Luke Thompson battles for a mark against Mitch Brown of the Cats. Photo: Pat Scala
LUKE Thompson will play just his second game for the season in Adelaide's semi-final against Fremantle tonight, with the defender's versatility giving him the nod to replace injured Rising Star winner Daniel Talia in the Crows' back line.
Coach Brenton Sanderson said Thompson, who played 11 games last season but last featured in round 18, was selected with the knowledge he could play on either Matthew Pavlich or the Dockers' resting ruckman.
The Crows made one other change to the team that lost to Sydney last week, replacing substitute Aidan Riley with the re-signed utility Ricky Henderson.
Fremantle resisted altering the line-up that ended Geelong's season last week, but replaced Kepler Bradley with a more traditional ruck option, Zac Clarke.
Sanderson said yesterday the Crows could not afford to ''look in the rear-vision mirror'' after last week's loss, and his players had moved on well and would not be ''spooked'' by the Dockers' strong defensive mindset and set-ups.
''I think we're the only side that has beaten them in the last 10 weeks, so we certainly have to be at our attacking best to get through their defence,'' he said. ''But also we have got to ensure that our balance of attack and defence is where it should be as well. It would be a massive mistake if we went out there and just tried to blow them away in attack.
''We have to do the basics really well and not get spooked by their great defensive system.''
Sanderson said he wasn't scared of the ''straight sets'' scenario of bowing out with successive finals defeats.
''No fear, no,'' he said. ''We very rarely, if ever, talk to our players about if we lose this game - it's bad discussion.
''We'd hate to lose, but we certainly haven't spoken about losing this week.''
Collingwood, which plays West Coast in the other semi-final tomorrow, made two changes. Captain Nick Maxwell, out for two games through suspension, was replaced by Tyson Goldsack.
One young small forward, Ben Sinclair, was replaced by another, Jamie Elliott, who gathered 15 possessions against the Eagles when Collingwood beat them at the MCG in round 13.
West Coast lost warrior Beau Waters to a foot injury, but Matt Rosa will return to the midfield just three weeks after breaking his collarbone.