Adelaide Senior Coach Matthew Nicks says a big off-season is needed to build on the foundations the side laid in 2021.
The Crows ended this season on a positive note, beating North Melbourne by 44 points to give veterans David Mackay, Tom Lynch and Daniel Talia a fitting farewell.
Speaking on an SA radio station, Nicks said sitting out of this year’s finals campaign would fuel the fire in his side to return in good shape ahead of the 2022 season.
Ending his second year at the helm, Nicks was confident there were many positive signs to come out of this season and was looking forward to seeing further improvement after the break.
“It’s been a tough couple of weeks because we all want to play footy at this point,” Nicks said.
“But what we have done this year is we’ve seen a fair bit of growth across the group.
“It’s where it all happens, in the off-season, and the work you do during that off-season sets you up for the coming year.
“What we saw across the season was a consistent effort, a game style that we feel will stand up.
“I’m really pleased with what we call our DNA, what we would like to be known for.
“I know we will be better next year.”
As the Club farewells three greats, Nicks said he had belief in the squad that was being built and the rate youngsters were developing.
“That’s the challenge, from a list management point of view - balancing out our group, getting the people on board that we feel are going to continue to grow,” Nicks said.
“I’m optimistic we’ve got that right.
“We saw how quickly Jordon Butts developed this year to be a really rock solid key defender.
“We’ve seen (Ned) cHenry’s game go to another level where he actually looked really balanced and used the ball well.
“We saw Chayce Jones this year with 20 more games under his belt.
“They all develop differently and I’m confident we are heading in the right direction.”
Nicks was also confident the coaching support he had around him - including James Rahilly, Scott Burns, Nathan van Berlo and Michael Godden - would be able to set the side up for sustained success.
“I love the group of coaches I’ve got with me at the moment,” Nicks said.
“I’ve got a great mix of experience.
“I love the footy Club, I love what we are doing and the direction we are heading in.”