Kane Cornes has claimed he was ‘staggered’ that Crows players didn’t know Melbourne star Max Gawn was carrying an injury into their clash on the weekend.
The Crows have been criticised for an overtly aggressive approach in their loss to Melbourne last Wednesday night when they seemingly targeted star ruckman Gawn off the ball.
‘SNIFFED HIM OUT’: Dangerfield's brutal moment with umpire
Port Adelaide champion Cornes initially claimed the “premeditated attack” was “disgraceful” on Gawn.
“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.”
But Crows coach Matthew Nicks claimed the team didn’t ‘go after’ Gawn during the physical encounter.
Gawn was carrying an injury into the game, he was in doubt over a tear in his latissimus doorsi and upper back region, but was able to line-up and lift his team to a comfortable victory.
Cornes lets rip over ‘staggering’ Gawns claim
This prompted Cornes to hit back at Nicks saying he was ‘staggered’ they couldn’t know Gawn was carrying an injury.
“To say they didn’t know Melbourne’s best player and captain wasn’t under an injury concern I find completely staggering,” Cornes said on SEN SA.
“I would say to Matthew Nicks, sack all of your coaches that are preparing for the opposition if you didn’t know the opposition’s best player had a shoulder injury, which is pretty important when you are a ruckman.
“I’ll take him on his word for that, ‘we didn’t actually know Gawn was injured’, I’ll take him and his word for it but I would say if that’s the case, sack everyone that is preparing for the game because they are not doing a good job at all.”
Cornes said if the coaching staff were not aware of Gawn’s injury, it reflected poorly on them.
Nicks defended his team over the initial 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.”