Crows coach Don Pyke doesn’t feel the current system is fair to interstate teams

It was a rough season for the Adelaide Crows in 2018 after making it all the way to the grand final the year before.

Things started turning sour before the season got underway after reports of unrest among the playing group filtered out after their pre-season camp.

The club has tried to play down suggestions the camp crossed the line and upset players, but the ugly fallout plagued the team throughout the season.

It all came to a head late in the season when senior players approached club officials to air their concerns, before the club held a press conference to distance themselves from Collective Mind, who facilitated the camp.

Despite the horrendous season in 2018, it was a season to remember in 2017 as the team remained in the top two for the entirety of the season.

They finished the home and away season atop the ladder and made their way into the Grand Final where they were completely overrun by Richmond.

As is always the case, the grand final took place at the MCG despite the Crows ending the season with the superior record to Richmond.

Something Adelaide coach Don Pyke reportedly took real issue with and even raised his pleas following the loss.

Pyke pushed the AFL Coaches’ Association to campaign for a best-of-three premiership-decider, to balance the fairness of the competition.

Caroline Wilson reported the request on 3AW’s Sportsday on Tuesday stating the loss ignited Pyke into action.

“So Don Pyke, after losing to Richmond, went to the Coaches’ boss Mark Brayshaw and said, ‘This is something you need to push on our behalf’,” Wilson told Sportsday.

“What is interesting to me is the coach of the Adelaide Crows, who’s a very smart bloke and he’s not a bad sport, he honestly believes it is a totally unfair system and he wanted to fight it.”

The push for a best of three grand final has gained traction over recent years, with interstate teams reportedly upset over the unfair advantage Victorian teams hold.

Unfortunately for interstate teams, the AFL and Victorian state government announced that the MCG’s contractual hold on hosting the Grand Final had been extended until 2057.

Wilson however revealed the deal was only officially “signed two weeks ago” despite the reports emerging earlier in the year.

“To have the MCG hosting the Grand Final for most of our lifetimes … the state government was determined the deciding game was going to be at the MCG and that is why negotiators have been blueing about right up until two weeks ago when the deal was finally sealed,” Wilson said.

Don Pyke isn't a fan of the current Grand Final format.

Don Pyke isn’t a fan of the current Grand Final format.

The latest report has reignited the push for a more fair and balanced system with Sydney’s CEO Andrew Ireland set to lead the charge during next week’s competition committee meeting.

“It’s never going to be perfectly equal,” Ireland said on Macquarie Sports Radio.

“My view is, and I think it’s worth looking at, maybe a 20-week season … the thing I look at with the Grand Final in particular — I’m not a betting man but I’m sure the odds for the Grand Final if Adelaide had have been playing at home (in 2017) compared to the MCG would have been dramatically different, and that tells you that there is a skew for having to give up that home ground.

“We were talking about equality and my view is the AFL really made this call back in the early 2000s when they renegotiated the contract with the MCG when they decided it was unfair for teams to have to come and play the preliminary final if they are the higher ranked team, and my view is it unfair that the higher ranked team has to come to the MCG (for the Grand Final), and if you’re looking at fairness it’s one of the things you should look at.”

Unfortunately for Ireland and Pyke, the call for the introduction of the best of three hasn’t sat well with everyone.

Former players Jimmy Bartel and Dwayne Russell are just two of a host of big names to have come out against the potential change.

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