Crows focus on footy: McLeod

Written By Unknown on Rabu, 20 Februari 2013 | 12.50

Adelaide legend Andrew McLeod talks footy with indigenous footballers Dellick Nelson,15, Gerard Watson,15, and Kingsley Nelson,15, from the Pipalyatjara community. Picture: Dean Martin Source: The Advertiser

CROWS legend Andrew McLeod says Adelaide's premiership hopes have not been dented by the off-season scandals which have rocked the club.

McLeod - dual Norm Smith Medallist in the club's only two premiership wins in 1997 and 1998 - believes the players will "get on with their business'' and be a major player in the premiership race for the second consecutive year.

"I don't think it will impact the way they play their footy,'' said McLeod, speaking at the launch of Adelaide's Aboriginal Youth Leadership and Governance Program.

"The club hasn't had the best off-season but hopefully all that has been put to bed now and the players can move on and do what they do well.

"They went within a kick of making the (grand) final last year and I see no reason why they can't be back there again and perhaps go a step further."

The Crows are still reeling from having key assistant coach Dean Bailey banned for the first 16 rounds of the premiership season for his role in the Melbourne tanking scandal.

He is the third key Adelaide official to be suspended by the AFL, following those of chief executive Steven Trigg (six months) and football operations manager Phil Harper (two months) for their roles in the Kurt Tippett salary cap affair.

McLeod is convinced the off-field dramas will not affect the Crows players' performances but refuted suggestions from list manager David Noble that they could actually galvanise the group.

"I don't think they need that sort of motivation,'' McLeod said.

"If you are looking for motivation that way you are obviously not playing the game for the right reasons.

"They are highly motivated people, sure they've probably spoken about things, but you see them out there training and they are just worried about improving from last year and going one step further.

"There's no reason why they can't do that.''

McLeod said Bailey could still have a "valuable role'' to play at the club while he serves his ban "because he's too good a person not to''.

McLeod expressed surprise at the drug allegations which have cast a dark cloud over the competition, describing them as "not nice for the game''.

"But I'm sure from what happens now there will be some things put in place which will see the game go to a new level,'' he said.

The Crows Aboriginal Program aims to assist Year 8 to 12 indigenous children gain leadership and governance skills which will help them to take on leadership roles within their communities and gain employment after school.

The program is managed by McLeod and his wife, Rachael.

"For me to be able to help the Adelaide Football Club nurture and grow these young men and women to become future leaders of their communities and champions of their own people is something pretty close to me,'' McLeod said.

"The Adelaide Football Club was my home for 16 years and for me to be able to step away from football and give something back to the community is pretty special.''

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