Adelaide’s game plan under new senior coach Matthew Nicks will be built around two key themes: “seeking out the contest” and “inflicting damage on the opposition”.
The Crows’ new mentor believes the latter forces opposition turnovers, leading to more opportunities in front of goal.
Speaking to AFC Media on Tuesday, Nicks said the ability to score from those turnovers was a significant factor when it came to winning games of AFL football.
“It's a game of errors. It's a game of turnovers,” Nicks said.
“The team that can capitalise on those the most when the opposition make a mistake are often the ones that are right up there in the top four come the end of the year.
“We could throw a lot of contested ball stats out there. It's not all about that particular number in isolation.
“When you look at a game, if we’re winning the turnover score, it shows that we're winning a lot of contests and that we were playing the game in the positions we want to play the game in.
“If an opposition makes a mistake in their back third, well it's more than likely we're going to punish them on that. Whereas, if we spend the whole time in our back 50 it's hard to score from that area.”
Geelong ranked No.1 in the AFL across the 2019 home and away season for scores from turnover differential, outscoring their opposition by 377 points from this score source.
Based on this dominance, it is little surprise the Cats finished on top of the ladder at the end of Round 23, while eventual premier Richmond was a clear second.
2019 Home and Away Season - Scores From Turnovers
During his time at Port Adelaide as an assistant coach, Nicks spent time with both the back and forward lines before being promoted to senior assistant under Ken Hinkley.
When asked whether he would employ a free-flowing or defensive-minded approach on game day built on his past experience, the 44-year-old said he believes the best offence is a strong defence.
“It's always an interesting one that one, because if you mentioned the word defence, people think it's vanilla and boring,” Nicks said.
One of my mottos is ‘some of your best offense comes off your best defence’
"A lot of people will talk about some of the best teams in the comp and the way they play exciting football, a lot of it comes off elite defence.
“We'll have a focus on that, we'll have that as one of our priorities, but that'll allow us to play some really fast, exciting footy.”
Statistics reinforce Nicks’ philosophy, with the last five AFL premierships won by teams built on stingy defences.
Points Conceeded - Previous Five AFL Home and Away Seasons
With the Crows undergoing a rejuvenation of their playing list, Nicks assured a passionate supporter base they could be proud of how their Club approaches games in 2020.
“For our supporters I can guarantee in what you will see, you'll go away from our games proud of the way the guys have gone about it,” he said.
“It's not so much about the win-loss initially, it'll be more about, ‘look guys, how are we playing our footy?’
“The result will look after itself if our guys are getting some of that right.”