Adelaide midfielder Matt Crouch is more worried about his club’s absence from the SANFL than the prospect of sharing a hotel with AFL rivals Port Adelaide.
The Crows and Port were slated to depart on Sunday and stay in the same biosecurity bubble on the Gold Coast as they prepare for the season to resume.
The clubs are now expected to stay at home in coming weeks and meet in a round-two Showdown after receiving clearance from state government to conduct contact training in Adelaide.
Crouch welcomed the prospect of rebooting his club’s campaign in South Australia, suggesting a local derby would be “great for the state” even if played in front of empty stands.
“It’s always massive for the state,” he told ABC Grandstand.
“Round two is ideal.”
Power coach Ken Hinkley and chairman David Koch both made it clear they weren’t thrilled to be sharing a hub with the Crows, but Crouch doesn’t feel the SA rivalry runs that deep.
“It doesn’t bother me staying with them. That’s the last thing on my mind,” Crouch said.
“As long as we can play some footy, I don’t care.
“I enjoy playing in Showdowns and beating them. I love doing that.
“But once you’re off the field, I get on quite well with a lot of guys from Port. They’re pretty good fellas.”
As part of the AFL’s strict return-to-play rules, players have been banned from taking part in second-tier competitions like the SANFL.
Scratch matches will be as good as it gets for anybody seeking to find form or fitness and push for an AFL recall.
Port and Adelaide, both lacking the relative luxury of the AFL’s 10 Victorian clubs, will likely have to rely on each other more than ever before.
“They have to get some sort of footy in (for those not picked at AFL level) … it’s crucial,” Crouch said.
“It’s a really tough one.
“The SANFL is a great competition for the young guys to develop in, so it’s going to be very challenging.”
Meanwhile, Crouch admitted older brother and out-of-contract teammate Brad was “up in the air” because negotiations across the league had been paused.
“He’s just looking forward to having a good season and dealing with that when he has to,” he said.