AFL: Australia floored by abject Showdown humiliation
Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks has blasted his players for "bruise-free footy" in a record 75-point AFL loss to arch rival Port Adelaide - and he wasn't the only one lining up to take shots.
The first-year coach pulled no punches when providing his assessment on the humiliating 17.8 (110) to 5.5 (35) defeat on Saturday night.
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"Our inconsistency. Our lack of contest. Bruise-free footy," he said when asked what went so horribly wrong. "We put 10 minutes of footy out on the ground and looked pretty good early and then unfortunately we completely dropped away.
"It's a really embarrassing performance.
"We allowed them to play football the way they wanted to play football.
"Some of the off-ball stuff, we're not going to accept it moving forward. I don't care who it is, we don't discriminate.
"It's not a lack of effort, I want to point that out.
"Our guys are trying their guts out, they are just getting their method wrong."
Port's win was its biggest ever over its cross-town rival while the 35 points the Crows mustered up was their lowest score ever in a Showdown. Even with shortened 16-minute quarters, it was grim.
Adelaide has been plagued by off-field issues since a loss in the 2017 grand final and has faced constant questions about the club's culture. A pre-season camp in 2018 didn't sit well with some of the players, the club took nearly a week to say publicly Tyson Stengle had been caught drink-driving this year and they breached social distancing rules while training in isolation.
As commentator Shane McInnes said on 3AW radio: "No team needed a win more than Adelaide in this round and they have done the complete opposite."
Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes mocked the Crows, referencing club legend Andrew McLeod's recent comments that he doesn't feel welcome at the club he helped pilot towards two premierships in the 1990s.
Western Bulldogs champion turned commentator Brad Johnson said during Fox Footy's broadcast the Crows are a "rabble". "Everything's just falling apart. Matty Knicks has got a lot of work to do," Johnson said.
"Everything has just gone wrong for so long, it's just been negativity after negativity coming out of the Adelaide Crows.
"At the moment, collectively, there's just nothing there."
The reaction on social media fell into either the deeply critical or the "if you don't laugh, you'll cry" basket.
Crows players will be spending some time in the hall of mirrors this weekend having a look at themselves. That cannot be the standard in 2020 #AFLPowerCrows— John Hunt (@JohnHunt1992) June 13, 2020
I can't tell whether Port are really good or Adelaide are completely terrible. #AFLPowerCrows— Andrew Mueller (@andrew_mueller) June 13, 2020
On the plus side, if we presume we’re at 1999-level incompetence, it’s only another 18 years until we get to lose another grand final— Tom Richardson (@TomRichardson) June 13, 2020
My first born child is due in November. This is a strategic decision. By the time he/she is cognisant of what football is and aware of his/her love of the Adelaide Crows, the team should be just about ready to be competitive. #AFLPortCrows— Joel Dry (@JoelDry7) June 13, 2020
Worst thing about this Showdown is...there’s still a quarter to go. Crows players are taking social distancing measures too far. #AFLPortCrows— Corey Norris (@coreynorris9) June 13, 2020
Feeling for the Crows fans that won tickets to this. #AFLPowerCrows— Titus O'Reily (@TitusOReily) June 13, 2020
The Crows kicked the first two goals but registered just three more for the game.
To make matters worse, midfielder Rory Sloane went off with a corked thigh and defender Jake Kelly was concussed in the opening quarter when attempting to tackle.
The winless Crows and unbeaten Port depart for a Gold Coast hub later this week ahead of at least their next three matches in Queensland.
Nicks said having his players in a hub was, in a football-sense, a bonus.
"We were really looking forward to getting over there as a group," he said. "The toughest part of it is families - we respect that we understand that, I have got a family so that's going to be tough to not have them there.
"But I think for our young group it's going to be a real positive to be over there together.
"We will do our best to spend as much time as we can trying to work on some of these areas."
Originally published as Australia floored by abject humiliation