Crows coach confident in defensive options against Pies

Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks is confident he can cover injured defender Josh Worrell, while defending novice Dan Curtin's introduction to the AFL.

Worrell's breakout season has been halted by a broken forearm, which will sideline the backman for two to three months.

The absence of the 23-year-old, who has signed a fresh contract to remain at the Crows until the end of 2027, leaves a defensive hole to plug for Saturday's MCG clash against reigning premiers Collingwood.

James Borlase and Will Hamill are potential replacements for a fixture Nicks rates as among the toughest in the league.

"We're confident we have got the guys ready to step in," Nicks told reporters on Wednesday.

After drawing with Brisbane, the Crows have turned their attention to playing Collingwood.

"Borlase has taken his game to another level now, Will Hamill has been playing in our system for a long period of time ... both of those guys are ready to step up.

"One person's disappointment is another person's opportunity."

Nicks stopped short of guaranteeing Curtin will retain his spot after the 19-year-old has been substituted out of his two AFL games.

Curtin had four goals kicked on him and was subbed at halftime of Adelaide's draw against Brisbane - a move almost immediately followed by fellow defender Worrell's injury.

Adelaide's Dan Curtin.
Adelaide's Dan Curtin was subbed at halftime of Adelaide's draw against Brisbane.

"There's always a challenge as a young player coming in, especially a key defender or a key-position behind-the-ball player," Nicks said.

"One small mistake and you're exposed and everyone sees that.

"If you come in as a forward in the competition, you can fly under the radar a little bit.

"But as a key defender, what we've seen is it takes a little bit longer to develop, but we've been really pleased (with what) Dan's brought.

"He's going to have his challenges. He's a first-year player that has come in and he's played in a couple of huge games for us ... we're really confident of what we're going to see long-term."

The 12th-placed Crows are two wins behind eighth-placed Collingwood entering what Nicks said was an eagerly anticipated MCG fixture.

The Magpies pipped Adelaide by two points and one point in their two games last season.

"We had a couple of really exciting battles with them last year," Nicks said.

"We love playing on the MCG, we don't get on there very often and we get a chance to train there on Friday as well, which is rare, we haven't had that in the past.

"Our boys really ... enjoy the challenge and there's nothing bigger than this one."

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