ROOKIE Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks says his players were their "own worst enemies" on Tuesday night as the Crows tumbled to their 11th consecutive defeat to start the year.
Nicks' men led Collingwood by nine points at half-time, but goalkicking inaccuracy and defensive-half turnovers, including by the experienced Brodie Smith, proved costly in the eventual 24-point loss.
He admitted he was a frustrated coach and that he would have expected to pinch at least a couple of the games they've been competitive in this season.
However, Nicks said he took on the Crows' job with "complete clarity" of the short-term pain to come and what was required to overhaul and improve the playing list.
"I think we're in a transition. We're rebuilding our list and what comes with that are challenges, because we've got a young group," he said.
"We make mistakes in games (and) today we made a lot of those mistakes. I think our young guys are really performing well. We get exposed every now and then with some of the top-end players.
"But the hardest part at the moment is some of our older guys are letting us down, and we're turning the ball over too easily and giving the opposition (scores)."
Nicks rejected the notion Adelaide was "bottoming out", in reference to the significant veteran cleanout in the off-season, from delistings to trades and more.
But avoiding becoming a middling side and ultimately giving themselves the best chance at winning a premiership was part of the Crows' thinking, he said.
Nicks was pleased with his team's improved contest work, and heaped most of that praise on ex-defender Rory Laird, who collected a match-high 37 possessions and 10 clearances in a best-on-ground display.
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Key forward Elliott Himmelberg was another who impressed, while ruckman Reilly O'Brien arguably took the honours against dual All-Australian Brodie Grundy.
"I think at half-time we were plus-11 groundballs around the ground, so that's a really good sign of work-rate and getting to the ball first," Nicks said.
"I thought we owned the game for periods, but we weren't able to score … if you don't put scoreboard pressure on, it starts to weigh on you and in the second half, we lost our way."
The Magpies' win moved them into seventh place, and they're set to welcome back Darcy Moore and Jamie Elliott and possibly Scott Pendlebury and Will Hoskin-Elliott for Saturday's clash with Melbourne.
Ben Reid could also come back into calculations after being managed.
One player coach Nathan Buckley almost certainly won't have is defender Jordan Roughead, who copped a heavy knock from Adelaide forward Darcy Fogarty in the third quarter.
Roughead's absence might mean Lynden Dunn, who played his first senior game in 773 days, maintains his spot.
"You need to win enough games to qualify (for finals), but then you need to look after your squad well enough to have access to the right guys when you get to the end of the year," Buckley said.
"We could have played a better 22 tonight, and I dare say that every side in the competition is going through this in some shape or form, but we've still got our eyes on the prize.
"It's not just about getting the win now.
"It's about what is your team going to look like in three, four or five weeks, and how are you going to find the best of what you have in your squad to be able to present as well as you possibly can, beyond round 18."