AFL coach comes clean after thrashing

Matthew Nicks still has a clear vision of how he wants Adelaide to play, but the frustrated coach concedes his side is a long way off that ideal after Sunday’s 42-point loss to West Coast.

On the heels of a historic low score in an embarrassing loss to Essendon, the Crows at least showed greater intensity to trail by three points early in the third quarter at Adelaide Oval.

But the home side wilted in the face of a second-half challenge by the Eagles, who went on to score a 14.14 (98) to 8.8 (56) win that consigned 16th-placed Adelaide to a 5-12 win-loss record.

“We’re just too far off our best,” Nicks said.

“Our best gets us up there right in the contest and gives us a chance to beat anyone, but we are too far off our best as individuals and as a team, more importantly.

“We’re just not quite connecting up at the moment.

“With respect, we probably came in at halftime and felt like we kept them in it.

“Then in the second half, for whatever reason, we were challenged and we dropped away.

“That’s the most disappointing part for our group at the moment – the brand that we’d like to be known for isn’t there consistently.”

The Eagles got the win in Nic Naitanui’s 200th game. Picture: Sarah Reed/AFL Photos via Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Nicks bemoaned a lack of defensive awareness and pressure in the back half that gifted the opposition goals from stoppages, with Elliot Yeo’s effort to waltz into an open goal just before halftime a prime example.

“The parts that take no talent, we didn’t get those right,” he said.

“You don’t need talent, you don’t need to be an elite footballer to stand in a spot where your teammates need you.

“That’s why we’re all hurting.

“That is what we need to get to the bottom of.”

A surprise 3-1 start to the season and a shock win over high-flyers Melbourne are distant memories for Crows fans, whose side has now lost 11 of its past 13 games.

Nicks couldn’t pinpoint reasons for the drop-off in the aftermath of his team’s latest disappointment but warned underperforming players wouldn’t escape scrutiny at the selection table as he searched for answers.

“Confidence? Form? I can’t give you the exact word for it, but we’re just straying away from what it is that we’ve done well for the majority of this year,” he said.

“And that hurts when you sit around post-game as a group.

“It was unacceptable as far as the way that we want to play our football, so we have to get better in that space.

“We can’t allow for individuals to not play the way the team needs.”

Emerging defender Nick Murray was subbed out of the game in the last quarter after he fell on his back after an attempted high spoil and is set to miss next week’s clash with the Western Bulldogs due to concussion protocols.

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