Adelaide’s Don Pyke has received plenty of free advice during his first year as a senior AFL coach.
But with six games to go and the Crows sitting second on the ladder, the former West Coast assistant could be forgiven for questioning the value of some tips.
Inaugural Adelaide coach Graham Cornes on Tuesday called on the Crows to rest stars including Rory Sloane and Scott Thompson for Saturday’s visit to Geelong.
The hotly-anticipated clash loomed as no more than a “50-50 contest” for the Crows given their poor record at Kardinia Park, Cornes said.
“Don Pyke has to consider what is the best to have Adelaide finish in the top-four and challenge in finals,” he told The Advertiser newspaper.
Asked whether he would consider taking on the Crows legend’s advice, Pyke was blunt.
“We’ll pick our best available side,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
“We’re playing to win.”
Adelaide head into Saturday’s clash having racked up eight consecutive wins, including impressive victories over finals hopefuls GWS, West Coast and North Melbourne.
While their spot in the final eight is virtually assured, Pyke said the Crows weren’t getting ahead of themselves.
“We’re still down the path of wanting to improve,” he said.
“We haven’t achieved the level of wins we had last year, for instance.
“We’ve technically, maybe, made the finals. It’s about now trying to get our best position in the finals.
“The next six weeks are really pivotal for us but we’ll take it very much as we have all year – week by week.”
Pyke said small defenders Rory Laird and Luke Brown would be among the Crows considered for selection against seventh-placed Geelong if they passed fitness tests.
Lively forward Eddie Betts was certain to play despite suffering a sore wrist, he said.