There never has been and, let’s hope, never will be another AFL draft like 2020. The combination of compromise and pandemic will define this draft as likely the most complex and uncertain in AFL history.
It has been a tumultuous 12 months for the Adelaide Football Club – much like the Western Bulldogs, who won the flag in 2016, the grand final runners-up are going to miss this year’s finals.
What went wrong for the Crows?
It all started with the grand final and talk that captain Taylor Walker had turned on his players in the dressing room at halftime.
Adelaide had the momentum in the first half, but Richmond ran over the top of them in the second half to win their first flag in 37 years.
Then there was the pre-season camp from hell, where there were rumours of scare tactics and hearing the Richmond theme song over and over again. It more sounded like a torture room in Saw than an opportunity to prepare for the new season.
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Losses to Melbourne and Richmond twice were proof this is not the same team from 2017, and with their captain showing a lack of on-field leadership, the side has stagnated.
Adelaide needed this after the pre-season camp and the embarrassment of the second half of the grand final. Taylor Walker looks likely to lose the captaincy to Rory Sloane and hopefully the former can just focus on his footy.
It is a long summer ahead for Don Pyke and his men, who will want to make 2019 their redemption year by returning to the top half of the ladder and making a tilt at their third premiership.