The Crows may be soft, but that’s not their real problem

Josh Champion Roar Rookie

By Josh Champion, Josh Champion is a Roar Rookie New author!

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    Jonathan Brown took a swipe at the Adelaide Crows this week, questioning their ability to play tough, “unsociable” football – a term made popular during the recent years of Hawthorn’s reign.

    But Hawthorn weren’t respectably tough, they were dirty, so I don’t want to see the Crows play the way the Hawks did.

    I want Adelaide to build their own brand of football, which – in gameplan alone – they’ve already done this year.

    That said, Brown’s comments are warranted.

    On paper, the Crows should have won a premiership under Neil Craig, but didn’t because Craig had no answers when Plan A wasn’t working. To compound the problem, he refused to make changes on-field when the chips were down.

    Sure, hindsight is 20-20, but Don Pyke’s words in the media after his side’s last two losses placed almost all blame for the breakdown on a players’ inability to execute the gameplan. Yet when things aren’t going to plan, Pyke’s ability to execute the kinds of changes coaches are paid to make has been found wanting.

    Of course, he’s not going to talk tactics with the media, but I’ve no reason to believe he’s delivering a different message to the players.

    The loss to North Melbourne didn’t bother me so much, it was more the manner in which it occurred, with a Craig-like commitment to a failed gameplan. However, in the press conference, Pyke threw his players under the bus, blaming poorly executed plays and non-contributors.

    That’s fine if you’re going to spend time one-on-one with those players, working out how to fix the problem, but if you say things like that and then rock up to training with indignance, the players will check out.

    Is that what we saw during the Melbourne game? I hope not, but the possibility is far from ruled out.

    In the interest of fairness, a few changes were made during the Melbourne game. Pyke threw Rory Sloane around to see if a different position would shake the tag. It didn’t. His comment about that at the press conference: “It just didn’t work for him tonight.”

    Late in the game, Pyke put Andy Otten forward (where he’s been so good this season), but it was too little too late.

    So sure, the Crows may be soft, but big hits don’t win football games, they only earn you a nervous seat before the match review panel. Thus, Brown’s comments are accurate, but irrelevant.

    Adelaide aren’t any softer this week than they were when they annihilated their first six opponents (including the unsociable Hawks), so something else has changed.

    I just hope it isn’t the players’ faith in a coach who is facing his first stint in the hot seat.

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    The Crowd Says (39)

    • May 17th 2017 @ 7:24am
      Tristo said | May 17th 2017 @ 7:24am | ! Report

      Crows problem is pretty straight forward, not enough players with an instinct for being first to the ball. Sloane sets the example in this regard, so when he’s taken out of the game, everyone is left waiting

      • May 18th 2017 @ 1:10pm
        Gecko said | May 18th 2017 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

        Same thing will happen with GWS if the opposition can get on top of Ward.

    • May 17th 2017 @ 8:32am
      Roger of Sydney said | May 17th 2017 @ 8:32am | ! Report

      The Crows are virtually the same team as last year with the same benefits and problems.

      They need two more get your hands dirty midfielders. Still don’t see them as flag winners but in the top four, the Swans did a fairly easy job on them last year in the finals and I don’t see much has changed. I fact when the season is near the end we might find that not much has changed from last year in most of the teams.

      • Roar Guru

        May 17th 2017 @ 12:54pm
        JamesH said | May 17th 2017 @ 12:54pm | ! Report

        Except for Hawthorn.

      • Roar Rookie

        May 21st 2017 @ 12:39pm
        Josh Champion said | May 21st 2017 @ 12:39pm | ! Report

        Fair bit has changed for Sydney mate!

    • May 17th 2017 @ 12:28pm
      themadchatter said | May 17th 2017 @ 12:28pm | ! Report

      Annihilated their first 6 opponents? I didn’t know a win against Hawks by 24 and a win against Port by 17 are considered an annihilation. The other results however fit that description. 56 points, 65 points, 67 points and 76 points.

      • Roar Rookie

        May 21st 2017 @ 12:41pm
        Josh Champion said | May 21st 2017 @ 12:41pm | ! Report

        Fair call. I guess I was speaking more holistically than just margins. I’ve no doubt those losses were crushing for the Hawks and Port.

    • May 17th 2017 @ 2:18pm
      Matt said | May 17th 2017 @ 2:18pm | ! Report

      Agree with your comments regarding 1-dimensional coaching Josh – but in reality if you don’t win the ball at the stoppages, or at least make a strong contest to stop clean clearances, then no game plan will work and that’s what Pyke and Brown are talking about in their own ways.

      They really need to be able to change the midfield mix if Plan A (Sloane, M. Crouch, B. Crouch, Douglas) isn’t working. I’m not sure how often Laird goes into the centre bounces, but he’s a got a bigger frame and doesn’t get knocked off the ball.
      Maybe even throw Otten in there as ruck when the opposition is using a smaller Watts type like Melbourne did – get more contest and mobility at ground level in there.

      • Roar Rookie

        May 21st 2017 @ 12:43pm
        Josh Champion said | May 21st 2017 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

        Agree completely Matt. Disagree that Brown was talking about strong contests. He was talking about mongrel. Which the Crows have lacked for oh, I don’t know, about 19 years?

    • May 17th 2017 @ 2:29pm
      Powerboy said | May 17th 2017 @ 2:29pm | ! Report

      Sorry Josh, old mate, you lost me with “On paper, the Crows should have won a premiership under Neil Craig”.
      That comment alone speaks volumes about the ever present malaise confronting the Crows and their fans.
      It ranks right up there with “missed a grand final by a kick” which has become a mantra since 2006.
      Themadchatter hit the nail on the head with his comment above…..terms such as “annihilated’ should be considered in relation to exactly who the opposition was and what happened on the day. I guess this is what happens when one exists in the complacent monoculture known as Adelaide where there is only one news rag and every other media outlet in town take their cues from whatever is promulgated therein on any given morning.
      It is no coincidence that the safest job in Adelaide is that of evening newsreader on a commercial television station.
      It is very comforting to note that at least you seek opinion elsewhere from such fine sources as the ROAR.

      • May 17th 2017 @ 4:59pm
        Matt said | May 17th 2017 @ 4:59pm | ! Report

        You lost me at Powerboy!

        • May 17th 2017 @ 5:10pm
          Powerboy said | May 17th 2017 @ 5:10pm | ! Report

          Was it the linguistics or the semantics, Matt?
          It seemed pretty straightforward to me. Where do you get your info from in Adelaide? The Ragvertiser? 5AA and their intellectual giants? Do newsreaders whose only qualification is nepotism do it for you? Does the word monoculture need definition? Do your commercial decisions rely upon which footballer is in the ad? I was merely questioning the critical thinking capacities of the populace in a city which is awash with the no Crow = no show mentality.

          • May 17th 2017 @ 11:15pm
            Basil said | May 17th 2017 @ 11:15pm | ! Report

            Oh how I am gushing at your superior intellect Powerboy. Please don’t stop. Enlighten us further and rescue us from the darkness that we, the great unwashed, inhabit.

            • May 18th 2017 @ 7:44am
              Powerboy said | May 18th 2017 @ 7:44am | ! Report

              Touched a nerve, Basil? I Love Adelaide! Unfortunately, all of my great Croweater friends live interstate. Hmmmm….I wonder why….

              • May 19th 2017 @ 3:17pm
                Basil said | May 19th 2017 @ 3:17pm | ! Report

                To move away from you?

        • May 17th 2017 @ 8:05pm
          Basil said | May 17th 2017 @ 8:05pm | ! Report

          Don’t worry, just another basher of our city.

          • May 17th 2017 @ 10:33pm
            Powerboy said | May 17th 2017 @ 10:33pm | ! Report

            Born and bred there, fella….. If anyone should know…….gotta love the comedic genius of Roo and Tex as they flog tin sheds….or Captain Bickley playing straight man to a used car salesman….

      • Roar Rookie

        May 21st 2017 @ 12:55pm
        Josh Champion said | May 21st 2017 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

        Dear Powerboy,

        Firstly, if ambiguity in regard to which team you support was what you were looking for in a username, you’ve missed the mark ol’ chap. In that vein, I find your distaste for Adelaide a little surprising, I must say.

        You’ll be comforted to know that I never read the Advertiser. And can I say, your presumptions about my lifestyle are borderline offensive. Perhaps only the limited intellect of a Power supporter could sink so low to assume that they know someone simply because they’ve read one of their articles? Then again, perhaps not.

        Most of all though Powerboy, I find it difficult to understand what you mean when you imply that a statement made regarding the playing list of a particular team in any way betrays an underlying malaise? Surely a comment as pointed as the one I made is, in fact, the opposite of malaise. I’ve actually pointed specifically to what causes my discomfort – that with a list like that it was stubborn coaching that meant the Crows didn’t take the biscuits during those years. This clarity, I think you’ll find, is the exact literary opposite of malaise.

        But as you point out, this is a grand old site. And it’s kept alive by people sharing their opinions. So please don’t interpret my retort as a sign that I would rather you didn’t reply. Keep it up champ.

        Yours truly,

        Josh

    • May 17th 2017 @ 2:31pm
      SmithHatesMaxwell said | May 17th 2017 @ 2:31pm | ! Report

      The Crows only true gun is Sloane. Baffled me how Pyke has been so successful with what is such an average midfield. Done well so far. Now time to adapt otherwise he’ll be on the scrapheap in a couple of years.

      • May 18th 2017 @ 4:11pm
        Mark said | May 18th 2017 @ 4:11pm | ! Report

        Betts is the best small forward in the game, dopey.

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