Frustrated Crows not giving up on AFL finals hopes

Justin Chadwick |

A dejected Adelaide Crows team leave the Optus Stadium field after a third loss in three.
A dejected Adelaide Crows team leave the Optus Stadium field after a third loss in three.

Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks says he’s been left frustrated by his team’s error-riddled start to the AFL season, but he’s not giving up on their finals dreams just yet. 

The Crows slipped to a 0-3 record after crashing to a 35-point loss to Fremantle in Perth on Friday night.

Adelaide’s horror skill errors were their main undoing in the 9.15 (69) to 4.10 (34) loss, the final result marking their lowest score since posting 2.9 (21) in a 63-point loss to Essendon in round 17, 2021.

Nicks conceded a bulk of his team are simply out of form and low on confidence. 

“Unfortunately at the moment, we’re just we’re not playing to a standard that we expect,” Nicks said. 

“You’ve got a lot of players at the moment that are down on form –  too many for us to stand up when it counts.

“We turned the ball over in some really, really dangerous areas, and it’s uncharacteristic for us, 

“We’re frustrated at the moment. We’re doing small things right and then we’re letting ourselves down.”

Adelaide lost to Gold Coast (six points) and Geelong (19 points) in their first two games, but their display against Fremantle was by far the worst of the lot.

Josh Worrell
A rare moment of control for Crows against Dockers as Josh Worrell marks the ball. (Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS)

Nicks has seen some worrying signs across the opening three rounds. 

“I’d probably look more at  the lack of cohesion we have at the moment, which is something that we’ve had at a high level over the last couple of years,” Nicks said. 

“We’ve had each other’s back. We’ve known exactly where we’re at. And at the moment, it’s just not clicking for us. 

“This is not new. We’re not sitting here tonight saying, ‘well that came from nowhere’. 

“Unfortunately, it’s now been a couple of weeks in a row that we’ve been off in that area of executing with the ball in hand and making the right decision when we have to.”

Matthew Nicks and players
Matthew Nicks, head coach of the Adelaide Crows, tries to rally his team during the match in Perth. (Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS)

Adelaide haven’t played finals since reaching the decider in 2017.

There were high hopes the Crows could gatecrash the finals this year, and the club’s hierarchy were so confident in Nicks that they re-signed him until the end of 2026 earlier this month.

Despite Adelaide being winless and near the foot of the table, Nicks hasn’t given up hope on 2024 being a successful campaign. 

“It’s still early in the season. There are some very very good sides that are sitting in a similar record,” Nicks said. 

“So by no means are we dropping out bundle, but at the moment we’re incredibly frustrated with where we’re at.

“We’ll sit down as a group and nut through it. 

“We’ll find out how do we find that form? How do we bring that connection back? How do we believe in ourselves again?”

Adelaide face Melbourne next Thursday night to kick off Gather Round.

The Crows are sweating on the results of scans for Wayne Milera and Lachlan Murphy after they suffered knee injuries in the second half against Fremantle.