PC2011/12RP 20 years in the making


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Dec 23, 2006
AFL Club
Are the Crows flag contenders in 2017

It's a question worth asking. After a dissappoiniting 2016 season where the Crows bowed out in a semi-final against the Swans, and with their midfield group questioned whether they had the personel to contend with the best of the competition, the Crows have been working tirelessly during the pre-season to give them the best opportunity to win the premiership in season 2017.

Here is a look at the Crows review of 2016.

In a nutshell
Over-achievers. Doom and gloom surrounded the Crows after they lost Patrick Dangerfield, but emerged as a genuine premiership contender. The round 23 loss to West Coast was costly.

What we said in the pre-season
The majority of AFL.com.au experts had the Crows slipping down the ladder after Patrick Dangerfield's defection to Geelong. The potent forward line lived up to its billing and Eddie Betts was again a leading contender for goal of the year. But not many would have picked rookie forward Mitch McGovern to become a part of the club's best 22.

What worked
Adelaide's multi-pronged forward line was outstanding. Betts (a career-high 75 goals), Josh Jenkins (62), Taylor Walker (47) and Tom Lynch (42) were the focal points while Charlie Cameron and McGovern provided great support. Rory Laird had a brilliant season in defence while Daniel Talia shut down the opposition's best forward week after week.

What failed
Outside of Rory Sloane, Adelaide's midfield looked slow at times and lacked genuine pace. Brad Crouch needs to bring his best on a more consistent basis rather than go missing at times. Carlton recruit Troy Menzel didn't live up to expectations and failed to play a single game.

Overall rating
B+. Positive steps in a number of areas from last season, but still room for improvement.

The coach
Don Pyke did an impressive job in his first senior coaching role taking over after the tragic death of Phil Walsh. Pyke brought a hard-nosed defensive focus to the role, while also encouraging the Crows to take risks and play attacking football. Has two years remaining of his three-year deal.

The leaders
Crows skipper Taylor Walker enhanced his reputation as one of the best leaders in the competition. Was voted as the captain of the year at the AFL Players' Association awards. Plays with toughness and leads by example. Still only 26, Walker will be the skipper for the foreseeable future.

Rory Sloane: The tenacious midfielder was outstanding around the contests, winning the hard ball through sheer determination and getting it to his outside men. Can impact a game with a limited amount of possessions given his quality ball usage.

Can the Crows find that ruthless aggression and go that one step closer in 2017? Or will they again fall agonizingly short of the ultimate prize?


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