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Crows slowly adapting to opposition tactics, says Pyke

Football

Early AFL pacesetters Adelaide are close to unlocking the secret to combating stifling opposition tactics, coach Don Pyke says.

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Pyke says there has been a trend of negative ploys from opponents to try and curtail the Crows, who host reigning premiers Western Bulldogs tomorrow night.

Opposition sides are placing high numbers of players on Adelaide’s attack in a bid to stop the Crows’ renowned scoring power.

The tactic has achieved some success with Adelaide’s stunning six-game winning streak to start the season a distant memory – they have lost four of their past eight games.

“We just have to adapt,” Crows coach Don Pyke told reporters this morning.

“I thought last week at times we struggled to get the ball off Carlton … (their) numbers back made it less efficient in terms of our scoring.

“And that is the nature of how some opposition are playing us now.

“That takes some learning, some education from us as coaches, and the players experiencing it.

“We have got that right a couple of times, and a couple of times we haven’t.

“We think we’re on the right path though in terms of adapting our style to what sides are now playing against us.”

The Crows remain the league’s highest-scoring team and sit in second spot with 10 wins and four losses.

They host a Bulldogs outfit whose premiership defence is wobbling – the reigning champions are in 10th spot, though just one win outside the top eight.

Pyke predicted a fierce approach from the Dogs amid forecast rain and strong winds at Adelaide Oval.

“The Bulldogs are a high-quality opposition and really pride themselves on their pressure around the ball,” he said.

“So we know that is going to be on to start, wet or dry.

“And if it’s wet, it’s just going to mean it will be more of a field position game where its important you take ground when you get the opportunity.”

The Crows, meanwhile, won’t rush contract talks with in-demand Jake Lever despite rival clubs bidding for the emerging defender.

Lever, who falls off-contract at season’s end, is attracting interest from several clubs in his native Victoria.

The Bulldogs and Melbourne are reportedly tabling five-year offers for around $800,000 a season for the in-form 21-year-old.

But Pyke says the widespread interest in the backman won’t hasten his club’s contract negotiations.

“Jake wants to be at the footy club, we want Jake to be at the footy club,” Pyke said.

“We will negotiate the appropriate deal and hopefully get that done soon.”

Lever had waited until the AFL’s fresh collective bargaining agreement was settled before entering talks with the Crows.

“We are in conversations with Jake and we continue to do that,” Pyke said.

“And those contract things will fulfil in the due course of time.

“That is beyond our control as to who else might be interested in Jake at the moment.”

Adelaide drafted Lever with its first pick in the 2014 National Draft.

-AAP

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