Crows coach Pyke wants calm AFL debut

Adelaide’s Don Pyke admits there’s no guarantees being an AFL head coach won’t turn him into a raving lunatic.

He hopes not – but Pyke says he’ll find out in Saturday night’s season-opener against North Melbourne when he debuts as a head coach.

“I would hope I’m going to be more measured and calm,” Pyke told reporters on Wednesday.

“But then you’re involved in an emotive game so its hard not to get emotional, that is the thing.

“And the players, I think, want to see a level of emotion because it’s important to show engagement in the game and what they’re doing.

“Does that mean I’m going to become a raving lunatic? Hopefully not.

“But I’d like to think I’ll be engaged in the game and be able to work with the players to achieve the best outcome.”

Pyke said he would embrace the fever-pitch excitement associated with round one – and hoped his players would too.

“These guys have been training since late November, competing for spots,” he said.

“Some guys will earn spots and they’ll be excited about the opportunity it presents. Some guys that have been around for a while will be looking forward to the year.

“So I think embrace it. It’s not one to shy away from.

“It’s an opportunity for these guys to put out what they’re capable of doing, I will encourage them to embrace the night and get amongst it.”

Pyke was considering up to 28 players for the Etihad Stadium encounter, including Brad Crouch and Rory Atkins, who were suspended from the Crows’ final pre-season game as punishment for breaking a team curfew.

“As I said up front after that incident … I’m not going to hold anything against them at this point. Their names are on the board for selection,” he said.

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