Crows 'really well-drilled': Port coach - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Crows 'really well-drilled': Port coach

By Daniel Brettig 01/05/2009 04:25:06 PM Comments (0)

Watching coach Neil Craig run Adelaide through their paces on Wednesday night, Port Adelaide's coaching staff were given a clear idea of the difficult task confronting them in Saturday night's AFL showdown.

Well-drilled and applying a more aggressive zone to opposition teams in 2009, the Crows have held their own against both Geelong and St Kilda - clearly the outstanding sides in the league - before dropping away late.

By contrast, Port's game broke down rapidly when facing the Saints in round five, making for a week of hard training, introspection and also turning Josh Carr into a high-profile selection casualty.

Up against a not dissimilar level of pressure from Adelaide in the always-competitive showdown, Port Adelaide coach Mark Williams conceded his men had their work cut out, particularly to get the ball out of Adelaide's forward line when the zone was employed.

"I watched them train for two hours the other night and they were outstanding at it, they're really well-drilled, so it's going to be a real challenge for us, we'll have to be on our best," Williams said on Friday.

"We'd like to think we could stop the ball getting in there so we don't have to worry as much about it.

"But on the other side there's no way the defenders can just get the ball out, the forwards and the midfield have to help them."

The Power have one injury concern, with small forward Robbie Gray restricted in his movement at training due to a sore back.

Williams insisted Gray would be fine to play, and he will need to be, given a lack of suitable replacements on Port's emergency list.

None of Toby Thurstans, Matthew Westhoff or Carr are particularly suited to crumbing, and Williams was also adamant that Carr would not be a sneaky late inclusion.

Many of Port's problems were addressed on a Monday spent dealing in home truths and hard training, with coaches looking at themselves as much as players.

"We're certainly all in this together, there was a lot of soul-searching amongst the coaching group - the way we played didn't stand up, so we have to look at ourselves as much as the players, and we did," Williams said.

"Different people will reflect differently and it's hard to get a collective `yes, this is the reason', and mostly the players look for the coaching staff to give them the answers and help them through."

On the commercial front, Port have had some outside help from their rivals Adelaide, with the promotion of the showdown a collaborative effort that had the fixture close to a sell-out on match eve.

"I commend the Crows people and the media for getting behind this, because there's nothing worse than playing a derby if you like, whether it's worldwide soccer or footy or whatever it is, and it's not sold-out," Williams said.

"It's such an exciting time for the whole city and the crowd, as much as the players and the clubs."

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