Crows face another contract crunch, but they’re built for sustained success

Josh Elliott Editor

By Josh Elliott, Josh Elliott is a Roar Editor

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    It occurred to me a little while ago that I should probably finish off the list management series I started in September before the calendar ticks over to 2018 – only two teams are left, the pair that competed in the grand final.

    So, my apologies if an article like this seems a bit out of place in the closing weeks of December. We’ll start with this year’s runners-up, the Adelaide Crows, and talk about the reigning premiers, the Richmond Tigers, later this week.

    2017 in short

    Look, you’re already pretty familiar with Adelaide’s 2017 season, I imagine – they were minor premiers for the first time in a while, made the grand final for the first time in a while after crushing GWS and Geelong, but ultimately proved to be no match for Richmond when push came to shove. I won’t force Crows fans to relive it in any more detail than that.

    Coach

    Don Pyke has been the coach of the Crows for two years now and so far you’d have to say his tenure has been very successful, even if the club fell short of winning its third premiership this year.

    Pyke took over a list that was in a unique situation, due to the tragic death of Phil Walsh. It was a list that was ready to play finals and push towards premiership contention, and he has delivered that.

    The one criticism you could put to Pyke at the moment would be a perceived lack of action to combat Richmond’s gameplan on grand final day.

    The Crows lost to the Tigers in much the same way that Geelong and GWS did before them, so it’s fair to ask the question of how much effort was put into preparing for the way Richmond played their finals campaign, and what moves were made in game when it became apparent that Adelaide were on the backfoot.

    From the outside looking in, you could be forgiven for thinking there was little or nothing done. Time will tell if that’s indicative of a genuine concern with Pyke’s coaching, or just bad luck on one particularly rotten day.

    Interestingly, Pyke is out of contract at the end of 2018 and hasn’t been extended yet. You wouldn’t think there’s any serious risk of him not coaching the Crows in 2019 from this vantage point though – expect an extension to be announced before Round 1.

    Don Pyke Adelaide Crows AFL 2017

    (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

    Captain

    Taylor Walker has skippered the Crows for three years now, after Phil Walsh put him in the job at the start of the 2015 season.

    Purely on a results basis you’d have to say he’s done a fine job – the Crows have played three finals campaigns in those three years and have won four finals out of seven played in that time. They haven’t tasted the ultimate success, but plenty of clubs would kill for that kind of recent record.

    Walker has copped a bit of criticism since the grand final but just about anyone who captains a losing side there is going to, and the vast majority of it appears to be little more than schaudenfreude.

    For all the claims that he went missing on the big stage, he did kick two goals – there were many far worse players in the red, navy and gold hoops on the day.

    He has it in him to captain the club for a few more years at least and there’s no reason why he shouldn’t. It’ll be interesting to see who takes over the gig when he does pass it on – perhaps one of the Crouch brothers, or someone like Daniel Talia would be a chance.

    Taylor Walker Adelaide Crows AFL Finals 2017

    (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

    List management

    The quality of the list that Adelaide has put together, particularly when you consider how few high draft picks they’ve had access to, is remarkable.

    They’ve been a finals team more often than not in the past decade or so and that combined with penalties for overpaying Kurt Tippett, expansion concessions, academy bidding and trading away a higher pick once or twice means they’ve only had two top-ten draft picks since 2003, Patrick Dangerfield and Phil Davis, and they don’t have a single player that they’ve drafted inside the top ten who is still at the club.

    Bryce Gibbs, a former No.1 pick, is the only player on their list drafted in the top ten, and his presence there in 2018 will mark the first time that Adelaide have ever had a player on the list who was the No.1 draft pick.

    Instead they’ve found talent in other ways. Their midfield lynchpin Rory Sloane is a pick 44. Broken Hill boy Taylor Walker came to the club as a NSW Scholarship player. Eddie Betts was a free agent (and he’s one of several players they’ve pinched off Carlton). Hugh Greenwood came to the list as a Category B rookie.

    The exciting thing for the Crows is that the vast majority of their best talent is still in the prime of their careers. Guys like Eddie Betts (31), Richard Douglas (30) and Sam Jacobs (29) populate the veteran tier, but the middle class is star-studded.

    Josh Jenkins, Bryce Gibbs (both 28), Rory Sloane, Taylor Walker, Tom T Lynch (all 27), Daniel Talia (26), Brodie Smith, Luke Brown and Hugh Greenwood (all 25) makes up a core group of middle-aged players who are all at their peak and will be for a little while longer yet.

    Rory Sloane Adelaide Crows AFL Grand Final 2017 tall

    (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    What makes the list especially promising though is that there’s a group of players who are just about to join that group and really hit the peak of their playing powers in Rory Laird, Brad Crouch, Rory Atkins, Mitch McGovern (all 23) and Matt Crouch (22).

    Below this Adelaide do have a few good prospects who haven’t seen much gametime yet. Reilly O’Brien (22), Wayne Milera (20), Jordan Gallucci (19) and Darcy Fogarty (18) are the four in particular that I’d be keeping an eye on.

    And of course in the 2018 draft next year they’ve already got their own first-round pick, Melbourne’s first round pick, and Carlton’s second-round pick – presumably three picks inside the first 25, perhaps the first 20.

    The short version? Adelaide have talent all over the ground at the moment and that talent is spread well across their list. They’re set up perfectly to be a finals regular for years to come and they’ve done it with less currency available than your average AFL team.

    Adelaide players by age
    Sam Gibson – 31yr 6mth
    Eddie Betts – 31yr
    Richard Douglas – 30yr 10mth
    Sam Jacobs – 29yr 7mth
    David Mackay – 29yr 4mth
    Josh Jenkins – 28yr 10mth
    Byrce Gibbs – 28yr 8mth
    Andy Otten – 28yr 6mth
    Kyle Cheney – 28yr 3mth
    Rory Sloane – 27yr 8mth
    Taylor Walker – 27yr 7mth
    Tom T Lynch – 27yr 2mth
    Daniel Talia – 26yr 2mth
    Kyle Hartigan – 26yr 1mth
    Brodie Smith – 25yr 10mth
    Alex Keath – 25yr 10mth
    Paul Seedsman – 25yr 10mth
    Hugh Greenwood – 25yr 9mth
    Luke Brown – 25yr 2mth
    Cam Ellis-Yolmen (R) – 24yr 10mth
    Paul Hunter (R) – 24yr 10mth
    Curtly Hampton – 24yr 8mth
    Rory Laird – 23yr 11mth
    Brad Crouch – 23yr 10mth
    Rory Atkins – 23yr 4mth
    Mitch McGovern – 23yr 1mth
    Patrick Wilson (R) – 23yr
    Jake Kelly – 22yr 10mth
    Riley Knight – 22yr 8mth
    Matt Crouch – 22yr 7mth
    Reilly O’Brien – 22yr 3mth
    Harry Dear – 21yr 3mth
    Tom Doedee – 20yr 9mth
    Ben Davis – 20yr 6mth
    Wayne Milera – 20yr 2mth
    Jordan Gallucci – 19yr 7mth
    Ben Jarman (R) – 19yr 7mth
    Elliot Himmelberg – 19yr 6mth
    Myles Poholke – 19yr 4mth
    Matthew Signorello – 19yr 1mth
    Lachlan Murphy (R) – 19yr
    Andrew McPherson – 18yr 5mth
    Darcy Fogarty – 18yr 3mth
    Jackson Edwards (R) – 18yr 2mth

    Mitch McGovern Adelaide Crows AFL 2017 tall

    (AAP Image/David Mariuz)

    The only real criticism that could be levelled at Adelaide’s list perhaps is the lack of a truly generational, game-defining player.

    While you’ll often hear that a champion team beats a team of champions, it’s worth noting that of the last 23 premiership-winning sides, 22 of them have had at least one player who scored the most votes on Brownlow night at some point in their career – the only exception being the Bulldogs of 2016, who had Marcus Bontempelli, so they might not be an exception very long.

    That’s why the departure of genuinely elite talents like Patrick Dangerfield and more recently Jake Lever has cut them so deep.

    Indeed the one flaw in Adelaide’s system is that they seem to lose players much more often than they should.

    Why does this happen? It’s a topic that a few people have taken a stab at but there doesn’t seem to be any defining answer that everyone agrees on.

    The Crows offer about as much chance of success as any club in the league, plenty of opportunity to make a name for yourself in a town that loves footy, and don’t seem likely to have a salary cap so bloated as to deny players fair value in a contract.

    There’s been some talk that maybe they are low-balling players a bit with the initial contract offers and that leads them to consider offers from other clubs in a way they wouldn’t have otherwise – to some degree that seems to have been the case with Jake Lever.

    Part of me however feels like it may just be bad luck. Phil Davis and Nathan Bock were pinched in unusual circumstances by expansion clubs. Kurt Tippett got an offer that it would’ve been irresponsible to match. Patrick Dangerfield and Charlie Cameron just genuinely wanted to go home. Jack Gunston and Jake Lever both decided to leave early on and it’s not clear whether or not the Crows could’ve done any more to convince them to stay.

    Some would say that where there’s smoke there is fire though and I don’t entirely disagree with that either. You can only have bad luck so long before it stops being luck. And the question of whether or not Adelaide really can retain talent is going to be put to the test in 2018 with seven significant talents out of contract.

    Rory Sloane, Matt Crouch, Rory Laird, Tom T Lynch, Rory Atkins, Brodie Smith and Jordan Gallucci are all out of contract at the end of 2018. Sloane and Smith will be free agents.

    Matt Crouch Adelaide Crows AFL 2017

    (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

    Richard Douglas and David Mackay will be free agents too, but they would be very long odds to move, for reasons of age alone.

    The other seven, however – none of them are players right now who you would say are more likely to leave than stay, but that would be true of Jake Lever at this time 12 months ago also.

    There was talk for example about Rory Sloane during this trade period but it’s hard to say how reputable it really was.

    He’d arguably be the biggest potential loss in terms of player quality, but I’d say also the most likely to stay if only because he would be 29 by the start of the 2019 season and there won’t be many if any Victorian clubs in a position to justify bringing him in.

    That’s less the case for a young All-Australian calibre star like Matt Crouch or Rory Laird though so they should be Adelaide’s highest priorities to re-sign.

    Adelaide will certainly re-sign the vast majority of them, perhaps all of them, and likely at least a few of those re-signings will be announced before the 2018 season even begins – but it wouldn’t surprise if one or two slip through the cracks.

    That perhaps will be telling as to the eternal question of just what it is – if anything – that Adelaide do wrong when it comes to keeping talent on the list. Or perhaps it will be just another chapter. Either way, watch this space.

    Rory Laird

    (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

    Adelaide players by contract status
    2021
    Bryce Gibbs
    Josh Jenkins
    Daniel Talia
    Taylor Walker

    2020
    Eddie Betts
    Luke Brown
    Brad Crouch
    Kyle Hartigan
    Mitch McGovern
    Wayne Milera
    Myles Poholke

    2019
    Tom Doedee
    Darcy Fogarty
    Hugh Greenwood
    Sam Jacobs
    Alex Keath
    Jake Kelly
    Riley Knight
    Andrew McPherson
    Reilly O’Brien

    2018
    Rory Atkins
    Kyle Cheney
    Matt Crouch
    Ben Davis
    Harry Dear
    Richard Douglas
    Jackson Edwards (R)
    Cam Ellis-Yolmen (R)
    Jordan Gallucci
    Sam Gibson
    Elliot Himmelberg
    Paul Hunter (R)
    Ben Jarman (R)
    Rory Laird
    Tom T Lynch
    David Mackay
    Lachlan Murphy (R)
    Andy Otten
    Rory Sloane
    Brodie Smith
    Matthew Signorello
    Patrick Wilson (R)

    Unconfirmed
    Curtly Hampton
    Paul Seedsman

    Delistings and retirements

    Scott Thompson retired this year after being largely anonymous in 2017, though it won’t be a blemish of any kind on his commendable 308-game career.

    Troy Menzel, Dean Gore and Jono Beech were all delisted – Menzel in particular it is a shame to see fail to make the grade after some freakishly good moments in his early career at Carlton.

    Dean Gore finishes up having never played an AFL game, known only for being the steak knives in the Patrick Dangerfield trade.

    Looking ahead to next year, David Mackay and Richard Douglas will be the ones to keep an eye on as to whether or not they decide to play on, while Sam Gibson will hope to cement himself at his new club and earn a contract to play there in 2019 and beyond.

    Kyle Cheney faces an uphill battle to keep his career alive after only narrowly being given a new contract for 2018, but has a chance to crack into the side in Jake Lever’s spot.

    Free agency

    There wasn’t any movement on the free agency front for the Crows this year – they took a bit of a shot at Steven Motlop but it seems Port Adelaide very much had the inside track on them.

    Rory Sloane, Brodie Smith, David Mackay and Richard Douglas will all be free agents for them next year if not re-signed before the list is released.

    Smith will likely be a restricted free agent, but all of Sloane, Mackay and Douglas will be unrestricted free agents.

    Trade period

    Adelaide were one of the more active clubs in the trade period – losing Jake Lever and Charlie Cameron (and finding a new home for Harrison Wigg), but picking up Bryce Gibbs and Sam Gibson, moving up from pick 16 to 12 in 2017, gaining Melbourne’s first rounder for 2018, and swapping their 2018 second rounder for Carlton’s.

    Bryce Gibbs Sam Gibson Adelaide Crows AFL

    (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

    It was a trade period that had a significant impact on the age of their list, losing three young players for two veterans, but that will be balanced out to some degree next year with three top 20 or 25 draft picks to be brought into the club.

    I gave them an A in my trade period report card and I stand by it. While it was a shame to lose the players they did, they extracted the maximum value in return for them, and while they paid more than Bryce Gibbs is worth, it was a deal they arguably needed to do to stay in the 2018 premiership mix.

    Draft

    Darcy Fogarty and Andrew McPherson joined Adelaide in the draft, with Fogarty in particular shaping up as one to follow.

    He was considered a chance to go as high as pick 4 by some and if not, still likely a top six selection, but Collingwood’s decision to overlook him for Jaidyn Stephenson saw him slide down the order.

    St Kilda, the Western Bulldogs, Carlton and GWS all still went with their expected picks, meaning he was available at the Crows’ first selection.

    Fogarty’s talent was such good value there that the Crows might have taken him no matter where he hails from – the fact he just happens to be a South Australian is a sweetener on top.

    They took another local boy in McPherson with their second pick, leading some to think that South Australians could be a focus for them in years to come, and no doubt that will be true to some degree.

    That said, they would certainly have taken an interstate player had Fogarty not been available at their pick, so it might be too early to read too much into what was probably largely a happy coincidence.

    Looking far too soon at next year’s draft, as said they’ll have three picks fairly early in the piece – however, if both the Crows and Demons do well then they’re likely to be in the teens and 20s rather than the top 10.

    Key forward Jack Lukosius and midfielder Izak Rankine are two South Australian prospects who project – at this very early stage – as possible top ten selections, and if things pan out that way it will be interesting to see if the Crows consider packaging multiple picks together to move up targetting one of them.

    Outlook

    Something that crops up fairly often looking at lists the way I have in this series is that a club will have one age bracket where talent is just a bit sparse.

    Typically this happens because clubs go through periods where their priorities differ – some years they invest heavily in the draft, some years they burn draft picks to bring in mature players.

    This is actually one of my biggest personal bugbears – personally, I reckon many potentially good teams have ruined their chances of experiencing sustained success by selling draft picks for mature players in order to push for sooner success rather than playing the patient, sustainable game (though that’s not to say there aren’t some teams who have gone down the road and had it pay off big time, ala Hawthorn).

    And of course, sometimes clubs just have periods of time where they do a hack job of drafting, or lose draft picks to penalties, or see multiple players walk out the door.

    Adelaide have actually copped their fair whack of the latter two, which makes it all the more remarkable that their list is in the good shape it is.

    They’ve been patient with their list build and they’ve continued to invest in the draft even when also making big plays in the trade and free agency market.

    As a result they have a beautifully well-balanced list which in my opinion has no significant gaps either in an on-field sense or in terms of the age brackets.

    They have talent of all shapes, sizes and ages, and if they can continue to deliver on that talent in the same way they have over the last two years – and re-sign the majority of it – then I see no reason why they shouldn’t consistently make finals for the forseeable future.

    Whether they can convert that into a premiership somewhere along the way I suspect will depend somewhat on the ability of their stars to really go to the next level.

    Can Taylor Walker lift his output to be amongst the absolute very best key forwards in the game? Can Eddie Betts deny the clock and continue to dominate? Can a Rory Sloane and Bryce Gibbs partnership provide the Crows with the midfield might they need to take on the Dustins and the Dangerfields?

    Only time will tell but, as hard as it is to do so after the year ended the way it did, Adelaide fans deserve to feel optimistic.

    Josh Elliott
    Josh Elliott

    Josh Elliott may be The Roar's Weekend Editor, but at heart he's just a rusted-on North Melbourne tragic with a penchant for pun headlines - and also abnormal alliteration, assuredly; assuming achievability. He once finished third in a hot chilli pie eating contest. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshElliott_29 and listen to him on The Roar's AFL Podcast.

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    The Crowd Says (29)

    • December 19th 2017 @ 9:36am
      Mattician6x6 said | December 19th 2017 @ 9:36am | ! Report

      Good write up josh and can’t disagree with it. The trading of Cameron and lever aren’t diabolic and a team expected to be there abouts could only dream of having such a quality draft hand two years running. I’d expect adl to be top four this year again but anything can happen.

    • Roar Rookie

      December 19th 2017 @ 11:15am
      Lamby said | December 19th 2017 @ 11:15am | ! Report

      The Crows had such a good 2017 because the got a lot of ‘organic growth’ out of a bunch of younger players (Crouch x2, Lever, Atkins, McGovern, Kelly). The question will be – can the Crows improve again, or will they go backwards?

      I am fairly optimistic (as a Crows supporter). If you look at the potential All Australian’s and the list is still pretty strong – Jacobs, Sloane, Crouch x2, Gibbs, Betts, Walker, Lynch, Talia, Laird. Of those players only B Crouch has not already been in the 40 man squad (and you could add Jenkins if you were being very generous as he made the squad in 2016). So that is not quite 1/2 of the starting 22 who have been in the All Australian squad. But that also comes with contract problems!

      “Can Taylor Walker lift his output to be amongst the absolute very best key forwards in the game?” That is kind of harsh. Tex was 7th highest goal scorer, but if you looks at Goals + Goal Assists he jumps to 2nd (Buddy 92, Tex 87, Betts 84, Kennedy 79, Daniher 76, Brown 76).

      • December 19th 2017 @ 11:21am
        Vocans said | December 19th 2017 @ 11:21am | ! Report

        Great point about Tex, Lamby. Can he develop his game further? Can’t see him picking up a yard in pace, but getting into more goal scoring positions and kicking more accurately ( a better season with the boot would have him right up the top).

        • December 19th 2017 @ 12:28pm
          AD said | December 19th 2017 @ 12:28pm | ! Report

          Strangely, his kicking at goal seems to have gone backwards over the last year or two. Prior to that he was one you’d just about pencil in from a set shot anywhere. These days he’s great from long range, but get him in that 20-40m range and he doesn’t kick through the ball, just kind of pokes at it and misses a lot of very kickable goals. That’s one area he could improve relatively easily, you’d think.

          His field kicking is absolutely first rate, though. It’s a real weapon for him, given that he often pushes up the ground far enough to not be in scoring range himself – his ability to hit another player with a 40-50m pass is outstanding.

    • Roar Guru

      December 19th 2017 @ 11:56am
      Cat said | December 19th 2017 @ 11:56am | ! Report

      Crows have largely had an incredible run with injuries the last couple of years. They’ve had 19 players play 20 or more games in each season. That is a serious amount of list stability. However, the flip side is very few of Adelaide’s next generation of players have had much, if any, AFL exposure. If they regress to the mean or worse regarding injuries, how will the untested stand up?

      Dean Gore has signed with Geelong’s VFL side – just another funny wrinkle to add.

    • December 19th 2017 @ 3:35pm
      Michael said | December 19th 2017 @ 3:35pm | ! Report

      Can we talk about Sam Gibson’s spray tan for a second? Wow.

    • December 19th 2017 @ 4:14pm
      Stephen said | December 19th 2017 @ 4:14pm | ! Report

      Agree Josh. They certainly know how to draft elite talent Adelaide – using only mid-level draft picks. As you mentioned – Dangerfield, Gunston, Davis, Tippett, Bock and more recently – Lever and Cameron, have all left the club. Arguably, the Crows wanted all those seven players to stay.

      When one also looks at the recent player departures from Brisbane, GWS and the Gold Coast – my fear is, non-Victorian clubs are facing a competitive disadvantage in the area of player retention.

      There is some evidence to suggest, the last few player trade periods – have demonstrated a magnetic pull toward Victorian clubs.

      Difficult to know for sure – but I suspect there is a trend/story emerging. AFL equalizations seems to work well in practice. I don’t think we want an EPL scenario where six clubs make up the top ten nearly every year.

      However, perhaps the non-Victorian clubs are faced with the challenge of better understanding the context around players leaving two-club states and heading to Victoria. Is this an emerging issue? What are the driving forces? And what is a potential solution?

      • Roar Guru

        December 19th 2017 @ 5:37pm
        Cat said | December 19th 2017 @ 5:37pm | ! Report

        Crows have been bleeding players (while successful) while Port has not (while unsuccessful). To me that says it has little to nothing to do with location.

        • December 19th 2017 @ 6:47pm
          Neil from Warrandyte said | December 19th 2017 @ 6:47pm | ! Report

          Loosing Mitch Farmer to Richmond in 2009 must have hurt Port Adelaide.

        • December 20th 2017 @ 9:59am
          Steve said | December 20th 2017 @ 9:59am | ! Report

          That is because Crows players get targeted and big contracts thrown at them. You can only fend off the odd raid on your list but when you have multiple teams raiding you can’t stop them all.
          Port match but it comes at a cost, look at the movement out of port last trade period, massive loss of their depth because they pay overs for a few eg: Hartless.
          look at the outs,
          Jackson Trengove, Jarman Impey, Brendon Ah Chee, Aaron Young, Logan Austin, Matthew Lobbe.
          With a 22 yr old Austin being the only player to play less than 25 games (13).
          That’s your depth gone!

          • December 22nd 2017 @ 3:08pm
            Pelican said | December 22nd 2017 @ 3:08pm | ! Report

            The players Port lost were not getting games. The younger players like Howard, Houston, Atley, Johnston, Amon and Marshall are there for depth now. The players they lost were too old to not be in the best 22. It is a good thing that they get a chance else where before its to late. Port dont make a fuss about player movement like the Crows do, and it works out fine. Ports depth is fine and now they have the freedom to play the next generation with out feeling obliged to those older players that were on the outer.

          • December 27th 2017 @ 10:48am
            steve said | December 27th 2017 @ 10:48am | ! Report

            WOW you really have drunk the Koolaide!

            Jackson Trengove age 27, 19 games in 2017.
            Jarman Impey age 22, 20 games in 2017
            Brendon Ah Chee age 24, 5 games in 2017
            Aaron Young age 25, 13 games in 2017
            Logan Austin age 22, 2 games in 2017
            If that isn’t the definition of depth with Trengove and Impey pretty much 1st 22 then I don’t know what is.

            Matthew Lobbe at 28 is probably the only old age player who would still be your number 1 ruck if it wasn’t for Ryder

            Houston & Amon already were depth
            Howard, Atley, Johnston and Marshall are kids, If they are your depth then you had better have a dream run of injuries

            • Roar Rookie

              December 28th 2017 @ 3:17pm
              Stephen Thornton said | December 28th 2017 @ 3:17pm | ! Report

              As I said if they are not getting games they are no good too us.If you cant make the side you are better off somewhere else. The kids are playing great footy and so the call was made. You are just a burnt Crows fan lashing out because your team failed to get the chocolates. Obvious when you resorted to using the term hartless. Hartlett had an excellent season in defence. Port have kept who they wanted, something the Crows have failed at. Also the ins that Port made this year are about depth and are suitable replcements for the outs. Port are in good shape. You would be better served analizing your own list re what went wrong than having pot shots at other clubs. Impey and Trengrove were depth players that have been replaced the others were on the outer. Trengrove and Impey could see teir opportunites evaporating at Port and left with Ports blessing. As said Port dont make a fuss about player movements.

              • January 9th 2018 @ 6:31pm
                sammy said | January 9th 2018 @ 6:31pm | ! Report

                port have kept players but ultimately they only had a few genuine topline players on their list in recent years and it makes it easier to throw money at them to stay. Port have Wines, Gray, Ryder and Wingard as genuine topline players. Dixon can be if he gets consistent. Other than that, it does drop off (although adding Rockliff will help) – watts and motlop have proven over many years they are good but very inconsistent. So yes port do hold onto their best players but the cost to that is that they have lost out on the quality of their next tier. add to that very few 1st round draft picks over the last few seasons due to trading them out and this year shapes an all or bust year for them before the rebuild. Just a different approach to the Crows

      • December 20th 2017 @ 9:37am
        Stephen said | December 20th 2017 @ 9:37am | ! Report

        True Cat. There will always be exceptions. But if the player exit was studied over the last five years for the eight non-Victorian teams – I’m tipping there will be a trend in the quality and quantity of players departing and moving to Melbourne/Geelong.

        Your point is valid. The better clubs such as Sydney – have the ability to attract players – such as Franklin, Tippett etc.

        • Roar Guru

          December 20th 2017 @ 11:15am
          Cat said | December 20th 2017 @ 11:15am | ! Report

          I think you’ll find the clubs that are at one end of the ladder or the other for sustained periods will inevitably have the highest player movement. Players want to run away from clubs that wallow for too long and players at clubs staying at the top either have to take pay cuts to keep the list together, or move on.

          In a way both Hawthorn and Geelong, while each losing one of the top players in the league (Ablett and Franklin), were lucky in that their salary cap relief was forced upon them. It allowed them to retain the core without sacrificing multiple players and depth.

          I don’t know the exact situation at Hawthorn at the time, but if Ablett had accepted Geelong’s much lower contract (but still large), Geelong was on record as saying they’d have to shed at least 1 probably 2 players. Who knows who they would have been and whether the Cats still could have won the ’11 flag.

          Middle of the road clubs have the least pressure as far as cap space and have some success.

          • December 20th 2017 @ 1:08pm
            Stephen said | December 20th 2017 @ 1:08pm | ! Report

            Sure Cat. But look at the player exit from Queensland in recent years – Aish, Yeo, Longer, Docherty, Polak, O’Meara, Bennell, Prestia, Ablett etc. Adelaide – Boak, Cameron, Davis, Dangerfield, Gunston, Tippett, Lever…

            Port Adelaide – Trengrove, Impey, Ah Chee, Young, Austin, Lobbe etc.

            Yes. I appreciate there are players being drafted in by these clubs.

            I still make the point – the net movement (in/out) of players from non-Victorian clubs over the past five years – will show a trend in both quality and quantity favourable toward Victorian clubs.

            It’s a difficult point to prove. How could one compare the loss of Dangerfield to the recruitment of Gibbs? I don’t know the answer.

            But my instincts tell me – there is a trend emerging. And it’s a concerning trend for our game.

            • Roar Guru

              December 20th 2017 @ 2:18pm
              Cat said | December 20th 2017 @ 2:18pm | ! Report

              Interesting neither WA side was mentioned. Is there an issue in Queensland? Yes. Is it solely about location? Absolutely not. Brisbane has been bad for a long time. There are kids being drafted that probably can’t even remember a time in their life Brisbane wasn’t bad. The Suns have never been good, lurching from one mistake to the next. Hopefully both sides have turned the corner and we can see the real issue(s) soon.

              Twenty years ago absolutely no one would agree to be traded to Geelong. Couldn’t get a Melbourne based player to go down the highway. Now players are seeking the club out. Geelong hasn’t moved. Hasn’t gotten any closer to Melbourne but the on field successes sure have changed.

              • December 20th 2017 @ 6:21pm
                Stephen said | December 20th 2017 @ 6:21pm | ! Report

                Fair enough.

              • December 21st 2017 @ 10:36am
                AD said | December 21st 2017 @ 10:36am | ! Report

                While I agree with you to a large extent, if you look at the Crows record since the last flag in 1998, they’ve only missed finals 7 times in those 19 years, which is comparable to Geelong, Hawthorn, Essendon, and those 4 clubs have a better record in that respect than pretty much everybody else except Sydney. Obviously the Crows haven’t actually gone all the way to a flag in that time, but have certainly been a genuine contender for much of it, especially 02, 05, 06, 12 and 17.

                The Crows have also not missed finals for more than 2 consecutive seasons in that time, so there’s never been a sustained period outside the 8 that might crush players’ morale to the point where they’d go looking for another club because they thought their current one was not up to it. This is not a cellar-dweller that has missed finals for 5+ years at a time like some others have.

                So while success may attract players to a club, I don’t think the Crows have been so far off it that it would be enough to drive players out in search of success elsewhere. Let’s be honest – Melbourne’s record compared to Adelaide’s over the past decade is not what enticed Jake Lever to depart the Crows.

                In some cases it’s a genuine desire to return home – e.g. Dangerfield went to Geelong for less money than Adelaide (or other Victorian clubs) would have paid him.

                In most others, I think it’s a money issue. With most clubs working under the same salary cap, there must be something the Crows are doing that’s different to other clubs. I’d be interested to find out how the Crows cap is distributed across the list compared to other clubs. I’ve heard it said that the Crows have a more egalitarian structure than some/most other clubs – they pay their stars less in order to pay the mid tier more. If that’s really the case then, while it might allow the club to keep a solid core to the list, it does leave it vulnerable to having players at the top end poached by clubs willing to pay over the odds to entice them away. It may need to be rebalanced to pay more at the top end in order to try to retain the stars, and allow some of the more easily-replaced mid-tier to get poached instead.

    • Roar Rookie

      December 19th 2017 @ 7:13pm
      hairy fat man said | December 19th 2017 @ 7:13pm | ! Report

      There seems to be something missing with this Crows team.

      • December 20th 2017 @ 1:51pm
        AD said | December 20th 2017 @ 1:51pm | ! Report

        A premiership?

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