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Don Pyke is safe as Crows coach, says club powerbroker

Football

Adelaide powerbroker Mark Ricciuto says coach Don Pyke is safe in his job, dismissing suggestions he has lost support from his AFL players.

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Pyke’s tenure is under scrutiny amid four losses from the past five games but the Crows still cling to eighth spot on the ladder.

Ricciuto, Adelaide’s only Brownlow medallist who is now considered the club’s most powerful off-field figure, denied speculation players have lost faith in Pyke.

“That is not what I believe,’’ Ricciuto said on Triple M radio today.

“Don Pyke is absolutely safe at the moment.

“Of course he’s under pressure. But at the mid-season bye all the players were very happy with what’s going on.

“Unfortunately it has gone backwards since the bye.

“They need to get on top of what is causing it and change it really quickly.

“If it doesn’t change quickly then they have to change more personnel.”

Since the bye, the Crows have been badly beaten in four games with their sole win against last-placed Gold Coast.

The Crows’ loss to lowly Carlton on Saturday heaped further scrutiny on the club and its seeming reluctance to select younger players.

“We have got an ageing list but when you’re in the eight, surely you’re picking a side to win and try and keep winning and make finals,” Ricciuto said.

“The problem they have got is the kids they want to pick aren’t in great form.”

In his second season as head coach, Pyke took the Crows to the 2017 grand final where they were beaten by Richmond.

But Adelaide missed last year’s finals and face a scrap to retain eighth spot in the run into this season’s playoffs.

Only inaugural coach Graham Cornes has survived as Adelaide coach after missing the finals for two consecutive seasons.

But Ricciuto said the blowtorch should be on the players for the current slump.

“On the weekend again the midfield was badly beaten, absolutely smashed in clearances and contested possession,’’ he said.

“Whenever any side gets that, you’re going to be behind the eight ball.

“Forward pressure, once again, not good enough. This has been an issue for quite a while.

“This is a common theme that has been happening over the last few weeks. It’s not getting any better.”

– AAP

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