I won't walk from Crows, says Craig - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

I won't walk from Crows, says Craig

By Daniel Brettig 25/03/2010 07:19:10 PM Comments (0)

Adelaide coach Neil Craig will not walk away from the Crows unless pushed, regardless of whether or not the AFL club meets the lofty expectations placed on it in 2010.

Craig and his players are intent on a top four berth this year, meaning they must displace one of Geelong, St Kilda, the Western Bulldogs or Collingwood.

Of that quartet, Adelaide could only beat the Magpies in 2009 before falling narrowly to them in the finals.

Though he boasts the second-best winning percentage in the league among coaches, second only to St Kilda's Ross Lyon, Craig's finals record is poor and another drab September would call his methods into question.

But there is no sign of any self-imposed ultimatum for Craig.

Comparing himself to a player, Craig said he had questioned if the desire was still there and concluded in the affirmative, leaving it up to the board to decide whether he was still a "positive influence".

"The thing I ask of our senior players is, is the desire, the want, the will still there, to be able to perform and contribute, and the answer to that is very clearly yes," he said.

"Probably as a senior player you get asked `can you still contribute, are you still having a positive influence on the club'. That's not for me to decide, the board of the Adelaide Football Club will decide that.

"So if I've still got the want and the desire and the enthusiasm to do it, and I'm saying I have, then you continue on.

"If the club decides at any stage there's a better person to do the job, I have enormous trust in the club to make that decision.

"But I won't walk - there's no walking because we didn't win a final or didn't win a game."

The insistence that Adelaide can break into the very top echelon of the league has been described as a "noose" of expectation given how high the bar has been set by the top clubs, while an off-season of injuries has not helped the Crows' preparatory efforts.

"I don't see it as a noose," said Craig.

"I think we have a squad that is willing, ready and able to jump to the next level.

"And our next level as defined by our footy club, is we need to challenge for the top four.

"I think one of the reasons Kurt Tippett stayed is because he realised we've got a group of players now who are probably ready and capable to try to do that, so I'm part of that.

"I'm only going on what I honestly believe with the group we've been able to recruit and develop and build.

"And I think our supporters deserve an honest assessment of where we are as a football club.

"I'm not saying we will definitely make the top four. I'm saying we're ready to take that step and we will be assessed on that. And our thinking needs to adjust to that."

Adelaide's season begins against Fremantle at Subiaco Oval on Sunday, with the likes of Chris Knights, Jason Porplyzia and Brett Burton all unable to be selected.

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