Craig tells Crows fans to hang on - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Craig tells Crows fans to hang on

Greg Buckle 18/06/2011 01:09:17 PM Comments (0)

Adelaide coach Neil Craig has told the club's fans to hang on for a scary ride as the Crows try to rebuild their side into being finals contenders.

The Crows opened up like world-beaters in their round-13 AFL clash with Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on Friday night, kicking six goals to grab a 22-point lead at quarter-time.

However Craig's inexperienced side made a variety of skill and concentration errors to score only four goals after quarter-time, losing 14.16 (100) to 10.10 (70).

It was Adelaide's ninth loss from 12 games this season, increasing the pressure on the 55-year-old mentor to hold his job for 2012.

Craig said the Crows became loose around the stoppages and showed the type of inconsistency that can plague a young side.

"It's an exciting challenge to build this team but it will be scary for our supporters for a period of time," Craig said.

The Crows coach said half his side had yet to play 40 games.

"It's not an excuse, but you've got to understand what those guys are going through," he said.

"Their capacity to sustain an effort is not there yet.

"They're not capable yet, not for four quarters.

"After a period of time, the work-rate just becomes too great.

"It's an inexperienced team that I think is showing some really good signs.

"The positive is for me I saw some really high-level football in the first quarter. That means this group can do it.

"Let's see it maybe for a full game. That's what we're going to push towards ... because it will come.

'The sooner we can uphold our end of the bargain as a playing group and as a coaching group, and keep pushing them hard and improve their performances, the more joy we can bring them (fans)."

Craig led the Crows to the finals in his first five full seasons as coach before Adelaide fell to 11th spot in 2010. He said he was facing a new type of challenge with stars like Brett Burton and Simon Goodwin now retired.

Asked if fans of the two-time premiers could cope with the lack of success during a rebuilding phase, Craig said bluntly: "They are going to have to."

Craig said he couldn't put a time-frame on when the Crows would be a finals force again.

"I don't know. It's a new experience for me at this level to coach this profile of a group (with a lot of inexperienced players)," he said.

Craig said onballer Rory Sloane suffered a corked thigh but had battled on well and should be fit to play against competition leaders Geelong at Skilled Stadium next Saturday.

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