Adelaide 18th - and loving it

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douglyzia

Premiership Player
Sep 24, 2006
4,362
6,360
Australia
AFL Club
Adelaide
MATTHEW Nicks' review of Adelaide's 2020 AFL premiership season does not read as an account of the past year but as a prospectus for the years ahead.

This is why outside his office at West Lakes, there is no queue of people wanting to ask what went wrong for the Crows this year - the club's first since 1993 with a wooden spoon - but a sign that says, Work In Progress.

There is more to talk about what is unfolding at Adelaide rather than what has been folded away as a file stamped: First premiership campaign - opened in 1997, achieved in 1997 and closed in September 1998.

Nicks is rebuilding. He says it without fear, unlike other AFL clubs that sense this word can be mistaken for a cop out. The question is when will the Crows be primed to win its third AFL title? The now proven cyclical nature of AFL football suggests it is a seven-year turnaround.

"We've found what it is that's going to get us to play consistent football," says Nicks.

Nicks, ignoring the illusion, wrote a plan, delivered it to his board and dispelled the suggestion he was more worried about the win-loss count on his resume than the long-term future of Adelaide. He demanded his assistant coaches reduce their focus on studying opponents to get back to basic coaching with young players. And Nicks drove his car into SANFL grounds looking at his inexperienced squad members and potential draftees.

Against a backdrop of accusations that Adelaide no longer wanted to win - supposedly for draft picks - the Crows lost fourteen in a row.

Nicks was taking short-term pain for long-term gain.

But most importantly Nicks delivered new hope for Adelaide by showing the club's future today. The Crows did push top-eight clubs Geelong and Richmond and beat Hawthorn, GWS and Carlton.

At West Lakes this week, when Nicks has busily plotted Part Two of his grand rebuilding plan, someone asked: "Who are the best three players at this club still to play their 50th AFL games?"

The argument is still raging. Defender Lachie Sholl is a unanimous choice, as acknowledged by his almost-nomination in the NAB Rising Star Award. And then?

Key defender Fischer McAsey. Running defenders Andrew McPherson and Will Hamill, fellow Rising Star nominee, Wayne Milera.

There is a hint in Chayce Jones and Ned McHenry. Who knows what can be made of the strapping bodies that Jordon Butts and Josh Worrell carry. And Nicks did not give Andrew McLeod's No. 23 guernsey to Shane McAdam for no reason. Darcy Fogarty, if Adelaide can work out where he is best placed - perhaps at full forward?

The plan has plenty of upside. But it is not complete. Adelaide, having rekindled its midfield where Harry Schoenberg is now of elite status, needs to strengthen key positions both sides of the centre square.

It needs tall defenders to support Talia and most probably needs to restore Tom Lynch, a Showdown-medal centre half-forward, to the wing.

It needs gun tall forwards.

Captain Tex Walker, setback by a knee reconstruction in 2012, has an unknown future when he starts his swansong next year. His knees have been battered and cut open so often that he needs luck - something neither he nor his team-mates had this year as Adelaide tested the patience of its health insurers by sending so many players to surgery for operations.

The fall from second in 2017 to eleventh in 2019 and 18th in 2020 is not encouraging when considered as a stock chart. But 2020 was not a premiership season for Adelaide. It was a pre-season to a premiership campaign that could take two or three years to fulfil.
 
Last edited:

ABAB

Premiership Player
Apr 3, 2018
4,620
2,528
AFL Club
Adelaide
MATTHEW Nicks' review of Adelaide's 2020 AFL premiership season does not read as an account of the past year but as a prospectus for the years ahead.

This is why outside his office at West Lakes, there is no queue of people wanting to ask what went wrong for the Crows this year - the club's first since 1993 with a wooden spoon - but a sign that says, Work In Progress.

There is more to talk about what is unfolding at Adelaide rather than what has been folded away as a file stamped: First premiership campaign - opened in 1997, achieved in 1997 and closed in September 1998.

Nicks is rebuilding. He says it without fear, unlike other AFL clubs that sense this word can be mistaken for a cop out. The question is when will the Crows be primed to win its third AFL title? The now proven cyclical nature of AFL football suggests it is a seven-year turnaround.

"We've found what it is that's going to get us to play consistent football," says Nicks.

Nicks, ignoring the illusion, wrote a plan, delivered it to his board and dispelled the suggestion he was more worried about the win-loss count on his resume than the long-term future of Adelaide. He demanded his assistant coaches reduce their focus on studying opponents to get back to basic coaching with young players. And Nicks drove his car into SANFL grounds looking at his inexperienced squad members and potential draftees.

Against a backdrop of accusations that Adelaide no longer wanted to win - supposedly for draft picks - the Crows lost fourteen in a row.

Nicks was taking short-term pain for long-term gain.

But most importantly Nicks delivered new hope for Adelaide by showing the club's future today. The Crows did push top-eight clubs Geelong and Richmond and beat Hawthorn, GWS and Carlton.

At West Lakes this week, when Nicks has busily plotted Part Two of his grand rebuilding plan, someone asked: "Who are the best three players at this club still to play their 50th AFL games?"

The argument is still raging. Defender Lachie Sholl is a unanimous choice, as acknowledged by his almost-nomination in the NAB Rising Star Award. And then?

Key defender Fischer McAsey. Running defenders Andrew McPherson and Aaron Hamill, fellow Rising Star nominee, Wayne Milera.

There is a hint in Chayce Jones and Ned McHenry. Who knows what can be made of the strapping bodies that Jordon Butts and Josh Worrell carry. And Nicks did not give Andrew McLeod's No. 23 guernsey to Shane McAdam for no reason. Darcy Fogarty, if Adelaide can work out where he is best placed - perhaps at full forward?

The plan has plenty of upside. But it is not complete. Adelaide, having rekindled its midfield where Harry Schoenberg is now of elite status, needs to strengthen key positions both sides of the centre square.

It needs tall defenders to support Talia and most probably needs to restore Tom Lynch, a Showdown-medal centre half-forward, to the wing.

It needs gun tall forwards.

Captain Tex Walker, setback by a knee reconstruction in 2012, has an unknown future when he starts his swansong next year. His knees have been battered and cut open so often that he needs luck - something neither he nor his team-mates had this year as Adelaide tested the patience of its health insurers by sending so many players to surgery for operations.

The fall from second in 2017 to eleventh in 2019 and 18th in 2020 is not encouraging when considered as a stock chart. But 2020 was not a premiership season for Adelaide. It was a pre-season to a premiership campaign that could take two or three years to fulfil.
I think you mean wooden spoon*, very strange year this has been and possibly next year as well.
*Season affected by COVID-19 with lock-down after RD1 for weeks and then fixture made on the run with some clubs having to go to hubs for 4-6 weeks after the season resume, then clubs having to play off short break during the "festival of footy" where the Crows had to play the most game off short break and Port Power the least and Brisbane who finish top 2 virtually didn't have to travel all season.
 

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