Tippet. Dangerfield. Lever. Cameron. Why players leave the Adelaide Crows

Anthony Roar Pro

By Anthony, Anthony is a Roar Pro

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    Some high-profile players have exited the Crows in recent years, including Kurt Tippet (Sydney Swans) and Patrick Dangerfield (Geelong Cats).

    In the past few days it has officially been made public that Jake Lever intends to move home to the Melbourne Demons, and Charlie Cameron wants to return home to Brisbane.

    So why do players leave the Crows?

    Why indeed? Adelaide is a great club. They have a new 50,000 capacity stadium at the Adelaide Oval. High membership. Passionate fan-base. Strong culture. Minor premiers. Grand finalists.

    Part of the lure to play for Adelaide is the club’s record of accomplishment in developing players skills and abilities. If a player joins the Crows, they seem to become better players. This is true at the Hawks, the Swans, and many other clubs also.

    So why leave? AFL radio put this question to the now former Crows assistant coach David Teague. Teague is returning home for family reasons to Melbourne. He has taken up a position with the Carlton Blues.

    To the why leave question, Teague said “It is an interesting one because they get along well, they care for each other and what the group’s been through together has been quite phenomenal. Yet players continue to leave. I haven’t been able to put my finger on it.”

    And therein lies a big part of the problem. Just like Teague, many Crows were not born in Adelaide. They were not bred in Adelaide. They have no family ties to Adelaide. Eventually after a few years, they have advanced their skills and experience as a player, done their time and they desire to return home. Add to this the fortunes to now be had in the AFL, and the decision to move is an easy one.

    Patrick Dangerfield Geelong Cats AFL Brownlow Medal 2016

    (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    One of the critical flaws of the AFL draft system is players do not play for their state of origin club or the club they supported growing up. Dangerfield is perhaps the best example of this.

    Danger supported the Cats as a boy and perfected his craft at the Crows. But he always wanted to play for Geelong. Yes Dangerfield left Adelaide, but he also moved home to Geelong and now plays for the team which was always in his heart of hearts.

    Now take Mr Richmond Tiger himself, Matthew Richardson. Richo supported the Tigers as a boy. Played for the Tigers. Wept with tears of emotion when the Tigers won the MCG Premiership.

    This is the destination the AFL needs to get to. More players like Richardson and Dangerfield who have a genuine attraction and desire to play for their real club. Problem is these players are the exception and not the rule.

    So where does the AFL start?

    To be fair on the AFL, it is the interstate teams who should right now be taking the initiative and lead on this issue. After the trade week is done and dusted, most fans would love to hear the interstate club captains, CEOs and staff sitting around a table thrashing out a workable and equitable State of Origin draft system to take to the AFL.

    This proposal could be based on a state based system where you can only draft players from your State of Origin zone. The State based draft/trade zones would include:

    1. Queensland-NT Draft (Brisbane Lions / Gold Coast Suns).
    2. NSW/ACT Draft (Sydney / GWS)
    3. South Australian Draft (Crows/Port)
    4. Western Australia Draft (Fremantle/West Coast)
    5. Tasmanian Draft (Hawthorn or North Melbourne)
    6. Victorian Draft (Victorian Clubs + Lions / Gold Coast Suns / GWS / Sydney / Tasmania).

    The system would use overflow. If Queensland (a rugby heartland state) are unable to provide players of sufficient quality from the Queensland-NT draft, they would draft from Victoria. To a lesser extent, NSW-ACT may also need to draw from the Victorian Draft.

    In this age of technology with the budget of the AFL, I’m sure some clever computer gadgetry can be used to make this fair for all states and clubs.

    Adelaide Crows' Kurt Tippett handballs the Sherrin

    (Images: AFL)

    Next, Western Australia and South Australia, could these states produce champion teams using the talent on offer in the WAFL and SANFL? I say they probably could, so overflow most likely not needed for WA and SA. If you agree or disagree, please comment below and explain why.

    Tasmania also need a representative club that the state supports. Based on 10,000 Tasmanian members, Jeff Kennett has a strong case, the Hawks seem to be the obvious choice.

    Now I know what you are about to say and you are right. There will be obstacles. A player from Perth, wants to play for a Victorian team. Or, a team is struggling and needs help in the draft outside their state zone. I agree and I’m sure the collective brains of the AFL clubs can set up special allowances for such scenarios and figure things out.

    There is a problem though, players will still get dramatically overpaid and enticed away from clubs who have invested time, effort, club secrets and faith in that player.

    So, in addition to a salary cap for the team, a minimum and maximum salary cap for individual players is needed.

    Then the silly season might not be so silly.

    And heaven forbid, we might just see players representing the team they’ve loved since they first laced up a pair of footy boots.

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    The Crowd Says (72)

    • October 6th 2017 @ 6:41am
      Slane said | October 6th 2017 @ 6:41am | ! Report

      No thank you. I’m happy to support my club regardless of which side of an imaginary line our players are born on.

    • October 6th 2017 @ 7:35am
      I ate pies said | October 6th 2017 @ 7:35am | ! Report

      They leave Adelaide because they’re in Adelaide. No one goes to Adelaide by choice.

      • October 6th 2017 @ 9:19am
        John K said | October 6th 2017 @ 9:19am | ! Report

        I was waiting for that. Have you ever been to Adelaide?

        How about a modified version of that proposal. Each club gets a zone to develop and they get one (perhaps two) choices from their zone before those players go into the open draft?

      • October 6th 2017 @ 9:39am
        truetigerfan said | October 6th 2017 @ 9:39am | ! Report

        I agree pies. Adelaide . . . worst capital in Australia! And yes, John K, I’ve spent time there. Too much time!

        • October 6th 2017 @ 10:12am
          Birdman said | October 6th 2017 @ 10:12am | ! Report

          rubbish, Adelaide’s fine.

          Perth is far more soulless.

          • October 6th 2017 @ 10:31am
            guttsy said | October 6th 2017 @ 10:31am | ! Report

            Adelaide and Perth are both big country towns. If you liked living/could live in one, then it is likely that you would liking living/could live in the other. The challenge for Perth is its isolation, it is the most isolated city in the world and to go anywhere else you need to travel significant distances.

            Having said that, the attraction to a city for most players is being around family and friends. That doesn’t have anything to do with the city.

        • October 6th 2017 @ 11:17am
          Basil said | October 6th 2017 @ 11:17am | ! Report

          Melbourne is a soulless concrete jungle. You do not have the class of a London or NYC but you think you do.

          • Roar Rookie

            October 6th 2017 @ 9:05pm
            Jakarta Fan said | October 6th 2017 @ 9:05pm | ! Report

            That’s why Melbourne has been voted the most liveable city in the world 7 times in the last 10 years!!!

        • October 6th 2017 @ 9:58pm
          Fairsuckofthesav said | October 6th 2017 @ 9:58pm | ! Report

          How long and on what basis? And when? In fact without any background your comment is meaningless.

      • Roar Guru

        October 6th 2017 @ 10:12am
        AdelaideDocker said | October 6th 2017 @ 10:12am | ! Report

        Oh, there it is!

        Adelaide is a perennial punching bag on this forum, or just anywhere on the internet. We’re mostly immune to all that, though.

        I’m gonna guess you live in Victoria, iap?

        • October 9th 2017 @ 8:42am
          I ate pies said | October 9th 2017 @ 8:42am | ! Report

          Nope. I grew up in Vic but I haven’t lived there for 15 years. I’ve also lived in Adelaide for a period as well.

    • October 6th 2017 @ 7:40am
      Lroy said | October 6th 2017 @ 7:40am | ! Report

      Well there are plenty of dating apps that you could use for this.

      If a club and a player both hit their ”perfect match” or ”swipe right” then they go ahead and negotiate.

      When a club is not interested in a player he negotiates with someone else.

    • October 6th 2017 @ 9:24am
      Big Pete said | October 6th 2017 @ 9:24am | ! Report

      Adelaide are not a traditional club and have no history they are a club put together as a franchise club making it easier for a player to leave as he does not have the same pride one has playing at a normal genuine traditional club.

      • October 6th 2017 @ 9:40am
        Frances said | October 6th 2017 @ 9:40am | ! Report

        ‘normal genuine traditional club.’

        All of which are in Victoria…

        Other states don’t have a hope.

        Thought the aim was to make AFL a ‘national’ game but it’s so obviously Victorian-centric it seems an impossibility to get players and Victorian fans to make the quantum leap that it’s not only about them.

        • October 6th 2017 @ 10:10am
          Slane said | October 6th 2017 @ 10:10am | ! Report

          Nah mate, you just don’t understand the history of Australian football. There are plenty of traditional clubs outside of Victoria.

          • October 6th 2017 @ 10:19am
            Pedro The Fisherman said | October 6th 2017 @ 10:19am | ! Report

            Traditional AFL Clubs? Yeh … Nah!

          • Roar Guru

            October 6th 2017 @ 10:37am
            JamesH said | October 6th 2017 @ 10:37am | ! Report

            Most interstate sides are relatively new – Adelaide, WC, Freo, GC, GWS. Only Port (PA Magpies), Syd (as SM) and Bris (as Fitzroy) have any long-standing history.

            • October 6th 2017 @ 3:50pm
              AD said | October 6th 2017 @ 3:50pm | ! Report

              Meanwhile, Adelaide have 2 premierships from the past 26 years, and West Coast have 3 in 30 years.

              Compare that to “traditional” teams like Melbourne (none in the past 50+ years), Richmond (none in over 35 years until this season), Collingwood (2 in the past almost 60 years) and Port Adelaide (1 in 20 years), and all that “history” doesn’t actually seem to be worth very much because it hasn’t helped them perform better than teams that don’t have it. Good teams are good teams, bad teams are bad teams, and history has nothing to do with it either way.

    • October 6th 2017 @ 9:47am
      Punter said | October 6th 2017 @ 9:47am | ! Report

      Interesting article, because on face value the crows should be a ‘destination’ club that once you get there, you have no desire to leave.

      I have found it interesting that Sydney (swans and giants) seems to be a destination that players don’t leave. There are only a couple of NSW-born players on both clubs, but they have had a great record in recent years retaining players. I have been particularly surprised GWS has retained most of their top-tier talent which have moved north.

      It appears that desirability is split between: Club Culture, Success, and Lifestyle.

      I hate to say it, but could it be an ‘Adelaide’ thing?

      • Roar Pro

        October 6th 2017 @ 10:34pm
        Anthony said | October 6th 2017 @ 10:34pm | ! Report

        Sydney and Melbourne are both BIG cities. Like Melbourne with Geelong and other locations nearby, Sydney has Newcastle, Illawarra and Canberra nearby. Very expensive though.

        Perhaps it is more of a big town v small town thing. Either way, it supports case for some cities to have State of Origin zones. I would love to see the Swans have more NSW players, and Lions have more QLD players. That is one rivalry which hasn’t been developed over the years, and could do with local talent.

        Sydney 4 million.
        Melbourne 3.8 million.

        Of the other AFL club cities,
        Brisbane 2 million
        Perth 1.7 million.
        Adelaide 1.2 million
        Gold Coast 570k (but close to Brisbane)
        Geelong 170k (but close to Mebourne)

        • October 7th 2017 @ 1:58pm
          kick to kick said | October 7th 2017 @ 1:58pm | ! Report

          The treatment of Jake Lever post his decision to seek a trade seems to speak volumes about why players leave and why Adelaide has a reputation as one of the most difficult clubs to deal with at trade time. The Crows wear a tribalism that is a mix of insecurity and entitlement. I was sympathetic to the Crows climb from adversity in 2017 and as a neutral supported them in the grand final. The news that Lever has been abused and disinvited from the best and fairest presentation has changed my view. He’s a professional athlete entitled to seek his way in the world and the Crows response has been anything but professional. Narrow tribalism is not professional team spirit and I’m inclined to think that it wilted on Grand Final day away from Adelaide Oval and a stadium full of delirious fans. The Lever episode tells me that Adelaide will never win a grand final without a change of culture … and that more non South Australian draftees will also desert the club in the future.

      • October 7th 2017 @ 2:12am
        Freo As said | October 7th 2017 @ 2:12am | ! Report

        Sydney had a huge exit rate. Then they brought in COLA. Wait till that wears off.

    • October 6th 2017 @ 9:56am
      Craig Delaney said | October 6th 2017 @ 9:56am | ! Report

      Adelaide people leave the city most often for opportunities not present there. They often return afterwards. Like it or not Melbourne is the centre of the AFL. Purely footy opportunity is to be found in both Adelaide clubs, but those with ambitions for other things will tend to gravitate towards Melbourne. Adelaide cannot offer the big things a city like Melbourne can, but it is a great city to live in. The ‘bright lights’ are greater in Melbourne, the hype, and the opportunity to make more money in various ways. Add to that the fact that it is home, or in Danger’s case, Geelong, and it is understandable.

      However, the Crows are a tightly knit team that’s been through a lot. They have a fiercely loyal fan base who do a fair immitation of a ‘genuine traditional club’, Big Pete. I think this has led to the anger this time about Lever. Danger gave his all to the Crows while here. Few Crows fans would say the same about Jake because he wasn’t here long enough to do that.

      The Crows took a punt on Charlie, and to a lesser extent on Lever with his suspect body. I can’t say either of them has repaid the time, money, and energy put into them. Two more years in a Crows jumper and I would not be writing this.

      • October 6th 2017 @ 10:02pm
        Fairsuckofthesav said | October 6th 2017 @ 10:02pm | ! Report

        Here here!

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