Injury ravaged Crows turn to brand new signing
Nick Murray was playing as a forward for the quirkily named country NSW side Ganmain Grong Grong Matong six months ago.
On Saturday, Murray will return to his home state to play on the SCG in the Crows' defence after being named to debut against Sydney.
New rookie Murray, who has only been on Adelaide's list for two-and-a-half weeks, is one of three changes to the side coming off an upset Round-1 win over Geelong on Saturday.
He will replace Jake Kelly (concussion), while veteran David Mackay returns for Luke Brown (achilles).
Adelaide's third change is undisclosed and will be its medical substitute, covering for Mitch Hinge (shoulder).
Crows coach Matthew Nicks said Murray had overcome an ankle injury and was a bit surprised to find out of his selection after training.
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He's one that doesn't hide his emotion … he enjoyed it, the boys got around him," Nicks said.
"It's a good chance to get his family over, so it's an exciting time for him."
Nicks said Kelly, who was knocked out, concussed and stretchered off on Saturday after a heavy bump from Patrick Dangerfield, had recovered well.
"Probably 48 hours he struggled for … but he's had a couple of sessions with the group and is well on his way to get through (concussion) protocols," he said.
Nicks said the club and Hinge, whose shoulder popped out twice against the Cats, would soon decide whether the Brisbane recruit would have surgery or play out the season.
"It's a big decision for him," he said.
"If he decides to go have that operation done, we'll be well and truly working with him to get back and perform late this year, if not into next year."
Nicks was hopeful Daniel Talia (knee) and Brown would be available next week.
With Swans superstar Lance Franklin set to return for his first game since 2019, Nicks said it was great to have 'Buddy' back, but he would not reveal his Crows opponent.
One option would be newly re-signed Jordon Butts, who helped quell Tom Hawkins last week.
Nicks said Butts, who inked a new two-year contract on Thursday, had come a long way.
"For two years (in the squad) he would admit himself he didn't feel that close to playing a senior game but it's incredible how quickly it turns," he said.
"He came back (from off-season) bigger, stronger, fitter and so he deserves everything he's getting."
BUTTS LATEST CROW TO COMMIT TO CLUB
Crows full-back Jordon Butts has continued his positive start to the season, signing a new two-year contract.
Butts held Coleman medallist Tom Hawkins to two goals in the Crows' upset win over Geelong on Saturday and impressed against Port Adelaide's Charlie Dixon in the trial matches.
Saturday was just the third game at the top level for the 21-year-old, who helped cover the absence of injured veteran Daniel Talia.
Another Crow re-signs in latest coup
Butts, who Adelaide rookie-listed at the end of 2018, was coming out of contract after this season.
Adelaide list manager Justin Reid said the Victorian had all the attributes to become a long-term key defender for the club.
"Jordon has trained hard and applied himself to improving every part of his game since we drafted him," Reid said.
"He has added size and strength to be able to compete with some of the best key forwards in the competition, he reads the ball fantastically well … so we are very happy to secure him for at least another two years."
Butts is the sixth Crow to ink a new deal this month.
The others are Rory Laird (until the end of 2026), Reilly O'Brien (2025), Shane McAdam (2023), Andrew McPherson (2023) and Josh Worrell (2023).
"I'm stoked to be on board and it gives me a lot of confidence to keep improving," said Butts, who made his debut against Geelong in Round 13 last season.
"The past few years have been great and I've enjoyed every minute of it.
"I'm looking forward to where the footy club is going, we are all hungry to get better and I'm excited to see what's ahead."
Butts may get the job on Sydney superstar Lance 'Buddy' Franklin this Saturday.
HOW CROWS CAN REPLACE INJURED TRIO
Adelaide will be forced to make three changes for Saturday's away game against Sydney after ruling out Luke Brown, Jake Kelly and Mitch Hinge due to injuries.
Brown was substituted off with a sore achilles during the Crows' 12-point upset home win over Geelong on Saturday and had scans on Monday for what was a pre-existing problem.
The Crows back pocket was absent from training at West Lakes on Tuesday.
Kelly was stretchered from the ground with concussion in the second quarter on Saturday after a heavy bump from Geelong star Patrick Dangerfield left his face bleeding and broke his nose.
The Adelaide defender walked laps at training and concussion protocols would ensure a 12-day absence.
Hinge started as the medical substitute and replaced Brown, only for the ex-Brisbane utility's right shoulder to pop out twice.
He has had scans and surgery is now an option, which will rule him out long-term.
Matt Crouch (groin) and Daniel Talia (knee) will not be among the replacements after also missing Tuesday's session.
Crouch will spend the next fortnight building his training loads and a Round-3 return is uncertain, while Talia remains one to two weeks away from coming back.
Both had off-season surgery - Crouch to his hip, which the groin soreness related to, and Talia on his knee.
Will Hamill (ankle) and Lachlan Murphy (sore adductor) also did not take part on Tuesday but were expected to be OK to feature against the Swans.
Rookie defender Nick Murray could be in line for a debut to fill Kelly's spot.
Murray was back in full training after not being ready for Round 1 due to a rolled ankle.
David Mackay and Chayce Jones may be in the selection mix to replace Brown as part of a side reshuffle.
Murphy said the club had options to cover the absences.
"We play our way, play our structure and we back whoever comes in to get the job done for us," Murphy said.
Murphy said the win over Geelong was among the most special of his career but it was just one game.
"Consistency is going to be a word that's thrown up and that's what we're striving for," he said.
Murphy, who played further up the ground than usual as a high half-forward and spent time at stoppages, was involved in two highlights against the Cats.
The first was a left-foot goal on the run from 45m in the dying seconds of the opening quarter, which he celebrated by high-fiving a fan.
In the last term, he laid a desperate chase-down tackle on Sam Menegola to win a holding the ball free kick, just as Geelong looked to be making a charge.
"I prefer the chase-down tackle - the goal was the right place, right time," he said.
"The chase-down tackle is what I want to be known for … and to do it at a crucial time, I felt uplifted the team."
TEX'S 'OVERWHELMING' MOMENT A CAREER HIGHLIGHT
- Liz Walsh
Adelaide's rejuvenated veteran forward Taylor Walker says the Crows have now entirely invested in coach Matthew Nicks' game plan, which will give the young side the pride and belief to lift them off the bottom of the ladder.
Walker said the Crows' thrilling 12-point win over 2020 grand finalists Geelong, was built on the back of a clear understanding of the strategy and level of pressure required.
"We're not reaching for things now, we're understanding the footprint for how we want to play and the boys can now feel it and see it," Walker said.
"So now if we get challenged or if it's not going our way we can just go back to exactly the way we played on the weekend.
"I had so many text messages from past players saying they just absolutely loved the way the Crows played, it made them so proud. We just need to keep doing that now.
"We'll … make it crystal clear to the guys that this is the way we want to play."
In his 14th season at the Crows, the club's all-time leading goal scorer, was among the best on ground in Adelaide's surprise victory over the Cats, kicking five goals while also picking up 18 touches, taking seven marks and getting in two clearances.
Next up, the Crows fly to Sydney to take on the Swans at the SCG on Saturday, but will do it without defender Jake Kelly who is sidelined for 12 days under the AFL's new concussion protocols.
Kelly was concussed after a head knock from former teammate Patrick Dangerfield, who has been referred to the tribunal for the incident and could face a lengthy suspension.
Walker said Kelly was still not 100 pet cent, but the club was hopeful he would be up and running again soon.
Walker didn't see Dangerfield's bump, but said he'd watched it on replay: "I didn't know what happened at the time, I obviously saw the replay and one of those things in footy, it's a contact sport, these things happen".
Walker said at least two or three spots would need to filled for the clash against the Swans with Kelly (concussion) unable to play and clouds hanging over Luke Brown (sore Achilles) and Mitch Hinge (shoulder).
He expected the likes of Fischer McAsey and Josh Worrell to be in selection contention after strong performances in the SANFL.
As the third-oldest person on the list (behind David Mackay and captain Rory Sloane), Walker said he'd learnt how to keep his body in good nick.
"My body's in great condition, it's healthy and I know that if I do that and stay proactive with my body I can get myself out there and play some good footy like I did on the weekend."
And fatherhood has worked wonders for him too.
The 30-year-old ran onto Adelaide Oval on Saturday carrying his sons Hugo, 1, and newborn Louis and he said it was one of his proudest moments of his footy career to be able to do so.
"It was just such an overwhelming experience that I was able to bring my family into the footy club … COVID last year meant the boys couldn't run out with (myself and Sloane) us our (200th) milestone game. Sloaney was able to organise it and the club were outstanding.
"It was awesome."
Originally published as Injury ravaged Crows turn to brand new signing