Best 22 analysis: Adelaide

Conor Roar Guru

By Conor, Conor is a Roar Guru


77 Have your say

    All the AFL lists are finalised for 2018 and now is the time to start investigating what each club’s best team looks like.

    This analysis won’t factor in injuries or early season suspensions, as they are looking at the best team from the list they have. Here is my view on Adelaide’s best 22 in 2018.

    B: Jake Kelly, Daniel Talia, Luke Brown
    HB: Rory Laird, Kyle Hartigan, Brodie Smith
    C: Bryce Gibbs, Hugh Greenwood, Rory Atkins
    HF: Richard Douglas, Taylor Walker, Tom Lynch
    F: Eddie Betts, Josh Jenkins, Mitch McGovern
    Foll: Sam Jacobs, Matt Crouch, Rory Sloane
    I/C: Brad Crouch, David Mackay, Sam Gibson, Alex Keath
    Depth: Riley Knight, Jordan Gallucci, Myles Poholke, Paul Seedsman, Curtly Hampton, Andy Otten, Kyle Cheney, Wayne Milera, Darcy Fogarty, Elliot Himmelberg, Matthew Signorello, Andrew McPherson, Harry Dear, Tom Doedee, Ben Davis, Reilly O’Brien, Jackson Edwards, Cam Ellis-Yolmen, Patrick Wilson, Paul Hunter, Lachlan Murphy, Ben Jarman

    (Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

    I haven’t generally selected an intercept marker in the Crows defensive 50 despite Alex Keath, Andrew McPherson, and Tom Doedee all playing similar game styles to Lever. Instead I’ve tag-teamed Daniel Talia and Kyle Hartigan as key defensive posts at full back and centre half back and I’m backing in Hartigan’s natural marking ability to make amends for Lever’s intercept marking.

    Jake Kelly is a medium defender and will be handy in the back pocket for the Crows as he’ll be able to oppose against tall or small forwards.

    I have included Luke Brown, Rory Laird, and Brodie Smith as small defenders. Luke Brown would be able to play a lock-down role on opposition small forwards. Brown achieved a career-high number of marks last year, and if he can lay as many tackles as he did in 2016, then he’ll be a key part of the Crows 2018 line-up.

    Rory Laird and Brodie Smith both play rebounding roles and fit the half back flank role perfectly. However, with Brodie Smith’s ACL injury, he likely won’t play any games next year, which leaves a spot open for a player.

    Adelaide have a few options to cover his absence. Option one is they could go like-for-like and select Paul Seedsman or Curtly Hampton in place of Brodie Smith.

    Option two is they could move Bryce Gibbs from the wing to the half back flank and bring in Riley Knight to play on the wing.

    Option three is they could place Alex Keath in the starting 18 and move Luke Brown onto the half back flank with Alex Keath in the back pocket. Any of the options would be an effective way to cover his absence.

    (Photo: Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

    The Crows have strengthened their midfield brigade as well as adding experience to their team with the recruitments of Bryce Gibbs and Sam Gibson.

    Bryce Gibbs will almost be a guaranteed starter in their line-up next year. He’s been on the Crows dream list ever since he was drafted, and he’s viewed by some as the missing piece to their premiership puzzle. Sam Jacobs is one of the best ruckmen in the competition and will easily be the number one ruck over young Reilly O’Brien.

    Hugh Greenwood and Matt Crouch both had breakout years last year, and I suspect both will assume a role as an on-baller in the midfield.

    Rory Sloane was the leader and favourite in the Brownlow Medal until opposition coaches discovered that he struggles to effectively shake a hard tag, and he will no doubt be in the Crows starting midfield.

    Rory Atkins was another Crow to have a breakout year, setting career highs in kicks, marks, disposals, and tackles, and will play an important part for the Crows on the wing in 2018.

    (Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

    The Crows have an effective four-prolonged key forward line in Tom Lynch, Taylor Walker, Josh Jenkins, and Mitch McGovern, but all are too important for Don Pyke to leave any of them out.

    Lynch is that Nick Riewoldt or Jarrad Waite type of key forward that has brilliant stamina and running capacity to be able to push into the midfield and roam the ground for long periods of time.

    Taylor Walker, the skipper, is a leading key forward that has a long kick on him, hence why I’ve put him at centre-half forward. Mitch McGovern is a tall forward that is a strong pack mark. He usually floats into a contest and takes marks.

    Josh Jenkins is often referred to as a cherry picker and kicks goals from easy positions, hence why I’ve put him at full forward – to keep him in the goal square to do what he does best.

    Richard Douglas is a goal-kicking midfielder, and with there being no room for him in the midfield, I placed him on the half forward flank. Eddie Betts is one of the premier small forwards of the competition and is always a start-up in the Crows line-up.

    (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    The interchange comprises three midfielders and a key defender to rotate through the starting 18. Brad Crouch combined with brother Matt to have a career-best season and the best season ever by a pair of brothers.

    David Mackay isn’t a star, but he plays the role that he needs to play for the team and does it well. Discarded North Melbourne veteran Sam Gibson will come in, and I am predicting him to get a spot on the bench. He’s played 130 consecutive games and has been consistent across his career, and he can play the role of a tagger on the oppositions star players.

    Don Pyke and Rory Sloane know through personal experience that Sam Gibson can play a quality role as a tagger. Alex Keath will be able to rotate through the defence and develop his game as an intercept marker as well as working on his contested marking.

    (Photo: Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

    The unlucky players
    Riley Knight had a career-best year last year, playing 19 games, which included the three finals. There is no doubt that he will get regular opportunities, but he is probably the 23rd man in the Crows team.

    Paul Seedsman played only five games last year; however, he played every finals game, and with Brodie Smith likely to be out with an ACL injury for the season, there is a spot open for him.

    Curtly Hampton played the first nine games of the season last year but injury ruined his promising start, and he will be another contesting for the spot left by Brodie Smith.

    Andy Otten played 19 games in his first injury-free season since 2014, but despite playing in the 2017 grand final, he’ll have to bide his time and wait for opportunities as there are already many key position players in the team.

    Wayne Milera played 16 games and will almost definitely get games next year, but he probably isn’t in the best 22 yet.

    Darcy Fogarty is seen by many as the best player in the 2017 draft despite being taken at pick 12. He will hopefully get some opportunities up forward and in the midfield next year.

    With Jake Lever gone, it seems likely that 2015 first-round pick Tom Doedee will finally get his opportunity in the Crows defensive 50 next year.

    What is your view on Adelaide’s best 22 for 2018? Would you make any changes, Roarers?

    Have Your Say

    If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (77)

    • December 3rd 2017 @ 8:58am
      tim said | December 3rd 2017 @ 8:58am | ! Report

      Tom Doedee will come to the front of the pack. As will Milera. Atkins last 8 games were ordinary. Keith is backup for Talia and Hartigan only. McKay may miss out. Douglas proved he must be in the midfield.

      Brown Talia Doedee
      Laird Hartigan Hampton
      Sloane Greenwood Gibbs
      Milera Walker Lynch
      McGovern Jenkins Betts
      Jacobs M Crouch B Crouch
      Douglas Kelly Knight Atkins

      • December 3rd 2017 @ 11:31am
        Neil from Warrandyte said | December 3rd 2017 @ 11:31am | ! Report

        Agree David Mackay not in best 22, depth player at best and perhaps his last year as others have gone past him.
        Had no impact in the grand final, when he needed to step up in defence. Had a horror moment in the last quarter when his short kick in was marked by Townsend who sent the ball back over his head for a goal.

      • December 3rd 2017 @ 12:12pm
        Vocans said | December 3rd 2017 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

        Atkins needs to find another dimension to his game. He sat back too much late in the season waiting for it to happen. Not alone in the GF in that. Doedee is likely to impress when he gets his chance. Mackay is unlikely to play many games, but his last two seasons were surprisingly good – a revival. Smith’s combination of tight defence and deadly boot will be hard to replace, and the Crows game depends on something like that from half back. That’s why both he and Laird have not played much midfield even though they’d be stars there. The Crows like rotating through different positions so that position might be shared between Gibbs, Hampton, and Gibson (if he makes the cut). Similarly Kelly and Doedee.

        Footy is trending towards horses for courses, so expect only the really special players to play every week.

    • December 3rd 2017 @ 12:55pm
      Mattician6x6 said | December 3rd 2017 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

      Will a four pronged tall fwd line be a liability? I was baffled at the time when adl re signed Jenkins and the liability he became gf day due to his one dimensional nature only further reinforced my opinion.

      • December 3rd 2017 @ 3:13pm
        Ditto said | December 3rd 2017 @ 3:13pm | ! Report

        Agree M6x6. I don’t wish to be too hard on Jenkins as he does have attributes that can make him difficult to match up on, but has anyone ever seen him make a genuine lead, sticking his hands in the air and waving towards goal doesn’t count. I also feel that, although his ruck work has marginally improved over the last 6 seasons, he still sucks at it, I think Tex could probably do the relief job, without losing anything.

      • Roar Rookie

        December 4th 2017 @ 9:55am
        Lamby said | December 4th 2017 @ 9:55am | ! Report

        Will a four pronged tall fwd line be a liability?

        It is not a traditional 4 pronged tall forward line. It is a 2 pronged (Tex & Jenkins). Lynch is a running link up player who just happens to be tall, and McGovern is the pressure forward, who just happens to be tall and can take a hanger. If you put Ottens up there (instead of McGovern which happened in the GF) the forward line becomes too slow. The Crows had one of the best ‘pressure’ forward lines in 2017 – they also happened to be tall, which is what made them so dangerous.

        • December 4th 2017 @ 11:21am
          Mattician6x6 said | December 4th 2017 @ 11:21am | ! Report

          Though not traditional it was exposed in the gf with Jenkins becoming a weak link imo, I understand fully lynch and McGovern are mobile talks but I do query whether you can operate with two more lumbering fwds. Also Jenkins is one dimensional much in the way Travis cloke was one dimensional and unless he develops a few more strings he looks to be a liability.
          If teams send their premier kpd to Jenkins then double/triple team TeX forcing him wide Jenkins showed he struggles.

          • Roar Rookie

            December 4th 2017 @ 1:46pm
            Lamby said | December 4th 2017 @ 1:46pm | ! Report

            No, the mistake was replacing McGovern, who is quick, mobile, defensive and can take a contested mark with Otten – who is none of those things. McGovern can also play the lock down role on Rance. The Crows should have replaced McGovern (who was injured) with a faster lock down, pressure forward rather than Otten.

            Jenkins has a lot of weaknesses, but also a lot of strengths. His main weapon is his speed and endurance for a big guy. He looks the best when the Crows get quick turn-overs and when there are multiple entries into our F50. The thing that the Tigers did to win the GF was to slow the game down in the Adelaide F50 to stop the repeat entries and quick turn-overs. Jenkins could have done more, but it was not his fault that we lost.

            • December 4th 2017 @ 2:09pm
              Mattician6x6 said | December 4th 2017 @ 2:09pm | ! Report

              Definitely don’t blue him Lamby and yes the loss of McGovern was huge, but hypothetically if Fogarty demands selection and McGovern stays injury free I reckon adl fwd line looks more dynamic straight away than with Jenkins.

              • Roar Rookie

                December 4th 2017 @ 5:10pm
                Lamby said | December 4th 2017 @ 5:10pm | ! Report

                I think you are underselling Jenkins. How many clubs would not jump at a 3rd forward (behind Tex & Betts) who kicks 45 goasl? That is equal 11th on the goal scorers – while also being the most accurate kick in the top 15 and also averages almost 1 assist per game. In 2016 he kicked 62 goals and made the AA squad. He also spends about 10 minutes a quarter in the ruck!

                He has plenty of faults. But is there a better 2nd tall/2nd ruck in the comp?

              • December 4th 2017 @ 6:00pm
                Mattician6x6 said | December 4th 2017 @ 6:00pm | ! Report

                When victories are to be consolidated he’s there for sure and certain and has been by nature of structure at adl important, but I’d argue to remain one step ahead and go one step further tweaks to the structures and selections beyond the forced ones through trade are required and imo Jenkins is replaceable. Remember Quentin Lynch and Ashley Hanson combined for over 100 goals for wce 06, average talls look great with blue chip midfield’s.

              • Roar Guru

                December 4th 2017 @ 5:28pm
                Cat said | December 4th 2017 @ 5:28pm | ! Report

                If Jenkins wasn’t a part of the most loaded forward line in the comp would he bag anywhere near the same number of goals? I don’t believe so.

    • Roar Rookie

      December 3rd 2017 @ 10:40pm
      bdosi said | December 3rd 2017 @ 10:40pm | ! Report

      Seedsman in for Smith
      Doedee for Leaver
      Milera for Cameron
      Gibbs for one of Atkins, Knight, Douglas.
      Gallucci to take over from McKay??

    • December 4th 2017 @ 12:26am
      Don Freo said | December 4th 2017 @ 12:26am | ! Report

      Reckon the Krakouer boys might have cranked up a few seasons better than the Crouch boys’ last season. (“Best ever”?) The Danihers?

      • December 4th 2017 @ 9:11am
        AD said | December 4th 2017 @ 9:11am | ! Report

        I think it was “statistically” the best season ever by a pair of brothers, measured by total number of disposals. Obviously we could sit around all summer arguing the subjective side of which set of brothers had the best season in whatever year, but in terms of pure numbers, the Crouch brothers in 2017 were the highest.

        • December 4th 2017 @ 10:05am
          Hungry Jack said | December 4th 2017 @ 10:05am | ! Report

          As for pure ‘hurt’ inflicted on the opposition Jimmy and Phil win hands down! In agreement with Don! Stats aren’t the be-all, are often misleading. Pure numbers don’t tell even half the story!

    • December 4th 2017 @ 9:16am
      AD said | December 4th 2017 @ 9:16am | ! Report

      Mackay and Douglas should both be well and truly feeling the pressure from younger players this year. The likes of Knight, Gallucci, Poholke, Hampton and Milera should force at least Mackay and probably Douglas out of the best 22 by the end of the year. If not, then the development of these guys has stalled. Himmelberg may start eyeing off Jenkins’ spot, too, if Jenkins doesn’t lift his output a bit. Jenkins has the ability, but if doesn’t start producing more consistently then he may find himself struggling to hold his spot in that forward line.

      • December 4th 2017 @ 9:31am
        Rex said | December 4th 2017 @ 9:31am | ! Report

        Thats one expensive SANFL player then. Should never have resigned Jenkins on the deal he got. 3 years at 400k was his worth. 5 years at 650 is WAY overs!

        • Roar Guru

          December 4th 2017 @ 10:16am
          Paul D said | December 4th 2017 @ 10:16am | ! Report

          Brisbane thought he was worth 5 years at 750. Glad Adelaide decided to get desperate and cling to him, as you say, he’s nowhere near as valuable as that. Has the ability but doesn’t bring it every game, or even every second game.

          • December 4th 2017 @ 11:43am
            Mattician6x6 said | December 4th 2017 @ 11:43am | ! Report

            Paul d-Missed a huge bullet there. his deficiency as a player would of been exposed 100 fold in a developing team, fact is adl are in the window and they are still glaring, I shudder to think how it could’ve panned out if Brisbane had got him.

        • December 4th 2017 @ 3:21pm
          GJ said | December 4th 2017 @ 3:21pm | ! Report

          It was widely reported in the media his contract was $525 x 5 years. Seems you may be embellishing a little there Rex.

          Probably still too long and too much. He has kicked more than 40 goals per season over each of the last 4 seasons though.

          • December 5th 2017 @ 2:13pm
            AD said | December 5th 2017 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

            My understanding was it was $550k per year. Which was a lot at the time, but under the newly-increased salary cap, $550k is pretty much a middle of the road kind of salary. And if he continues to kick 40+ goals a year then he’s worth the money.

            5 years is definitely too long, though.

    • December 4th 2017 @ 12:48pm
      Peter the Scribe said | December 4th 2017 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

      Interested in Crows fans thoughts on Seedsman…his best is good but he went missing a lot at the Pies…he struggled to make your starting side most of 2017, nearly scored a flag by coming in at the right time…does he play most of 2018 or remain a filler coming in and out of the side as required? He is very much an outside player though all teams still need those.

      • December 4th 2017 @ 5:32pm
        Tom M said | December 4th 2017 @ 5:32pm | ! Report

        Pretty sure Seedsman played in the team whenever he was fit last year. He missed all of the games due to injury not form.

      • December 6th 2017 @ 9:42am
        Pedro The Fisherman said | December 6th 2017 @ 9:42am | ! Report

        Seedsman will play off the half back flank in Brodie Smith’s spot next year!

      • Roar Rookie

        December 7th 2017 @ 1:03am
        Sam Bunn said | December 7th 2017 @ 1:03am | ! Report

        I’ve always loved Seedy but there’s too many question marks over his performances to rely on him, especially in a side firmly gunning for a flag

        • December 7th 2017 @ 2:52pm
          Harsh Truth Harry said | December 7th 2017 @ 2:52pm | ! Report

          thats because he is a one way runner and has no defensive side to his game

          • December 8th 2017 @ 9:53am
            Don Freo said | December 8th 2017 @ 9:53am | ! Report

            Sounds like an empty criticism to me. No substance there.

        • December 8th 2017 @ 11:35am
          Peter the Scribe said | December 8th 2017 @ 11:35am | ! Report

          Sam, he is slightly built so employed as an outside runner. I too, loved him at the Pies but understand he is in what I call the “in between” category, those players who are too good for VFL but not quite consistent enough for a regular AFL gig. I believe Jackson Ramsay is another in that category. The Seed is a beautiful kick, knows where the goals are but I don’t believe he has hurt the Pies in letting him go.

      • Roar Rookie

        December 7th 2017 @ 1:04am
        Sam Bunn said | December 7th 2017 @ 1:04am | ! Report

        In saying that I hope he can find consistency because he’s a beautiful player to watch in full flight