Adelaide midfielder Matt Crouch has made a strong return to AFL so far this season after a persistent groin injury forced him to watch from the sidelines in 2021.
The Crows’ 2017 Club Champion has played all four matches in 2022, averaging 28.5 possessions and 4.75 clearances.
Speaking to Belinda Sloane on this week’s episode of The Crows showCrouch said being injured last year had made him grateful for every game he played.
And the 26-year-old said there was one moment from his first game back in Round One that he’ll never forget.
“Being back this year and playing footy, you have a new appreciation about being out there again and being involved with the team, which I’ve loved,” Crouch said.
“I’m normally not nervous before games but that one I was pretty nervous before.
“To run out to an Adelaide Oval where the crowd was buzzing, it was awesome to have fans back at the footy, and it really felt like the Covid days were sort of over.
“Fingers crossed they are and it was good to have a crowd there, I really loved it.”
“Being back this year and playing footy, you have a new appreciation about being out there again.
Crouch, who has played 129 AFL games for Adelaide, said last year was tough but had confidence his body was now right.
“It (last year) was extremely frustrating,” Crouch said.
“There were some times last year where you sort of got in a rut of negativity a little bit with injury which is part of being a professional athlete.
“But I tried to stay positive and I’m loving this year.
“The body is feeling really good… I’m feeling healthy and virtually 100 per cent right.”
Despite lining up in front of a “buzzing” Crows home crowd at Adelaide Oval, the tough on-baller’s mates from Ballarat have not seen him play live in a while.
Crouch said he was looking forward to doing that when Adelaide takes on the Western Bulldogs in Ballarat next weekend.
“I’ve had a lot of friends hit me up for tickets already,” Crouch said.
“It will be good to get back to Ballarat and play in front of some friends and hopefully we can have a good win against the Bulldogs.
“Hopefully the weather holds off because traditionally Ballarat can be pretty cold, hopefully the rain holds off and we can have a good game.”
Also on the Crows Show this week, stars Anne Hatchard and Marijana Rajcic reflect on the Crows historic third AFLW Premiership and Kieran Strachan joins Tom Doedee to speak about his ‘Whopper Moment’.
The Crows Show airs on Channel 7 on Sunday, April 17, at 3pm.