Adelaide’s infamous 2018 pre-season camp was a disaster which broke trust between players and football department staff, retired Crow Bryce Gibbs says.
Gibbs left Carlton at the end of the 2017 season to join the Crows, who capitulated in a heavy grand-final loss to Richmond that season.
Gibbs and his new Crows teammates joined coaches in a pre-season camp on the Gold Coast in January 2018.
“We hopped on a bus on the Gold Coast and ended up in NSW,” Gibbs told the Greats with Garby podcast.
“I couldn’t tell you where we were to be honest.
“We can look back on it and laugh about it but it certainly hurt the group probably more so than I thought it did at the time.
“The playing group lost a bit of trust with the footy department.
“Obviously a lot of details, we weren’t allowed to know going into the camp. We all had to sign waivers just to say we can’t speak about it after.
“It was just strange the way it played out and I think the playing group certainly lost a bit of trust with the decisions the club was making and some of the decisions the club made going forward.”
The Crows slipped from being beaten 2017 grand finalists to missing the playoffs in 2018 and 2019 before finishing last for the first time in the club’s history this season.
The camp, run by Collective Mind, has been a frequent source of controversy with coach Don Pyke, who quit at the end of the 2019 season, describing it as a failure.
Gibbs, the No.1 pick at the 2006 draft, believed Crows hierarchy held good intentions for the camp which was designed to build mental resilience.
“But it was obviously a disaster,” he said.
“It affected players in different ways for different reasons.
“I had been on that many … camps and thought I had seen it all so I could filter what I thought I could get out of what we were doing and I could ignore the rubbish that was going on.
“I was okay with it. I knew some guys were struggling from time to time with it.
“The club have put their hand up and said it was a complete miss and if we could do things differently we would of.”