Crows coach welcomes Eagles test

Adelaide coach Don Pyke says his inside knowledge of West Coast gives him some comfort, but no certainty, ahead of Saturday’s AFL game.

Pyke, an Eagles great and long-time assistant coach, returns to Perth for the first time as Adelaide’s head coach.

“I have noticed some subtle changes in the way they are playing this year from when I was there last year,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

“I’m sure they have changed with some of their plans and strategies and things.”

Asked if his inside knowledge gave him extra confidence, Pyke replied: “Yes and no.

“The game is played by the players on the ground.

“… I have obviously got a lot of years and as a life member of that footy club, a lot of respect for the footy club and a lot of close friends there.

“It’s going to be different … but it’s not going to be about me, it’s going to be our 22 versus their 22.”

Pyke’s eighth-placed Crows, equal on premiership points with the seventh-placed Eagles, will be strengthened by the return of evergreen onballer Scott Thompson, who was rested last week.

Both sides boast potent attacks but Pyke stopped short of forecasting a shootout.

“It’s always hard to predict what the game is going to provide,” he said.

“Obviously both sides have got some scoring potential, both sides are strong around the contest, so it’s going to be a good battle.

“I expect at some stage it will open up.”

West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui is under an injury cloud because of achilles tendon soreness but Pyke expects the key Eagle to play.

“That is what we’re hearing,” he said.

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