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Crows urged to lock away Laird and Crouch


Former Adelaide recruiter Matt Rendell has made his suggestions on the length of contracts the club should offer two of its key midfielders.

Both Rory Laird and Matt Crouch come out of contract this year, but with the Crows in a rebuild phase, do they offer them long-term deals?

Rendell feels that 27-year-old Laird, who is reportedly seeking a five-year contract, is the one of the duo who should be looked after.

“I expect that he’ll play until at least 34 (years of age),” he said on SEN SA Breakfast.

“It depends on what the five-year deal looks like financially.

“You would assume his next three years are probably going to be the best of his career. Geez, he was good in the midfield when he went in there (last year).

“No surprise really because he finds the ball so easily. He was just a class act in there.

“I’d be giving five to keep him, because they need him badly, but I wouldn’t be overpaying the last couple of years.

“He’s really important to them and they don’t want to lose any more class acts.”

Crouch, 25, is also entering his prime years but Rendell is not as bullish on the Crows offering him as lengthy a contract.

“He’s not that damaging is he? We could assume that,” he said of Crouch.

“But I see his importance elsewhere. You need a bloke in the midfield who can see the game really easily and get other players out of trouble.

“There’s so many players around the ball these days, a lot of players run into trouble, but he’s always there for the little short kick or the handball back, and you need players who see that quick. He’s certainly one of those.

“Rory Sloane tends to be the bloke who runs straight and hard. He (Crouch) tends to be the one who hovers around the pack in a really good spot.

“I think you need to keep him for a couple of years at least. I’d be offering him at least a two-year contract.

“I wouldn’t be giving him any longer than that but I certainly think he’s still very valuable at the moment.”

Speaking more broadly of the on-ball brigade Matthew Nicks has at his disposal, Rendell has high hopes that the likes of Laird, Crouch, and captain Rory Sloane, will form a strong midfield group with developing types such as Wayne Milera, Chayce Jones, Harry Schoenberg and Lachlan Sholl.

“The Laird move into the midfield was important when they were really low on numbers when Rory Sloane was out,” Rendell said.

“They’ll get Milera who will also play through the midfield, so their midfield will look a lot stronger. Chayce Jones will be better.

“With Sloane now 30, there’s a couple of good players who can take over from Sloane in two, three, four years’ time.

“You need those ‘toughies’ to complement your outside runners. They’ve got a few of them in Schoenberg, Milera, Jones and Sholl.

“In a couple of years, they’re going to be formidable in the midfield.”

Laird and Crouch both boast All-Australian selections on their respective CVs (Laird twice) and are previous winners of the Malcolm Blight Medal.

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