Don Pyke is far from content with his first AFL season as coach of Adelaide, calling on the Crows to aspire to greatness after a promising campaign ended with another semi-final loss.
Adelaide suffered a 36-point loss to Sydney at the SCG on Saturday night, which followed a 2015 semi-final defeat to Hawthorn at the MCG.
Pyke felt his side improved in 2016, when they would have finished inside the top four if not for a final-round loss to West Coast.
But he had a simple message for his players after their season finished.
“The game is based around winning finals. We’ve got some areas we have to keep working on and improve on to be able to do that. Otherwise we’ll sit as a good footy club,” Pyke told reporters.
“We don’t want to be a good footy club. We want to be better than that and to do that we’ve got some work to do. That’s pretty much what the message was.
“There’s no progress through being comfortable and being happy. We need to really sit down and work on it, both in the off-season and pre-season.
“As a collective we’ve got some lessons to learn, some areas to work on and some things to improve .. next season we have to improve in as many areas as we can.”
Pyke noted the Swans exposed some of the issues his side must work on.
“The game probably highlighted that some of our contested stuff and ground-ball stuff didn’t come to the level of Sydney,” he said.
“We take away some positives … we’ve just got to keep striving to get better.”
Pyke added his side boasted plenty of belief at the end of the regular season, despite surrendering a double chance in finals with their final-round defeat. “We probably reset our target and we haven’t achieved that target in the finals,” he said.
“We felt we were capable of beating sides on our side of the draw … we came here with a clear vision to play, perform well and we expected to win.
“The team’s improved but we’re disappointed with our performance in a final.” Ruckman Sam Jacobs could make a delayed start to the 2017 season, having been reported after he floored Sydney forward Ben McGlynn with a high bump. Defenders Jake Lever (ankle) and Daniel Talia (groin) both suffered injuries in the first half of the contest, with the latter playing on despite obvious discomfort.
“He was determined as a leader of the footy club to continue to really contribute. To his credit he went out and did that,” Pyke said.
“That’s a really good step for him to be able to play with that sort of injury.”