Injured Adelaide midfielder Rory Sloane says the team is sticking tight as they attempt to honour Phil Walsh in style.
The Crows will play their first AFL match since their coach’s shock death when they line up in Saturday night’s clash with West Coast at Domain Stadium.
Sloane will miss the match because of a fractured jaw, but he flew with his teammates to Perth on Friday to provide moral support.
“It’s about keeping an eye on each other,” Sloane said.
“That’s what we’ll do. We’ll stay tight as a team, and everyone will look out for each other.
“Sticking together’s the best thing. That’s where the guys have felt the most normal – at the footy club and around each other.”
Crows players have vowed to honour Walsh by fulfilling his coaching ethos.
“I just want to see the guys crack in and play the way Walshy’s taught us for the last nine months,” Sloane said.
“He strived for elite standards and tough hard players who play team-first footy … you will see some tough boys playing hard.
“What a game to be involved in – to pay tribute to a great man.”
Sloane said his emotions came to the fore when he watched the touching tribute to Walsh following Thursday’s Port Adelaide-Collingwood game.
“Seeing the tribute last night after the game was pretty hard,” Sloane said.
“It’s been great seeing the whole AFL community get around Walshy and Meredith and Quinn. It’s been really nice seeing so much support.”
West Coast coach Adam Simpson says it’s hard to predict how players from both sides will handle the emotion of Saturday’s match.
“We’re not robots. We all grieve in different ways,” Simpson said.
Walsh made a big impact at the Eagles during his five years as an assistant there.
Despite the emotional circumstances surrounding Saturday’s match, Simpson wants his team to do their utmost to win.
“When the siren goes to start the game, we need to be ruthless,” Simpson said.
“Adelaide are the same. I think both teams will come out pretty hard.
“We’re anticipating a pretty revved up Adelaide. We’ve got to match that.”
Former Blues champion Scott Camporeale has been handed the reins of Adelaide for the rest of the season.
With Sloane out injured, Riley Knight has been named to make his debut, while the Eagles recalled wingman Matt Rosa.