Crows keeping options open with versatile tall

ADELAIDE coach Matthew Clarke will keep his options open with ruck Jess Foley as he considers playing the cross-code recruit at either end of the ground.

The 36-year-old was a revelation for the Crows last season, the former elite basketballer superbly filling the void left by Rhiannon Metcalfe after she tore her ACL in a pre-season game.

Metcalfe – who was the Crows' ruck for their first two seasons – is a chance of returning in 2020.

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The Crows also bolstered their ruck stocks in the draft, picking up SA under-18 standout Montana McKinnon and 19-year-old Caitlin Gould.

Clarke told womens.afl that Foley's ruck work was compelling (she finished second in the Crows' best and fairest behind only superstar Erin Phillips), but she could revert to the utility role that she was initially earmarked for before Metcalfe's injury.

"All of pre-season up until two weeks out Jess trained predominantly forward and back, split her time between the two," Clarke said.

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"We thought she could potentially pinch-hit or be the second ruck, but that quickly changed (when Metcalfe was injured).

"This year, it's been a little bit similar.

"We've been chopping and changing between forward and back with a little bit of ruck as well.

"I don't know where she'll play because it will depend on how those other pieces of the puzzle come together.

"It's a wait and see on that one, she's got enormous flexibility to give us cover in a lot of areas."

Rhiannon Metcalfe in action during the 2018 season. Picture: AFL Photos

Along with Metcalfe, the reigning premiers are also taking a wait and see approach with Phillips and forward Chloe Scheer in their recoveries from knee reconstructions.

Midfielder Hannah Martin is inactive after tearing her ACL playing for NT Thunder during winter, while co-captain Chelsea Randall is a huge out after suffering a torn ACL on the first day of pre-season.

"It clearly set everyone back for a couple of days, but if there's a positive, it's that it happened really early in the process," Clarke said.

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"Chelsea is going to be involved in a coaching capacity and still provides plenty of leadership."

Clarke said his expectations hadn't significantly changed after the injuries, but admitted there was a sense of unknown with four new teams entering the League and the continual improvement of the competition.

"Predicating what's going to happen is fraught with danger because not only is there massive change within each team, but the league itself is developing really quickly and the standard of play is coming up really quickly," he said.

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"Last year's model, while it was interesting, is not a great resource in terms of what's coming next.

"We already had that conversation prior to the injuries and the injuries probably change the dynamic again, but so be it."