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Adelaide Crows

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Adelaide Crows

This article is about the Australian rules football club. For the association football club, see Adelaide United FC. For the former SAFA club, see Adelaide Football Club (SAFA).

Full name Adelaide Football Club
Nickname(s) Crows
Motto Natus Ad Magna Gerenda (Born to Great Things)
2013 season
Home-and-away season 11th
Pre-season Semi Final
Leading goalkicker Tom T. Lynch (33)
Best and fairest Rory Sloane
Club details
Founded 1990
Colours      Navy Blue      Red      Yellow
Competition Australian Football League
Chairman Rob Chapman
CEO Steven Trigg
Coach Brenton Sanderson
Captain(s) Nathan van Berlo
Premierships 2 (1997, 1998)
Ground(s) Football Park 1990–2013 (capacity: 51,515)
Other information
Official website

The Adelaide Football Club, nicknamed the Crows, is a professional Australian rules football club based in Adelaide, South Australia, playing in the Australian Football League (AFL).[1]

The club was formed in 1990 as a composite team owned by the SANFL and played its first game in the 1991 season.[2][3]

The club is currently captained by Nathan van Berlo and coached by Brenton Sanderson. Sanderson was appointed senior coach following the 2011 season.

The club is based at Football Park (currently known as AAMI Stadium) in West Lakes and the club song is "The Pride of South Australia", to the tune of the Marines' Hymn.[4]

The Crows won both the 1997 and 1998 Grand Finals and have appeared in twelve finals series in their 22-year history.


Throughout the 1980s, the Victorian Football League (VFL) began to expand outside of Victoria, firstly by the relocation of a team into New South Wales (Sydney Swans) in 1982, and then the expansion into Western Australia (West Coast Eagles) and Queensland (Brisbane Bears) in 1987. However, the SANFL was against a South Australian team joining the VFL under the financial terms offered throughout the 1980s. To circumvent this, the VFL negoiated directly with both the Port Adelaide and Norwood Football Clubs during the late 1980s, but did not come to an agreement.[5]

After the VFL was renamed the AFL for the 1990 season, the SANFL clubs unanimously resolved, in May 1990, that a team would not be entered into the AFL until season 1993.[3] The AFL refused to accept this, and revised negotiations with individual clubs. Two months later, the Port Adelaide Football Club reached heads of agreement with the AFL to enter a team into its competition in season 1991. The other nine SANFL clubs reacted strongly and entered into litigation in an endeavour to halt Port's bid. As the terms offered were more favourable than previously offered, talks were resumed. On 19 September 1990, the AFL approved the bid for a new South Australian club to enter to the league, rather than a single existing SANFL club.[3]

1991–1992: First blood

The Crows began their inaugural season in the AFL with a comprehensive victory at Football Park over Hawthorn, who would go on to be premiers that year. The Crows defeated the Hawks by 86 points, 24.11 (155) to 9.15 (69), in front of 44,902 fans. The Crows would go on to win 10 games out of 22 in a promising though inconsistent first season. They would finish a respectable ninth (out of fourteen) on the final ladder.

1992 saw the arrival of several future Crows champions, including Tony Modra and Mark Ricciuto. The Crows won 11 games in their second year, finishing ninth for the second year running, with many players starting to show signs of how important they would become for the club in the next few seasons.

1993: First finals series

After finishing 9th in both 1991 and 1992, the 1993 AFL season would be the first year in which the young Adelaide Crows would see September action after an up and down home and away season. At home the Crows were almost unstoppable with 9 wins and just 1 loss and selling out every single game with attendances in excess of 44,000 at each game. Tony Modra had a superb year kicking a club record 129 goals, and took the Mark of the Year in Round 8 against North Melbourne at the southern end of Football Park. However, Adelaide struggled away from West Lakes with just 3 wins and 7 losses, and would finish the season in fifth place after beating Collingwood in a superb game at home in Round 22 to earn their first finals berth.

Adelaide knocked out fourth-placed Hawthorn six days later at the MCG in the Elimination Final, winning 16.14 (110) to 13.17 (95), with Nigel Smart kicking 6 goals. Under the final six system at the time, the win gave Adelaide a double-chance to play in the Grand Final. The Crows struggled with inaccuracy in front of goal against Carlton in the Semi Final at Waverley Park, losing 13.8 (86) to 8.20 (68); had they won, they would have earnt a week's break and direct entry into the Grand Final. However, they still had another chance in the Preliminary Final, to be played at the MCG against Essendon, who had finished as minor premiers.

The Crows led by 42 points at half time after a superb first half performance, but in the second half their performance became dismal as Essendon came back to win, 17.9 (111) to 14.16 (100). This gave the Crows the dubious honour of having the second biggest leading margin before losing in a final, only surpassed by Collingwood in the infamous 1970 Grand Final. Essendon then went on to defeat Carlton a week later in the Grand Final. It has been suggested by a broadcaster during the Radio 5AA sports show and reported in the Melbourne print media that the second half fade out may have inadvertently been caused by one of the Adelaide players' unfortunate bout of flatulence that occurred during the coach's half time address. The player's (unnamed at the time but believed to be Mark Bickley) actions created great mirth within the rest of the playing group and may have contributed to an unwanted break in the team's concentration and resolve. This has caused some debate amongst many supporters as to how much of an effect this had but most commentators have suggested coaching decisions and player moves as having a greater impact on the outcome.

1994–1996: Struggling years

After their previous year's finals exit, the Crows were keen to make amends in 1994. The year started well with the team making the 1994 Ansett Cup Grand Final, the then name of the preseason competition.

After an average season in 1994, the inaugural coach, Graham Cornes, was sacked and replaced by a Victorian, Robert Shaw, who coached the Crows for the 1995 and 1996 seasons. Adelaide managed to lure the gifted Darren Jarman, brother of Crows player Andrew back from Hawthorn for the 1996 season. The two brothers were excited to be playing side by side again, having done so with success for North Adelaide in the SANFL.

After yet another unsuccessful year in 1996, Shaw was replaced by former SANFL and North Melbourne player Malcolm Blight. One of Blight's first moves upon taking the job was to clear the decks at the Crows. Former captain Chris McDermott (who had just retired), current captain Tony McGuinness and Andrew Jarman were told they were no longer required at the club. Although this marked the end of the Jarman brothers' combination at the Crows, Darren Jarman would go on to play a pivotal role in the club's success during the following two years.

1997–1998: Premiership years and a new rivalry

With Malcolm Blight taking over as coach, Adelaide went 13–9 in 1997, finishing in fourth place. Tony Modra was the club's leading goalkicker for the fifth straight season with 84, also winning his first and only Coleman Medal and victimising North Melbourne again with the Mark of the Year in exactly the same spot at the southern end, riding with his knees on Mick Martyn's shoulders and grabbing the ball facing backwards. Also of note was the beginning of a new rivalry against new club Port Adelaide, known as the Showdown. In the clubs' first meeting in round 4, Port Adelaide shocked their older cousins for an 11-point win; however, Adelaide had their revenge later in the year, coming from behind to win Showdown II by 7 points.

Having come fourth after the minor round, the Crows downed West Coast at home on a Sunday afternoon, winning 14.15 (99) to 9.12 (66) in the first final ever to be played at Football Park. (Adelaide should by rights have hosted the 1993 Preliminary Final against Essendon, but due to a clause requiring a final each week to be played at the MCG, the match was played at this ground instead.) Adelaide then narrowly defeated Geelong at home on a Saturday night, 11.10 (76) to 9.14 (68), earning an away Preliminary Final against the Western Bulldogs the next Saturday afternoon at the MCG. The Preliminary Final proved to be arguably the greatest game in the Crows' history: despite losing Tony Modra in the first quarter to an ACL injury, trailing by 31 points at half time and 22 at three quarter time, and their own inaccurate kicking, they came back to record a miraculous 2-point victory, 12.21 (93) to 13.13 (91). This sent Adelaide into their first Grand Final, against St Kilda at the MCG a week later.

St Kilda were hot favourites to win just their second Premiership in VFL/AFL history, with that year's Brownlow Medallist Robert Harvey expected to star against an Adelaide side without 1997 All-Australians Modra and Ricciuto, and goalsneak Peter Vardy. However, the Crows managed for the second successive week to defy the critics and a half-time deficit to win by 31 points, 19.11 (125) to 13.16 (94). Utility Shane Ellen stepped into the vacancy left by Modra, bagging five goals for the match, while Darren Jarman booted six of his own, including five in the last quarter alone to put the game beyond doubt. Andrew McLeod's heroics in the midfield and half-back line earned him the Norm Smith Medal for the best player afield in the Grand Final. Adelaide's Premiership win is considered to this day one of the great sporting moments in Adelaide's history, setting off wild celebrations in the city.

Adelaide again finished with 13 wins and 9 losses in an inconsistent 1998 home-and-away season, this time finishing in fifth position on the ladder. The season included their first of three one-point losses to Fremantle at Subiaco Oval in the club's history, in which Nigel Smart had a shot at goal with five seconds remaining that was controversially given out of bounds on the full, and a number of other close defeats that arguably cost them a higher place on the ladder.

Adelaide was easily defeated by Melbourne in the Qualifying Final, 17.13 (115) to 9.13 (67), but under the McIntyre Final Eight System they were allowed a second chance due to the teams below them losing as well. They made the most of it, defeating Sydney at the SCG in a classy performance. Peter Vardy kicked six goals as Adelaide won 14.10 (94) to 10.7 (67). This meant Adelaide travelled to the MCG to face the Western Bulldogs in the Preliminary Final for the second year in a row. In what was built up as a classic rematch after the previous year's corresponding fixture, Adelaide thrashed the hapless Bulldogs 24.17 (161) to 13.15 (93), in a game best remembered for Matthew Robran's six goals, and Andrew McLeod booting seven opposed to Tony Liberatore, renowned as the fiercest tagger in the league. This set up a Grand Final meeting with North Melbourne who, like the Saints, started the game as unbackable favourites, and dominated the first half. Inaccurate kicking from North kept Adelaide within 24 points at the long break, before a superb comeback in the second half saw them run out with a 35-point victory, 15.15 (105) to 8.22 (70). McLeod again was the Norm Smith Medallist, joining his future coach Gary Ayres as one of only two players to have twice won the award, and becoming the only player to date to have won it back-to-back.

1999–2001: Rebuilding

The Crows quest for a third straight premiership began in 1999, and despite a good start to the season they struggled all year with injuries, eventually finishing with 8 wins and 14 losses and earning the dubious honour of having the worst so-called "premiership hangover" of any club in VFL/AFL history, dropping to 13th place, in terms of the placing differential (only Hawthorn dropped 9 places in its premiership defence in 2009). The year culminated with an embarrassing 76-point loss to eventual premiers North Melbourne (now nicknamed the Kangaroos) at Football Park in the last round of the season, the second worst home loss in club history at the time. Despite the loss, outgoing coach Malcolm Blight was chaired off the ground to one of the loudest standing ovations ever heard at Football Park, while Rod Jameson, a popular Crows player throughout the 90s, also played his final game that day. It was the end of a short era; the Crows were hapless and battered. Gary Ayres took over from Blight in 2000 as the Crows began the rebuild back into a Premiership contender.

After their worst year to date in 1999, the rebuilding began the next season. It did not start well as Adelaide lost their first 5 games to sit in last place. However, they managed their first win of the season in Round 6, ending a nine-game losing streak including the final four games of the previous season, and pulled off a miraculous victory in Showdown VII against Port Adelaide in round 7, recovering from a 42-point deficit to seal a win through Andrew McLeod's goal in the final minute. The Crows' record would improve to 7-7 after round 14, sneaking into the top eight for that round only, but a poor finish would see them finish eleventh with a 9-13 record.

Adelaide would show improvement in an inconsistent 2001 season. The Crows lost their first three games of the season to Sydney, Melbourne and Port Adelaide before going 12–6 from Rounds 4 to 21 to seal a place in the top eight with a round to spare. However, Adelaide then lost to wooden spooner Fremantle in Round 22 (only Fremantle's second win for the season), limped into the finals in eighth place and were quickly eliminated by 5th placed Carlton by 68 points in a hapless performance. This was Darren Jarman's final game, and he was in tears after announcing his retirement after the game. The season was notable for Adelaide's poor home form - their record of just six wins out of twelve (including both Showdowns) in Adelaide was a club worst at the time - and equally good away form, finishing with an away record of 6-4 including defeats of Carlton, fourth-placed Richmond and eventual premiers the Brisbane Lions.

2002–2004: Ups and downs

The Crows finished third on the premiership ladder in 2002, with several impressive wins including a seven-point triumph over Brisbane in Round 10. Their season was notable for their extraordinary consistency, winning all 13 of their matches against non-finalists (but only 2 out of 9 against fellow finalists). However, an Adelaide lineup largely inexperienced in finals failed to replicate this form in September, as they were crushed by Brisbane in a Qualifying Final at The Gabba by 71 points. Finishing in the top four, however, had given them a second chance against Melbourne at the MCG the next week, and in one of the more remarkable finals in history, Adelaide shot out to a 40-point lead at quarter time, before the Demons rallied through ex-Crow Peter Vardy to take the lead and extend it to 29 points late in the third quarter. However, the Crows responded with a final-quarter surge to pull off a miracle 12-point win, with the injured Andrew McLeod kicking a goal midway through the quarter to put Adelaide in front. The win gave them a Preliminary Final berth against Collingwood at the MCG. Rank underdogs, Adelaide built to a 3 goal lead late in the second term before injuries took their toll and the Magpies marched into the grand final with the help of a deafening crowd. The Crows made one last desperate effort in the final quarter, reducing the deficit to 13 points before the Magpies put the game away, eventually winning 91-63. They would then lose to Brisbane the following week in the first of successive grand finals to be contested by the two teams.

After the great improvement in 2002, Adelaide started 2003 as one of the favourites for the AFL premiership, as the club secured the services of ex-Kangaroos champion Wayne Carey, and stormed through the pre-season competition, defeating Collingwood to claim their first Wizard Cup. However, several injuries throughout the year, including to Carey, restricted the club to 13–9 and sixth position, having lost the last three games of the minor round. The Qualifying Final saw the Crows easily defeat West Coast at AAMI Stadium on a Saturday afternoon, but they would then lose an away Friday night Semi Final to Brisbane, who would go on to win their third successive premiership. This game marked the final appearance for dual premiership captain Mark Bickley. Captain Mark Ricciuto had one of the best individual years in the club's history, winning the Brownlow Medal for the best and fairest player in the AFL in a three-way tie with Adam Goodes and Nathan Buckley. However, 2003 was certainly a painful year for fans, with the team's seeming inability to win close games a huge problem. Most notable was a home loss to Collingwood early in the season, where Adelaide gave up a four-goal lead early in the last quarter to see Chris Tarrant kick the winning goal after the siren for the Magpies.

The Crows struggled in 2004, losing its first 4 games of the season and never fully recovering. They would ultimately finish 8–14, including a 5–6 record at home. Wayne Carey, who played 28 games and kicked 56 goals for the club, suffered a season ending neck injury against West Coast in round 12 and announced his retirement soon after. Club legend Nigel Smart, the last remaining player from the inaugural 1991 team, played his final game in a Round 13 win against the Western Bulldogs at AAMI Stadium. This was also to be Gary Ayres' last game as Adelaide coach, as he was advised of his fate after the game and decided against staying until the end of the year. Assistant coach Neil Craig was appointed caretaker coach, and in his first game the Crows thrashed second-placed Melbourne at home by 72 points. However, the club would then lose their next 3 games, including a humiliating 141-point loss to the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba in Round 17, still the worst loss in Crows history as of 2013. Adelaide regrouped and finished the season strongly, winning three of their last five games, and Craig was confirmed as senior coach for 2005 and beyond. Supporters continued to marvel at the feats of Mark Ricciuto, who became the club's first All-Australian Captain.

2005–2006: Success and frustration

2005 AFL Home & Away Season W L D Total %
20px Adelaide 17 5 0 68 136.5
Minor Premiers

2005 saw Adelaide have their best home and away season in the history of the club, finishing 17–5 and winning the club's first ever McClelland Trophy for finishing atop the ladder after the home-and-away season. The Crows had started promisingly after the disappointment of 2004 winning 4 of their first 6 matches, and gathered momentum as the season progressed, winning 10 matches in a row from rounds 13 to 22. The last of these was a stunning eight-point victory over hot premiership favourites the West Coast Eagles at Subiaco Oval, in a match that saw them leapfrog the Eagles into top spot.

However, in the match against West Coast, captain Mark Ricciuto was reported for striking Adam Selwood and subsequently suspended for one match. He thus missed Adelaide's home Qualifying Final against St Kilda, a massive blow that in the eyes of many proved the deciding factor. In a low scoring struggle, St Kilda led most of the way and beat the leaderless Adelaide Crows by eight points. The loss set up a sudden death Semi Final against bitter rival and reigning premier Port Adelaide. The Crows regained Ricciuto, and in one of the most keenly anticipated matches in South Australian football history, they destroyed the Power by 83 points (a record for matches between the two clubs) in front of a crowd of 50,521. However, Adelaide's celebrations were short-lived, with the team suffering a season-ending 16-point Preliminary Final loss to West Coast at Subiaco. In a tough, close encounter in windy and overcast conditions, a third quarter Adelaide lapse saw the Eagles mount a match-winning lead in front of a hostile home crowd. The Crows fell 35 points behind but made a late comeback before the Eagles put the game away for a 16-point win. Adelaide joined Essendon (1999) and Port Adelaide (2002 and 2003) as recent AFL minor premiers who had failed to make the grand final.

2006 was a year of individual milestones for the Adelaide Crows. Ben Hart entered his 15th season and became the first player in Crows history to play 300 games, achieving the feat in a loss in Round 2 against West Coast. Andrew McLeod entered his 12th season and played his 250th game in a 138-point dismantling of Essendon in Round 10. Mark Ricciuto also celebrated his 300th game with five goals in the Crows' Round 16 victory over the Kangaroos on a Friday night. In each game the crowd provided a fitting tribute to the three club legends, who had amassed an amazing 17 All Australian selections between them over the years.

After 16 dominant rounds, Adelaide sat on top of the AFL ladder with a remarkable 14–2 win/loss record, and the best percentage since West Coast in 1991; the only slip-ups being narrow losses against the Eagles in round 2 and Richmond in round 8, in a match famous for Richmond's controversial but successful "keepings-off" tactics. However, with little warning, the Crows were thumped by a massive 82 points in round 17 by West Coast. This loss set off a dramatic change of fortunes for the Crows, as after rebounding the following week with a narrow win over Collingwood, injuries and a sudden loss of form would see the Crows lose their next three consecutive games to Fremantle, the Western Bulldogs and Port Adelaide. In a dramatic twist of fate, the Crows took to the field in Round 22 against Melbourne with several key contributors from 2006 on the sidelines including Ricciuto – who had been diagnosed with a rare virus – McLeod, Hart, Brett Burton and leading goalkicker Trent Hentschel, who had suffered a shocking knee injury against Port Adelaide that would keep him out of the game for the next two seasons. However, they managed to win their first game in nearly a month, thrashing the Demons by 58 points and finishing the minor round in second place behind West Coast, with 16 wins and 6 losses.

Fielding the same undermanned team in the Qualifying Final against third-placed Fremantle, the Crows produced arguably one of the best performances in the club's history to win by 30 points after trailing for most of the game in blustery conditions. This gave the team a valuable week's rest, and enabled the club to rush McLeod and Burton into the side for the Preliminary Final. For the second year in a row the opponent was the unbackable West Coast Eagles, however this time the match would be played at AAMI Stadium. The Crows lost ruckman Rhett Biglands to a serious knee injury early in the game, and despite leading the minor premiers at half time, the Eagles again dominated the 3rd quarter to set up victory and held on despite a desperate Adelaide surge to win by 10 points. For the second year in a row, captain Mark Ricciuto was forced to endure a home final loss from the sidelines. Although injuries and illness conspired against the Crows, supporters and players alike will remember 2006 with bitter disappointment as the one that got away.

2007–2009: Finals failure

After losing their first home game of the 2007 season to Essendon, Adelaide won their next 3 games before suffering a costly loss to Fremantle by a point at Subiaco Oval in Round 5, the third such loss in their history. They then faced a tough task against a Collingwood side at home with Adelaide coming off a six-day break, compared to Collingwood's 10-day break after their ANZAC Day win and good record at AAMI Stadium, and the fatigue showed in a last-quarter fadout that saw the Magpies claim a 24-point win. These opening rounds set the tone for a see-sawing season, as Adelaide won their next three games before winning only two of the nine games following to fall out of the eight by one game. An 8-point come-from-behind victory over Port Adelaide in Round 18 proved the breakout; despite falling to eventual premiers Geelong the next week, Adelaide beat the Western Bulldogs in Round 20 to secure successive home wins for the first time in the season and keep their finals hopes alive. In Round 21 the Crows took on Brisbane in front of an emphatic crowd of 46,500, in what was Mark Ricciuto's last home game before his retirement at the end of the season, and won convincingly despite inaccurate kicking. This moved them back inside the eight; however, they needed to defeat top four contenders Collingwood at the Telstra Dome to secure their place. This they did by 19 points, setting up an away Elimination Final.

Despite finishing eighth, Adelaide entered the First Elimination Final against fifth-placed Hawthorn with a great deal of excitement after having thrashed the Hawks mid-season. In a see-sawing, free-flowing game, Adelaide led by 31 points just before half-time, but started to wilt under pressure in the second half. In a heartstopping finish, Lance Franklin's 7th goal in the dying seconds of the game gave Hawthorn victory. Eighth place finished a rather disappointing season for the Crows, during and after which coach Neil Craig was criticised by the fans due to his strict rules and game-plan.

2008 saw a new-look Adelaide side, with departures besides Ricciuto including Jason Torney (retired), Martin Mattner (Sydney), Scott Welsh and Ben Hudson (both Western Bulldogs). The acquisition of Brad Symes (from Port Adelaide) supported Neil Craig's plan to rejuvenate the ageing midfield, while Brad Moran (North Melbourne, having reverted to their original name) added depth in the ruck and key position divisions, and several other younger players began to take up major roles. Additionally, former Adelaide players Ben Hart and Matthew Clarke were appointed as assistant coaches.

Adelaide had a promising start in the pre-season NAB Cup, losing the final to St Kilda, and by the middle of the year they had amassed a solid 8–3 win/loss record and sat in fourth place on the table, surprising critics who expected the Crows to "bottom out". The lack of a settled forward line was compensated for by a very strong defence led by Ben Rutten, Nathan Bassett and 2008 All-Australian Nathan Bock. However, a combination of a tough draw, a tiring midfield and injuries – a season-ending knee injury to Brett Burton and a recurring shoulder dislocation for Jason Porplyzia – resulted in five straight losses from round 12, and saw the club slide to ninth on the premiership ladder after a round 16 defeat to Port Adelaide. The earlier-than-expected return of Porplyzia in round 17 saw a return to good times for the club as they won five of their last six home-and-away matches. During Round 22, after a shock victory over the third-placed Western Bulldogs, the Crows found themselves in fourth position, but a big win by St Kilda over Essendon the next day saw them fall to fifth, with a 13–9 record and a percentage of 109.74.

Collingwood visited Adelaide in the first week of the finals and capitalised on their good record at AAMI Stadium, running out winners by 31 points despite a standout performance from Scott Stevens, who booted six goals. This loss dropped the Crows to 7th at the end of the season, a disappointing result after such a promising start to the season. There were signs of good things to come, however, with the likes of Scott Thompson, Bernie Vince and Nathan van Berlo having breakout seasons, and youngsters such as Kurt Tippett and David Mackay showing plenty of promise.

2009 saw more change for the Adelaide side, as Bassett, Biglands and Ken McGregor were lost to retirement. Patrick Dangerfield, Andy Otten and Taylor Walker had breakout seasons, while Jared Petrenko, Myke Cook and James Sellar showed signs of good things to come.

The pre-season was disappointing, with a first round exit against Geelong; the 35-point loss was also Trent Hentschel's return after his horrific knee injury in 2006. The Crows struggled early after a rare win over Collingwood at the MCG, falling to a 3-5 record after 8 rounds. A mid season run of seven straight wins then put the Crows into position to make the finals for the 8th time in the decade, with their stingy defence holding three sides (Melbourne, Carlton and Fremantle) goalless to half-time, and restricting Fremantle to just 1.7 (13) in their round 15 match - the lowest score of any VFL/AFL side since 1961. Adelaide then faced a difficult run of games, losing to eventual top four sides St Kilda, Geelong and Collingwood within the next four weeks. Despite big wins over Hawthorn, West Coast and Carlton in the final three rounds, Adelaide failed to secure a top four spot and the crucial double chance, finishing the season in 5th for the second year running, with a 14–8 record and a percentage of 117.61.

Essendon visited AAMI Stadium in the first week of the finals and after a close first quarter Adelaide blew the Bombers away by 96 points, 26.10 (166) to 10.10 (70), before a capacity crowd of just over 50,000 fans. The win put the Crows into the First Semi Final against Collingwood at the MCG. Against expectations Adelaide looked the better of the two teams and led by 24 points at half-time before the Magpies kicked six successive goals to take the lead by ten points at three quarter time. This set up an extremely tight final quarter in which momentum swung between both sides. With just over a minute left Kurt Tippett goaled from a free kick on the boundary line 55 metres out to give Adelaide a 1-point lead. From the next centre bounce Collingwood rushed the ball forward and Andy Otten took a courageous mark only for a free kick to be awarded against Ben Rutten for holding John Anthony off the contest. Anthony duly converted the set shot from 40 metres on a slight angle, handing the game to Collingwood who won 12.11 (83) to 11.12 (78). This signalled the end of an era for the Crows, who would not make the finals in the next two seasons.

2010–2011: In the wilderness

2010 saw a disastrous start to the season for the Adelaide Crows including a first round NAB Cup exit against Port Adelaide and a demoralising 0–6 win/loss record after the first six rounds of the home and away season, which saw Adelaide second-last on the ladder only percentage above Richmond. This overtook their start of five losses in 2000 as the worst start to a season in the clubs history, and had many predicting the club's first ever wooden spoon.[6] This came due to a combination of poor form and injury troubles; no less than six players made their AFL debut in the first nine rounds of the season. Adelaide defeated Richmond in round 7 for their first win of the season, which began a gradual return to form; after having a 3–9 record at the mid-season break, Adelaide won four successive games, culminating in a boilover victory against reigning premiers and league leaders Geelong. This win placed them, miraculously, into finals contention with six rounds of the season remaining, and would also turn out to be the final career games of club stalwarts Andrew McLeod and Simon Goodwin. Disappointing losses to Port Adelaide and Richmond in the next two weeks dashed their finals hopes, but they continued their good form into the final four games, upsetting Brisbane at the Gabba and third placed St Kilda at home, while pushing top four sides the Western Bulldogs and Collingwood to single-digit margins (8 and 3). The Crows finished 11th with nine wins and 13 losses, including seven of their 11 home games. This marked the first time under Neil Craig that the team did not make the finals.

Kurt Tippett was Adelaide's leading goal scorer with 46 goals but was criticized for his inaccuracy and unreliability in front of goal, missing a series of simple shots in the latter half of the season in particular. Taylor Walker kicked 35 goals and 28 behinds in 18 games. Besides McLeod and Goodwin, fellow stars Brett Burton, Tyson Edwards and Trent Hentschel all announced their retirements during the season, all bar Edwards taking a lap of honour at AAMI Stadium after Adelaide's home win over St Kilda in the final round of the season.

Main article: 2011 Adelaide Football Club season

Adelaide failed to make the second round of the 2011 NAB Cup but made a decent showing in the NAB Challenge games.

Without their retired senior players, the young Crows were plagued by frustrating inconsistency and a lack of confidence in 2011. After upsetting a highly touted Hawthorn side in round 1 (in a re-match of the club's inaugural match 20 years earlier), the Crows lost 10 of their next 12 matches, defeating only fading champions St Kilda and new team Gold Coast in home matches during this period. Most of Adelaide's losses during this time were by five goals or more, including a shockingly uncompetitive 96-point loss to fellow struggles Melbourne, and a humiliating 43-point loss to Collingwood in which Adelaide led by 24 points early in the last quarter only for the reigning premiers to finish the match with 11 unanswered goals. A gutsy 7-point win over Sydney in round 15 brought some hope; however, three weeks later the Crows would suffer their second worst ever loss to St Kilda (103 points), following which Neil Craig stepped down as coach, handing the reins to assistant coach and former premiership captain Mark Bickley as caretaker for the remainder of the season.

Bickley achieved immediate success with tough wins over Port Adelaide and Brisbane and a narrow loss to eventual premiers Geelong (who were in blistering form having won their past two matches by a total of 336 points). However, a second win over Gold Coast were followed by a 22-point loss to Richmond at home and a 95-point thrashing at the hands of West Coast at Subiaco Oval in the final two games, casting doubt over his candidacy for the senior coaching role from the next season onward. The poor finish consigned the Crows to 14th spot, their worst ever finish in a home and away season, with 7 wins and 15 losses.

Post-season, the Adelaide board heard applications for the senior coaching position from 2012. Besides Bickley, favoured candidates for the role were West Coast assistant coach Scott Burns and Geelong assistant Brenton Sanderson. The media widely regarded Burns as favourite for the role; however, the board elected to hire Sanderson, who had played six games for the Crows in 1992-93 and four games for Collingwood in 1994 before playing over 200 games for Geelong and winning that club's best and fairest award.

2012–2013: The Sanderson factor

Under new coach Brenton Sanderson, the Crows won the 2012 NAB Cup preseason grand final against the West Coast Eagles by 34 points at AAMI Stadium on 17 March. Adelaide's Bernie Vince won the Michael Tuck Medal for best on ground. Adelaide started the minor round promisingly winning 4 of their first five games before hitting a difficult five-game stretch against Sydney (away), Geelong (home), Carlton (away), Collingwood (home) and Fremantle (away). The Crows won four of those five matches as well, losing only to Collingwood, the highlight being a 50-point thrashing of reigning premiers Geelong. At the bye, Adelaide were 8 wins and 2 losses and suddenly being considered premiership contenders. They continued their form in the second half of the season, winning 9 of their last 12 matches, with the only slip-ups being away losses to North Melbourne, Geelong and Brisbane. In the latter game in round 21, Adelaide led by six goals at quarter time only to inexplicably collapse to lose by 10 points. However, the Crows recovered to belt Melbourne and Gold Coast in the final two rounds to finish second with 17 wins and 5 losses (equalling the club record in 2005), only percentage behind minor premiers Hawthorn.

Main article: 2012 AFL finals series

The Crows played Sydney in the Second Qualifying Final, in windy conditions at AAMI Stadium. Sydney adapted to the conditions and pressure of finals football better, and despite having more forward 50 entries Adelaide registered their lowest ever finals score, losing 5.12 (42) to 11.5 (71). They then hosted the Second Semi Final against Fremantle, who had won 10 of their last 11 matches and had upset Geelong in their Elimination Final the previous week. After trailing early on, a Taylor Walker-inspired Adelaide recovered to win by 10 points, 12.9 (81) to 11.5 (71), thus advancing to the First Preliminary Final against the raging premiership favourites, Hawthorn, at the MCG. Adelaide trailed for most of the game but continually fought back whenever Hawthorn threatened to take a big lead, and improbably took the lead with 5 minutes remaining the final quarter. However, the class of Hawthorn saw them win a nail-biting content by 5 points, 13.19 (97) to 14.8 (92), and end Adelaide's season. Hawthorn would lose the Grand Final the next week to Sydney in a similarly close contest. Crows midfielders Patrick Dangerfield and Scott Thompson were named in the 2012 All-Australian Team, while prodigious defender Daniel Talia became the first Crows player in history to be named the NAB AFL Rising Star.

The Crows suffered under the weight of expectations in an inconsistent 2013 season. In round 5 against Carlton, Taylor Walker injured his ACL, requiring a full reconstruction and a 12-month rehabilitation period. This compounded with the off-season loss of Kurt Tippett to the Sydney Swans left Adelaide without a proven key forward, and they struggled to regularly kick winning scores. A narrow home loss to Hawthorn, in which a controversial free kick and 50 metre penalty against Scott Thompson caused a 12-point turnaround at a crucial stage in the last quarter, saw Adelaide fall to a 2-4 record. Three consecutive victories over Greater Western Sydney (by 135 points), St Kilda and North Melbourne (a remarkable come-from-behind win by 1 point) were followed by three consecutive losses including a 77-point home loss at the hands of Sydney, leaving Adelaide's season teetering on the edge. Adelaide showed improved form after the bye but couldn't convert this into results, winning just two of their next six matches. A victory by 2 points over second-placed Geelong gave fans brief hope; however, Adelaide suffered debilitating home losses to West Coast and Port Adelaide, in which the Crows led late in both games only to be overrun by 6 and 4 points, respectively. Adelaide entered the final round requiring a massive win over West Coast at Subiaco and other favourable results to clinch an unlikely finals spot after Essendon was disqualified, but despite a season-best performance resulting in an 86-point win, back home Carlton upset Port Adelaide by 1 point to clinch eighth spot and deny the Crows, who finished 11th with a 10-12 record overall having won three of their last four matches.

Despite what was a disappointing year going by results, fans took consolation in the continual development of the Crows' young squad. Brad Crouch, Rory Laird, Mitch Grigg and Kyle Hartigan made their debuts, with Crouch and Laird in particular establishing themselves as regular performers in the side. Meanwhile, Josh Jenkins, Luke Brown, Sam Kerridge, Jarryd Lyons and Lewis Johnston showed promising signs while tall forward Tom Lynch and rebounding defender Ricky Henderson had breakout years before injuries ended their seasons late. Kerridge, Crouch, Laird and Brown all received nominations for the 2013 AFL Rising Star, in Adelaide's victories over (respectively) North Melbourne, Gold Coast, North Melbourne again and West Coast.

Club symbols

Club guernsey

Adelaide currently has two guernsey designs which are used in different matches throughout the season.

2012 season

Home guernseys

The home guernsey is worn at all matches designated as home games for the club as well as in selected away games and generally at all finals. There have been only three finals matches where it has not been used against West Coast at Subiaco Oval in 2005 and twice against Hawthorn at Telstra Dome and MCG in 2007 and 2012 respectively. It has had minor variations through its history since debuting with the club in 1991, including adding a white outline to the numbers in 1996, and removing of yellow cuffs and addition of blue strips down the sides (due to manufacturers template design) in 2006. In 2009 the yellow cuffs and full hoops returned. In 2010 the hoops were cut off again at the sides vertically replaced with dark blue. This jumper is worn with navy shorts at all home games, and usually with white shorts in away games.

Clash guernsey

The clash guernsey is a predominately white based design, worn in away games where their standard home guernsey may cause a clash of colours with the home team. It features the club logo on the front with stylised curves in club colours on the front and back with navy stripes down the sides. It is worn with white shorts and the socks worn differ slightly from those with the home guernsey. Both of the Crows away wins in their disappointing 2010 season came in the clash guernsey.


In previous seasons, the Crows have had variations of alternate guernseys.

Pre-season guernsey (1996–98)

The club briefly used an alternate design in the pre-season competition. It was still in the club colours, but featured the club logo prominently on the front and continuing over onto the back.

Away guernsey (1999–2009)

The away guernsey was originally intended for use in all matches designated as away games, except finals. The design had changed several times over the years since it was first used in 1999. From 2006 the red was removed from the top of the guernsey, moving it closer to the home guernsey. Its usage had waned since the introduction of the "clash" guernsey, to the point where it was only used twice in 2007, against the Western Bulldogs in Round 2 and Collingwood in Round 22. In a few away matches that year, the club also continued to use the traditional "home" guernsey, something which had rarely been done since the away strip was introduced. In response to this, a new away guernsey was introduced in 2008 featuring more red and yellow with a flying crow on the front – similar in design to the mid-90s pre-season jumper.

Clash guernseys (2006–2009)

The clash guernsey was first introduced for season 2006 and was radically different to the "home" and "away" designs at the time. It was worn at all away games where the AFL deemed there to be a clash with the home team's gunersey design. Those clubs officially on the "clash list" included Carlton, Essendon, Fremantle, Melbourne and Richmond. Despite this, the AFL forced the club to wear it against other teams, such as St. Kilda and Hawthorn in 2007, Brisbane Lions (2008, 2009) and West Coast in 2008. The AFL decided for it to be worn in the 2007 final against Hawthorn.

Membership base and sponsorship

In 2006, the club made history becoming the first club in VFL/AFL history to have more than 50,000 members. They broke that record in 2007, signing up 50,146 members after only round one of the season. The club failed to continue this record run and subsequently signed 48,720 members in 2008. The club has enjoyed a long standing partnership with the Toyota Camry brand since its inception, leading the club to be known in promotional materials as the "Camry Crows".

Two-time Grand Slam tennis champion Lleyton Hewitt has been the club's number one ticket holder since December 2002.[7] Federal politician Kate Ellis is the number 1 female ticket holder and Greg Champion, a musician and radio broadcaster, is the Melbourne number 1 ticket holder.[8] Australian golfer Adam Scott is also an honorary member of the club.[9]

Year Members Home &
1991 25,087 9th - 40,479 Toyota Sekem
1992 38,673 9th - 38,275
1993 40,100 5th 3rd 46,128
1994 40,611 11th - 42,864
1995 41,654 11th - 38,552
1996 42,283 12th - 39,428
1997 41,395 4th 1st 40,116 Adidas
1998 41,985 5th 1st 41,203
1999 42,120 13th - 39,386
2000 42,896 11th - 38,447
2001 42,014 8th 8th 39,627 Fila
2002 46,620 3rd 4th 43,068
2003 47,097 6th 5th 44,524 Russell Athletic
2004 45,642 12th - 39,879
2005 43,256 1st 4th 42,336
2006 50,138 2nd 3rd 42,329 Adidas
2007 50,976 8th 8th 42,042
2008 48,720 5th 7th 40,678
2009 46,472 5th 5th 38,801
2010 45,545 11th - 35,773 Reebok
2011 46,520 14th - 35,020
2012 45,105 2nd 3rd 36,829
2013 46,405 11th - 33,703 Puma

^ Average home crowd excludes home final matches.

Club honour board

Match records

  • Highest score: 30.8 (188) against Essendon at AAMI Stadium on 2 June 2006
  • Lowest score: 3.6 (24) against St Kilda at Etihad Stadium on 22 July 2011
  • Longest winning streak: 10 games (Rounds 13–22, 2005)
  • Longest losing streak: 10 games (Round 18 1999 to Round 5 2000)
  • Largest home attendance: 51,140 against Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium on 26 April 2003
  • Most Goals in a Game: Tony Modra 13 goals vs Richmond (1993), Tony Modra 13 goals vs Carlton (1994)
  • Largest Winning Margin: 139 points – Round 16, 1993 v Richmond at Football Park
  • Largest Losing Margin: 141 points – Round 17, 2004 v Brisbane at Gabba


1997 AFL Grand Final G B Total
St Kilda 13 16 94
Adelaide 19 11 125
Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground Crowd: 99,645

1998 AFL Grand Final G B Total
North Melbourne 8 22 70
Adelaide 15 15 105
Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground Crowd: 94,431

Premiership teams

1997 Premiership Team
B: Ben Hart Rod Jameson Peter Caven
HB: Andrew McLeod David Pittman Simon Goodwin
C: Kym Koster Kane Johnson Matthew Connell
HF: Troy Bond Matthew Robran Nigel Smart
F: Chad Rintoul Shane Ellen Clay Sampson
Foll: Shaun Rehn Mark Bickley (Capt) Darren Jarman
Int: Tyson Edwards Aaron Keating Brett James
Coach: Malcolm Blight

1998 Premiership Team
B: Tyson Edwards Ben Hart David Pittman
HB: Simon Goodwin Peter Caven Nigel Smart
C: Kym Koster Darren Jarman Andrew Eccles
HF: Peter Vardy Matthew Robran Andrew McLeod
F: Mark Bickley (Capt.) Mark Stevens Shane Ellen
Foll: Shaun Rehn Mark Ricciuto Kane Johnson
Int: Matthew Connell Brett James Ben Marsh
James Thiessen
Coach: Malcolm Blight

"Team of the Decade"

While some sides named their "Team of the Century" to coincide with the AFL centenary celebrations in 1996, Adelaide only joined the league in 1991, and so later on named their "Team of the Decade", covering the period from 1991 to 2000. As well as earning selection in the team, Mark Ricciuto was named 'Player of the Decade' and Mark Bickley 'Team Man of the Decade.'[10]

Adelaide Team of the Decade
B: Ben Hart Rod Jameson Mark Bickley
HB: Nigel Smart Peter Caven Andrew McLeod
C: Greg Anderson Andrew Jarman Simon Tregenza
HF: Kane Johnson Matthew Robran Mark Ricciuto
F: Darren Jarman Tony Modra Matthew Liptak
Foll: Shaun Rehn Chris McDermott Tony McGuinness
Int: Mark Mickan Simon Goodwin Rodney Maynard
David Pittman
Coach: Malcolm Blight


*Gary Ayres was told that his contract would not be extended when it expired after the 2004 season, and he decided to quit immediately. Assistant Coach Neil Craig took over from Round 14 as a caretaker coach and was appointed Senior Coach for 2005 and beyond.


Current playing list

As of November 2012

Senior list Rookie List Coaching staff
  • 30 Jack Osborn

Head coach

Assistant coaches

  • (c) Captain
  • (vc) Vice captain
  • Long-term injury list
  • Upgraded rookie(s)
  • (vet) Veteran list

Updated: 09 May 2013
Source(s): Coaches

Current coaching staff

Past players

See List of Adelaide Football Club players

Pre-season competition

2003 Wizard Cup Grand Final SG G B Total
Adelaide 2 13 8 104
Collingwood 1 9 10 73
Venue: Telstra Dome, Melbourne Crowd: 43,571
2012 NAB Cup Grand Final SG G B Total
Adelaide 2 10 17 95
West Coast 2 5 13 61
Venue: AAMI Stadium, Adelaide Crowd: 27,376

Reserves team

Main article: Australian Football League reserves affiliations

The Adelaide Crows will enter a reserves team in the local South Australian National Football League in 2014 under a 15-year commitment.[13] The team will be made up of AFL senior listed players and SANFL top up players.

See also

Adelaide portal
Sports and games portal


External links

  • Official website of the Adelaide Football Club
  • Official website of the AFL
Preceded by
North Melbourne
AFL Premiers
Succeeded by

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