They could be alive, they could be finished.
Whatever scenario, Adelaide coach Brenton Sanderson wants just one thing: a fast start against St Kilda in Sunday’s AFL encounter at Adelaide Oval.
The Crows will discover if they’re in the hunt for the finals by half-time. If three results fall their way, they could sneak into eighth spot.
But Sanderson says it’s pointless worrying about what he can’t control.
“We will be sitting watching the other games with interest, but our focus will be to start well against St Kilda no matter what the situation,” he said.
“If we’re still very much alive when the umpire bounces the ball in the first quarter, we have got strategies in place to ensure that we’re well informed about margins and percentage.
“But we won’t lose any sleep over that until it is actually presented in front of us.”
Adelaide’s season hinged on Collingwood, Richmond and West Coast losing.
The Crows have the first leg of that trifecta, with the Magpies losing to Hawthorn on Friday night.
Next leg, Richmond against Sydney on Saturday night. If the Tigers lose, the Crows remain alive.
If so, Adelaide’s season depends on West Coast versus Gold Coast – if the Eagles lose, Adelaide simply need to beat St Kilda.
If the Eagles win, the Crows will likely need to thump the Saints by about 15 goals to overcome West Coast on percentage and steal eighth.
Yet all that, of course, depends on Adelaide actually beating a St Kilda outfit destined to claim the club’s first wooden spoon since 2000.
“We have got to make sure we beat St Kilda, that is our objective,” Sanderson said.
“If it comes down to scores and percentage, then obviously we will have to let players know the situation.
“But if we go into this match distracted by ‘We have to win by 85 points or 92 points or whatever’, that is not the way to attack a game of footy. We will remain focused on the fundamentals.”
The first fundamental is a good start: Sanderson notes the Crows have won just nine opening quarters this season.
That statistic galls the third-year coach, given only four clubs – flag fancies Sydney, Hawthorn, Fremantle and Port Adelaide – have won more quarters overall than Adelaide.
“The trouble is, when we have a bad quarter, we get scored heavily against,” Sanderson said.
“Defence is an area we have to improve.”