Tredrea: Lazy Crows are a selfish, three-man team

Written By Unknown on Kamis, 08 Mei 2014 | 12.50

Adelaide Crows will have to wait a week to get redemption for the three-point defeat to Melbourne on the weekend, but have their work cut out for them when they host Collingwood in round 9.

ADELAIDE has seven days to plug the gaping holes in its ailing ship or another season will sink like the Titanic.

A week is a long time in football and history shows things can turn quickly.

But this will only happen if everyone at the club commits to a 100 per cent team-first focus.

With the easier side of the Crows' draw finished — a month where it played St Kilda, GWS, the Bulldogs and Melbourne and should have won all four — Brenton Sanderson's side is now at the crossroads.

Do you agree with Warren Tredrea's assessment of the Crows?

Its remaining fixtures include two matches against Collingwood, including next Thursday night's blockbuster at Adelaide Oval, two meetings with North Melbourne and clashes against Carlton, Essendon, Hawthorn, Fremantle, West Coast and Port Adelaide.

Disappointed Adelaide Crows leave the ground after the three-point loss to Melbourne. Picture: Sarah Reed.

So it is time for Sanderson and his men to make a statement, starting with the Magpies.

Lose that game and fall to 3-5 and the Crows can virtually kiss their finals hopes goodbye.

Following the inexcusable implosion against Melbourne, Sanderson claimed there are three key areas letting Adelaide down.

POOR starts: The Crows have won only two first quarters. Good teams don't let you back into games so this must be fixed.

THE tragic loss of his right-hand man Dean Bailey: Make no mistake, Bailey's loss is huge. His lateral and measured thinking cannot be replaced.

BAD kicking: I wrote in this column last month that Adelaide can't handle the heat when the pressure cooker is turned up and it has done nothing to make me change my mind. This burnt the Crows on the weekend when the Demons booted seven unanswered goals while Adelaide's kicking efficiency was at a disgraceful 47 per cent — 12 per cent below the AFL average.

Frustrated Crows coach Brenton Sanderson has a week to turn the season around. Picture: Sarah Reed.

The other big issues facing the Crows are their over-reliance on three key players.

If midfielders Patrick Dangerfield and Rory Sloane and ruckman Sam Jacobs don't fire, neither does Adelaide.

It needs more contributors more often.

The return of Taylor Walker from a long-time knee injury will help but he won't be a quick fix. The gun forward will take time to rediscover his brilliant best.

The other issue is the Crows' lack of a defensive game plan.

They have conceded 443 points (63 per game) from turnovers in 2014. This is 48 points more than any other side.

Two years ago Sanderson's side was the contested ball pin-up team of the competition. Not any more.

While Adelaide has got worse, rivals have improved. The Crows were taught a lesson by previous wooden spoon favourite Melbourne.

The Demons' key stats are far from flattering. They rank 15th in disposals, 18th in clearances and 18th for goals scored.

But they damningly beat Adelaide 377-340 in possessions, 40-37 in clearances and outscored it by three points.

The Crows didn't respect Melbourne enough and paid the ultimate penalty.

Man for man the Dees aren't anywhere near as good as Adelaide but they arrived at The Oval with a plan to deny the Crows space and they carried it out to perfection.

Adelaide's team defence was appalling. Its defensive press has more holes in it than a pair of old running shoes.

Sanderson remarked "they don't work for each other as a team", adding "they go into a self-preservation mode" when it's time to leave your man to cover for a teammate.

They also seem to be lacking the absolute desperation required to pressure the opposition to turn the ball over, which used to be their bread and butter.

To fix the problem Sanderson must go back to playing six v six all over the ground.

He needs to forget about playing with a free player as a defensive quarterback.

It is simply not working. It is time to play on and beat your man.

Adelaide's players must be rebooted to play contested, accountable one-on-one football. It is time to throw everything else out the window and get the knees dirty.

This will help stop the run of goals the Crows have made a habit of conceding.

It all starts on the training track. Team-first must be the motto.

Training must turn ultra-competitive and Sanderson can't be afraid of letting blood be spilt.

The best forwards must be pitted aga inst the best defenders. The same goes for the midfield.

Throw in drill variations like forwards operating with extra defenders and have the mids practice kicking the ball to them inside 50.

Even tag key midfielders. Make them outwork their human shadows and practice blocking at stoppages. Every bit helps in developing players.

It's here you will see the competitive animals go to work and highlight who's up for the fight.

Drills designed to kill opposition scoring must be replicated and practised over and over again, along with picking the right options under pressure.

Match simulation drills like this breed confidence, something which Adelaide is currently bereft of.

Lazy, selfish, undisciplined and lacking endeavour are words you don't want associated with your team. But right now that's how Adelaide is perceived.

Warren Tredrea is Port Adelaide's 2004 premiership captain and its greatest goalkicker. He is a Channel 9 News sports presenter and Triple M football commentator.

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