The recriminations and finger-pointing are coming in thick and fast at the Adelaide Crows.
Fierce criticism has been levelled at the underperforming club after their winless start to the new season and back-to-back thumpings.
'UNACCEPTABLE': Comment about AFL great's kids sparks outrage
Adelaide's first ever defeat to the Gold Coast Suns over the weekend followed a chastening loss to fierce rivals Port Adelaide - with the Crows going down by a combined 128-points after two games back from the season restart.
Club director Mark Ricciuto admitted on Monday that the club expected this season to be tough as they went through a rebuilding phase.
However, it was his explanation of the player clear-out that the Crows have begun to undertake, that left Kane Cornes furious.
Speaking on his Triple M radio show Roo & Ditts, Ricciuto touched on Hugh Greenwood's departure after the former Adelaide man played a key role in Gold Coast's drought-breaking victory on Sunday.
“Hugh Greenwood, that was as much our call. He’s 28 this year and not going to be playing in our next premiership side,” Ricciuto said.
Cornes slammed the Crows director over the remark, insisting it was a huge kick in the guts for a number of key Crows players that are 28 or older.
“If that’s the precedent from Mark Ricciuto, if you’re 28 years of age - he’s basically saying you can’t win a flag at the Adelaide Football Club,” Cornes said on Nine's Footy Classified.
“You are wondering why there is a lack of effort from the Adelaide Football Club, particularly the elder players, it is because they believe their club doesn’t think they’ll win a flag.
"They believe that their club doesn't believe that they'll win a flag."@kanecornes has a theory as to why Adelaide's veterans have lacked effort in recent weeks.#9FootyClassified | Watch @channel9 pic.twitter.com/HR6lsanD2U— Footy on Nine (@FootyonNine) June 22, 2020
“If I’m Brad Crouch (27 years old), Brodie Smith (28), Paul Seedsman (28), Daniel Talia (29), Tom Lynch (30), Taylor Walker (30), Rory Sloane (30) and Bryce Gibbs (31), I now know that my football club thinks I cannot win a flag because I’m 28.
“Perhaps that’s why you are seeing the effort they’re giving on the field because what’s the motivation for them to rock up and play if their club and their most famous name does not think they can win a flag?”
Ricciuto didn't mince his words when levelling a large chunk of the blame for Adelaide's worrying form, on the club's senior players.
"When you do a rebuild, you should do a rebuild with some experience so they can lead the way so they don't get flogged," he said.
"And the plan at Adelaide was to do it like that.
Ricciuto named captain Rory Sloane, ex-skipper Taylor Walker, Rory Laird, Tom Lynch and brothers Brad and Matt Crouch as among the misfiring senior core.
"At the moment, for whatever reason - whether it's confidence, whether it's the new game plan, whether it's the midfield adjusting to a new ruckman or whether they're just out of form - those players aren't playing near 100 per cent.
"So the results over the last two weeks have been a lot worse than what I would have planned, absolutely.
"I didn't think we were going to play like this the last two weeks, no-one would have."
Coach fails to guarantee Walker’s spot
Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks has suggested that personnel changes are coming after refusing to guarantee Walker's spot.
Like most of his teammates, the former captain has failed to fire as Adelaide's rebuild took a dark turn against the Gold Coast.
The 30-year-old has kicked just one goal in two games since the season restart with the 2017 grand finalists slumped at the bottom of the ladder.
Walker is just 12 goals away from overtaking club great Tony Modra as Adelaide's all-time leading goal-kicker, but that may not be enough to keep his spot.
Nicks was frustrated at how easy the Suns were able to repel Adelaide's forward attacks during the 53-point demolition at Metricon Stadium.
"We've moved that ball into our forward line, the opposition have been able to mark the ball 18 times; I don't know if that's a record but it'd be right up there," Nicks told 3AW on Monday night.
"We're asking a lot of 'Tex' (Walker) and Darcy Fogarty as our key (forwards) and helping out in the ruck.
"'Tex' (Walker) at this point in time is struggling to get that job done forward of the ball."