There is little escaping the fact that after just three games into the new campaign, the Adelaide Crows' hopes for the season are already on life support.
Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks admitted after Sunday's latest chastening defeat that the club is in a "world of hurt" and crisis talks are needed.
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The Crows narrowly avoided their lowest AFL score on Sunday afternoon in a 12.10 (82) to 4.5 (29) spanking from Gold Coast.
However, the stats don't lie and a third straight defeat for the once mighty Crows has seen the club snatch an unwanted slice of history.
Adelaide is almost certain to finish the round last on the ladder for just the fourth time ever, and the first time since Round 4, 2000.— Max Laughton (@maxlaughton) June 21, 2020
It ends a 360-round streak, the longest active streak for any club avoiding any ladder position. @FOXFOOTY #AFLSunsCrows
On the back of their biggest ever Showdown defeat against Port Adelaide the week before, the Crows lost to the Suns for the first time in their history to sit rock bottom on the ladder.
Despite a raft of changes in coaching and player personnel in the off-season, it hasn't had the desired effect for Adelaide and tough questions are already being asked about the under-fire club.
Herald Sun AFL expert Jon Ralph labelled the Crows' latest poor performance "absolutely unacceptable" in a scathing assessment on Fox Footy.
"Look at some of the horrific stats here as well: First scoreless quarter since 2017, second lowest halftime score.
"Look there's real pressure on Matthew Nicks to get better performances. Quite clearly he's there for the long haul. That was an abject failure on every count."
Cameron Mooney agreed with Ralph's insistence that the attitude of the Crows' playing group is a genuine concern.
“We said about Adelaide that they needed to stand up and fight for their footy club, a lot of their players needed to stand up, their older players – and we haven’t seen anything, It’s been all Gold Coast," he said.
Brisbane Lions great Alastair Lynch said the Crows players should be ashamed of the account they gave against Gold Coast.
“It’s actually a bit embarrassing, after the week that they’ve had and been smacked in the press, they’re not giving a yelp,” the Fox Footy boundary rider said.
“There’s no voice. There was a bit of a cook between midfielders in the first quarter, but it’s just silent.”
Crows coach has tough questions to answer
Adelaide will remain in their Queensland quarantine hub ahead of next Sunday's clash with Brisbane.
Dominating clearances (38-25), the Suns had almost double the contested possessions of the Crows and the first 12 forward-50 entries in the first quarter.
A shoulder injury to Rory Atkins in his 100th game didn't help, with the Crows coach admitting he wasn't sure where to begin the analysis.
"Good question .... we're in a world of hurt at this point - nowhere near the level," Nicks said.
"We've got some conversations coming up about why that is."
The Crows were hammered last week by Port Adelaide in their biggest Showdown defeat and arrived on the Gold Coast with plenty to prove against a side who had just snapped a 19-game losing streak.
"We expected a response and we weren't able to deliver," Nicks said.
We've got some things to answer. As a midfield, we've got work to do.
"There are too many areas at the moment to be angry with one and not the other."
Nicks was keen to begin the post mortem examination immediately.
"We'll be in there as soon as ... straight into it as a full group," he said.
"We'll open it up; hopefully, I don't do too much of the talking ... hopefully, I see some vulnerability there.
"We'll turn it around but, at this point in time, it's just not acceptable what's being put out."