Adelaide veteran Bryce Gibbs is assured of an AFL future despite being dropped again, Crows coach Matthew Nicks says.
Nicks has axed Gibbs from Adelaide’s side to meet arch foe Port Adelaide on Saturday night.
Gibbs’ omission comes after he was dropped four times last season under former coach Don Pyke.
But Nicks is adamant the 266-gamer will return to Adelaide’s team this season, despite the new coach’s charter of rebuilding the Crows.
He says the 31-year-old Gibbs was squeezed out of Saturday night’s team by the return of defender Tom Doedee from a knee reconstruction.
“Tommy Doedee coming back in, he’s a leader of our club currently and he’s going to be a very, very strong leader of our club going forward, especially in that back six or seven,” Nicks told reporters on Friday.
“For him to come in, Bryce is understanding of how it looks at this point.
“Bryce is probably going up more against a (Rory) Laird, (Luke) Brown, (Wayne) Milera in those (defensive) positions, we have got some real depth down back.
“We’re going to continue to work with Gibba and he will play some footy, he will play plenty of footy this year. It’s just a matter of what that mix looks like.”
Gibbs left Carlton to join Adelaide for the 2018 season, when he played 22 games.
But he fell from favour with Pyke last season, managing just a dozen games when struggling to transition to defence from the midfield roles he performed with aplomb in previous seasons.
Gibbs’ midfield days appear over with Nicks considering the veteran as a defender.
“Down back is where he has trained the whole year,” Nicks said.
“And as far as leadership goes and what he adds to our group on field, he’s an important part of what we’re doing this year.”