Adelaide Football Club, nicknamed The Crows, is an Australian rules football club playing in the Australian Football League, based in Adelaide, South Australia. The club was formed in 1990 and played their first game in the 1991 season, defeating Hawthorn by 86 points.
The club is currently coached by Neil Craig and captained by Simon Goodwin, replacing Mark Ricciuto after his retirement following the 2007 Season. The club is based at AAMI Stadium (formerly Football Park) in West Lakes and the club song is "The Pride of South Australia", which uses the tune of the United States Marines' Hymn.
Although the West Coast Eagles Football club over took Adelaide Crows record when they recorded a massive 54,830 members at the end of the 2008 season.
|Year||Members||Home & Away Finish||Finish after finals||Average home crowd|
|1997 Coca-Cola AFL Grand Final||G||B||Total|
|Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground||Crowd: 99,645|
|1998 Coca-Cola AFL Grand Final||G||B||Total|
|Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground||Crowd: 94,431|
||-||2003 Wizard Cup Grand Final||SG||G||B||Total|
|Venue: Telstra Dome, Melbourne||Crowd: 43,571|
After their worst ever year in 1999 at 8-14, the rebuilding begins in the 2000 season. It did not start well as Adelaide lost their first 5 games, they got their first win of the season in Round 6 ending a 10 game losing streak and played against Port Adelaide in the 7th Showdown in Round 7. The Crows faced a 42 point deficit, but pulled off a miracle victory in one of the greatest Showdowns played, as Andrew McLeod's goal in the final minute put Adelaide in front. The Crows would improve to 9-10 but in the end they finished the season at 10-12 in 11th spot. Adelaide also played its first ever Saturday Afternoon home game in Round 1 against the Western Bulldogs, losing in a shootout.
Adelaide had an inconsistent 2001 season, losing their first 3 games of the season but went 12-6 from Rounds 4 to 21. They struggled at home finishing a club worst 6-5 at the time. But their 6-5 away record ensured they finished 12-10. The Crows lost to wooden spooner Fremantle in Round 22 (only Fremantle's second win for the season), limped into the finals in 8th place and were quickly eliminated by 5th placed Carlton by 68 points in a hapless performance. Darren Jarman played in his final season and was in tears after announcing his retirement after the game.
After the great improvement in 2002, Adelaide started 2003 as one of the favourites for the AFL premiership. Excitement built as the club secured the services of ex-Kangaroos champion Wayne Carey, arguably the greatest player of the modern era. They stormed through the pre-season and defeated Collingwood to claim their first Wizard Cup. Despite suffering several injuries throughout the year, including to Carey, and losing the last 3 games of the minor round, the Crows finished the season 13-9 in 6th position. Captain Mark Ricciuto had one of the best individual years in the club's history, winning the Brownlow Medal. However, 2003 was certainly a painful year for Crows fans, and the team's inability to win close games became a huge problem. The Crows did however win an elimination final, easily defeating West Coast at AAMI Stadium. The semi-final saw the Crows lose at the Gabba to eventual premiers, the Brisbane Lions. The game marked the final appearance for dual premiership captain Mark Bickley.
The Crows struggled in 2004 finishing 8-14, including a 5-6 mark at home. Adelaide lost its first 4 games of the season and never fully recovered. Supporters marvelled at the feats of captain Mark Ricciuto, who became the club's first All Australian Captain. 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 Round 13 against the Western Bulldogs at AAMI Stadium. This was also to be Gary Ayres' last game as Adelaide coach. Ayres was advised of his fate after the round 13 game against the Bulldogs. Although given the option to stay until year end, Ayres declined. Neil Craig was appointed caretaker-coach, and in his first game the Crows thrashed 2nd placed Melbourne at home. 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. Adelaide regrouped and finished the season strongly by winning 3 of the last 5 games and Craig was confirmed as senior coach for 2005 and beyond.
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. He achieved the feat in round two against West Coast. Andrew McLeod entered his 12th season and played his 250th game in the 138 point thumping of Essendon in round 10. Mark Ricciuto also played his 300th game on a Friday Night with 5 goals in the Crows round 16 victory over the Kangaroos. In each game the crowd provided a fitting tribute to the 3 club legends, who have amassed an amazing 16 All Australian selections between them.
After 16 rounds in 2006, 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. With little warning, the Crows were thumped by a massive 82 points in round 17 by the rampaging West Coast Eagles. This loss set off a dramatic change of fortunes for the Crows in 2006. Despite rebounding the following week with a rare home win over Collingwood, injuries and a sudden loss of form would see the Crows lose their next 3 games in a row 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 captain Mark Ricciuto - who was diagnosed with a rare virus- Andrew McLeod, Brett Burton, Ben Hart and leading goalkicker Trent Hentschel, who suffered a horrific knee injury against Port Adelaide. However, they managed to win their first game in more than a month, thrashing the Demons by 58 points in Round 22 and finishing the minor round in 2nd spot, with 16 wins and 6 losses. Despite fielding the same undermanned team in the qualifying final against 3rd placed Fremantle, the Crows produced one of the best performances in the club's history to win by 30 points. This gave the team a valuable week's rest, and enabled the club to regain McLeod and Burton in time for the qualifying final. For the second year in a row the opponent was the West Coast Eagles, however this time the match would be played at AAMI stadium. The Crows lost ruckman Rhett Biglands to a potential career-ending 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 a narrow 10 point victory. 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 will remember 2006 with bitter disappointment.
After falling to Geelong, Adelaide beat the Western Bulldogs under clear skies at home in Round 20 making it back to back home wins for the first time all season long. In Round 21 the Crows took on Brisbane in front of an emphatic crowd of 46,500. The AAMI stadium faithful saw Mark Ricciuto's last home game before his retirement at the end of the season. They crushed Brisbane despite inaccurate kicking. A 19 point victory over Collingwood in Round 22 allowed the Crows to qualify for the finals for the sixth time in seven years but this time from the 8th and most difficult spot. Adelaide led the First Elimination Final against Hawthorn by 31 points just before half-time, but got too comfortable and started to wilt under pressure. After leading nearly all game the Crows lost due to Lance Franklin's 7th goal in the dying seconds of the game. See also 2007 AFL Finals Series.
Eight place finished a rather disappointing season for the Crows, for which coach Neil Craig was criticised by the fans due to his strict rules and game-plan.
After the disaster of 2007 team rebuilding was required. Notable absentees from the 2007 list included Jason Torney, Martin Mattner, Scott Welsh, and Ben Hudson. To compensate for their losses the acquisition of Brad Symes supported Neil Craig's plan to rejuvenate the ageing midfield, while Brad Moran added depth in the Ruck and Key Position divisions. Former Adelaide players Ben Hart and Matthew Clarke were appointed as new assistant coaches.
The NAB cup provided much hope for Adelaide fans stemming from their team's progression to the Grand Final. Adelaide was initially able to beat the more fancied Collingwood in Dubai, before accounting for Fremantle and Hawthorn (both at home). Adelaide had kicked more Supergoals than their to-be opposition St. Kilda and so was given the privilege of hosting the NAB cup Grand Final. It was the 2nd time in 3 years, and 5th time overall, that the Crows had reached the Preseason Cup final. However they were unable to defeat St Kilda in the Adelaide heatwave at AAMI Stadium: 37 degrees C plus, the game was a twilight game, starting during late afternoon daylight and ending under dark skies.
The match was heavily criticised by some in the Victorian media for having the lowest crowd attendance for a pre-season grand final in history. In particular the members of the Adelaide Football Club were criticised for not attending their team's home final; though most media outlets spreading this criticism neglected to take into account the extreme heat (with very low humidity) which at night wouldn't have been too much of a problem because of the sun.
Despite their narrow loss, fans saw glimpses of the future for the club. The rejuvenated midfield, replacing ageing champions such as Tyson Edwards and Simon Goodwin and freeing them to move into the forward line. A new forward line thus emerged, featuring young key position forwards James Sellar and Kurt Tippet - both tipped to lead Adelaide's attack in the new era - along with the addition of veterans Andrew McLeod, Simon Goodwin and Tyson Edwards to provide experience and quality in what had long been Adelaide's Achilles Heel.
The season got off to an anticlimactic start in a high scoring shootout at the Telstra Dome as the Crows went down to the Western Bulldogs when Nathan Bock missed a set shot on goal just as the siren sounded, which would have won the match (126-123). The club surprised all those who doubted them by thrashing finals hopefuls West Coast in a stunning round 2 display at home, winning by 76 points (133-57).
Round 3 saw the return of the Rivalry Round, and possibly the most anticipated Showdown in history, against a Port Adelaide side which had lost the first 2 rounds of the season: firstly against the reigning champs Geelong at AAMI Stadium, and then in a match that they were predominantly tipped to win against the Swans at the SCG. With the Crows having won 6 of their last 7 Showdowns, a win in Showdown XXIV would square the ledger with 12 Showdown victories each. The clash was probably one of the most M rated Showdowns in history, even more so than the one near the end of season 2006 which saw Trent Hentschell go down with a serious knee injury and out for the entire 2007 season. Unlike most such matches, the scoring wasn't a highlight, with both teams on 15 points each at quarter time. In the second quarter, the fists came out with 3 key Crows players being brutally tackled. This was not unexpected, as Port Adelaide has a history of being the team most apt to employ controversial tactics, including deliberate attempts to injure and/or maim opposition players. The most notable of these events involved veteran Nathan Bassett being brutally hammered headfirst into the turf after making a disposal. For a frighteningly lengthy amount of time after, Bassett lay motionless face-down on the turf. He was stretchered off the ground, and later in the game was impossible not to be spotted, casually walking around the boundary to the bench acknowledging the crowd, and receiving an enormous cheer and standing ovation. Blood loss aside, the Crows managed to attain a 16 point lead late in the match, before Port made one last scoring surge. However, the Crows held firm, and managed to hold the victory by 6 points (85-79) as the home crowd of over 45,000 went into a frenzy after the final siren had sounded.
The following week, round 4, Adelaide had a bad day and struggled in a 44 point loss to Hawthorn in Launceston (114-70). They bounced back to win four straight games, with the help of three of those games being played at home.
Round 5 saw a 17 point win over Fremantle at home (88-71), round 6 a 30-point win over Carlton at the MCG (111-81), round 7 a 33-point win over North Melbourne at home (107-74), and round 8 a 76-point thashing of Melbourne at home (150-74).
In the Round 8 victory against Melbourne at AAMI stadium, Brett Burton took one of the greatest marks in Crows history at the Northern end of the ground in the final quarter where he climbed the shoulders of an opponent and grabbed the ball into his chest before falling hard to the ground. After the win against Melbourne, Adelaide stood 5-0 at home for the first time ever in its history.
The Crows looked to continue their winning streak against a struggling, but hard to beat West Coast Eagles in a tough trip to Subiaco Oval in Round 9. However, inaccurate kicking cost the Crows dearly and they never managed to get back into the game after a slow start. With a tendency that continues to bewilder fans, the Crows again managed to find a way to lose the 'unlosable' game, in their red uniforms, eventually going down by 50 points to the team they destroyed by 76 points just 7 rounds previously (97-47).
In round ten of the 2008 season the Adelaide Crows overcame the Essendon Bombers in a close and hard fought match, finally coming out winners by five points: 74 - 69. Poor goal kicking accuracy was the main reason for the game being so close, with the main culprits being Brett Burton, Simon Goodwin and Jason Porplyzia. Scott Thompson was one of Adelaide's key players getting 33 possessions in the midfield and providing a lot of drive going forward. Burton was reported for a head-high bump to Essendon's Henry Slattery and was subsequently offered, and accepted, a two-match ban by the AFL's match-review committee.
Round eleven saw the Crows return to the MCG to face the under-performing Richmond in their red clash jumper yet again. Continuing a worrying trend in matches away from home, Adelaide started slowly and were fortunate to only trail by 14 points at half-time. After the long-break, however, the Crows woke from their slumbering style and proceeded to kick 15 goals to 5 in the second half, to run out easy winners by 50 points (146-96). Bernie Vince had 30 disposals, Scott Thompson kicked 6 goals, and Ivan Maric stepped up to dominate the ruck against the more experienced Simmonds.
At the halfway point in the season, Adelaide had an 8-3 record with a percentage of 120.90, and sat two points clear of Sydney in fourth spot on the premiership ladder. Home record: played 6, won 6; away record: played 5, won 2.
Round 12 saw Adelaide lose a heartbreaker to Hawthorn by 4 points and it could be hard to argue that it could be their most agonizing defeat of the season (76-72). The team started well, scoring two goals with 23 disposals before Hawthorn had a confirmed stat. But the Hawks came back and the game was tight throughout, with Adelaide leading by 1 point at quarter-time, and increasing that lead by one for each of the next two quarters. The last quarter was again a close affair until the tough and calm Luke Hodge of Hawthorn snapped a goal with only a few minutes left on the clock to put the Hawks in front. From there Hawthorn closed down the game and held on by four points. It was Hawthorn's third away win against Adelaide, but their first since that infamous 97-point thrashing in Round 9, 1994. Adelaide dropped to fifth on the premiership ladder after the loss, and it may be seen in the weeks ahead as a devastating blow to their top 4 hopes, despite their 8-4 record.
Adelaide slipped to 8-5 after losing to Brisbane at the Gabba by 13 points (83-70) in round 13. Although leading by 12 points at half-time, and 2 at three-quarter time, Adelaide were out-run by Brisbane in the last term. The Crows couldn't get their forward structure working properly even with the return of Burton from suspension.
In the second weekend of the split round 14, Adelaide were visited by Geelong and promptly defeated by 68 points (124-56). Adelaide were never in the contest, scoring only one point in the first quarter. The Crows slipped to 6th on the premiership ladder after the loss with a percentage of only 109.09.
In round 15, Adelaide travelled to Melbourne to face Collingwood at the MCG. The Crows lead by as much as 22 points mid-way through the second term but faded after half-time to lose by 32 (106-74). This was the first time the team had lost four games in a row under Neil Craig. Added to the loss were injuries to Burton (knee) and Porplyzia (shoulder), the former of which would end his season.
In front of the smallest crowd in Showdown history, Adelaide lost the second game of 2008 against Port Adelaide by 12 points in round 16, (92-80). A lack of a settled forward line and Port's commitment led to a stifled Crows outfit. Adelaide slipped out of the eight after this loss, their fifth in a row.
Adelaide faced Sydney at the SCG in round 17 as underdogs, even though they had a dominant record over the Swans since 2002. Sydney couldn't get anything moving and Adelaide were inspired by the sudden return of Porplyzia, who kicked five goals, with a 23-point win (77-53). Adelaide have now won 9 of the past 10 games against Sydney.
Dominant second and third quarters, during which they kicked 11 goals to 5, helped Adelaide to a tight 8-point win (94-86) over Carlton at AAMI Stadium in their round 18 clash. Brad Moran popped up with four goals at full-forward, a move that was forced by a heavy knock to Jason Porplyzia in the second term, which would redislocate his shoulder as well as causing potentially season-ending brain bruising. At the end of the round, the Crows sat in sixth place with a 10-8 win/loss ratio.
In an easy game against Richmond in Round 19 (a win of 63 points, 108-45), Andrew McLeod celebrated his 300th game playing AFL football with a superb display off the half-back line. The AAMI stadium surface was wet and slippery after heavy rain during the morning of the game which made for difficult conditions. Adelaide handled the ball far better than the Tigers, kicking 7.2 to 0.1 in the second term to lead by an even 9 goals at half-time. After that, the Crows were never threatened and held on to sixth spot on the AFL ladder, four points clear of Collingwood.
Adelaide then travelled to the Telstra Dome for a potentially tricky game against in-form Essendon in Round 20. After the game was a low-scoring slog for the first quarter and a half, the Crows broke away with ten goals to one either side of half time to lead by 56 points late in the third quarter and eventually won by the same margin (129-73). Key forward Nick Gill finally delivered on much promise, booting five goals including three in the last quarter. Controversial draftee Patrick Dangerfield played his debut and showed potential despite being unspectacular, kicking a goal on the half-time siren. The win guaranteed the Crows a place in the finals, and also put them in the top four pending the result of North Melbourne's clash with Carlton. After a win by North, Adelaide sat in fifth position with 48 points and a percentage of 113.01. Of interest is the fact that this was the first time Adelaide had defeated Essendon in Melbourne, after 11 attempts spread over the 17 years since they entered the AFL competition.
A return to the Telstra Dome in Round 21 saw the Crows tackle St Kilda and play probably their worst game of the year so far. St Kilda had the incentive of the game being Robert Harvey's final home game, as well as the added bonus of cementing their place in the final eight with a win. But Harvey started on the bench and Adelaide led 3.3 to 0.1 before St Kilda got into their stride late in the first quarter. After quarter-time Adelaide only kicked a further 3 goals to St Kilda's 12 to lose comprehensively (95-47). The loss meant Adelaide slipped to sixth on the ladder with a percentage of 109.60. To add to Adelaide's woes, Chris Knights was reported for making forceful front-on contact.
Adelaide knocked off the Western Bulldogs by 9 points (76-67) in wet conditions at AAMI Stadium. It was their 5th win in 6 games. The win moved Adelaide into 4th spot but St Kilda's big win over Essendon the next day dropped Adelaide down to 5th spot and into a very difficult home final vs Collingwood. The 5th spot finish proved costly as the Crows were unable to take advantage of their poor home record vs Collingwood and were defeated in the first week finals by 31 points in front of an extremely dissapoitning home crowd of just over 37,000 despite perfect conditions.
^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 and was appointed Senior Coach for 2005 and beyond.
Adelaide has three jumper designs which are used in different matches throughout the season.
The traditional "hooped" home guernsey is worn at all matches designated as home games for the club, and generally at all finals. There have been only two finals matches where it hasn't been used - against West Coast at Subiaco Oval in 2005 and Hawthorn at Telstra Dome in 2007. 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.
The away guernsey was originally intended for use in all matches designated as away games, except finals. In recent years with jumper clashes more common, there is the chance that it can be worn in an away final, though the club prefers not to. Its design has changed several times over the years since it was first used in 1999. Its usage has waned over the last couple of years since the introduction of the "clash" jumper, 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" jumper. The new 2008 "away" jumper has seen the return of the popular pre-season cup jumper of 1996, with a swooping Crow on the front and slight alteration on the back. This is in an effort to reduce the amount of times the clash jumper is worn, as previous away designs have been too close to the home jumper, therefore not avoiding a clash.
The clash guernsey was first introduced for season 2006 and is radically different to the "home" and "away" designs. It is worn at all away games where the AFL deems there to be a clash with the home team's jumper design. Those clubs officially on the "clash list" include 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, and West Coast in 2008. The decision for it to be worn in the 2007 final against Hawthorn was particularly strange considering Hawthorn didn't have a clash jumper at the time as the AFL deemed they didn't clash with any other team.
We're the pride of South Australia
We're the mighty Adelaide Crows
We're courageous, stronger, faster
And respected by our foes
Admiration of the nation
Our determination shows
We're the pride of South Australia
We're the mighty Adelaide Crows
We give our best from coast to coast
Where the story will be told
As we fight the rugged battles
The flag will be our goal
Our skill and nerve will see us through
Our commitment ever grows
We're the pride of South Australia
We're the mighty Adelaide Crows