The damning hits keep coming for the Adelaide Crows with fresh details emerging from the club’s infamous 2018 training camp.
After losing the 2017 AFL Grand Final against Richmond, the Crows put the playing group through an arduous camp in an attempt to strengthen the team for a better run the following season.
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Unfortunately the camp backfired with the Crows falling from the top of the AFL all the way to the bottom and becoming the league’s latest laughing stock.
Now new details have come to light from the camp, painting the club in an ever uglier light.
The explosive and damning report from The Age’s Sam McClure details the extreme measures taken during the camp, run by Queensland-based consultancy group Collective Mind.
Instead of bonding and making the playing group tougher, the camp tore the club apart and left players severely unhappy with those in charge.
The key details from the article reported that:
— Crows players were split into three groups prior to heading to the camp, with the most senior group subjected to the most intense of experiences.
— The senior group were met by men wearing army fatigues and holding fake automatic weapons before being blindfolded.
— Tom Lynch collapsed during a focus exercise but was told to “get up” by a camp leader; he would later be vomiting and bedridden. Lynch was only attended to after teammates demanded club doctor Marc Cesana, who was not allowed to attend the camp, be brought to his aid.
— Players in the senior group were taken into the woods to a man known as ‘Wolfgang’, who conducted an exercise where players would harness themselves to a contraption tied to a tree. To escape the harness, the player would have to crawl towards a combat knife roughly 10 metres away. Two teammates were able to offer moral support, while nine others were told to pull the other way. During the exercise, the nine players were told to hurl abuse at the player. Episodes of childhood trauma and domestic abuse were brought up, which players are certain was leaked to Collective Mind staff by club officials they had confided in.
Several players who attended the camp spoke to McClure on the condition of anonymity with one saying the camp fractured the entire club.
Former coach Don Pyke said he regretted pushing his players too far with the Adelaide Crows in a statement saying aspects of the camp did miss the mark.
“It’s important we acknowledge we made some mistakes — that is what humans do,” Pyke said. “In our drive to improve in our program both in our physical and mental side, in hindsight, seeking gains, maybe we pushed too far. And that I regret.”
The departures have piled up in the wake of the camp with Pyke, head of football Brett Burton and assistant coach Scott Camporeale all departing.
Several players were quick to locate an exit from the club with Eddie Betts, Mitch McGovern, Curtly Hampton, Josh Jenkins, Hugh Greenwood, Alex Keath and Cam Ellis-Yolmen all walking out following the camp.
The Crows sit dead last on the AFL ladder in 2020 with an 0-4 record, they take on Fremantle (also 0-4) on Sunday afternoon at Metricon Stadium.