Adelaide midfielder Richard Douglas says the Crows have proven themselves against the competition’s best and will enter the AFL finals confident of doing so again.
The Crows’ 29-point loss to West Coast at Adelaide Oval on Friday dashed their hopes of securing a top-four finish and a double-chance in the finals.
It also caused some to question whether Adelaide have what it takes to win the flag after struggling to handle the Eagles’ frenetic pressure.
Veteran midfielder Douglas says Sydney and Geelong will rightly be considered favourites for the flag after finishing first and second respectively but the Crows shouldn’t be written off on the back of their poor showing against West Coast.
He believes Adelaide are capable of achieving a repeat of 1998 when they won the flag from outside the top four, a feat which hasn’t been achieved under the current finals system.
“We don’t fear any side in the finals,” Douglas told AAP.
“We’ve beaten Sydney this year, which gives us great confidence. We haven’t played great footy against Geelong but we’ve learnt from those games.
“We’re as good as anyone out there. We’ve got a really potent forward line and we can score really quickly, so I’m sure teams coming up against us would be worried about that.”
The Crows have notched home wins this year against Sydney, Greater Western Sydney and North Melbourne but lost twice to Geelong and have been patchy on the road.
First-year coach Don Pyke was criticised for not appearing to adjust his gameplan during the loss to West Coast but Douglas described the commentary as unfair.
“We didn’t compete hard enough around the ball and we didn’t apply pressure when they had the footy,” he said.
“Unless you get those two things, you can’t compete in a game of footy no matter what your structure is ahead of the ball or behind the ball.
“Pykey can’t really control that. It’s our mindset and the way we approach the game and it wasn’t quite at the right level.”
Douglas says the Crows’ senior players will look to emulate reigning premiers Hawthorn and get better at issuing directions on the field.
“It’s something we talk about all the time, to be able to change the course of a game out there and not wait until the breaks in the quarters,” the 29-year-old said.
“We’re all aspiring to be able to do that. It’s going to be important come the finals.”