Crows Sam Jacobs and Ben Rutten celebrate after beating Fremantle in the semi-final.

Crows Sam Jacobs and Ben Rutten celebrate after beating Fremantle in the semi-final. Photo: Getty Images

Adelaide's younger players must follow the example of a hardened senior core to triumph in Saturday's preliminary final against Hawthorn, Crows ruckman Sam Jacobs says.

Jacobs says the finals performances of veterans including Ben Rutten and Michael Doughty have inspired the next generation of Crows.

Defensive pillar Rutten, 29, has been outstanding in both of Adelaide's finals and restricted Fremantle captain Matthew Pavlich to just one semi-final goal last week.

And 33-year-old Doughty, who will retire at season's end, has also been among the Crows' best players in their finals campaign.

" 'Dogga' [Doughty] has been amazing for this group," Jacobs said on Thursday.

"I can't speak highly enough of him, how he has shared his past experiences with the boys. He has just got so much genuine care for the playing group.

"The boys play for him definitely and would love to get him a crack at a grand final. And Rutten has been great.

"Those sort of blokes, you just know in a big game that they're going to play well.

"It's up to the younger blokes. We're the blokes that have to step up to their level and perform."

While most pundits give Adelaide scant chance against flag favourite Hawthorn in the MCG preliminary final, Jacobs said the Crows' semi-final victory against Fremantle provided invaluable confidence.

"The belief is obviously very high and we're very confident that we can take it to Hawthorn," he said.

"I guess we'll see this week how much that win does do for the group, but the boys are just really excited now.

"It's a great opportunity and no one really gives us a chance which is probably a good thing, so the boys are just really looking forward to it.

"All football people are going to have their opinions and Hawthorn has had a great year and the way they played against Collingwood [in a qualifying final] suggests they are just going to walk over us.

"But that is not going to be the case. We'll go over there with nothing to lose and give them a good scrap."

AAP