Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks is preparing his players to tackle a different Hawthorn in Sunday’s AFL game in Tasmania.
Nicks believes his counterpart Alastair Clarkson is changing the style of the Hawks, who languish in 17th spot with a solitary win.
Nicks says Clarkson appears to be drifting from his traditional possession-based game plan.
“There’s such respect for what they have been able to do and the coach that Clarko is, he understands the game better than any,” Nicks said ahead of the Launceston fixture.
“They have changed their game. It looks like they have gone a little faster with the footy and taking the game on especially over the last week or so.
“It’s an interesting challenge for us this week. It’s not the normal Hawthorn where it’s possession (based) so much, but they are able to change their game.
“And that is part of our growth area, being able to manage a game and actually change depending on what the opposition is giving us.”
Nicks’ Crows enter round six in seventh spot with three wins – the same amount they managed last season when they collected the club’s first wooden spoon.
“If at the start of the year you said we’d have the record we have, we’d be over the moon,” he said.
“It’s not so much about the win-loss, it’s about how we are playing our footy, it what brand are we putting out on the park – are we proud of what we are putting out there.
“For five rounds, we have really enjoyed our footy, we have embraced contest and that is really what we are after.”
But Nicks – who will give an AFL debut to Adelaide’s highest-ever draft pick, last year’s No.2 selection Riley Thilthorpe – cautioned that things were about to get more difficult.
After Hawthorn, the Crows meet GWS, Port Adelaide, West Coast, Melbourne and Richmond.
“We have an extremely tough run coming up, we play a lot of the sides that are fighting it out for top four, top eight,” he said.
And the second-year coach was also wary of Hawthorn’s record in Launceston, where they have won 49 of 64 games.
“Their record down there is exceptional,” Nicks said of a venue where the bulk of his team have never played.