Jordan Dawson reacts after the R4 match between Adelaide and Melbourne at Adelaide Oval on April 4, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

ADELAIDE coach Matthew Nicks is confident his side can still make an impact on the season, despite continuing its winless start to the campaign in a frustrating defeat to Melbourne on Thursday night.

The Crows again looked listless in attack and struggled to surge forward in a disappointing 15-point defeat that kickstarted Gather Round, moving to 0-4 on the campaign as a result of their latest loss.

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The team would now need to defy history to meet expectations of a top-eight finish in 2024, with only one side in the last 40-plus years to have made finals having gone winless through their first four matches.

"We'll never give up," Nicks said after losing to Melbourne.

"We're 0-4 at the moment, but we're in the process where we're looking at how do we get our game back. I'm mindful that tonight was one of the most frustrating games for us to watch. However, we had some stuff in that which was right.

"We got back to our process or system of how we play footy. We've now got to do that, and we've got to find our form. We've got to find our decision-making, back ourselves in and take a little bit of that fear out of our game."


Adelaide went 11-12 and was the AFL's highest-scoring team last year, leading to the increased expectations of a finals finish this season and resulting in the club extending Nicks' contract through to 2026 last month.

The team's gradual improvement since Nicks took over at the start of 2020, resulting in the club finishing just a game-and-a-half from finals last year, means he still has confidence it can get its performances raised in the coming weeks.

"I know the side that I’m coaching," Nicks said.


"I know they can perform at a level higher than we are now. I'm confident that we're going to find our way through this. Tonight was a small step in a certain area. We've got a hell of a lot of work to do, but I'm confident in the group."

Nicks conceded that a number of Adelaide players were short on confidence and said the club would continue to look at personnel changes, despite already making five alterations for Thursday night's clash against Melbourne.

"There's no doubt (they're short on confidence)," Nicks said.

"We've got too many players at the moment that aren't at their best. That can hurt your transition, that can hurt a passage of play where you look damaging and look threatening. All of a sudden, someone will make a decision that's just not what the game needs at that point for us. That's where the frustration comes in.


"We've got to find our way through that and we've got to be able to build our confidence back to where we know it can be. We've got to look at our team from a selection point of view and get guys in that are going to be able to play the way that we play.

"At the moment, it's hard for us. We're working our way through it. It's hard for our members and supporters that come out and watch, because at times it really is frustrating to see. We'd love to be a little bit cleaner and clearer with the footy."

Thursday night's win completed a satisfying week for Melbourne, which stayed in South Australia for an extended period after already besting Port Adelaide at the Adelaide Oval last Saturday evening before its five-day turnaround.

"It was just a really good opportunity for us to unite and connect as a footy club. We saw some huge benefits through some hub times in 2020 and 2021," Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin said of the decision to stay in Adelaide.


"To see that connection grow, not only with our players but with our staff … we saw this as a unique opportunity to play two games on the same oval and prepare the right way and then come here and connect and be together as one. It was an opportunity too good to refuse. The club were fantastic in enabling that to happen.

"We prepared really well and both games we were under pressure a lot. Early tonight, I thought the amount of entry we had to absorb … our backs were outstanding early in the game. It went a big way to taking away that momentum that Adelaide might have had in the game."