Demons prepared for Gather Round battle with Adelaide

Melbourne forward Alex Neal-Bullen expects a tough scrap in the blockbuster AFL Gather Round opener against under-fire Adelaide.

The Crows have their backs to the wall after a 0-3 start in a year when they were widely tipped to play finals for the first time under Matthew Nicks.

Another loss to in-form Melbourne at a sold-out Adelaide Oval on Thursday night could be disastrous for their top-eight hopes amid a growing list of injury setbacks.

But the Demons won't be lulled into a false sense security by their opposition's early-season woes.

The Crows will be out to bounce back after the loss to Fremantle, their third straight defeat.

"No matter how they've been going previously, every time you play the Crows at Adelaide Oval they're going to bring the heat," Neal-Bullen said.

"They bring the contest and that's what we expect. We can't wait for it.

"We know that the Crows are going to be at their best, so we've got to be on from the start."

Melbourne (3-1) extended their winning streak to three matches with a tough seven-point win over Port Adelaide last Saturday night and have stayed in the South Australian capital to prepare for the Crows clash.

SA product Neal-Bullen feels the tighter Adelaide Oval playing arena suits the Demons, who boast an 11-7 record at the venue that includes a 5-2 head-to-head record with the Crows.

"Every time we come to Adelaide Oval, whether it's Port Adelaide or the Crows, it's a highly-contested game," Neal-Bullen said.

"It's a smaller boundary compared to our home deck at the MCG, so it's a great challenge."

Tough midfielder Jack Viney trained away from Melbourne teammates on Wednesday as a precaution because of illness but has been named in the Demons' squad to face the Crows.

Jack Viney
Jack Viney trained separately due to illness.

All-Australian backman Steven May returns in place of injured teammate Marty Hore (fractured thumb), following a one-match absence because of broken ribs.

Neal-Bullen said May earned the trust of teammates when he made the call to play through a hamstring injury in the 2021 grand final.

"If you take the field you've got to be ready to and give a great contest, and big Maysie will no doubt do that," Neal-Bullen said.

"He's been in this position before and players each week are in these positions where you've got a little niggly injury.

"It's ultimately up to the player to make the right decision there."

Adelaide have made five changes from last week's defeat to Fremantle.

Luke Pedlar, Lachlan Sholl and James Borlase have been axed, while Wayne Milera and Lachlan Murphy are out because of knee injuries.

The Crows recalled Jordon Butts and Sam Berry, while Patrick Parnell, Brayden Cook and Luke Nankervis have been picked for the first time this season.

License this article

What is AAPNews?

For the first time, Australian Associated Press is delivering news straight to the consumer.

No ads. No spin. News straight-up.

Not only do you get to enjoy high-quality news delivered straight to your desktop or device, you do so in the knowledge you are supporting media diversity in Australia.

AAP Is Australia’s only independent newswire service, free from political and commercial influence, producing fact-based public interest journalism across a range of topics including politics, courts, sport, finance and entertainment.

What is AAPNews?
The Morning Wire

Wake up to AAPNews’ morning news bulletin delivered straight to your inbox or mobile device, bringing you up to speed with all that has happened overnight at home and abroad, as well as setting you up what the day has in store.

AAPNews Morning Wire
AAPNews Breaking News
Breaking News

Be the first to know when major breaking news happens.

Notifications will be sent to your device whenever a big story breaks, ensuring you are never in the dark when the talking points happen.

Focused Content

Enjoy the best of AAP’s specialised Topics in Focus. AAP has reporters dedicated to bringing you hard news and feature content across a range of specialised topics including Environment, Agriculture, Future Economies, Arts and Refugee Issues.

AAPNews Focussed Content
Subscription Plans

Choose the plan that best fits your needs. AAPNews offers two basic subscriptions, all billed monthly.

Once you sign up, you will have seven days to test out the service before being billed.

AAPNews Full Access Plan
Full Access
  • Enjoy all that AAPNews has to offer
  • Access to breaking news notifications and bulletins
  • Includes access to all AAPNews’ specialised topics
Join Now
AAPNews Student Access Plan
Student Access
  • Gain access via a verified student email account
  • Enjoy all the benefits of the ‘Full Access’ plan at a reduced rate
  • Subscription renews each month
Join Now
AAPNews Annual Access Plan
Annual Access
  • All the benefits of the 'Full Access' subscription at a discounted rate
  • Subscription automatically renews after 12 months
Join Now

AAPNews also offers enterprise deals for businesses so you can provide an AAPNews account for your team, organisation or customers. Click here to contact AAP to sign-up your business today.

Download the app
Download AAPNews on the App StoreDownload AAPNews on the Google Play Store