Pyke: no quick fix for woes of Crows

NT News - - SPORT - MICHELAN­GELO RUCCI

CROWS coach Don Pyke ex­pects his well-drilled players – and not a flash of game-day nov­elty from his as­sis­tant coaches – to deal with the on­field crises that have over­whelmed Ade­laide in the past fort­night.

“There’s no magic cure,” Pyke in­sists as Crows fans – and pun­dits – take is­sue with his match-day coach­ing.

Crit­i­cised for not re­act­ing in the box as North Mel­bourne and Mel­bourne have put on dam­ag­ing scor­ing runs against the Crows in the past week, Pyke in­sists the tac­tics to stop op­po­si­tion mo­men­tum swings are al­ready in place.

It is up to his players to work them.

And that all comes down to at­ti­tude, in par­tic­u­lar for con­tested foot­ball – a theme ham­mered at train­ing this week to bring change in tonight’s clash with last-ranked Bris­bane at the Gabba.

“This is about rolling up our sleeves up and get­ting back to the things we were do­ing early in the sea­son,” Pyke said. “It is a fo­cus around con­tested ball and the level we set early in they year got us a re­sult.

“We had that in the first six weeks. We have got to make sure we re­turn to that and bring that on Satur­day night.”

Top-ranked Ade­laide (6-2) has been ad­mired this sea­son par­tic­u­larly against Hawthorn in round two and Rich­mond in round six - for ad­just­ing at the breaks when Pyke has clearly put the fo­cus on con­tested foot­ball.

But the ques­tion lingers as to what is hap­pen­ing when there is no time-out to make the players work to new themes. Pyke in­sists those tac­tics will be driven by the players work­ing to a game plan drilled dur­ing the week.

“We have some plays in place for that sit­u­a­tion,” Pyke said. “The first thing is al­ways to back your players in. I’m go­ing to back my players in to be able to turn that around.

“In the first six weeks they were able to do that ... the last cou­ple they have not.

“And a lot of that stems from our abil­ity to com­pete around the ball – and com­pete con­sis­tently. And then our workrate from there. There is no magic cure in that space.”

Ade­laide went to Bris­bane with a 23-man squad, keep­ing vet­eran David Mackay on the flight plan as the trav­el­ling emer­gency ahead of ruck­man Reilly O’Brien or un­tried for­ward Jonathon Beech.

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