The Crows are likely staring at back-to-back bottom four seasons for the first time in their history but there’s one giant ray of light in Adelaide and his name is Riley Thilthorpe.
The number two pick in last year’s draft has the future of the club resting on his young shoulders and early signs suggest he’s up to the task.
Thilthorpe, 18, has had an interrupted preparation for his first AFL season but played a full game in Adelaide’s seconds on Saturday and had locals frothing over his performance.
While Joe Daniher shone on debut for the Lions, the 200cm key forward put on a show at Alberton Oval.
After kicking his first goal from a free kick after a Port Adelaide opponent broke the new “stand rule”, Thilthorpe broke the game open in the third quarter, taking several contested marks inside 50m.
He finished with four goals and also dished off a couple in Adelaide’s 14-point win, prompting former Port Adelaide player Kane Cornes to declare the Crows “will be forced to play him” in the senior side “very soon”.
Thilthorpe has been told a round one berth is a definite possibility and he’s been tipped to feature in the Crows’ next trial game, another hitout against Port this Sunday.