Crows coach Nicks defends swinging AFL axe

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Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks says it would have been "madness" not to swing the selection axe after some heavy AFL losses.

Nicks has dumped five players and lost another to injury for Saturday night's home clash against flag fancy Brisbane.

The 14th-placed Crows enter as rank outsiders after two heavy losses, by 59 points to GWS then 48 points to Carlton in their last start.

"When you're not winning games of footy, it's madness if you continue on with the same thing over and over," Nicks told reporters on Friday.

Nicks dropped ruckman Reilly O'Brien, Billy Frampton, Lachlan Gollant, Brayden Cook and Harry Schoenberg while Lachie Murphy was unavailable because of a neck injury.

O'Brien is the highest-profile of the dumped players but Nicks said the 2020 club champion isn't a fall guy for the recent losses.

"There's this connection piece or cohesion which for the last couple of weeks we have missed," he said.

"We haven't got the game on our terms, we haven't played our style of footy.

"We know Brissy are a fantastic footy side but we have got to play our brand. And if we don't do that, then we are going to be exposed."

Lions forward Eric Hipwood will play his first game since a knee reconstruction about 10 months ago.

Brisbane coach Chris Fagan said there was no point in the tall attacker playing in state league ranks before returning to the elite level.

"He's a bona fide AFL player so where do you get your match practice, in the seniors or the reserves?" Fagan told reporters on Friday.

"It doesn't matter so we thought we'd put him straight in.

"If people are worried about risk and those sorts of things, they shouldn't be.

"He could have played a month ago. We have been very cautious with him."

Fagan said the absences of key forwards Joe Daniher (shoulder) and Daniel McStay (ankle) weren't a factor in Hipwood's recall.

"He's a professional ... he knows how to play and he knows our system," Fagan said.

"Having not played since July last year he's going to be a little short of match practice no doubt.

"But we'll manage him well over the next few weeks and I think within a month he'll be back to the Eric we know."

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