A feel-good story about the Crows: Fall down get up again

fairsuckofthesav Roar Rookie

By fairsuckofthesav, fairsuckofthesav is a Roar Rookie


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    ‘Fall down seven times get up eight times’, a Japanese proverb, was the theme of Don Pyke’s measured, calm and quietly inspiring speech at the Crows’ best and fairest awards, Friday past.

    Adelaide identified contested ball at the end of 2016 as a weakness, which they improved on with midfield leaders Matt Crouch and Rory Sloane leading the competition for disposals and tackles respectively in 2017.

    In this year’s grand final, they were ironically flattened by pressure on the ball carrier, which translates to work rate, energy and positioning.

    In short: effort.

    The vision for 2018 is clear, to rectify this issue; fall down but keep getting up. And why shouldn’t they achieve this? After all, Pyke was in the 1991 Eagles side that – while the best team all year – lost the grand final to a Melbourne-based team, then came back to win in 1992 and 1994.

    The Crows grand final loss stretches back over the 2017 season like a black cloud but shouldn’t erase the significant steps that individual players and the team took.

    Taylor ‘Tex’ Walker was voted the best captain for the second year running – some achievement in an 18-team competition – while Matt Crouch became an All Australian and took out the best and fairest.

    The team itself became better defensively, knocking an average of one goal off scores against, and maintaining its reputation for playing exhilarating, attacking football.

    Adelaide have been fair game for commentators following their loss in the decider, being accused of being variously ‘top heavy’, ‘not making changes’, and even ‘not turning up’. As a self-confessed Crows tragic, it was puzzling and disconcerting as that sinking feeling got deeper and deeper during the second and third quarter.

    Fans, coaches and players were at a loss to explain how the minor premiers could play so poorly, but then football history is littered with stories of the underdog simply playing better as a team on the day.

    The players were “never more ready” according to Josh Jenkins. The coaches made changes, but it is hard for those to take effect if you aren’t getting numbers to the ball – again, effort. Should a tall forward in Andy Otten have been dropped? Why would you change the winning team from the preliminary final when the team had smashed the Cats, previously a bogey side?

    At the end of the day, perhaps more recognition should be due just for making a grand final, given how many teams failed to do so this year. But as Pyke says, accept that and you won’t achieve anything.

    Club veteran Richard Douglas summed up Jake Lever’s departure succinctly: “It’s never easy when a player leaves.”

    The positive thing is that the Crows have lost important players before but significantly improved. Almost illogical but the proof is there with the recent departure of one of the game’s best in Patrick Dangerfield, yet the team went on to improve its midfield output.

    Adelaide will receive draft pick 10, at least, for Lever and possibly another high draft pick for homesick Charlie Cameron if they agree to trade the latter.

    They will have three picks in the first round which, if used wisely, will further improve the team. The Crows recruiting team, widely regarded as the best in the league, has a unique opportunity to take the list to another level with this draft.

    And, given their history, it is probable they will do that. So fall down, get up again and here comes Adelaide in 2018.