Season Review: Adelaide Crows 2010

Highlights:

Not a lot of highlights in a dark year for the Adelaide Crows, but the Round 11 game against the Fremantle Dockers sticks out as perhaps the moment of the decade for Adelaide. In Tyson Edwards 321st and last game, the Crows came up against an in-form Freo side at AAMI Stadium. It was clear from the outset that Adelaide had come to play for their mate, kicking 6.1 to 5.3 in the first quarter, before leading by 23 points at half time. The Dockers charged back however, but managed to cling on for an emotional 23-point win in front of 35,605 fans. Edwards put on a clinic, gathering 32 possessions and kicking two goals as Adelaide gave him one final memory.

The highlight of Adelaide’s game in 2009 was their high scoring and the amount of players they had that could score goals consistently. That went away in 2010, but it didn’t disappear. It was clear that the Crows of ’09 had to come to play against Essendon in Round 14 after booting 12 first half goals, before winning in a canter by 84 points, with Kurt Tippett kicking six, Patrick Dangerfield booting four and Taylor Walker and Ricky Henderson kicking three each.

The Crows mounted a serious finals charge in the second half of the year, and started to show some of the form that saw them as one of the premiership favourites at the start of the season. Up against current premiership favourite Geelong on their home turf, the Crows and Cats battled evenly in the first half, before a 7.5 to 4.6 second half saw the Crows upset Geelong by 11 points, and everyone in the AFL world started to turn their head towards South Australia as the sleeping giant in the Adelaide Crows looked like it was starting to awaken.

Returning to the scene of heartbreak is never easy, but it proved the tonic for an impressive outing for the Crows against Collingwood at the MCG in Round 21. With the last-minute defeat to the Pies in last year’s Semi-Final still burning deep within, the Crows jumped the Magpies, leading at every change up until three quarter time. With a 10 point advantage early in the final quarter, but a dominant final quarter by Collingwood saw them take the lead late in the game and eventually take the four points, but much credit went to Adelaide for putting on such a brave face for most of the game.

In the final game of the Home and Away season for the Crows, they were the host against St Kilda, and with club legends Andrew McLeod, Simon Goodwin, Brett Burton and Trent Hentschel all watching on from the sidelines, they were determined to send the retiring quartet off on a good note. Despite all being on the wrong side of the white line and wearing suits, they were perhaps the biggest driving force for Adelaide as a very even game eventuated under sunny skies, and the Crows led by 10 points at quarter time. 3.2 to 0.2 in the final term saw Adelaide finish the season off on a high, winning by 28 points.

Lowlights:

Basically everything from Rounds 1 and 6 were the lowest ebb of the 2010 season. It all started with a 56 point loss to the Fremantle Dockers in the west, before the Swans broke a six-game losing streak against the Adelaide Crows at AAMI stadium a week later. An inspired Melbourne outfit lifted in the final quarter to defeat Adelaide in Round 3, before Carlton hammered the Crows on their home turf in Round 4. The Western Bulldogs accelerated away in the second half of their Round 5 encounter to win comfortably, before a come-from-behind victory by the Power in Showdown XVIII. This meant the Crows and Tigers were the only winless sides up to that point of the season, and funnily enough, both sides played each other a week later, in which Adelaide won by 50 points.

Losing to Port Adelaide once in a season hurts the Crows immensely, but losing to them twice is unbearable, not to mention the drubbing they received from them in the NAB Cup. Despite having much more fans than their South Australian counterparts, it’s the wins that satisfy them, and the Crows failed to do that in 2010.

Another lowlight was the poor form and inconsistency shown by many of the players that took gigantic leaps in the successful 2009 season. This will be touched on in detail in the ‘sliders’ section.

The biggest disappointment of the season however, was the injury to club stalwarts Andrew McLeod, Brett Burton, Trent Hentschel and Simon Goodwin. The former three combined for just a total of 21 matches for 2010, while the skipper Goodwin managed 16 games before succumbing to an ankle injury that effectively ended his career. All four were honoured in the Round 22 victory against St Kilda, but it would’ve tasted a lot better if they were out on the field helping their teammates.

Improvers:

The biggest improver for the Crows in 2010 was Richard Douglas. Known as more of a fringe-player before the start of the year, Douglas cemented his position emphatically in the midfield, and he took his game to another level, winning the Club Champion Award after averaging 21.4 disposals a game and kicking 17.20. A fully-flying Douglas and Bernie Vince together in the midfield is a frightening prospect, not to mention the likes of Patrick Dangerfield and Andy Otten.

Brent Reilly had his most productive season since 2006, averaging 19.7 possessions and 4.7 tackles a game in ’10. He had a case of the ‘Lewis Jetta’s’ though, kicking 1.8 for the year.

After playing a total of two games for the Brisbane Lions in 2007, Chris Schmidt was delisted, before being thrown a lifeline by the Adelaide Crows. He got picked for the Round 3 game against Melbourne, and held his spot until Round 11, where he went missing and didn’t reappear until Round 18, where he impressed in the wet conditions against the Western Bulldogs a week later with 24 touches. A fan favourite at the Crows.

Big Ivan Maric also took his game to another level in 2010, further strengthening his grip on the number one Ruck role at West Lakes. He averaged 10.3 touches and 17.6 hitouts a game, and his gallop along the wing before kicking a goal from 70m out against Collingwood in Round 21 was one of the highlights of the season for the Crows.

Just 20 years old and already with one of the biggest reputations at Adelaide, Patrick Dangerfield improved his game in 2010, kicking at least a goal in all but six of the games for the season. He averaged just under 16 touches a game and booted 26.19. Adelaide has a tough decision to make in the coming months, who to appoint as the new skipper following the retirement of Goodwin. Will it be this man or Nathan van Berlo?

The enigma wrapped in gold, red and blue that is Taylor Walker is hard to contain. The bubbly forward, full of emotion and pride, proved that his clever first season of AFL was no fluke, following it up with a stellar 2010 in which he played 18 games and kicked 35.28. Booted four goals in a game three times during the year while he snagged three majors in a match three times. A crucial player on his day, and won Adelaide a couple of important games throughout the year. Not bad for a kid who was pick 75 in the 2007 draft.

Myke Cook managed nine games for the ’10 season, but showed enough in those games that he will be an important member of the Adelaide side in years to come. Averaged 15.6 touches while also won 12 hitouts, the most in the AFL for a 184cm player.

Sliders:

After having a career best season in 2009 and announcing himself as one of the best small forwards in the game, Jason Porplyzia went backwards by a fair way in ’10. He played 19 games and kicked just 22.17, compared to the 57.20 he scored in 24 matches last season. He had the slightest of possession-rate increases, but that’s about all for him. His highest bag of goals for the year was just three.

Having a stellar breakout year is always tough because you have to back it up the year after. Bernie Vince found it very tough. He played 16 games and averaged 23.8 disposals, down on his 27.5 average last year. He also had minimal impact on the scoreboard, kicking 7.1, but he did manage to set a career-high disposal count with 36 against Melbourne in Round 13. Needs to work harder.

The only claim to fame that Chris Knights had for season 2010 was that he still had the best rig in the AFL. After an amazing breakout year in 2009 with saw him average 17.6 disposals and kick 43.25, Knights played just five games this year due to injury and poor form. He averaged 15 touches in those games and kicked 2.2, but a fully flying Chris Knights is vital to Adelaide’s premiership hopes.

Kurt Tippett’s amazing 2009 season which saw him cement his position as Adelaide’s key goalkicker was marred in 2010 due to early season poor form, but he did improve later on in the year. He kicked 55.31 and averaged 10.8 touches in ’09, but just 9.1 disposals and 46.34 in ’10. You might not think he deserves to be in the ‘sliders’ category with those stats, but based on his poor form early in the year, this is the spot he belongs in. Kicked just 16 goals up until Round 12, but he exploded into some serious form after that, with 18 goals in the next four matches. Went rather quiet again after that purple patch. If you haven’t noticed, the four names I’ve mentioned in this category have been Adelaide’s best performers from last year, so it’s no wonder why the Crows struggled this season.

David Mackay experienced a small form drop in 2010, averaging 18.9 disposals, down on his 20.2 he set last season. Also failed to hit the scoreboard much, kicking 1.4 compared to the 7.4 last year. Adelaide missed his speed and pace through the midfield.

Giggle moment:

Nothing funny comes out of Adelaide…

Lament:

The 0-6 start to the season was impossible to cover, and they paid for it late in the year when they were fighting for an unlikely finals berth.

The injuries to stars Andrew McLeod, Simon Goodwin, Brett Burton and Trent Hentschel, not to mention having an underdone Chris Knights for most of the year.

Tony Armstrong drink-driving a month ago, blew .213. Not a good image for the club at all.

What next?

The premiership window is still very much open for Adelaide. The time is right, they have one of the best lists in the competition, and the spine of the team is excellent. Ben Rutten at full back, Phil Davis/Scott Stevens at centre half back, classy midfielders, Taylor Walker at centre half forward and Kurt Tippett in the goalsquare. Not to mention everyone else, as aforementioned, having Douglas, Nathan van Berlo, Vince, Dangerfield, Brad Symes, Knights and David Mackay in the midfield is a mouthwatering prospect for the Crows. They unveiled some good kids in ’10 as well, Davis is perfect to fill the hole left by Nathan Bock, Matthew Jaensch is a classy half forward type who knows where the goals are, and I think in a few years, Henderson and Tippett will headline one of the best forward lines in the game, with Porplyzia, Knights, Dangerfield and Walker on the flanks and pockets. That is a premiership forward line. Sam Jacobs and Richard Tambling will be in Adelaide colours next season, and should compliment a rather weak defence and ruck division. If everything falls into place for the Crows next season, don’t be surprised to see the flag go to South Australia.

About Josh Barnstable

21 year old North Melbourne supporter from country Victoria. Currently living in Melbourne studying a Bachelor of Sports Media. Dreams of becoming a sports journalist and broadcaster.

Comments

  1. Damian Watson says:

    Good read Josh,

    I’m sure the Crows hierachy would feel a similar sense of optimism for next season with promising youngsters at their disposal.

    However I would classify the 2002 Semi Final as the Crows most memorable victory of the decade, it certainly trumps this years performance against the Dockers in my opinion.

  2. Barney, Luke Hodge is 184cm also, and had more hitouts than Myke Cook (16) . All of the rest of your exceptional work in this article has been rendered irrelevant.

    I should show this to my Crow-supporting friend…

  3. Sorry Barney. All of the rest of my work in the above comment has been rendered irrelevant. Matthew Boyd has 20 hitouts. Incidentally, Daniel Cross is 187cm and got 70 hitouts, beating his 42 last season. And Chance Bateman is 175 and got an impressive 16.

  4. Steve Healy says:

    Adam, Hodge is actually listed at 185

  5. Ahh Adam, I thought I could type that face about Myke Cook without having to look it up.

    Good on you for researching it and making me look like a fool though.. :)

  6. Type that fact**

  7. Steve – Source? Wiki, AFL Tables and Footywire all say 184. Has he grown an extra centimetre recently?

  8. I’d have Henderson, Jaensch, Davis and Sloane ahead of Schmidt and Cook as improvers.

    Schmidt hasn’t even been able to secure a spot on our senior list in 2011.

    The other four were really in our best 22 by round 22 ahead of Schmidt and Cooky.

    Otherwise, I think you’ve done a great job. 2010 was very disappointing but we’re entering a new era now so hopefully they’re only exciting times ahead.

  9. Thank you for the comment Anne.

    I can’t see Henderson, Jaensch and Davis as improvers, as they only debuted this year, so technically they didn’t really improve at all, unless you base it on SANFL/AFL form.

  10. And i’m extremely sorry, I totally forgot about Rory Sloane..

  11. Steve Healy says:

    Adam, Hawthorn’s list says Hodge is 185, i think thats the most reliable source

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