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 @ 2:35pm
      Scott said | May 17th 2017 @ 2:35pm | ! Report

      Bloody hell it’d be hard to be in a professional sports team. They were the kings of the comp 2 weeks ago and now the media is all over em

    • May 17th 2017 @ 2:38pm
      sammy said | May 17th 2017 @ 2:38pm | ! Report

      The onus is to a large degree on Pyke to ensure that he is instructing his midfielders where to position and to be able to generate an additional player at the stoppage when things are not working for plan A. If Melbourne were extracting the ball too easily, then an extra at the contest where possible is going to help limit that and if the team needs to play ugly for a while to wrest back momentum then the coach should be instilling that in them. Don’t forget that Brad Crouch has only just come back in the last few weeks from an injury interrupted campaign and sloane is now learning how best to deal with a tag – maybe also he is feeling it after missing part of the preseason with a fractured eye socket? – who knows. Matt Crouch has been very good all year. the younger guys like Milera and Hampton and Atkins will have ups and downs and will be better for it in the long run. Brisbane this week is in many ways a very good team for the crows to be playing as if they are good enough, it is a chance to get some much needed confidence and belief back after a couple of down weeks

      • Roar Rookie

        May 21st 2017 @ 12:56pm
        Josh Champion said | May 21st 2017 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

        Excellent points, Sammy. And your prophecy regarding Brisbane, lets hope, has come true.

    • May 17th 2017 @ 3:20pm
      The Runt said | May 17th 2017 @ 3:20pm | ! Report

      “But Hawthorn weren’t respectably tough, they were dirty, so I don’t want to see the Crows play the way the Hawks did.”
      Seriously justify that statement, any supporter of any team would love the success that Hawthorn has enjoyed.

      • Roar Rookie

        May 17th 2017 @ 4:46pm
        Lamby said | May 17th 2017 @ 4:46pm | ! Report

        Yeh, but they introduced the 3rd man up rule because of Luke Hodge and his knees.

        • May 17th 2017 @ 5:15pm
          shiftyxr said | May 17th 2017 @ 5:15pm | ! Report

          It was Jordan Lewis actually and the knees you refer to belong to Sam Mitchell.

        • May 18th 2017 @ 2:51pm
          Birdman said | May 18th 2017 @ 2:51pm | ! Report

          “Yeh, but they introduced the 3rd man up rule because of Luke Hodge and his knees”

          evidence please.

          • May 18th 2017 @ 3:58pm
            Powerboy said | May 18th 2017 @ 3:58pm | ! Report

            None needed Birdman. It’s collective consensus that counts in Crowland, Don’t get off-side in the city of churches. It’s worse than being a papist! For a good laugh have a read of the local rag for today and read the letter from the CEO requesting that coterie members require their guests to keep their barracking for opposition teams to a polite murmur. It seems the rah-rah Demon boys put a few noses out of joint last week.

            • May 20th 2017 @ 9:16am
              Rex said | May 20th 2017 @ 9:16am | ! Report

              Gold Coast Suns HAVE to wear the clash guernsey – it’s in the contract …… well it’s not in the contract because we didn’t think of it – but dammit, it should be so I’ll cry and sook and lie that it was so the afl can make those meanies wear the alternate colour!!
              PB – get over yourself!

      • Roar Rookie

        May 21st 2017 @ 12:59pm
        Josh Champion said | May 21st 2017 @ 12:59pm | ! Report

        Sorry Runt, but I can’t find the bit where I said anything about their success? I’d love their success. Just don’t want to earn it the way they did. Take one look at Hodge’s little dummy spit last night late in the Collingwood game. Dirty isn’t admirable in my view.

    • May 17th 2017 @ 3:34pm
      JK Legend said | May 17th 2017 @ 3:34pm | ! Report

      Take hero wanna be Walker out of the side and they’ll probably win more games. I’m sure this guy thinks he’s some type of super hero.

      • May 17th 2017 @ 3:53pm
        Powerboy said | May 17th 2017 @ 3:53pm | ! Report

        ….old jungle saying….

      • Roar Rookie

        May 17th 2017 @ 4:51pm
        Lamby said | May 17th 2017 @ 4:51pm | ! Report

        You don’t watch a lot of Crows game do you?

      • May 17th 2017 @ 8:07pm
        Basil said | May 17th 2017 @ 8:07pm | ! Report

        Did Tex run over your cat JK?

        • May 17th 2017 @ 9:45pm
          Craig Delaney said | May 17th 2017 @ 9:45pm | ! Report

          Perhaps a clue is to be found in JK’s last monniker? :))

      • Roar Rookie

        May 21st 2017 @ 1:01pm
        Josh Champion said | May 21st 2017 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

        JK Legend, I don’t know you mate. But I’d hazard a guess to say that Tex has probably kicked more goals than you have at AFL level. And, in fact, he’s the second highest goalkicker for the Crows this year. Behind only the undeniable genius of Eddie Betts. So perhaps think before you post…

    • May 17th 2017 @ 10:00pm
      Craig Delaney said | May 17th 2017 @ 10:00pm | ! Report

      I think the Crows kept trying to win the shootouts in the last two games, when they needed to slow it down and reestablish the basics. They seemed fixated on reproducing their best flowing footy in every situation. This brought about many turn overs leading to scores against, or scores stymied.

      When Melbourne were at their peak pressure it was pointless to try to match and more than match it. Perhaps teams are capable of greater manic force than that, but it would be next to impossible to sustain. The Crows could have tried slowing it down, frustrating the all or nothing Demon force, which actually thrived in the shootout. That kind of energy feeds off more of the same both in your own team and in the opposition. The worst for it is meeting a solid brick wall. It often just dies out like a moth exhausted at the flame.

      This is not softness. It is inexperience in players and coaches. It will be interesting to see what level of energy the Demons can bring to the next round. The Roos didn’t reproduce their effort against Sydney. I don’t think any team can operate at fever pitch game in game out. Makes plan B etc that much more important.

      • May 19th 2017 @ 1:29pm
        dan ced said | May 19th 2017 @ 1:29pm | ! Report

        Yep, kept trying to do what was successful in the first 6 games when they were on top.. but crisp disposal isn’t always possible in some conditions (wind, dew, rain, etc). They did not slow it down vs Melbourne.. they kept turn it over trying to link up too fast, and over-handballing.

        At least against North after the Q1 disaster they held their own, Melbourne was an embarrassment that I dislike reliving in my mind. I actually left with 10minutes to go and I’ve only done that on 1 or 2 other occasions in 20 odd years of membership.

        I hope they show some composure again Brisbane, and I’m glad they dropped Jenkins who has been soft since returning form injury.

      • Roar Rookie

        May 21st 2017 @ 1:04pm
        Josh Champion said | May 21st 2017 @ 1:04pm | ! Report

        Extremely well said Craig, thanks for commenting!

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