“I suppose no one likes getting dropped from the side and I was no different but [it was] a decision I had to accept and [I] had to move on and I’ve just got to try and go back and do what they ask and hopefully I can find myself back in the side hopefully this week. If not this week then in the next couple of weeks.”
Gibbs admitted being left out of a side for the first time in 256 games was a “different experience” for him. The 30-year-old had a decent game for the Crows’ reserves on the weekend, racking up 28 disposals, six tackles and six clearances.
But if his omission was supposed to send a message to the rest of his teammates and jolt them into turning around their ordinary early-season form, it certainly didn’t have the desired effect, as they lost to previously-winless North Melbourne last Saturday.
The Crows are now languishing in 14th spot on the ladder with a 1-3 win-loss record and Gibbs said the biggest issues Adelaide had to address were their poor contest work, both on the ground and in the air, and their pressure.
“We’re certainly not playing to the level we’re capable of and we had some good discussions around the place yesterday actually about just where we’re at and how blokes are feeling and what’s going on, basically,” Gibbs said.
“You can see in the AFL at the moment if you’re not competing hard at the ball and winning contested ball, tackles, clearances, these sort of things, you play the game in the opposition’s half and the pressure’s gone through the roof the last couple of years.
“We haven’t adapted to that, especially the first three weeks of the year.”
While Gibbs also said the club had addressed the quality of their ball movement, which served them so well in their grand final year in 2017, they weren’t about to “jump at shadows”.
“You don’t forget how to play footy in three weeks,” he said.
“The more we can win the ball and lock it in our half and use turnover more as a source to score rather than try and go coast-to-coast from our defensive 50, I think it will be a lot better.”
The Crows face surprise packets Gold Coast at Adelaide Oval on Sunday.
Ronny Lerner is a Sports reporter for The Age.