Pyke dropped experienced duo Josh Jenkins and David Mackay while opting for two debutants, Hugh Greenwood and Jordan Gallucci.
“It is always difficult when you leave out players who have played quite a lot of footy for your footy club,” Pyke told reporters at Adelaide Airport today.
“But we base it on performance and we felt that the changes were right for the individual and also for the team.”
Jenkins has struggled since missing three games after copping a rib injury in round two but Pyke said the key forward wasn’t suffering lingering effects.
“We are looking for some things with Josh that we want him to improve on… we have seen them at times but not consistently,” Pyke said.
The Crows were also unable to select Troy Menzel (thigh) though defender Jake Lever returns from a one-match absence because of hamstring soreness.
Pyke said the changes would freshen up his Crows, who still hold top spot despite consecutive losses weighing on the club’s collective mind.
“You can sit there and probably do your head in trying to think through how that works,” Pyke said of the losses.
“But in a 22-game season you’re going to have moments where you’re not going to be at the level.
“And you’re going to have moments where the opposition, as Melbourne did last week, come with a ferocious attitude around the ball.
“But we had that in the first six weeks. We have got the capacity. We have got to make sure we return to that and bring that on Saturday night.”
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