AAP AFL

Crows bank on simple approach to end rut

By AAP Newswire

Adelaide coach Don Pyke hopes a return to basics will help his team break out of their worrying form slump and propel them to an AFL finals berth.

The Crows' finals hopes are hanging by a thread following four straight losses.

Given the current log jam for spots inside the top eight, Adelaide (6-7) might need to win seven of their remaining nine matches to secure a finals spot.

Last year's grand finalists have been ravaged by injuries to key players this season, robbing the team of much-needed continuity.

The disastrous pre-season camp that reportedly left a host of players disgruntled has also been blamed for the team's poor form.

But Pyke is confident Adelaide's fortunes will turn around, with the club using their mid-season break to refresh and reset.

Pyke says a simpler approach focusing on the basics should help, starting with Saturday's crunch clash with West Coast at Adelaide Oval.

"It's not that it (the current style) is overly complex," Pyke said.

"But they (the younger players) are also experiencing AFL footy for the first time, or the first five or 10 times. So they're learning as they go."

The Crows were forced to make a late change to their squad on Friday when midfielder Cam Ellis-Yolmen was ruled out with a quad injury.

He has been replaced by Myles Poholke.

Tom Lynch (concussion) couldn't be considered for a recall, but the return of Rory Laird, Luke Brown, and Rory Sloane from injury is a massive boost for the Crows.

Sloane hasn't played since injuring his foot in round four.

But Pyke said the star midfielder was ready to roll and wasn't even thinking about the foot injury, which some players have struggled to overcome in the past.

"He's like a kid in a candy store. He brings that infectious energy to the group," Pyke said.

"That's why tomorrow is such an exciting day for the footy club. We put that first half of the year behind us, and go, 'Right from here, we can control our future'.

"For our guys, there's a real steely determination about coming out and playing some good strong footy in the last half of the year and pushing on with the aim to play finals."

West Coast (10-3) will be aiming to bounce back following consecutive defeats, but will be without their best three forwards.

Mark LeCras (wrist), Josh Kennedy (leg), and Jack Darling (ankle) are all injured, leaving West Coast to field one of their youngest ever forward lines.