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Finals furore won't dog Crows

Football

Whatever the Western Bulldogs take from last year’s AFL elimination final, Adelaide coach Don Pyke wants nothing to do with it.

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Probably the best game of the season and its controversial aftermath mean added interest in Saturday night’s clash at Etihad Stadium.

The Crows won a cracking match at the MCG by seven points.

But within days, allegations emerged that Bulldogs defender Michael Talia might have leaked match information to his brother Daniel at the Crows.

A two-month AFL investigation cleared Michael, who fell out with the Bulldogs over the matter and joined Sydney in the off-season.

Crows backman Kyle Cheney received an official warning for his comments – which he said were made in jest – that sparked the controversy.

Yesterday, Pyke was asked about the Talias and what motivation the Bulldogs might have for Saturday night’s clash.

“That’s up to them – for us it’s all over, it’s done,” Pyke said.

“It was a terrific game of footy, we won the game which was fantastic for us… but Saturday night is completely different. We’re talking round seven of another season.”

The new Adelaide coach also noted a lot has changed since the last time they played.

“It’s a completely different situation – different ground, different coach and different teams,” he said.

Crows captain Taylor Walker bears out Pyke’s point.

Walker starred in that final, but now he is on an ongoing mission to regain form.

One of the game’s top forwards suffered a foot injury this year and that means he is yet to reach proper fitness.

The Crows will persist with him, confident that having him in the senior team is the best for their skipper.

Fremantle defender Alex Pearce kept Walker goalless last weekend and the Crows star has only kicked 11 goals in the other five games.

“Any player who’s not able to train regularly, it takes a bit of a toll,” Pyke said.

“He’s through that now and I’d expect he’s going to get better and better from here.

“That said, in my eyes, he’s not playing poorly… he’s probably just not playing to the standard we would expect and we’ve seen in the past.

“But he’s contributing in a lot of other ways.”

-AAP

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