O’Brien, 21, was promoted from the Crows’ rookie list Monday as Adelaide made seven changes to its squads – senior and rookie – on the October 31 deadline for list changes in the lead-up to the AFL national draft in Sydney on November 25.
Taking a pointer from Jacobs’ late-season fade-out – either as a consequence of an ankle injury or from carrying 90 per cent of the ruck burden at West Lakes – the Crows’ decision to promote O’Brien indicates senior coach Don Pyke will manage the 28-year-old Jacobs differently next season.
And rather than add more ruck work to key forward Josh Jenkins’ portfolio, Pyke will have O’Brien ready to play AFL – just as he did when Jacobs missed two games with his ankle injury in August.
O’Brien’s work against Brisbane and Fremantle in rounds 20 and 21 – when he had 29 and 18 hit-outs while Jacobs was recuperating from injury – highlighted Adelaide did indeed have an emerging ruckman in reserve at West Lakes and earned high praise from Pyke.
A No. 9 pick in the 2015 AFL rookie draft, O’Brien signed a two-year contract extension in August 2015 – a deal that is certain to be quickly reviewed now that he is a senior-listed player.