Adelaide coach Nicks says contract talks won’t distract

Steve Larkin |

Matthew Nicks says talks to extend his tenure as Adelaide coach won’t drag through the AFL season.
Matthew Nicks says talks to extend his tenure as Adelaide coach won’t drag through the AFL season.

Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks is adamant his negotiations for a fresh contract won’t be a distraction as he embraces expectation of returning his club to the AFL finals.

Nicks, who falls off-contract at the end of this season, has had informal talks with Adelaide hierarchy about an extension.

“I’m really confident that’s not going to go on all year,” Nicks told AAP.

“We have been in informal conversations now for a long period of time, right from the end of last season.

“I have got a great relationship with our executive, our board, (chief executive) Tim Silvers – fantastic relationships.

“I have publicly said that I believe we have got the right people at this footy club and so with that comes a lot of trust.

“We’re working our way through now what is the next step, what is best for both the footy club and what is best for as an individual and a coach.

“I’m confident that’s not something that is going to drag out through the entire year because we’re reasonably open with our dialogue.”

Adelaide haven’t played finals since 2017 as Nicks prepares to enter his fifth season as head coach.

After finishing last in his initial year, Adelaide’s win-loss record has steadily improved, culminating in just missing the playoffs last season when his Crows were the highest-scoring team in the competition.

Nicks welcomed expectations of Adelaide breaking into the finals this year.

“I’m like a lot of our supporters,” he said.

“Those supporters that have gone through 2020 where unfortunately we picked up a wooden spoon and then stuck by the team and done it tough (in) ’21, ’22.

“My belief is there’s a real pride around about what this young group has been able to do and the development.

“And if you’ve been a part of that, and you’ve stuck by and seen that come through, then there’s got to be a really strong buy-in now.

“And you have an expectation of what’s coming – and so you should have an expectation, you deserve to have that expectation.

“As a coach, I have the same expectation.

“I know we’ve done it tough. But I’ve watched us work so hard all the way through it and develop each other and become tighter and (have) more cohesion as a footy club.

“That hard work will get you there.”

Adelaide’s premiership campaign opens with an away trip to the Gold Coast on  March 16 with former captain Rory Sloane to miss the initial chunk of the season.

Sloane had surgery on a detached retina in his right eye late last month – the 33-year-old had the same procedure in 2021.

“He’s now active … that ability to move looks great at the moment, he’s able to use his skills, vision and so on, so there’s no issues there,” Nicks said.

“The timeframe won’t be a definitive ‘he’ll be back in four weeks’ but I think we’re looking at probably around a month – and again, it’s not a lock, that date.

“It’s very much he’s going to have to progress through different stages and part of that is body contact … how does he handle that, is that something that he comes back through?

“Now he’s really confident – that is Rory Sloane though. He’s a competitor, this is what he loves, and so it’s hard to take that away.”