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Opposition Analysis: Gun quartet in doubt

Patrick Dangerfield of the Crows during the 2014 AFL round 07 match between the Adelaide Crows and the Melbourne Demons at the Adelaide Oval, Adelaide on May 03, 2014. (Photo: AFL Media)
Patrick Dangerfield in action for the Crows.

ADELAIDE will be sweating on the fitness of four key players ahead of Friday night’s important clash with Hawthorn at Adelaide Oval.

Gun midfielder Patrick Dangerfield (knee) and Scott Thompson (leg) and defenders Daniel Talia (corked buttock) and Ben Rutten (concussion) are in doubt and will be required to pass fitness tests later this week.

Each is an important cog in Adelaide’s arsenal but Dangerfield is the most explosive of the quartet and would be a massive loss for his side if he were to miss.

Dangerfield declared on Monday though, that he’ll fact the Hawks.

“I’m fine. It was just a slight knock to the knee,” Dangerfield told Adelaide radio station FIVEaa on Monday.

“It was a little bit sore at the time, but it won’t be an issue at all.”

Dangerfield limped to just 22 touches in his side’s 68-point win over GWS on Saturday after injuring his knee in the third term.

After being assessed by club doctors he returned to the field and played out the game but was below his best.

An explosive midfielder, Dangerfield has already inspired his team to upset victories over Collingwood and Port Adelaide this season with stunning 32-disposal efforts in both.

Thompson finished Saturday’s game on the bench after receiving a knock to the back of his knee.

Like Dangerfield, Thompson has been one of Adelaide’s best again this year, ranked number one at the club for disposals (27.9 average), clearances (6.2) and uncontested possessions (15.5).

He is also ranked second (behind Dangerfield) for centre clearances (2.5).

Thompson is also his side’s second-best tackler, averaging 4.5 per game.

Scott Thompson in action for the Crows.

Talia and Rutten are Adelaide’s two key defenders who will take one of Jarryd Roughead and Jack Gunston each if they pass their fitness tests.

Talia suffered a corked buttock but played out the game on Saturday, while Rutten was subbed out in the first quarter with concussion.

The former shut down Collingwood’s Travis Cloke in the shock Round 9 victory and did the job on Coleman Medal leader Jay Schulz in the Showdown two weeks ago.

If one or both of Talia and Rutten don’t get up, the Crows would consider themselves significantly hindered in the back half on Friday night.

The duo are key to their chances of pulling off another upset win.