Despite taking the reins in the most trying of circumstances, Crows interim coach Scott Camporeale insists he has enjoyed being thrust into one of the AFL’s most fraught roles.
“I have, really,” he insisted at a media conference at West Lakes today.
“It’s always a challenge, I guess, being in the hot seat, but I’ve really enjoyed it.”
Camporeale, who turned 40 this week, was thrust into that hot seat after the shock death of first-year coach Phil Walsh, allegedly stabbed by his son Cy on July 3. Since then, the Crows have beaten Port Adelaide, Gold Coast and Richmond in five games under his watch, to sit ninth on the AFL ladder.
“We’ve had a couple of wins along the way – that always helps,” Camporeale said.
“Our sole focus is to make sure we keep winning and whatever happens after that, we’ll decide at the end of the year.”
In the meantime, his focus is firmly fixed on a finals charge, with Adelaide poised less than one percentage point outside the eight.
If pundits are to be believed, Saturday afternoon’s clash with Essendon looms as a chance to help bolster that percentage, with the demoralised Bombers this week rocked by further public revelations about the club’s injecting regime and a spat between coach James Hird and his former mentor Mark Thompson, who claimed the players were mentally “drowning”.
But Camoporeale insists it’s a danger game writ large, such is the evenness of the competition.
“I’d be staggered if our group was going in with a mentality that this was a great time to get a football club,” he said.
“It’s about us.”
He wouldn’t be drawn on Essendon’s predicament, musing: “I’ve got enough to worry about here, to be honest.”
Given the year’s tumult, that is certainly no understatement, but Camporeale says he is “very proud of the playing group, the coaches, the staff at the footy club “.
“Everyone has been affected by what has happened,” he said.
“But particularly the players. They have to perform on the weekend and the game is tough enough as it is, let alone having those sort of things in your mind as well.”
After a surprisingly commanding win – goalkicking aside – against the resurgent Tigers at home last Friday, the coach isn’t forecasting “many changes”, despite solid SANFL form from the likes of Mitch Grigg, Matthew Wright, Sam Shaw and Andy Otten.
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