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Dumped Crow has 'clarity' on way back to senior side

Brad shrugs off speculation, Bryce's challenge, Hodge's legacy Mitch Cleary with all the latest footy news

ADELAIDE coach Don Pyke has thrown down the challenge to dumped midfielder Bryce Gibbs to become more consistent in areas of his game after he was sensationally dropped for the second time this season.

The 30-year-old – who the Crows acquired from Carlton for two first-round draft picks during the 2017 NAB AFL Trade Period – was a shock axing for Saturday's top-eight encounter with reigning premiers West Coast at Adelaide Oval.

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Despite having 22 disposals, eight contested possessions and kicking two goals, Gibbs was the only change to the Crows side that lost to Brisbane by one point at the Gabba last week.

"We have a guy we know is a really talented player that can play some good footy for us, but we need him to play good footy consistently in all the areas of our game," Pyke said.

"At the moment, he's not doing that consistently.

"I've had conversations with him, he's frustrated and he's disappointed.

"Our challenge is to continue to give him complete clarity about what it is we're looking for and he's got that, and we're having conversations about what that needs to be."

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Pyke declined to go into specifics about what Gibbs needed to fix in his game.

"It's in other areas of his game," he said.

"Some of the things he did last week we were really happy with, but the difference of doing it eight or nine times out of 10, and doing it four or five in the other areas, is the gap at the moment.

"That's what we're working with him to bridge.

"If he's continually doing the things in the three phases of the game that the team requires, then yes (he's in the best 22)."

We need him to play good footy consistently in all the areas of our game. At the moment, he's not doing that - Don Pyke

Gibbs has played 259 games since being taken with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 national draft, and signed a four-year deal with the Crows until the end of 2021.

Experienced forward Josh Jenkins was overlooked again despite kicking six goals in the SANFL last week, while his replacement, youngster Elliott Himmelberg, was quiet against the Lions, with six disposals and a goal.

Pyke dismissed suggestions that Jenkins – who is contracted for two more years – would have to continue his career away from the Crows beyond this season.

"He came back and played some really good footy last week, so we were happy with what he did," Pyke said.

"His movement was really good, he jumped at the ball really strongly, so it was a great sign after three or four weeks where he had his ankle injury and got that to settle down.

"We probably felt in the end, in fairness to Elliott, who's been good for us in the side, he probably didn't perform to the level he would want to last week and we wanted to give him another opportunity.

"But certainly, JJ's right in the mix."

Pyke said he was confident midfielder Matt Crouch would return for next week's game against Melbourne after missing a second straight match with an abdominal injury.

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