Adelaide teenager Brad Crouch grew up dreaming of playing for the Crows.

He wanted to pull on the famous jumper, hear the roar of the crowd, feel the pride of being part of the team and mix his skills with players much older than him.

But as Crouch prepares for today's practice match against Fremantle at AAMI Stadium, he admits it wasn't Adelaide that stoked his passion.

Crouch grew up in Ballarat and wanted to play for the Beaufort Crows in the Central Highlands Football League.

"My old man coached Beaufort and I used to love going down there and watching that," Crouch said.

"I'm pretty passionate about the Beauy Crows. I always wanted to play for the Beaufort Crows even as a young bloke.

"I wanted to play AFL but thought if that didn't work out, I'd be rapt to play for Beaufort.

"I played senior footy when I was 16. It can get pretty rough out there, like any country footy, but it was really good fun. I've still got a couple of really good mates who are about 27 or 28.

"I love going home, catching up with them and watching a game."

The days at Beaufort shaped Crouch into the tough midfielder he is today. Crouch joined Perth's Jaeger O'Meara as the other player chosen in last year's Greater Western Sydney mini draft. He also had senior experience in country footy.

Ineligible to play AFL until 2013 because he was too young, Crouch spent last season training with the Crows and playing for West Adelaide in the SANFL.

His performances belied his age and Adelaide believe he would have made his debut last year, if eligible.

Crouch's performance for West Adelaide in the SANFL preliminary final was superb and it lifted the Bloods into the grand final.

The 19-year-old midfielder credits his father Phil for helping him to adapt quickly to senior football at all levels.

"Dad said he reckoned I was ready for senior footy and it definitely helped me," Crouch said.

"He played a lot of country footy and coached a lot, too. When I was 14 or 15 I spoke to him and he said he could help me out a bit and ride me a bit hard, because he's pretty relaxed and never made me do anything I didn't want to do.

"So, he said he'd help me out because I was pretty keen. Growing up, we were footy mad and it's stayed that way."

It's easy to see why Crouch throws his body into contests when you consider the players he has looked up to - Joel Selwood, Daniel Cross and Matthew Boyd.

They all attack contests relentlessly and Crouch is keen to follow in their footsteps.

Knowing he couldn't play AFL last year, he focused on bulking up and getting fitter. Now he has a major advantage over other draftees and believes O'Meara, along with 2012 mini-draft selections Jack Martin and Jesse Hogan, will also benefit.

"It's helped me massively. I loved the year," Crouch said.

"It was a great thing. When I first got here I was 79 kilos and now I'm 85. Fitness-wise, I've made a big improvement with my running. That comes from doing two pre-seasons.

"Last year I was knackered all the time. All I did after training was go home and sleep. But this year my body is used to it and I'm mentally used to it. There's four of us who have done it now and it will help all of us in our development."

Crouch watched on last year as many of his friends played AFL. Today, he'll cross paths with another friend - Tanner Smith.

"I'm mates with Ollie Wines who went to Port Adelaide and last weekend we were on each other a bit," he said.

"I didn't know whether to say 'how are you going' or not.

"It'll be good to see Tanner. Us country boys stick together."

The West Australian

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