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Crows to take confidence into 'must-win game'

Don Pyke Post-Match: R21 Don Pyke speaks to media following our round 21 loss to the Eagles.

Adelaide coach Don Pyke says his side will take confidence into its must-win clash with Collingwood next week following a spirited showing against West Coast on Sunday.    

The Crows took it right up to the reigning premiers on their home deck, staying within touching distance for much of the match before ultimately falling short by 10 points.

It was the club's fifth loss from its past seven matches, leaving the Crows outside the top eight for the first time since round six, and in danger of missing finals for the second straight season after reaching the 2017 Grand Final.

But ahead of a pivotal clash with the Magpies at Adelaide Oval on Saturday, Pyke said he had seen enough signs against the Eagles to suggest his side could save their fading season.

"There were some really positive signs," Pyke said.

"There's some things we can keep working on and tidy up but we take some confidence into next week. We've got Collingwood … and it becomes a must-win game to stay in that finals hunt.

"It gives us belief that our best is going to be good enough and if we bring that level of effort we'll be right up to our eyes in a lot of games of footy."

Pyke said while he was disappointed not to get the four points, he walked away "really proud" of the players and their efforts.

But he lamented a poor patch in the third term when the Eagles kicked four goals in a row, admitting it probably cost the Crows the game. 

"There was a bit of a breakdown there with some fundamental skill (errors) on our behalf," Pyke said.    

"We were brave in the first half against a bit of an inside 50 balance against us but (that period) they kicked four and that ends up being the difference."

Pyke praised the efforts of youngster Darcy Fogarty, who kicked five goals straight in a breakout performance.

"It's fantastic to see him come in and play the way he did. We've always known he's had that capacity," Pyke said.

"He's been building his craft at SANFL level and he came in today and hit the scoreboard and kicked accurately and plays with a real presence."

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Three first-half goals for the Fog, five for the game 💪 #weflyasone

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Pyke said it was too early to tell if Rory Sloane will be fit to face the Pies after the co-captain copped a knock to the eye and sat out the game with blurred vision.   

"We'll have to get that tested … but fingers crossed it's nothing more than just a scratch or something and he can continue to play," he said.         

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs