ADELAIDE coach Don Pyke has revealed his muted, minute-long face-off with his players at three-quarter time was his desperate attempt to shake them into reality.

Melbourne was 80 points up by then – kicking 18 goals to the Crows' five – on its way to an emphatic 23.8 (146) to 8.7 (55) triumph at Alice Springs' TIO Traeger Park Oval.

The biggest loss of Pyke's two-and-a-half-year tenure before Sunday's disastrous result was 59 points against North Melbourne in round seven last year.

DEE-LIGHTFUL PERFORMANCE Full match coverage and stats

It was Adelaide's heaviest defeat since a 95-point hiding in round 24, 2011 at the hands of West Coast and even more incredible given it started the round inside the top four.

The Crows were no match for the Demons, conceding the first five goals, suffering a rare – and lopsided – defeat in contested ball (163-117) and also failing to shut their opponents down on the outside.

"(We were) disappointing all day, to be honest. We started poorly," Pyke told reporters post-match.

"To Melbourne's credit, they outworked us, they outhunted us early and put us into a really reactive position and they were able to move the ball far too easily.

"We weren't able to slow down their ball movement. They scored significantly out of their back half, or our front half, and that just put pressure on us across the whole game.

"It was really one with the lot today – we got beaten at the stoppage, we got beaten in the ruck, we got beaten in groundballs, we got beaten forward of the ball and behind the ball – and the scoreboard reflects that."

TALKING POINTS  Don's daggers gets message across

Pyke had a simple explanation for his three-quarter time staredown of his playing group, which came after conceding six goals to one in the third term.

"I was trying to engage them and just bring them back to the present and try to actually get them to feel what was going on," he said.

"I don't think there was any point at that point in ranting and raving at them.

"We had a good conversation about what we wanted to stand for in the last quarter and a small positive is we at least won the contested possession in the last quarter.

"But we saw a repeat of some of the things which caused us problems in the first three quarters, so it wasn't by any stretch a great quarter of footy. I think we lost every quarter."

WATCH  Don Pyke's full post-match press conference

Adelaide already had one of the longest injury lists in the competition, including captain Taylor Walker and vice-captain Rory Sloane, and lost Paul Seedsman (adductor) half an hour before the match.

Luke Brown (concussion) was returning from his own adductor issue and took no further part from late in the first quarter.

Seedsman injured his adductor twice last year and Pyke said his wingman and the medical staff did not want to risk the latest setback becoming a greater issue.

"We're going to have to wait and see (how bad it is). It's too early to tell on that," the coach said of Seedsman.

"The doctors and himself didn't feel comfortable putting him out there today, so we'll assess it during the week and see what it looks like.

"Hopefully it's just one of those things that flared up and we can get it settled down and he'll be ready for next week, but we'll have to let you know."

Pyke said the loss was not necessarily a major worry in the long term, but that results such as this one were not what he wanted his club to be about.

He also refuted a suggestion the Crows lacked leadership in the absence of Walker and Sloane, saying it was a "growth opportunity" for others.

"We don't want to be a side that fluctuates with the highs and the lows," Pyke said.

"We want to be a consistent side in that space and today was inconsistent and we own that and we're responsible for that and we'll stick together.

"We'll review it, we'll be pretty direct in terms of the review as to what creates winning and what also is poor … and get back on the horse next Sunday against GWS."