Taylor Walker of the Crows and Dale Morris of the Bulldogs.
Taylor Walker of the Crows and Dale Morris of the Bulldogs. DAVID MARIUZ

Crows coach delighted with players' progress

CROWS coach Don Pyke has praised the resolve of his players for taking up the challenge to AFL premiers Western Bulldogs at Adelaide Oval on Friday night - two weeks after failing to do such against Hawthorn at home.

"They responded to the challenge at half-time," Pyke said after the 59-point win. "We didn't in the second half against Hawthorn - and we own that.

"But that is the evolution of our group. It is part of the learning as a team and as individuals.

"We still have more to go. We don't sit here saying we have all the answers."

Adelaide's emphatic win was built on dominating the second half in which the Crows kicked 11 goals to one - and a perfect seven in the third term.

Adelaide advanced its win-loss count to 11-4 - and improved its percentage from 135 to 139 - and provisionally take top spot from Greater Western Sydney, which plays Hawthorn in Launceston on Saturday.

The Crows play Melbourne in Darwin next weekend, seeking to avenge the 41-point loss to the Demons at Adelaide Oval on May 13.

Crows captain Taylor Walker was before the team doctors after not completing the game because of hit to an eye late in the match. Defender Luke Brown took a knock to a knee and had bruising. He was able to complete the match.

Pyke confirmed upgraded rookie midfielder Hugh Greenwood would be rested this week to ensure he is primed to play against the Demons.

 

Scott Thompson of the Crows tackles Mitch Wallis of the Bulldogs.
Scott Thompson of the Crows tackles Mitch Wallis of the Bulldogs. DAVID MARIUZ

Pyke reserved his public call on veteran midfielder Scott Thompson who made his return to the AFL after a 293-day break. He had a team-low 10 disposals.

"It was always going to be a challenge, his first game back," Pyke said. "I'll need to look at that with more detail."

Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge described the AFL premiership team's second half as "unacceptable".

"One of the worst since I've been at the club," said Beveridge, describing himself as "gutted".

"And we can't make excuses."

Beveridge was cautious in his remarks on how the Crows handled Norm Smith Medallist Jason Johannisen and the third-quarter incident in which Adelaide captain Taylor Walker bumped the defender into a goalpost.

"Ultimately, players need to be protected," Beveridge said of the blocking tactics on Johannisen, in particularly by Crows forward Riley Knight as he tried to keep Johannisen off Eddie Betts.

Pyke described Knight's job as a "watching brief".

"And I am comfortable with how it played out," Pyke said.

News Corp Australia


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