Adelaide Women

Adelaide Women

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AFL Women 68
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Adelaide

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AFL Women 11/18 08:40 232 [1] Brisbane Women v Adelaide Women [3] 46-23
AFL Women 11/12 04:40 2 [3] Adelaide Women v Collingwood Women [6] 23-11
AFL Women 11/04 08:10 14 [2] Melbourne Women v Adelaide Women [3] 48-27
AFL Women 10/29 04:10 10 [11] St Kilda Women v Adelaide Women [3] 13-29
AFL Women 10/29 02:10 10 [2] Melbourne Women v Adelaide Women [16] 79-1
AFL Women 10/23 02:10 9 [15] St Kilda Women v Adelaide Women [17] 35-33
AFL Women 10/21 06:40 9 [4] Adelaide Women v Geelong Women [5] 30-28
AFL Women 10/14 09:30 8 [1] Brisbane Women v Adelaide Women [2] 53-31
AFL Women 10/08 04:10 7 [2] Adelaide Women v Fremantle Women [17] 49-31
AFL Women 09/30 10:00 6 [14] Port Adelaide Women v Adelaide Women [2] 3-63
AFL Women 09/25 05:10 5 [8] Adelaide Women v GWS Women [16] 97-1
AFL Women 09/10 02:40 3 [10] Adelaide Women v North Melbourne Women [7] 30-16

The Adelaide Crows (officially the Adelaide Football Club) are a professional Australian rules football team based in Adelaide, South Australia. Founded in 1990. The Crows has fielded a men's team in the Australian Football League (AFL) since 1991, and a women's team in the AFL Women's (AFLW) competition since 2017. The club's offices and training facilities are located in the western Adelaide suburb of West Lakes, at the site of the club's former home ground Football Park. Since 2014 Adelaide have played home matches at the Adelaide Oval, a 53,500-seat stadium located a few hundred metres north of the Adelaide CBD.

The Crows were formed in 1990 as the de facto state team representing South Australia in the AFL. They were originally owned by the South Australian National Football League (SANFL), though they gained administrative independence in 2014. They played their first season in 1991 and finished in 9th place, the highest ranking of any expansion club in the AFL in a debut year. The men's team won both the 1997 and 1998 Grand Finals, and have appeared in 15 finals series in their 29-year history. Adelaide is the most successful team in the AFL Women's competition, being the only club to have won multiple premierships; in 2017, 2019 and 2022. It also fields a reserves team in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL), along with the other South Australian football team in the Port Adelaide Football Club.

The men's team is currently coached by Matthew Nicks and captained by Rory Sloane.

History

1990s: Foundation and back-to-back triumph

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. The AFL refused to accept this, and revised negotiations with individual clubs Port Adelaide and Norwood. Two months later, the Port Adelaide Football Club reached terms 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.

The Adelaide Crows played their first season in the AFL in 1991. Inaugural coach Graham Cornes and captain Chris McDermott led Adelaide to a respectable ninth place out of 15 in the league, with 10 wins and 12 losses and a percentage of 89.44. Adelaide's first AFL game was against Hawthorn on Friday 22 March at their then home ground, Football Park. The Crows defeated the eventual premiers by a hefty 86-point margin, winning 24.11 (155) to 9.15 (69). The club reached its first finals series in the 1993 AFL season, eventually losing to Essendon in the preliminary final.

Premiership glory in 1997 and 1998

The year 1997 marked the entry of a second South Australian club, Port Adelaide. The Crows finished fourth to qualify for its first finals series since 1993, and hosted fifth-placed West Coast in the First Elimination Final. In the first final ever to be played at Football Park, the Crows won 14.15 (99) to 9.12 (66). The next week, Adelaide benefited from the finals system in use at the time and hosted the higher ranked Geelong, who had finished two places above the Crows but were forced to play away due to losing the previous week to North Melbourne. The Crows won narrowly in a controversial match, where a clear forward 50 mark to Geelong's Leigh Colbert during a critical stage of the third quarter was not awarded by field umpire Grant Vernon. Final scores: Adelaide 11.10 (76) to Geelong 9.14 (68). This set up an away Preliminary Final against the Western Bulldogs at the MCG. Despite losing Coleman Medallist Tony Modra, who had kicked 84 goals for the season, to an ACL injury in the first quarter and trailing by 31 points at half time, the Crows kicked four unanswered goals in the last quarter to record a two-point victory, 12.21 (93) to 13.13 (91), with Darren Jarman kicking a goal to put Adelaide in front with less than two minutes remaining. This allowed the Crows to qualify for their first AFL Grand Final, to be played against St Kilda at the MCG a week later.

St Kilda, chasing just their second premiership in VFL/AFL history, were warm favourites to win the Grand Final, having come first in the minor round and won both of their finals by margins of 46 and 31 points, against an Adelaide side without Tony Modra, Mark Ricciuto and goalsneak Peter Vardy due to injury. However, the Crows again overcame a half-time deficit, kicking 14 second-half goals to win by 31 points, 19.11 (125) to 13.16 (94). Darren Jarman kicked six goals, five of which came in the last quarter, whilst utility Shane Ellen kicked a career-best five and Troy Bond kicked four. Andrew McLeod, who gathered 31 possessions across half-back and in the midfield, won the Norm Smith Medal for the best player on-field in the Grand Final. The win is arguably one of the finest moments in South Australian sporting history.

Few expected the Crows to successfully defend their premiership the following year. Adelaide often struggled in close matches during the 1998 AFL season; seven of their nine losses were by 13 points or less, compared to only three wins by corresponding margins (they finished the regular season fifth on the ladder, with a record of 13–9). The Crows were well beaten by Melbourne in the qualifying final at the MCG by 48 points, and at the time, looked far from a premiership threat. Since season 2000, a loss in the finals by a team outside the top four would result in instant elimination, but the Crows benefited from a quirk in the McIntyre finals system that was in use during the 90's and still progressed to the second week, drawn to play a semi final against the Sydney Swans at the SCG. The Crows bounced back from their disappointing first finals loss and recorded a comprehensive upset 27-point win against the Swans in the wet, which set up a Preliminary Final rematch against the Western Bulldogs. Despite going into the match as underdogs, the Crows played some of their best football of the year to soundly beat the Dogs by 68 points - 24.17 (161) to 13.15 (93). It was a complete contrast to the thriller that took place the previous year, with Matthew Robran kicking six goals and Andrew McLeod, opposed to renowned tagger Tony Liberatore, booting seven.

Like the previous year, Adelaide went into the Grand Final as underdogs, playing against North Melbourne, who had won the premiership in 1996 and had won eleven consecutive matches leading up to the Grand Final. North Melbourne led by 24 points at half-time, 6.15 (51) to 4.3 (27), with only their inaccurate goalkicking keeping Adelaide in the contest. However, as they had in the previous year, Adelaide dominated the second half to win by 35 points, 15.15 (105) to 8.22 (70) - the result making Adelaide the only club during the decade of the 1990's to achieve the feat of winning back to back AFL premierships. Darren Jarman kicked five goals, while Andrew McLeod won his second successive Norm Smith Medal, an unprecedented feat. Club legend Mark Ricciuto won the Crows' Club Champion award in 1998. Following a disappointing year in 1999, premiership coach Malcolm Blight resigned from the role and the Crows entered the new millennium with two premierships under their belt.

2000s: Finals and near misses

The Crows next made the finals in 2001 AFL season, this after losing their opening three matches for the season. Adelaide played fifth-placed Carlton at the MCG in the First Elimination Final and were roundly defeated, 17.16 (118) to 6.14 (50). High-profile forward Darren Jarman announced his retirement after the match. Adelaide's impressive 2002 AFL season (in which they achieved a 15–7 win–loss record) came undone at the penultimate stage, losing to Collingwood in the Preliminary Final at the MCG. Ben Hart won his second Malcolm Blight Medal in 2002, with Tyson Edwards finishing runner-up. Brett Burton led the Crows' goalkickers with 51. Hart and Mark Ricciuto were both named as All-Australians. Adelaide then extracted some revenge by defeating Collingwood in the pre-season competition in 2003, a first win of its kind for the club. The Crows' impressive 2003 season was eventually halted by the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba in the semi-finals. That season Adelaide captain Mark Ricciuto became the first Crow to win the Brownlow Medal for the best and fairest player in the AFL in a three-way tie with Adam Goodes and Nathan Buckley. The Crows returned to finals in 2005 and recorded a famous win in what to this day remains the only Showdown match against rivals Port Adelaide in the semi-finals. They then lost once more at the penultimate stage (preliminary final), to West Coast at Subiaco Oval by 16 points. This was a feat the club unfortunately repeated in 2006 when they again lost to West Coast in the preliminary final, this time at home and by an even smaller margin.

Remarkably, Adelaide went on to qualify for finals for each of the remaining seasons in the 2000s, falling short at the elimination or semi-final on each occasion. Collingwood proved to be the most obvious of villains, knocking the Crows out of the finals race successively in 2008 and 2009. Andrew McLeod and Bernie Vince won club best and fairest awards in that time.

Adelaide's finals runs in the 2000s

Year Lost in Opponent Margin of defeat
2001 Elimination Final Carlton 68 points
2002 Preliminary Final Collingwood 28 points
2003 Semi Final Brisbane Lions 42 points
2005 Preliminary Final West Coast 16 points
2006 Preliminary Final West Coast 10 points
2007 Elimination Final Hawthorn 3 points
2008 Elimination Final Collingwood 31 points
2009 Semi Final Collingwood 5 points

2010s: Rebuilding and tragedy

Adelaide had a disastrous start to the 2010 season, losing their first six matches of the home and away season. They did recover to some extent in the back half of the year, finishing 11th with nine wins and thirteen losses, the first time under coach Neil Craig that the team did not make the finals. The season marked a turning point, with the likes of McLeod, Simon Goodwin and fellow stars Brett Burton, Tyson Edwards and Trent Hentschel all announcing their retirements during the season. Long-term defender and club stalwart Nathan Bock announced he was leaving the club to join new side Gold Coast. These changes led to a disastrous 2011 campaign, which proved to be the second worst season in the club's history. After a 103-point loss to fading champions St Kilda, the club's longest-serving coach Neil Craig stepped down, handing the reins to assistant coach and former premiership captain Mark Bickley as caretaker for the remainder of the season.

Under Bickley the club won three of their next four games, but lost their final two to Richmond and West Coast, finishing in 14th place with 7 wins and 15 losses. Scott Thompson won the Malcolm Blight Medal (best and fairest award) for the season. New coach Brenton Sanderson began his era at the club with a pre-season premiership in 2012 and followed up that success with an above-expectations regular season; the Crows finishing 17-5 and never once losing consecutive matches. Adelaide eventually qualified to face minor premiers Hawthorn at the MCG in the First Preliminary Final. Hawthorn led for most of the match and despite Adelaide taking the lead with five minutes remaining, the Hawks responded to win the match by five points, yet another heartbreaking finals series loss for the Crows. Adelaide would then fall under the weight of expectations to some degree in the 2013 and 2014 seasons, narrowly missing the top 8 on both occasions. This led to Sanderson being sacked at the end of the 2014 season. The club moved home matches to the newly redeveloped Adelaide Oval at the start of the 2014 season, though to this day the Crows retain their training and administrative headquarters at their old home stadium, Football Park.

2012: Scandal and Investigation

At the end of 2012, it was revealed that Adelaide had been found guilty of breaching the salary cap and tampering with the draft. As a sign of cooperation with the AFL, Adelaide forfeited themselves from the first two rounds of the 2012 draft. At a hearing at AFL House in Melbourne, both the Adelaide Crows and current CEO at the time, Steven Trigg, were both fined $300,000 and $50,000 respectively. The Adelaide Football Club were also suspended from participating in the first two rounds of the 2013 draft. It's widely accepted to be the league's biggest salary cap and list management scandal since Carlton in 2002.

2014: Transfer of SANFL licence

In March 2014, on the eve of the new season, the South Australian Football Commission announced it had struck a deal with the Adelaide Football Club which required the SANFL to transfer its ownership of the Crows' licence to the club, in exchange for payments totalling $11.326 million between 2013 and 2028. The arrangement marked the first time the Adelaide Football Club had independent control of its own administration and came in conjunction with measures designed to solidify the SANFL's control of game development and the sport in South Australia.

2015: Death of Phil Walsh

The 2015 season started successfully for the Adelaide Football Club with a 77-point win over reigning preliminary finalists North Melbourne. Newly appointed coach Phil Walsh oversaw a rapidly improving team that became known for their skilled ball use and ability to grind out wins. During the season, Adelaide was cleared of any wrongdoing by the AFL in the Eddie Betts affair, which became newsworthy following an allegation that Betts's transfer to the Crows from Carlton had been illegally signed and approved as much as 18 months prior to his move.

On 3 July, two days prior to Adelaide's then-scheduled round 14 match against Geelong, coach Phil Walsh was stabbed to death by his son at the age of 55 in his Somerton Park home. His son Cy Walsh would later be found not guilty of murder due to mental incompetence and placed under a lifetime psychiatric supervision licence, ordering that he be detained indefinitely in a secure psychiatric facility. The tragedy was followed by an outpouring of sympathy and tributes from the club's fans and the wider AFL community. The match against the Cats was cancelled, with both teams receiving two premiership points each. Adelaide's SANFL team's match against South Adelaide, scheduled for the next day, was postponed until later in the season.

On 6 July, assistant coach Scott Camporeale was appointed interim coach for the remainder of the season, while West Coast premiership coach John Worsfold was hired as coaching director to support Camporeale. Inspiringly, the team rebounded to win six of their next seven games and qualify for the 2015 finals series, where they defeated the Western Bulldogs by seven points in a thrilling elimination final at the MCG. Their season ended when they lost to eventual premiers Hawthorn the next week.

2016–2019: Don Pyke era

Star midfielder for many years Patrick Dangerfield left the club at the end of the 2015 season (a season in which he won the club's best and fairest) and Don Pyke, a former premiership player and assistant coach with West Coast who had also been an assistant coach at Adelaide from 2005 to 2006, was appointed Adelaide's senior coach for at least three years. Adelaide was widely tipped to slide out of the finals in 2016 but the Crows proved to be one of the successes of the season, comfortably qualifying for a home elimination final and defeating North Melbourne by 62 points, before being eliminated the next week by eventual beaten grand finalists, Sydney in the semi-finals. The club had a dominant 2017 season, winning their opening six games and never falling below second place for the entire season. Adelaide claimed their second McClelland Trophy as minor premiers. The Adelaide Crows entered the 2017 finals series as favourites for the premiership; they defeated Greater Western Sydney and Geelong by 36 and 61 points respectively to qualify for the Grand Final, their first since 1998, where they faced Richmond. Despite starting as rampaging hot favourites, the Crows lost the match by 48 points and finished runners up for the first time in their history.

The club struggled to replicate its 2017 form in the 2018 AFL season. Prior to the season, Adelaide players went on a controversial pre-season camp that led to a decline in morale among the club's players. Adelaide struggled with injuries during the year, including Captain Taylor Walker, Rory Sloane, Brad Crouch, Tom Lynch, Rory Laird, and Richard Douglas. Combined with the loss of Cameron and Lever, the Crows struggled throughout the year but held on to win twelve games, including against 2017 Premiers Richmond and soon-to-be 2018 Premiers West Coast. The club finished 12th on the ladder with 12 wins, 10 losses, and a percentage of 104.1, and below crosstown rivals Port Adelaide who finished 10th, but with 3.5 more percentage points. This put Adelaide out of the finals for the first time since 2014. One highlight towards the end of the year was Rory Sloane who, despite rumours of a trade home to Victoria, signed a five-year contract to effectively play out his time as a one-club player.

There were lofty aspirations going into 2019, with many expecting them to play finals or even in the premiership. Despite fewer injuries, the club failed to meet these lofty expectations of finals, finishing 11th with 10 wins, 12 losses, and 100.9 percentage points. There was much media coverage given to the team throughout the season, with concerns raised about player retention and the coaching staff, especially with players like Bryce Gibbs, Josh Jenkins, and Eddie Betts dropped on and off throughout the season due to issues of form. Following the end of their season, the club began an external review of their football operations, with many musing about the future of players and coaching staff. Prior to the conclusion of the review, co-captain Taylor Walker resigned his captaincy after four years to focus on his football and family. A week later, Coach Don Pyke stepped down, a decision unrelated to the reviews that were occurring.

2018 Adelaide Crows pre-season camp

The 2018 Adelaide Crows pre-season camp was a summer camp undertaken by players of the Adelaide Football Club from January 29 to February 2 in the lead-up to the 2018 AFL season. In Eddie Betts' biography, he released details of what happened at the camp. These revelations caused many to question what had been said to that point regarding the camp. Following the release of Eddie Betts biography, Josh Jenkins released a statement with further details from the camp. His opposition to aspects of the camp led to him being ostracised and was the reason he left the club.

2020–present: Matthew Nicks era

Former Port Adelaide and Greater Western Sydney assistant coach Matthew Nicks was appointed as Adelaide's senior coach on October 15, 2019, replacing the outgoing Pyke. Under new coach Nicks, the Crows lost the first 13 matches of the coronavirus-affected 2020 AFL season and ultimately claimed their first wooden spoon in club history. However, the Crows' disastrous season did end with some optimism, as the Crows broke the drought in round 15 against Hawthorn and won three matches in a row towards the season's conclusion. Young wingman Lachlan Sholl received a Rising Star nomination in their Round 18 win over Carlton. Furthermore, the Crows received their highest-ever draft pick at the 2020 AFL draft, and with pick 2 they selected Riley Thilthorpe from the West Adelaide Football Club. Ruckman Reilly O'Brien won the Malcolm Blight Medal as the Crow's best and fairest player of the season.

The Crows won their first game of the 2021 AFL season, beating the reigning Grand Finalists Geelong in an upset victory. The Crows improved slightly over their disastrous 2020 campaign, losing only one of their first four games. They had a few more wins, including another upset over the eventual premiers Melbourne. They finished 15th on the AFL ladder, and ball-magnet Rory Laird won their best-and-fairest medal. Taylor Walker enjoyed a return to form in 2021, and a hot start to the season saw him finish tied at fifth in the Coleman Medal. The Crows had three Rising Star nominations throughout the year, going to Thilthorpe in Round 13 for his last-minute heroics against St. Kilda, midfielder Harry Schoenberg in Round 19, and two-time nominee Sholl in Round 4.

Walker was banned from the AFL for six games between the 2021 and 2022 AFL seasons due to racist comments directed towards Robbie Young of the North Adelaide Football Club mid-way through a SANFL match. Despite a public apology to both Young and Walker's Indigenous teammates, Walker was booed during Adelaide's away games after the end of his suspension. After requesting a move home to South Australia and subsequently nominating the Crows, high-value Sydney wingman Jordan Dawson was traded to Adelaide in the 2021 trade period. The Crows hosted the first-ever Friday night Showdown in Round 3, and claimed one of their best-ever wins via an after-the-siren bending kick from the recruit Dawson, who received best-on-ground honours. Captain Rory Sloane ruptured his ACL in the round 5 victory over Richmond and sat on the sidelines for the rest of 2022, leaving captaincy duties to the rest of leadership team. The role of captain rotated between Reilly O'Brien, Ben Keays, Brodie Smith, and Tom Doedee for the remainder of the season. Promising young small forward Josh Rachele received a Rising Star nomination in Round 4. The Crows notched up a few more wins to boast their best season since 2019. Adelaide traded in Izak Rankine at a high price, leaving them no first-round draft picks in the 2022 AFL draft. Rory Laird was awarded his third Malcolm Blight medal, tied as the most by any Adelaide player ever alongside Simon Goodwin, Andrew McLeod and Mark Ricciuto.