A message to Don: What’s the go with Bryce Gibbs?
Why do the Adelaide Crows keep dropping Bryce Gibbs?
Grady Hudd delves into the saga that has captured the footy world, after the high-priced recruit was left out of the team again this week.
There’s nothing like jumping online on a Thursday night and seeing the social media carnage that follows a Bryce Gibbs omission.
The man the Adelaide Crows traded in for two first round picks, and some steak knives, at the end of 2017 has been in and out of the side all season, and it’s certainly created plenty of debate among the hometown faithful.
Was it a waste of a trade?
What is Don Pyke doing?
Can’t we just bring back Bunji McLeod?
One person who is probably loving it is Tex Walker, simply for the fact it takes the media spotlight away from him for a brief moment.
I say brief because there’s nothing media commentators love more than beating up on the Adelaide co-skipper.
One can only imagine the media shitstorm that would follow should Walker ever be dropped to the SANFL.
But, I digress.
The main question on everyone’s lips is: why has Bryce Gibbs seemingly fallen out of favour at West Lakes?
His omission from the team doesn’t appear to be dependent on the Crows’ win/loss.
The first time Gibbs was dropped – following Adelaide’s four-goal defeat to Geelong at Adelaide Oval – could probably be attributed to his poor disposal efficiency.
While he racked up 27 disposals that game, which was the equal third highest on the ground, he gave the ball back to the Cats a game-high six times.
As a Cats fan, the worst individual performance I’ve seen at Adelaide Oval probably belonged to this guy:
Sam Menegola had seven clangers in the 2017 preliminary final, which Geelong lost to Adelaide by 61 points.
So yeah, Pyke was probably right in dropping Gibbs in round four.
He was left out of the Saints clash in round six due to ‘illness’ following a 26-touch game against Gold Coast, which the Crows won by 73 points, but was recalled against Fremantle where he had only 13 disposals.
Gibbs was officially listed as ‘injured’ as the reason for not featuring in the Showdown in round eight, but was back against Brisbane in round nine and collected a serviceable 22 touches and two goals in the Crows’ one-point loss.
Pyke dropped the axe again in round 10, and Gibbs watched from the sidelines as Adelaide coughed up a 33-point lead against West Coast, and suddenly a pattern was emerging.
The round 11 recall against Melbourne looked to be a turning point for the former Carlton midfielder, as he relished a second half tagging role where he nullified Demon ball magnet Clayton Oliver.
It went a long way to help the Crows pull off a remarkable comeback.
But, despite his solid showing as a highly-paid tagger, the Don determined it wasn’t enough to save Gibbs from a third stint in the twos.
After playing all 22 games last season, Gibbs, after this weekend, will have played seven of a possible 12 games.
Not exactly the return the Crows would’ve been hoping from their substantial investment.
Not exactly the position Gibbs wanted to find himself at 30-years-old having escaped the sinking ship at Carlton, only to be bashing around in the SANFL in Adelaide.
Of the seven games the former number one pick has played in this season, the Crows have won four.
So, you can’t really call him the barometer of the team.
From the outside looking in, Gibbs is a bit of a misfit in terms of what he can bring to the mix – especially in his current form.
He’s not fast enough to play as an outside mid, and his disposal inefficiency doesn’t lend itself to that role, plus spots are tight in an Adelaide engine room that includes Rory Sloane, the fast-emerging Cam Ellis-Yolmen, and Brad and Matt Crouch (when both are fit).
Similarly, he’s not a natural goal-kicker, and is certainly well back in the queue behind Tom Lynch and Hugh Greenwood as far as mid/forwards go.
The only real role left is tagging, and it that seems to be a week by week proposition.
Pyke keeps spinning reasons for Gibbs’ repeated omissions, but they’re started to fall on deaf ears for Crows fans.
Until Adelaide comes out and explicitly states why Gibbs continues to be overlooked for selection, the speculation will continue to run rife.
The footy world will continue to watch on with interest as to how the rest of Gibbs’ season transpires, but it’s hard to see him holding down a regular spot in this current Crows line-up moving forward, if past history is anything to go by.
What is certain is we’ll continue to see more tweets like this before season’s end: