Adelaide Crows want finals berth to honour Phil Walsh

Adelaide coach Phil Walsh talks to his troops during a match earlier this season.
Adelaide coach Phil Walsh talks to his troops during a match earlier this season.

HAVING laid their coach to rest, Adelaide players will now attempt to honour Phil Walsh by securing a top-eight finish.

Back sitting in eighth spot (at 7-7-1), the Crows are fortunate they are not wallowing in the depths of the table, with the initial shock of Walsh's death turning to steely resolve to "make finals and do Phil proud".

"That's the thing we're really striving for, to make finals, and that sort of takes your mind off other things," young Crows shut-down defender Luke Brown, 22, told APN. "You want to perform each week and get the job done.

"We all know what each other is going through. The closer we stick together, the better we'll be as a team."

After visibly struggling with the tragedy during their round-14 match against West Coast, losing by 10 goals, the Crows managed to hold off Port Adelaide in an emotional Showdown last week.

"Everyone got their emotions out of the way in the first game against West Coast and we were able to perform against Port," Brown said. "I think we're going in the right direction."

Luke Brown of the Adelaide Crows leaps over Dayne Beams of the Brisbane Lions during their round 13 game at the Gabba in Brisbane, Saturday, June 27, 2015. (AAP Image/Dan Peled) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Luke Brown of the Adelaide Crows leaps over Dayne Beams of the Brisbane Lions during their round 13 game at the Gabba in Brisbane, Saturday, June 27, 2015. (AAP Image/Dan Peled) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY DAN PELED

Like all of his teammates, Brown, who's only missed one game in the past three seasons, built a close attachment to Walsh in the short time he was coach.

"The great thing about Phil was that he genuinely cared about each and every one us," he said. "He didn't treat everyone the same - everyone was an individual.

"He was a great mentor. Just his ability to teach in situations where, say a player has made a mistake, he knew how to get the positives out of it and keep encouraging.

"As a group, we'll be better for knowing him."

The Crows' bid to shore up their spot in the top eight continues today when they host Gold Coast, which has been much-improved since Gary Ablett's return three weeks ago, and is set to regain key pair Harley Bennell (suspension) and Charlie Dixon (ankle).

Brown, who is expected to man Brandon Matera or Aaron Hall, said: "They've been playing really well the last three weeks. It will be another big challenge, but we're really looking forward to it".



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