Adelaide coach Brenton Sanderson says his winless Crows have performance anxiety.
But Sanderson says the Crows’ bleak streak has brought players and coaches closer together than ever before as they vow to fight their way out of a rut.
“In the two and half years I have been here, the playing group and the coaches have never been closer and I really mean that,” Sanderson told reporters on Thursday.
“We are in this together. We’re going to fight our way out of this … we’re really determined that as a group, we’re going to get through this little rough patch and we’ll be a better club when we do.”
Adelaide, thumped in three consecutive defeats, have conceded a whopping 380 points in error-riddled displays featuring masses of turnovers.
“There is a bit of anxiety now because there is talk about the Crows turning the ball over,” Sanderson said.
“So you imagine that you’re a player, you have got the ball: ‘Geez, I’d better not turn this over’.
“Sometimes players even don’t want to get the ball because of that anxiety.
“My message has been ‘I don’t care if you turn the ball over but, take a risk … we can’t have this anxiety associated with trying to prevent turnovers’.”
Sanderson, whose star midfielder Patrick Dangerfield has been cleared of an ankle injury and will play against St Kilda on Sunday, spent all week trying to fix the turnover problem.
“We have turned the ball over and been scored against more than any other club in the competition so far,” he said.
“We tried to replicate match conditions in every session we did, every drill we did this week has been trying to address that turnover issue.
“What I don’t want is for our guys to go further and further into their shells and just play really safe football. We need to be brave, we need to be bold, we need to take some risks because without risks, there is no reward.”
Injury clouds hover over midfielders Scott Thompson (corked thigh), Sam Kerridge (eye) and Mitch Grigg (groin), with the trio to be given until Saturday to prove their fitness for what Sanderson described as a must-win game.
“The club is really calm … we feel like we’re not far away, so certainly no internal panic at this stage,” he said.
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