Crows have AFL finals firepower: Craig - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Crows have AFL finals firepower: Craig

By Daniel Brettig 28/08/2009 05:18:00 PM Comments (0)

Adelaide coach Neil Craig is adamant his club's 2009 edition has both the attacking firepower and the mental strength to succeed where predecessors have failed - in the high intensity zone of the AFL finals.

The respect Craig has garnered for building an extremely consistent, reliable football club, one that reaches September each year irrespective of how developmental the list might be, has been diluted every time that same solidity is turned against the Crows at the pointy end of the season.

Often out-thought if not out-fought, Adelaide are yet to do themselves justice under Craig in finals, and there has been plenty of time devoted to tweaking the club's game and personnel in order to change that.

This year a young squad has been a little less predictable than previous Adelaide combinations, but appears more capable of regrouping from a bad quarter or burying an opponent with a flood of goals.

Such improvements are partly to do with the growth of impact players like Kurt Tippett and Patrick Dangerfield, and partly down to smoother movement of the ball.

"I think mentally all squads have been very good for us, (but) this year our capacity to fight and come from behind, that hasn't necessarily been a trait for us in the past," Craig said on Friday.

"I wouldn't call us frontrunners, but in the past if we'd been say five goals down at quarter time like against Hawthorn (in round 20), I'd say we would have kept competitive in that game but we would have lost by one or two goals.

"Whereas now we actually have the belief and two we have ball movement that enables us to score quickly.

"In the past you could be critical of us that we could grind a goal out but we couldn't go bang, bang, bang in three or four minutes.

"We've spent a lot of time on our ball movement and it's still up for critique in the finals, but we believe our capacity to move the ball against a variety of defences is better now than it's ever been.

"Is it going to be good enough? We'll find out."

Dangerfield's recall for round 22 following a back complaint is timely, given his freakish ability to win contested ball.

"He's back in form, and Patrick's got a lot of attributes we need as a football club going forward," Craig said.

"(His competitive nature) is one of the aspects I really like about Patrick, is that his competitive nature is just natural for him, and his capacity to win the contested ball is already elite in AFL footy.

"There are some other areas he's really got to concentrate on, but that aspect is already elite, provided he's fit and healthy."

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