Crows coach seeks AFL grand final balance

For Adelaide coach Don Pyke, the AFL grand final against Richmond is all about balance.


Team balance. Balance between attack and defence. But most importantly, balance of the mind.

Pyke says the opening stages of the grand final are important – but not as important as a balanced mindset.

“The start is important … your ability to bring some energy early,” Pyke told reporters on Friday.

“But also the capacity to settle and actually start playing the game because sometimes you can get overhyped.

“We will just find that nice blend and balance.”

Pyke’s Crows enter the decider as favourites to win the club’s first premiership since 1998.

And despite the finale being played on Richmond’s home ground, the MCG, Pyke expected to find more balance in the crowd.

“From a crowd viewpoint … we feel we’re going to have a fair amount of crowd support ourselves,” he said.

“There’s nearly 20,000 Crows members who are coming over plus others, so I expect there will be a typical grand final crowd, less one-sided than maybe Richmond have had in the two finals to date.”

Adelaide named an unchanged side for the finale – as did Richmond – but Pyke said he would be mindful of his players cruelly denied a shot at premiership glory.

Defender Brodie Smith required a knee reconstruction after being injured early in the qualifying final, while forward Mitch McGovern was ruled out of the preliminary and grand finals because of a hamstring injury.

“It’s easy to just focus on the 22 guys who are out there,” Pyke said.

“But there’s a lot of guys who have been outstanding in not only helping build the way we play, but the way we go about building culture.

“As much as they don’t take the field tomorrow, they’ll be a very important part of the club.”