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Dropping Tyson Stengle isn’t the end of the world

Despite kicking three goals on his Adelaide debut, new boy Tyson Stengle wasn’t able to hold down his spot in the Crows line up as veteran forward Tom Lynch returns from injury to face Essendon on Friday night.

PHOTO: Adelaide Crows

Now I’ve seen my fair share of freak outs from Crows fans, partly because I myself freak out about the club for three hours, once a week, between March and September every year.

That being said, the general sense of angst around Tyson Stengle’s omission from the side to face Essendon has to be right up there.

Crows fans took to social media on Thursday night after it was revealed Stengle would be the one to make way for the returning Tom Lynch, despite the former getting his Adelaide career off to a white hot start with three goals.

The seemingly heir apparent to the Eddie Betts throne in Adelaide’s forward line has clearly endeared himself to the fans with many wishing to see Lynch get a run in the SANFL side prior to his return.

Others even called for the in-form Lachie Murphy to be the small forward to make way for the returning Lynch – which is simply not the right call.

Let me preface what I am about to say by saying I was thrilled to see Stengle turn his solid SANFL form into a small bag of goals at the top level, but lets get a grip Crows fans.

Tom Lynch is arguably the single most important player on Adelaide’s list and is known across the league as the link man between the midfield and the forward line.

While I loved seeing a young gun get his opportunity, if Lynch is ready to go, you play him and you don’t hesitate.

The current AFL ladder is way too close to not push all the chips into the middle of the table as the Crows try to capitalise on a soft portion of its fixture.

Tom Lynch is crucial to Adelaide’s slim premiership chances. PHOTO: AFL

Adelaide will fancy themselves against Essendon at home, before very winnable games against Carlton and St Kilda.

This is the time of the season where it can separate itself from the teams fighting for the bottom places in the top eight and press for a top four berth.

I feel for Stengle, I really do.

He hasn’t done anything wrong except be a fringe member of what is a really strong forward group on paper.

I get the argument that Lynch may be underdone but come on.

Adelaide must strike while the iron is hot and put the best team it can on the park to beat a fellow finals contender in the Bombers.

I understand fans getting excited when they see a glimpse of the future and new names on the team sheet.

But six games to go in a season, where a premiership is the ultimate goal, is not the time to start experimenting with small forward line ups and largely untried players.

Stengle will get another opportunity and I’m sure he’ll take it just like Reilly O’Brien has seized his chance in the ruck.

But we aren’t talking about a scrub here, we’re talking about Tom Lynch and I think some Crows fans need to take a step back and realise this.

We’re in the battle to secure a double chance and give ourselves the best chance to win a flag.

In this instance, I feel like Don Pyke and the selection committee have made the right call.

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Tom grew up in Adelaide’s northern suburbs and is our resident North American sports expert. Tom has experience as a working journalist and has a keen interest in basketball, ice hockey and American football, as well as cricket, soccer and football. He spent his junior cricket career at East Torrens District and has played for a number of football clubs across Adelaide’s north.