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History is waiting to be made, says Pyke


Adelaide coach Don Pyke says it’s just a matter of when.

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He’s certain an AFL club will win the premiership from outside the top four, but doesn’t know when.

To Pyke, the feat is like Australia’s 1983 America’s Cup triumph. Or breaking the four-minute mile – achievements thought impossible, until done.

“The difference between first and seventh is a game (win),” Pyke told reporters yesterday.

“The opportunity for someone with a week’s break heading into the finals to … win four games in a row to win a premiership exists.

“Sport is full of history lessons talking about sides and teams winning from rare spots.

“The America’s Cup where you’re four-one down and got up and win; the four-minute mile was broken when no one thought that was going to be done either.

“Someone will do it. I’m not saying it’s going to be us, but someone will do it.”

But Pyke, whose Crows enter the finals from fifth spot, reckoned an air traffic controller’s calmness was required to be the first club from outside the top four to win the AFL flag under the current finals format.

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re sitting in an air traffic controller’s tower trying to land a plane: you’re ability to stay composed at times under pressure is what allows you to actually complete the task,” he said.

Pyke says his belief in Adelaide’s game plan hasn’t been dented by a shock last-round loss, when the Crows blew a chance to finish in the top four and gain a coveted double chance in the finals when downed by West Coast in the last minor round game.

But he says he’s firmly believes the Crows’ attacking style can flourish in their finals campaign, which opens with an elimination bout against North Melbourne at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night.

“We are not about to jump at shadows and change things,” he said.

“We have got to this position because we have played a particular way, the players have played true to their trademark on the way through.

“(There is) the temptation to think you have got to reach for something substantially different.

“We think that we’re capable of producing good footy which will stand up in finals and that’s the challenge, without trying to create something unique or extra special.

“It’s often just doing what you do, doing it better, and doing it for longer against quality opposition.”

Pyke will summon vice-captain Rory Sloane (suspension) and rebounding defender Brodie Smith (concussion) for the knockout final against the Kangaroos.

And he hoped lingering concern over backmen Kyle Cheney (groin) and Luke Brown (soreness) would be extinguished at Adelaide’s main training session on Wednesday.

Adelaide enter the elimination final as overwhelming favourites against a North side which limped into the finals – the Roos won just two of their past 11 games.

But Pyke said his focus would be on the North Melbourne that won nine consecutive matches to start their season.

“They haven’t had the best back-end of the season. But they won nine games in a row to start the year so we know what they’re very capable of,” Pyke said.

“They have got some high-quality individuals and they have got some really proud individuals who have got great history at their footy club.”

Captain Taylor Walker said the Crows had earned the right to play in finals, against pre-season predictions, and were up to the challenge.

“The Adelaide Football Club belong in finals,” Walker said.

“We have earnt our right to be here. We have won 16 games through the year.

“You just don’t fall into finals… I have got full belief and confidence that our footy will stand up in finals.

“And I can guarantee you that I will be running out on Saturday night with 21 very, very hungry players.

“It’s very important for us to stamp our style on finals footy. I’m confident that we can do that.

“A lot of hard work has gone into it and this is what you play footy for, to play finals.”

But Walker was uncertain whether this year’s Crows were a better side than last year’s edition which won an elimination final before losing a semi-final to eventual premier Hawthorn.

“It’s hard to say better side,” he said.

“We have developed. We have grown as a group, we have matured. But we will find out in the next three or four weeks.”


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