If there was one piece of imagery that summed up the Adelaide Crows' season from hell in the AFL, it may well have come at halftime in their thrashing by the Kangaroos.
North Melbourne were second-last going into the contest with the winless Crows but scored their third win of the season, courtesy of a 69-point belting.
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It meant Adelaide's club record losing streak extended to 12 matches, with Matthew Nicks scrambling for answers in his debut season after replacing Don Pike as coach.
The coach's frustrations were there for all to see at half-time of the match, when he resorted to using water bottles to explain tactics to his hapless players.
A lot of people laughed at Matthew Nicks for his use of empty water bottles at half-time on the weekend, however, @SCrawf9 knew exactly where he was coming from.— Footy on Nine (@FootyonNine) August 3, 2020
This is what the Crows coach was trying to explain.
Watch 'Full Time' 👉 https://t.co/SClH49Ds1i pic.twitter.com/g0MNX016KJ
Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes said he had never seen anything quite like it over the course of his professional career, with modern coaches using tablets or at least white boards to get their message across.
Cornes says while he understood the frustrations of the Adelaide coach, he found the bizarre scenes "demeaning" for the players involved.
“I can’t let Adelaide off. I know they’re becoming a little bit irrelevant and there is a little bit of fatigue about the situation Adelaide finds themselves in, but this is a club that has never, ever been in the state they are in now,” Cornes said on SEN’s Whateley.
“I just thought the vision that will last with me for a while was Matthew Nicks explaining his game style with drink bottles. That’s how basic he had to get the message to his players.
“I thought it was quite demeaning for the players, but I don’t begrudge Nicks for doing it. But just to have them sitting there like they’re in kindergarten explaining the game style with drink bottles when every other team is using vision and iPads and there’s Nicks using drink bottles.
“What has gone on with Nicks’ message that 10 players with 100 games or more (experience) can’t get the message that he wants out there, that they’ve practised for seven months about defending the ground that he needs to use drink bottles to get his message through? Far out. It’s extraordinary.
Crows slammed for ‘abysmal’ display
“The question will remain and there’s a long way to go before we judge Nicks as a coach — does he have the hard edge that the good coaches have had?
“All great coaches, and I know it’s a new era and there’s different ways of giving feedback, but all great coaches have had somewhat of a hard edge. I’m not sure Nicks has it and it’s pretty ugly at Adelaide right now.”
Nicks' unorthodox half-time address failed to have the desired result as the Crows slumped to another chastening defeat against one of the competition's bottom sides.
Commentator Gerard Whateley seemingly defended the coach's patronising tactical break-down, insisting the "abysmal" performance of the players warranted such a response.
“They were abysmal. Their lack of willingness to run and then you could tell their positioning was all wrong by the way North Melbourne was able to cut through,” he said.
“These players were entitled to nothing more than 101 (basics).”
The Crows have an opportunity to make up for their performance in Wednesday night's clash against Melbourne at the Adelaide Oval.
"Normally, you've got to wait seven days before you get to show yourself again, especially off a performance like we just put out as a group," Nicks said.
"Coaches, staff, players, we can't wait to get back out and play and redeem ourselves.
"We've made so many positive steps forward, and then to have such a big step back today. It was really disappointing, really disappointing."