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Age is irrelevant: Pyke

Harry Thring, AFL Media, with staff writers  February 21, 2016 6:46 PM

Don Pyke Post-Match Presser: NAB 1 Don Pyke was pleased with the performance of a few newer Crows in Adelaide's 100-point NAB Challenge win over West Coast
AFL 2016 NAB Challenge - Adelaide v West Coast

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 21: Eddie Betts of the Crows flies over Will Schofield of the Eagles during the 2016 NAB Challenge match between the Adelaide Crows and the West Coast Eagles at Unley Oval, Adelaide on February 21, 2016. (Photo by James Elsby/AFL Media)

Age is irrelevant, if you're in the best 22 you'll play

Adelaide coach Don Pyke says age is irrelevant as he ponders the make-up of his best 22 ahead of Round One.

That’s good news for Crows youngsters Wayne Milera and Dean Gore who both impressed in the Crows’ 100-point win over West Coast in their NAB Challenge clash at Unley Oval on Sunday.

Milera in particular stood out, showing great composure, balance and skill to win 12 possessions and two goal assists.

Pyke said if players without AFL experience continued to raise eyebrows they could find themselves in the club's senior side early this season.

"We had four (young) guys who played their first game for the footy club in Dean Gore, Wayne Milera, Harry Dear and Mitch McGovern (as well as Paul Seedsman) ... it was great for them to get a taste of it and I thought they showed some signs of why we got them to the footy club," Pyke said.

"Wayne obviously played senior footy last year at Central [District] so he benefits from having played in open company previously.

"We're going to be really keen and interested to see his progress.

"Age is irrelevant, if you're in the best 22 you'll play and Wayne gives himself if a chance if he continues to perform and play well."

Adelaide will look to send a slightly younger side to Western Australia next week to take on Fremantle.

Rory Sloane and Troy Menzel, who were named in the squad of 29 on Thursday, were withdrawn from the team prior to Sunday’s game.

Pyke said he expected the pair to line up in Mount Barker, WA, next weekend.

“I know he (Sloane) is really keen to play and I expect him to be right to play … that was probably precautionary for us, and a no-risk policy for a NAB 1 game,” he said.

“I’m keen to see Troy and what he can bring to the group as well.

“We played a stronger team today based on the fact that we’ve got travel next week, and then into NAB (Challenge game) three as well.

We’ll see how we pull up tomorrow, assess the game and then decide what the balance of our side looks like to take across to Albany next Sunday.

“We want our side to play the same way regardless of who we put on the park.”

The Eagles flew a young line-up across to Adelaide for the sides' opening NAB Challenge clash and it was slaughtered by a seasoned Crows unit.

Adelaide's ball movement was impressive, its forward line fired and some new players impressed but Pyke was disappointed by its finish - West Coast kicked the final three goals.

"We set a really high standard there for two-and-a-half quarters and I thought just at the end we went away from the things we'd been doing well," he said.

"There's some learning in that for us."

Eddie Betts was the star of the day, slotting six goals including a nine-pointer. The All Australian small forward also had four goal assists.

“Eddie’s just got great pride in his performance,” Pyke said.

“He’s a guy who sets a strong example for a lot of our players. For Eddie, regardless of the stage he wants to perform and that’s the quality of a really good player.”