Over the next few weeks, I’ll take a look at how your club has fared this year, and also exactly where every club is at in terms of development and how far away they are from premiership success. Today, the struggling Adelaide Crows.
Currently: 14th – three wins, 10 losses – 76.25 per cent.
The Crows lost over 700 games of experience at the end of season 2010, although their average age didn’t change at all. In fact, this year’s lineup of players has a higher average age than the side that took to the park in round 22 last year.
Adelaide have struggled for form this season; starting 2011 with a huge win against contenders Hawthorn. they then lost their next three, including a Round 4 Showdown loss to Port Adelaide by 32 points.
In the next month Adelaide proved that consistency was an issue with a win against St Kilda at home being followed by a humiliating Round 7 loss to Melbourne by 90 points, where the Demons kicked 14 goals to three in the second half.
In Round 8 the Crows played host to the Suns, who would have been confident taking points from their first venture to Football Park, but Adelaide showed fight after trailing at the first change to win by 57 points.
Since then the Crows have only been able to record losses on their record. Pushing Collingwood, Brisbane and North Melbourne for three quarters, the side’s inability to run out games was on show as they had 16 goals kicked against them to their eight in a three match stretch.
Since then Neil Craig’s men have struggled to challenge with losses to West Coast, the Western Bulldogs and last week’s big defeat at the hands of the top of the table Cats.
Only twice this year have Adelaide scored more than 100 points – in Round 1 in their victory over Hawthorn, when Taylor Walker booted four, and in Round 8 when the Crows defeated the Suns, kicking their highest total for the year to date, with Dangerfield kicking six on that occasion.
Prediction: 15th – five wins, 17 losses – 80.4 per cent.
Adelaide need to turn to youth from now on; they need to realistically determine whether players like Michael
Doughty, Graham Johncock, Ben Rutten and Scott Thompson will be around when the club wins its next premiership. All of these players are 28 or older and would have no more than five years left in them.
To Adelaide’s credit, they have begun to call on the youth in their side; the next crop of leaders, players like Dangerfield, Tippett, Henderson and Otten, who have all showed their abilities and all are in the 22-24 age bracket.
Adelaide is in need of a secondary ruckmen who can take the place of Kurt Tippett to free him forward. We have seen Tippett become a game changer when he goes forward and he could potentially become their key to success.
Look for Adelaide to rebuild over the next four to five years, possibly playing finals again in three years. The depth of their younger brigade is there, they just lack the overall maturity of their players to be able to win games of football.
Premiership window: 2016 to 2019.