ADELAIDE coach Don Pyke has labelled speculation he had a physical altercation with forward Josh Jenkins as "laughable", "disrespectful" and "absolute fiction".
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After Jenkins quashed any rift between the pair on Wednesday, Pyke emphatically stated there was no truth to the reports.
"The concept of Josh and I being involved in a physical altercation is laughable, but I take it quite personally because it's disrespectful to suggest me as a coach would get involved with something like that with one of my players," Pyke told reporters on Thursday.
Shame I have to respond but no boxing this week, just trying harder to get a kick. Go Crows! pic.twitter.com/8zRWcZvsF1— Josh Jenkins (@JoshJenkins24) August 5, 2019
"I'm 80kg, he's 100kg, I'm not sure how that's going to work.
"If it's not as serious as it is, it's laughable."
Pyke also took aim at the media's role in building up what started as a rumour on an online message board into a story.
Jenkins was dropped after the Crows fell to Carlton at the MCG in round 19. Picture: AFL Photos
"We're now at a point where we can put anything we want out there and it sticks, based on absolutely nothing," he said.
"It's in the media's domain to go, 'what is fact, and what is fiction? What am I going with from a hunch?'
"This time of the year it happens whether it be player trading, whether it be contracts, whether it be selection.
"There's almost an onus on everyone to (check) their facts.
"We end up embroiled in something, which is a non-story and completely fictional."
Jenkins was dropped for the second time this season after the Crows' loss to Carlton in round 19.
"I brought him in last week and said, 'You're not playing, these are the reasons why' and we then go 'what's the plan going forward to get you playing the footy we need you to play to have your role in the team'," Pyke said.
"Nothing other than standard conversations.
"I expect the players not to be necessarily happy when you tell them you're not playing.
"Our aim is to provide complete clarity as to the why, and then provide a solution as to the way back."
Pyke said Jenkins would play in the SANFL this weekend with the Crows to make "minimal changes" for Sunday's crucial encounter with West Coast at Optus Stadium.
Defender Alex Keath will miss a third straight game with an ankle injury.
"It's a stress response in his leg," Pyke said.
"When we got him out and started loading him up at a higher intensity that he's done through his rehab work, he still had some awareness.
"It's better, it's improved, but he needs a bit longer."
I'm 80kg, he's 100kg ... if it's not as serious as it is, it's laughable - Don Pyke
Fellow defender Kyle Hartigan (ankle) has been cleared to play.
The Crows are considering giving young ruckman Reilly O'Brien a rest to recall experienced big man Sam Jacobs for his first game since round two.
Pyke also raised the idea of employing a ruck tandem for the first time.
"Whether we make a change or play both, we'll keep you guessing," Pyke said.
"We know what Rob's been able to produce and Sauce has been in really good form as well.
"Rob's last couple of weeks haven't been as good as he would've liked."