Adelaide's Keays eyes top Dog in AFL milestone match
Adelaide's Ben Keays has done it the hard way to reach his 100th AFL game.
So it would be apt if the Crow spent his milestone match with arguably the hardest job in the league: trying to stop Western Bulldogs linchpin Marcus Bontempelli.
Should Adelaide opt to tag the Dogs skipper in Saturday's clash in Ballarat, Keays is the man.
"It would be awesome to come up against him," Keays said.
"What I would do personally, I would pray the ball doesn't come his way.
"It's a tough one, you can't switch off for a moment ... as soon as you get caught ball-watching on a player like Bonts, he is gone.
"He has just got that mix of brute strength, a huge body, but the way he moves, he weaves in and out and he has got that elegance as well, and agility.
"And he's really effective with his kicking and his hands so he's the full package and good in the air as well ... he's probably is the top player in the game right now."
Keays hits the century mark in his eighth season in the AFL - he played 30 games in a four-season stretch in Brisbane and was then delisted.
He arrived in Adelaide on a one-year rookie contract in 2020, then COVID-19 hit.
"I was so keen to have a big impact and then the season shuts down," Keays said.
"Obviously the anxiety was everywhere all over the industry.
"But I felt like I got given this chance ... and now I won't even get a chance to show what I have got, so I am going to end up out the other side again.
"Whatever the AFL did to get that season going was brilliant and pretty important for me because I was able to get in the team and then get rewarded with another contract."
Keays' arrival coincided with Matthew Nicks' appointment as Crows coach and a rebuild of the club's list.
After winning just six games in his four seasons at Brisbane, Keays won only 18 more in his initial three years in Adelaide.
But this season, he senses the tide turning as the Crows (five wins, four losses) hold eighth spot ahead of meeting the sixth-placed Dogs.
"Unfortunately, my first 100 ... mainly it has been a lot of heavy defeats, a lot of sad times at both clubs," Keays said.
"I am hoping now it's the time to really turn it around ... and get some success."