Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks has defended his side’s physical tactics after they were labelled “disgraceful” by Kane Cornes over the weekend.
Nicks is pledging a similar attack on Collingwood as he seeks to snap his club’s winless AFL run.
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The Crows host the Magpies on Tuesday night at Adelaide Oval with Nicks demanding a hard edge from his players.
“We want to play on the edge. We need to play on the edge because the best sides do,” Nicks told reporters on Monday.
The Crows have been criticised for an overtly aggressive approach in their loss to Melbourne last Wednesday night when they seemingly targeted star ruckman Max Gawn off the ball.
Port Adelaide champion Kane Cornes said the “premeditated attack” was “disgraceful”.
“When we highlight Jake Carlisle for targeting an injured player, he gets a fine and everyone’s outraged by it — this is far worse,” Cornes said of some damning footage AFL.com’s ‘The Round so Far’ on Sunday.
“This is premeditated, this is repetitive, this is a team attack.
“Ned’s got to pull his head in. He’s a second-year player who’s achieved nothing in the game — and Max Gawn probably doesn’t know who he is.
“But he went out of his way to target Max Gawn off the ball, and there is nothing that Max can do about it.”
Matthew Nicks hits back at criticism
However Nicks is unfazed by the criticism.
“We went in with the mindset of ... throwing the first punch if you like, or becoming a physical side off-ball so we weren't dictated to,” he said.
“That came across in a different way to some in the media (but) it was never our intention to go after Gawny.”
The Crows will be without Daniel Talia for the game against the Magpies, with the fullback rested because of general soreness.
Utility Chayce Jones has been dropped with Brodie Smith and Kyle Hartigan to return.
Adelaide enter the game on a club-record 13-match losing streak - their last win came more than a calendar year ago.
And while Nicks covets a win, he has a simpler focus: making his players better.
“I would love to get wins for our supporters, I would love to get wins for our players to reward them for their effort,” he said.
“But it's not about win and loss at this point, it's about making sure we keep improving.
“You just want that (winning) outcome but you can't live in outcomes, you have got to live in the process and we're in that at the moment.
“We're about improving and getting better.
“But as a coach, ultimately I want to see our guys be able to celebrate after a game and sing the club song ... it's a tough time for everyone but we're sticking tight.”