De Laet did his usual good job, but playing him in the middle meant that City had to do without his marauding runs and the goal threat he offers from the right flank, his usual station in the team. Harrison Delbridge, his replacement at right back, is quick but he is not as threatening in offensive areas as the Belgian marquee man.
Joyce is hopeful but not overly confident that Schenkeveld will be back for next weekend’s penultimate A-League round.
”It’s a groin strain. It’s as long as a piece of string, really. I think you’ve just got to settle down and see it day by day. That’s all we can do at the minute and see how it is.
”I thought Delbridge did great. He’s done well and is quick , the third quickest in the club.
”We’re thrown in uncertainty after training when Bart goes down with an injury. I thought de Laet was outstanding really. Another position he’s had to adapt in,” said the coach.
”Ritchie has proved the go-to man this year and has proved he’s possibly the best one-on-one player in the league.
”You look at where he can play, what he can do and how he is in one-on-one situations, how he reads it and how adaptable he is. I think you’d be hard pushed to find a better player in the league that could do that.”
It was a frustrating night for Joyce and his Adelaide counterpart Marco Kurz as both teams had periods when they had the better of the game. On any other night it might have finished 2-2 or 3-3, but both goalkeepers, City veteran Eugene Galekovic and Adelaide’s Paul Izzo, were in good form.
”That’s football. You’ve got to give them credit, they’re a really well-organised team. The first half they pressed us well, we didn’t create as much as we’d like to and at times Eugene [Galekovic] has pulled off a couple of really top saves. I thought they were better in the first half and we were the better side in the second half.”
He had some upbeat news about captain Scott Jamieson, who has been out with a foot injury for some weeks.
”’Jamo’ did some ball work on Friday, not with the group, it was non-contact, just a little bit of passing.
”His progress and rehab will be dependent on pain … if he starts kicking balls, joining in with players, that’s when some clumsy people might stand on his toe … but I think he’s capable of joining some of the low-tempo training next week.”
Michael Lynch is The Age’s chief soccer reporter and also reports on motor sport and horseracing