What a season 2016 has been so far. Eight wins and four losses after twelve rounds. Where did that three months go? There is still ten weeks to go however. I repeat, still ten weeks to go. A lot of water to go under that narrow Torrens bridge before Adelaide even make finals, let alone be successful in them.
Wins over hot premiership contenders the Swans and the Giants are massive highlights so far. The Sydney game was a grind. The Giants game was a huge third quarter of dominance. Taking Hawthorn all the way under the Friday night lights of the MCG in a match Adelaide should have won was also a positive. But the win over West Coast in Perth is my highlight so far. Four goals down, Adelaide dominated the second half and kept the usually powerful Eagles scoreless in the last quarter. Not often the Crows win in Perth.
So what else has been good and not so good in 2016 –
The Good –
I can remember a time, not that long ago where Adelaide’s scoring was an issue. Too many erratic forwards who couldn’t kick straight. Remember that bloke called Kurt Tippett? Jack Gunston left. Lewis Johnston failed to live up to his potential. Now though, the Crows have probably the most exciting forward line in the competition. Eddie Betts does something every time he touches the ball, Josh Jenkins is kicking more goals than zeroes in his next contract and Taylor Walker is back in some form. Sorry. Back to Eddie. How good was that goal in indigenous round? He knows the occasion doesn’t he? Bloody brilliant.
Add to that the emergence of Charlie Cameron, Wayne Milera and Mitch McGovern and there is still huge potential down the track in that forward area.
In twelve games, Adelaide have kicked more than 100 points nine times. Decent stuff.
Sloane is not the most skilful player in the competition. What he lacks in skill though, he makes up for in pure effort. Watch his last quarter against West Coast on the weekend and you’ll see what I mean. Gutsy player who has stood up in Adelaide’s midfield in 2o16.
I had to laugh during the week, when I read that Patrick Dangerfield and Rory Sloane were one and two respectively in the AFL Coaches Award. That is just funny. Nothing more need to be said.
The younger Crouch boy is developing into a fantastic midfielder. When Scott Thompson eventually calls it a day, this man is a shoo-in to fill that role permanently. His 17 disposal opening quarter against St Kilda when the game was on the line was just awesome to watch. He provides a great lesson in that he has been given consistent opportunity to develop confidence and right now it is paying dividends. Here’s hoping something similar can be achieved for his older brother in the coming weeks too.
A new era
The recruiting at this club has been nothing short of remarkable in recent time. Rory Atkins, Jake Lever and Jarryd Lyons are all developing into great footballers. They all have massive improvement left in them too and that has the making for some exciting times ahead.
At SANFL level, Alex Keath, Harrison Wigg and Jake Kelly are all showing positive signs.
The Not so good
Seriously, who thought giving an AFL reserves team an eight week block with four of those weeks as byes was a good idea. Terrible fixture effort by the SANFL this year. Someone actually ought to be sacked for it. The sooner Adelaide are out of there the better. Players like Brad Crouch and Cam Ellis-Yolmen have struggled for momentum with this stop start footy. It cannot ever be allowed to happen again.
Josh Jenkins and Brad Crouch are constantly in the headlines as talks about their futures intensify. Bit over it really. We’ve seen it all before. All the talk does is create rumours, innuendo and really doesnt do much else. Enough please.
In those opening weeks, it appeared Adelaide was trying to set new records every game for the most inside 50’s conceded. It has rectified itself over the last month or so and will need to keep heading that way if the Crows end up playing finals. You cannot allow that many defensive entries in September and win.
We didn’t get much information on it for about six weeks, but later learnt that Shaw is still suffering the effects of a concussion injury sustained months ago. That has to be a worry for him and the club.
For the first time since Adelaide Oval’s redevelopment, Adelaide fans voted with their feet and registered a crowd figure of 40,896 for the twilight clash against the Saints. This is the smallest crowd ever seen at a Crows game at Adelaide Oval. With another twilight game against Essendon in Round 19, it will be interesting to see what the number is. Twilight footy is a rubbish time slot and the big crowds this club regularly pull should be rewarded. It seems the AFL figure that the big crowds will come no matter the time slot. Well, perhaps no more. The same argument goes for a Showdown at 1.15pm on a Saturday afternoon and a game against the Dockers at 1.4opm on a Saturday. Awful.
The Verdict –
On paper, Adelaide should win nine of their last ten games. Geelong in Geelong the only one they most likely won’t start as favourite. There is a Showdown in there as well, which are always fifty-fifty. Paper however, doesn’t get you into finals and only going out there and getting the four points will do the trick and guarantee some September action.
Nine wins makes seventeen wins for the year and should sure up a top four spot. Drop one or two of these though and not even a home elimination final is a lock. It will be a massive end to the year for Adelaide and they need to continue the momentum of the last month when hostilities resume against North Melbourne next Thursday night.
For mine the biggest test will be depth, which is so far yet to be tested. Can those on the outer come in and play their role after being so frustrated by not getting a game so far in 2016? If they can, there is no limit to what this team can do in the next few months.
Adelaide also need a big second half of the year from Brodie Smith, Paul Seedsman and Richard Douglas who have all shown glimpses this season, but been a little off their best. Sort that form out and 2016 can go from good to great.
My Tip – Adelaide will win eight more games. Finish fourth or fifth, which secures a home final. From there the possibilities are endless. Bring it on.