Have the Crows been worked out?

Justin Ahrns Roar Pro

By Justin Ahrns, Justin Ahrns is a Roar Pro


4 Have your say

    Flag favourites. Offensive juggernaut. Dynasty. These are the phrases that have been used in discussing the ladder-leading Adelaide Crows this season.

    After their shock loss to North Melbourne in which they put up a 0 in the opening term, media critics dismissed the loss as a blip on the radar due to the typical windy Tasmanian conditions.

    But just as the Crows seemed to be finding their rhythm again in the second quarter on their home deck, Melbourne scored eight consecutive goals and would not relinquish the lead they had built.

    So as the terms have changed from the hunted to the caught, from the juggernaut to the front-runners and from the benchmark to the pedestrian, are the Crows a one-trick pony?

    The Demons were able to do what no team other than North Melbourne had done: deny the Crows the football.

    Adelaide was held to just 379 disposals compared to the Demons’ 420, and was unable to penetrate by foot, notching up more handballs than kicks.

    The job done by Bernie Vince in negating the impact of Brownlow medal favourite Rory Sloane was a large factor in this. But more importantly, the pressure of the Demons’ midfield group once the ball hit the deck was elite.

    Sam Jacobs had a near all-time high 72 hitouts in the game, yet the Crows were out-gunned in the clearance department 49-38.

    The work of Clayton Oliver and Jack Viney inside was tremendous, not to mention the explosiveness of Christian Petracca as the match wore on.

    Along with putting the Crows under pressure at the contest, the Demons did an excellent job at keeping a player behind the ball at all times and taking intercept marks.

    Michael Hibberd and Nathon Jones led the Demons with eight marks each, while the Crows’ half backs who are so well known for their run and dash were unable to impact the game at a level they are accustomed to.

    The gameplan adopted by the Demons closely resembles the success that West Coast and Geelong had against Adelaide on their home deck last season.

    By setting up well behind the ball, the Crows struggle to play their brand of footy, and if the opposing team is on top in the middle of the ground they lose all structure and confidence.

    For Melbourne to have executed as well as they did without a recognised ruckman or key forward speaks volumes to the hardness of their ball-winners and IQ of their coaching staff.

    They truly had the Crows rattled. Coach Don Pyke said of the Melbourne pressure:

    “A lot of times we’d win it and we’d be stripped of the ball, and the next ball it would flow to them and they would win the clearance.”

    Simon Goodwin echoed a similar sentiment:

    “To be 24 points down, and to fight back and to win like that was really pleasing… I thought our tackling pressure as a team just went through the roof and we willed our way back into the game.”

    So following a season in which we saw North Melbourne win their first nine games of the season only to barely finish eighth, have the Crows peaked too early?

    Or do consecutive losses serve as a reality check that Don Pyke was hopeful his team wouldn’t need?

    Have coaches now got a concrete gameplan when coming up against this formidable Crows outfit, or is it simply a matter of when the Crows will adjust and pick up right where they left off two weeks ago against Richmond?

    The Crows take on the lowly Brisbane Lions next week, so that will serve as an opportunity to right their wrongs of the last fortnight.

    But if we can take away one thing from yesterday’s action, it is that premiership favouritism after eight rounds in season 2017 is a mere myth.

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    The Crowd Says (4)

    • May 15th 2017 @ 11:13am
      sammy said | May 15th 2017 @ 11:13am | ! Report

      The crows have a couple of obvious problems that they have let themselves be exposed to and the are:

      1. Not enough support is being provided to Sloane to shake a tag..I mean the guys like Tex, Jenkins and the bigger boddies in the team need to exert real physical pressure on the tag to help create space for sloane. A ruick that wins over 70 hit outs should by rights be giving his midfield first look at the ball so the structures need to be sharpened up in the middle to help facilitate that

      2. Is Pyke another Neil Craig? – I hope not, but consecutive games where the opposition has gone on a goal avalanche and no response i shown. I think back to a different era under Malcolm Blight – he would have thrown 2 men behind the ball, or tried to add an extra at the contest…anything but let the rut continue. Pyke and his team need to work on this because when plan A is not working, plans B, C D E etc need to come into play.

      3. The pace that had the crows feared by all in the first 6 weeks has dropped off. Milera, Cameron, Hampton, Atkins, McKay all need to find another gear and start creating better outlets for the inside mids.

      4. The extra man the opposition create in Adelaide’s forward line is killing them going forward ATM – the crows need to lower the eyes and instruct Tex, Jenkins etc to lead at the ball carrier and not allow a dump ball into the forward 50 to be snaffled by the spare.

      I said a few weeks back – they way the crows were playing, that a lot would have to go wring for them to fall away badly…well alot has gone wrong for them and none of that is due to luck. They are good enough to correct the above and get back to winning football, but then again, confidence when lost can be hard to get back. I hope I am wrong

    • May 15th 2017 @ 2:42pm
      dan ced said | May 15th 2017 @ 2:42pm | ! Report

      They looked scared, maybe rattled from TAS. Refused to kick the ball.. it was rubbish handball after rubbish handball, which resulted in a colon-load of turnovers.

      The umpiring was the worst I’ve seen in over 20 years of Crows home games.

      Solid umpiring wouldn’t have helped the Crows much, but makes the game less enjoyable, and more confusing.

      Jenkins is playing soft, just put Greenwood in until Jenkins sorts his ribs out 100%.
      Cameron goes missing too often, give Harrison Wigg or someone like that a try.

    • May 16th 2017 @ 12:47am
      Craig Delaney said | May 16th 2017 @ 12:47am | ! Report

      The Ds pressure was great and the Crows had very little. Their prefered game plan was not working with the Ds extra in defence and the contests being lost too often. The contests were the players business to change, but they were hampered by trying to win the same way they did for the first 6 games. They took the game on when they needed to hunker down. In rugby terms, they needed to get their scrum and maul right and then look to move the ball. The coach could have set the theme by sending a man back in that 3rd quarter. They needed to keep possession more even if it meant having the ball held to them. That would have meant a ball up, and a chance through Jacobs to get a clearer posession and clearance. Instead they were too intent on getting back the heady ball movement of the first six rounds, and under Ds pressure kept coughing it up. Slow it down when the opposition is clearly in a near manic streak. The Crows tried to out manic them.

      A plan B is needed when the opposition is foiling plan A, the preferred option. Perhaps, instead of streaming into the forward lines, hang some back. Tex and Jacobs and Betts can lead into space. There are elite kicks from half backs on that are capable of lace outs. At least, mix it up. Jacobs needs to go for marks rather than be content to simply get the ball to ground. He also needs to lead at the ball. He is fast enough and very big, tough to spoil legally, and made for leading.

      Umpires are still ignoring the rules to the detriment of the game. It did not protect the skills enough, so the mania increased and the footy was really scrappy far too often. Hands are back in backs, and disposals are often late and laughable.

    • May 16th 2017 @ 11:04am
      Brinnx said | May 16th 2017 @ 11:04am | ! Report

      Que the “Bryce Gibb’s to Crows” merry-go-round again.

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