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System, not superstars, the key for Pyke

Harry Thring  January 9, 2016 2:00 PM

AFL 2015 Media - NAB AFL Draft

Don Pyke will put faith in his game plan ahead of trying to rely on individuals

We will not build a system that will rely on one player

ADELAIDE will focus on building a football system that handles the loss of Patrick Dangerfield, rather than worrying about a like-for-like replacement.

Dangerfield enters season 2016 as the third best player in the League according to the Official AFL Player Ratings, sitting just three points behind Collingwood skipper Scott Pendlebury with Brownlow Medalist Nat Fyfe at No. 1.

The 25-year-old excelled in 2015 and was ranked third for total inside 50s, fifth for clearances and third for average contested possessions.

There's no doubt his move to Geelong will hurt his former side.

But Crows coach Don Pyke insists his game-plan won't be dependent on a single superstar.

Last year at West Coast Pyke helped senior coach Adam Simpson implement a tactical plan that managed to absorb a terrific number of injuries, particularly in defence, but still push the club into a Grand Final.

"I don't see the game as star based as the reality is the best players have bad days or get injured. We will not build a system that will rely on one player," Pyke told News Corp.

"We lose Patrick as a very good player in the industry but we also have Matt Crouch who got exposed last year, Brad Crouch who comes back from injury.

"There's Richie Douglas, Scott Thompson, [Rory] Sloaney, David Mackay, [Mitch] Grigg who has had a really good pre-season, Harrison Wigg who has made some strides."

Pyke also said the Crows would look to play a physically imposing brand of football this year.

The team was on the receiving end of Hawthorn's famed physicality in round 12 last season, and the coach predicted it would be his side aiming to set the standard in 2016.

"I don't think this game allows you to think we can just step in and play nice football," he said.

"We will be driving our players to play aggressive [football], attack hard at the contest and pressure around the ball as that will give [us] the ability to win our share."