adelaide Oval
R11, 2017, Geelong 13.18 (96) d Adelaide 10.14 (74) at GMHBA Stadium
R18, 2016, Geelong 12.13 (85) d Adelaide 7.13 (55) at GMHBA Stadium
R8, 2016, Geelong 13.20 (98) d Adelaide 11.6 (72) at Adelaide Oval

1. Last year's preliminary final was as good as over at half-time, with the Crows holding a comfortable 35-point lead. Speedy forward Charlie Cameron, now at Brisbane, was the star with five goals for the game.

2. The Cats are the best defensive team in the competition, conceding just 69 points per game. That will make life tougher for the Crows, who have scored an average of just 63 points per game since round 10.

3. The Crows are aiming for a third-straight win over the Cats for the first time since 2002-03.

4. Winning the ball out of the middle is an area in which the Crows could take advantage. They are equal sixth for centre clearances this season, while the Cats are ranked last in the League.

5. The Crows have won two of the three games the two sides have played against each other at Adelaide Oval. Overall, the Cats have won four times from seven games at the ground, with three of those against Port Adelaide.

6. Geelong ruckman Rhys Stanley has been in strong form during the past month, and the Schick AFL Player Ratings back that up. Stanley is second for average ranking points per game for rounds 13-16, averaging 19 points per game. Cats teammate Mitch Duncan (18.9) is close behind in third.

Crows skipper Taylor Walker was huge for his side the last time it was at Adelaide Oval in the comeback win over West Coast. He was hardly sighted against Richmond last week, but he wasn't alone there. Walker needs to come up big if the Crows are a shot of keeping their slim finals hopes alive.

PREDICTION: Cats by 15 points

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs