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More to Crows than Sloane, says Pyke

Lee Gaskin, AFL Media  May 14, 2017 12:25 AM

Don Pyke Post-Match: R8 Hear from Don Pyke post-match.

Adelaide coach Don Pyke insists stopping the Crows isn't as simple as shutting down midfield star Rory Sloane.

For the second week in a row, Sloane was tagged out of the game as the Crows crashed to a 41-point loss to Melbourne at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night.

Demons on-baller Bernie Vince was in the pocket of his former Crows teammate as Sloane was limited to just 11 possessions.

Last week, it was North Melbourne's Sam Gibson who did the tagging job on Sloane as the Kangaroos upset the then-unbeaten Adelaide in Hobart.

Sloane was influential for the Crows early in the season, averaging 29.5 possessions per game to move into favourtism for the Brownlow Medal.

That has plummeted to 14.5 per game in the past two weeks, the Kangaroos and the Demons providing a blueprint to the rest of the competition on how to blunt the Crows' major midfield weapon.

"We put Rory forward, we put Rory on the wing, he was on-ball, he was trying to make two v ones, he did a range of things, but it didn't work for him tonight," Pyke said.

"It's not about one player.

"It's about our playing group playing the way we know we're capable of and everyone contributing and playing their role.

"We didn't have enough that played their role."

Crows ruckman Sam Jacobs certainly played his as he racked up a career-high 74 hit-outs in the absence of the Demons' All Australian Max Gawn and his back-up big man, Jake Spencer.

But the Crows were unable to capitalise on his dominance and lost the clearance count 49-38.

"We had some reasonable connection, but to Melbourne's credit, they've been doing it for two or three weeks now," Pyke said.

"They're not relying on the hit-outs, they're relying on their pressure around the ball.

"A lot of times we'd win it and we'd be stripped of the ball, and the next ball it would flow to them and they would win the clearance."

The Crows – who are on top of the table ahead of Greater Western Sydney and West Coast on percentage - must now regroup ahead of an encounter with the bottom-placed Brisbane Lions at the Gabba next Saturday night.

On paper, it appears to be the perfect opportunity for the Crows to regain their confidence, but Pyke warned his side it wouldn't just happen.

"We've got some work to do on the track this week," he said.

"We need to get to work and that's the only place you're going to find it.

"It doesn't just magic it's way back.

"We've had a couple of down weeks and we've got to roll the sleeves up on the training track and get organised and ready to go for Brisbane."

The Crows expect to have defender Jake Lever (hamstring tightness) and forward Riley Knight (glute) available to face the Lions after they missed the loss to the Demons.