Adelaide coach braces for ultimate AFL challenge

Steve Larkin and Murray Wenzel |

Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks reckons it’s the ultimate challenge against the Lion kings.

The Crows host second-placed Brisbane at Adelaide Oval on Sunday with one area of the game foremost in Nicks’ mind: groundball intercepts.

“Brisbane are number one in a lot of areas, they dominate you and keep it in their forward half,” Nicks said.

“They’re the best team in the competition for groundball intercepts – which is the game, basically.

“We’re actually improving in that space, we have done so much work on it.

“So … this is exactly what we’re after, the ultimate challenge against the best groundball intercept team in the competition.

“And they are that because of the way they set up structually.

“They have been playing together for a long period of time and they’ve got some real talent. It’s a huge challenge but one that our guys will embrace.”

The Lions arrive in Adelaide on a seven-game winning streak which coach Chris Fagan said has fuelled belief among his players.

“In this competition it’s hard to keep winning, no doubt,” Fagan said.

“We have got a fair level of confidence in what we’ve been able to do over the last seven weeks.”

But Fagan was mindful of Adelaide’s attacking threats, particularly with veteran Taylor Walker recalled after being spelled in the eighth-placed Crows’ loss to the Western Bulldogs last weekend.

“They have challenged quite a few teams, particularly at home,” he said.

“They’ve got great threats … it just depends how well they get supply.”

Fagan’s counterpart Nicks, who was adamant his charges would respond after last week’s lacklustre loss, said cashing in on scoring chances would be vital.

“We will get as many opportunities if we come to play and we bring the contest, which we didn’t last week but we know we’ll bounce back from that,” he said.

“It’s a matter of then converting and executing when when it’s your opportunity.

“That is what Brisbane do better than most – when they get that ball back off you they’re able to go and punish you going the other way.

“So we’re going to have to take our chances when we get them.”