Predictability key for Crows under new coach Nicks


‘‘But we’re confident we’re going to put out a really strong game style. We have got the team to match it with anyone.’’

Most pundits doubt the Crows, after cleaning out a number of senior players, can return to the finals after a two-year absence. Their departed list includes stalwarts Eddie Betts, Sam Jacobs, Josh Jenkins, Alex Keath and Hugh Greenwood.

But Nicks is adamant he’s not taking over with a charter of rebuilding a playing list.

‘‘Not at all,’’ he said. ‘‘Part of the interview process that I went through, which was a lengthy one, was the opportunity for me to see where the club was at.

‘‘My first interview, I knew that (a rebuild) wasn’t the case. The playing group has a really strong core who have played a lot of football together. ‘‘We lost a lot of experience from an on-field point of view … but what that has given us is an opportunity for these younger guys who haven’t had that opportunity.

‘‘They have been sitting underneath, almost wanting to play, but not quite getting the opportunity. Well, they will now get that.’’

Nicks has set his foundations: contest work and team-first defence.

‘‘My philosophy … revolves around contest,’’ he said. ‘‘The second part of what we’re about is becoming a predictable team.’’

To achieve that, he needs players to trust each other – a trust borne from on-field predictability.

‘‘Predictability is something we talk about. The main word we’re using and the space we’re trying
to get right is the trust in areas,’’ Nicks said.

‘‘You have got to trust each other … there’s so many different dynamics to the way our game is played but you can make the game predictable.

‘‘I think the best team in the comp at the moment are doing that.

‘‘Richmond … we all knew how they played, we weren’t able to stop it. Richmond don’t change the way they play, they’re just very very good at it.

‘‘No doubt that is what happens in the game, we model ourselves and we will copy a lot of stuff from what the best teams in the comp are doing because it works.’’

Nicks, after stints as an assistant coach at Port Adelaide and GWS, will sit in the head coaching seat overseeing an established defence featuring mainstays Daniel Talia, Rory Laird, Jake Kelly and Luke Brown.

He plans to inject emerging youth such as Chayce Jones into a midfield headlined by known performers Matt Crouch, his brother Brad and Rory Sloane, who has assumed the sole captaincy after sharing it with Taylor Walker last season.

But he’ll field a fresh forward line built around stalwarts Walker and Tom Lynch with a support cast set of largely unproven young talent: Darcy Fogarty, Tyson Stengle, Shane McAdam, Elliott Himmelberg and ex-Port Adelaide recruit Billy Frampton.

‘‘That is where all the commentary is at the moment – how are they going to score?’’ Nicks said.

‘‘And that is what happens when you lose a lot of experience in one area, which we have.

‘‘I’m really excited about what that (attack) looks like … I’m confident with the group we have got.’’

AAP

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