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Pyke planning a happy homecoming

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Crows coach Don Pyke says it won’t be an emotional homecoming when he fronts his former club West Coast next weekend.

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After the Crows pounded St Kilda by 88 points in yesterday’s twilight game, Pyke quickly re-set his sights to the Eagles.

Adelaide’s first-year head coach – a premiership hero and long-time assistant coach at the Eagles – wants to make a low-key return to Perth.

“I wouldn’t say it’s an emotional night,” Pyke said of the prospect of Saturday night’s date with the Eagles.

“It certainly won’t be about me this week.

“It’s going to be about our team. And our guys are going across to get a win.

“I have obviously got a lot of people I have known for a long period of time who are associated with the West Coast footy club so it will be some familiar faces to catch up.

“But make no doubt, I’ll go over looking for four points.”

Pyke’s Crows are eighth on the ladder, just a win shy of the seventh-placed Eagles who hold a commanding record on home turf.

“It’s a great challenge. And it’s one we’re up for,” Pyke said.

“West Coast at Subi Oval is a significant challenge, last year’s grand finalists.

“Obviously I have got history there and have some knowledge of the players in bits and pieces.

“But for us it will be a game where we understand what we need to bring.”

That was something evidently beyond the comprehension of St Kilda yesterday, with coach Alan Richardson counting the injury cost of a game his players never believed they could win.

The Crows, with Josh Jenkins booting seven goals, thrashed the Saints 19.19 (133) to 6.9 (45) at Adelaide Oval.

St Kilda’s horror display was compounded by a season-ending achilles injury to Hugh Goddard, young gun Paddy McCartin being hospitalised with concussion and a possible neck injury, and skipper Nick Riewoldt suffering a jarred knee.

Goddard was stretchered off after rupturing his left achilles when innocuously turning to chase Jenkins in the second quarter.

“It’s a bad one,” Richardson said of Goddard’s injury.

McCartin was stretchered off in the third quarter after clashing heads, front-on, with teammate Jack Newnes, the impact forcing his head back into the face of Adelaide’s Luke Brown.

“He’s got a pretty heavy knock to the head … possibly a little bit of neck stuff too,” Richardson said.

Riewoldt left the ground in the opening minute after jarring a knee – he returned the field but was clearly hobbled.

“He jarred his knee pretty badly … he was struggling, that would have been pretty obvious,” Richardson said.

“He was just out there so we could get rotations through others.”

While hampered by injury, Richardson’s Saints were never in the contest after being jumped in the opening quarter when Adelaide kicked six goals to one.

Overall, the Crows recorded 69 inside 50s to St Kilda’s 39, had 177 more disposals and were up 38 in the contested ball count.

“The numbers are horrific but they are all an outcome of something and our guys just didn’t believe they could win that game,” Richardson said.

Adelaide’s early blitz was triggered by late inclusion Matt Crouch, who replaced the rested Scott Thompson.

Crouch collected a remarkable 17 disposals in the first term and finished with a game-high 36 touches and his midfield colleague Rory Sloane (32 disposals) was outstanding.

The Crows remain the highest scoring team in the competition and have now kicked 100 or more points in seven of 11 games – and have twice scored 97.

“I was really happy with how we played,” Pyke said.

“It was a really mature performance from our guys… a good example of how we want to play.”

-AAP

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