How Crows plan to bring speedy Essendon to a standstill
Daniel Talia says Adelaide must try to bring lightning-quick Essendon to a standstill and that its Friday night fate will be decided at the contest.
"That's the cornerstone of any football team, contest and pressure, and when we bring that we are usually in games and usually get a result, so we'll start there,'' the Crows lockdown defender said as his side plots to snap the Bombers' three-game winning streak at Adelaide Oval.
"Essendon are a great team who love to move the ball pretty quickly and we are under no illusions that they like to move the ball through the corridor.
"They've got guys off half-back with speed (Conor McKenna, Adam Saad and Mason Redman) and speed through the midfield as well, so the best way to cater for that is to get pressure on the ball.
"When we're not at our best we don't really bring that pressure and hunger to really get at opposition teams but when we win we really bring that, so we are going to have to be on early.
"We have to play our brand of footy and hope that stands up.''
When on song, Essendon - which has won five of its past six matches to jump into the top eight, one spot behind seventh-placed Adelaide, is the fastest team in the competition.
The Crows have been criticised for lacking pace in the middle of the ground and were exposed through the corridor by a sharp Port Adelaide in Showdown 47, which handed out a 57-point thumping.
This prompted dual Brownlow Medallist Chris Judd to suggest Adelaide needed to consider trading one of the Crouch brothers, Brad or Matt, because it had too many one-paced on-ballers.
This was quickly of dismissed by the Crows but Talia knows if they can't get first hands on the ball in the centre square or apply strong defensive pressure on the opposition that they can be put under the pump.
Adelaide has given pacy defenders Wayne Milera and Brodie Smith more midfield time in recent weeks to add some X-factor to its on-ball brigade.
Talia said the Crows learnt some valuable lessons against the Power.
"We were really poor in the Showdown and it was unacceptable," he said.
"We're going to have to bring a lot better effort (on Friday night) to get the win against a good team.
"We played well (in a 95-point win against Gold Coast) last week and we've got to keep that form against a top-eight team in Essendon.
"Our defence is going to have to be pretty good and that starts with our pressure and contest.
"That's what let us down in that second half (against Port), we weren't able to bring that and from there their scoreboard churned over and everything else fell away from that.''
Talia also noted the danger of speedy small Essendon goalsneak Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, who is a barometer for his team and kicked four goals, including the matchwinner with 20 seconds left, against North Melbourne last week.
"He's been in amazing form, he kicked four last week and the gamewinner, and his ability to use the ball inside the forward 50 is really impressive as well, so we're going to have to keep an eye on him,'' he said.
"And (Orazio) Fantasia seems to get four or five shots at goal every game, so we're going to have to be really good defensively to stop those two, plus (Jayden) Laverde and (Jake) Stringer.
"They've got a lot of options up there, so it's going to be a great challenge for us as a (defensive) group.''