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Pyke praises versatility

Lee Gaskin, AFL Media   April 16, 2017 12:41 AM

Don Pyke Post-Match: R4 Don Pyke speaks to media following our R4 win v Essendon.
The key thing is the capacity of those guys to play in different spots

Adelaide's depth and versatility is its greatest asset according to Adelaide coach Don Pyke.

Despite missing two key forwards and a gun midfielder leading into Saturday night's contest with Essendon at Adelaide Oval, and losing a defender during the game, the Crows blitzed the Bombers by 65 points and remain unbeaten after four rounds.

The Crows entered the game without attacking weapons Josh Jenkins and Mitch McGovern, while ball magnet Brad Crouch is building up match fitness in the SANFL in his return from a hamstring injury.

An eye injury to defender Jake Kelly also forced the Crows into a change on the run, with winger David Mackay being swung into the backline.

It didn't prevent the Crows from booting 24 goals and improving to a 4-0 record.

"It's probably our versatility more than anything else," Pyke said.

"Tonight when Jake (Kelly) went down, we were able to roll David Mackay back and we have seen guys playing some different roles.

"The key thing is the capacity of those guys to play in different spots."

Crouch – who had 40 possessions in the state league last weekend - will continue his comeback in the SANFL on Sunday when the Crows play South Adelaide at Encounter Bay.

Another big game will have Crouch in the mix for next Saturday's game with Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium.

Jenkins could also make his return from broken ribs and cartilage damage providing he passes a fitness test during the week after he had a running session on Saturday morning.

"The plan would be for him to have another run on Monday with a view to training on Wednesday," Pyke said.

"If he's able to get through training on Wednesday, we'll consider him from a selection view point.

"It's pretty much session to session with Josh because he's got to feel comfortable with the running stuff and then obviously the footy side of it and then the contact stuff as well at training on Wednesday.

"We'll assess that as the week pans out."

McGovern is expected to be sidelined for an extended period with his hamstring injury.

Midfielder Charlie Cameron finished Saturday night's game on the bench as a precaution after experiencing soreness. 

Cameron displayed his trademark speed with several brilliant runs on the wing and through the midfield.

"What we've seen with Charlie is he's matured as a player," Pyke said.

"He's now a 50-game player and the pre-season he had has given him the confidence and belief because he's built his conditioning to the point he can play up the ground and apply those strengths wider than the forward line.

"His consistency this year has been the key thing.

"Last year, he had moments where he was in and out of games, but now, he's playing consistently over the four quarters."