Adelaide’s Best Side in 2016: Discuss

The 2015 trade period has dramatically changed the outlook for the Crows starting squad for Round 1 of 2016.

The departure of Patrick Dangerfield is no doubt a massive blow, but David Noble and Justin Reid have been able to fill holes and netted some nice compensation for a player that could have walked for nothing.

It is essential Adelaide’s prized youngster Brad Crouch from the 2011 mini draft returns to full health, after missing the entire season with recurring foot injuries. While he wasn’t recruited as a replacement for Dangerfield, he has all the qualities to become Adelaide’s best midfielder if he can get his body right. If his foot soreness flares up again there’ll be fears he’ll never be able to fulfil his full potential.

Adding Curtly Hampton and Paul Seedsman provides a great deal of flexibility for new coach Don Pyke to work with. It allows Brodie Smith to potentially go into the midfield, one of Hampton or Seedsman to play on a wing or half back, and sends David Mackay back to the SANFL. His four-year contract looking sillier by the week.

Sam Kerridge could only manage just the one game in 2015 after falling behind Matt Crouch, Lyons, Grigg, Knight and Atkins in the pecking order. His exit along with pick 28 is a great price to pay for such an exciting talent in Troy Menzel. He slots in beautifully into the Crows forward line, which lacked that creative medium forward. Being a left footer provides an extra dimension to work with.

Walker and Jenkins act as the two gorilla forwards, Betts and Cameron are both elite crumbers, Lynch is the link player between the midfield and forward line and also can play as a third tall, and Menzel is the hybrid small/medium forward similar to Stringer without the explosive power. It’s a forward six that is complete and set for the next 5-10 years, each fill a specific purpose and all can hit the scoreboard in big numbers.

The midfield is deep despite the absence of Patrick Dangerfield. Brad Crouch (if fit), Thompson, Sloane, Douglas, Smith, Jacobs is the starting six with Ellis Yolmen, Matt Crouch, Grigg, Knight, Atkins, Lyons, van Berlo, Mackay and Henderson all fighting for the final 3-4 spots. Riley Knight was excellent in Adelaide’s finals series, playing with flair, winning huge 1 on 1 contests and impacting the scoreboard. I like Grigg’s foot skills and his ability to hurt opponents offensively so I’d probably favour him over Lyons, van Berlo and Mackay. Matt Crouch’s disposal is shaky at times but his ball winning ability is too hard to ignore considering Dangerfield move to Geelong. It’s time to favour the future who have shown ability over the likes of van Berlo, Mackay and Henderson. These older heads have been underwhelming for years and had plenty of chances to prove the doubters wrong.

The back six is young but has plenty of promise. Laird and Brown are so composed under pressure, Talia is one of the best key backs in the league and Lever has immense leadership qualities for a youngster and isn’t afraid to take the game on. Hartigan is prone to errors but equally has stood up on big occasions. Cheney found his way in and out of the side during the year, mostly due to match ups. He’s a strong mark for his size and can be relied upon when required. The half back line is going to be intriguing with a number of questions to be answered during the preseason. Matthew Jaensch is coming back from an ACL injury, queries as to whether Smith finally joins the midfield full time, can Henderson find consistency to retain his spot. Seedsman and Hampton have been marked down for the half back line or a wing but neither are guaranteed a spot in the best 22.

Here’s my best 22 for Adelaide, with the unlucky ones to miss out listed below. I have Matthew Jaensch listed with an asterisk as he won’t be available for round 1 but his form before his injury was excellent. It’s going to be hard for him to make his way into that squad but he’s one of our best ball users so don’t be surprised if he plays from mid year.

B Laird Talia Lever
HB Seedsman Hartigan Brown
C Smith B. Crouch Douglas
HF Menzel Walker Lynch
F Betts Jenkins Cameron
R Jacobs Thompson Sloane
IC Knight Hampton Grigg
M. Crouch

Jaensch, Lyons, Atkins, van Berlo, Henderson, Mackay, Cheney, Kelly, Shaw, Otten, Ellis-Yolmen

Not considered: McGovern, Dear, Wigg, Ramsey, O’Brien, Lowden, Gore.


For the complete list of 2016 Almanac club predictions – here

About Henry de Cure

Crows member, avid user of twitter, Australian Wheelchair Tennis player. Studying Journalism (2nd year) at the University of South Australia.


  1. Dave Brown says

    Good analysis, Henry. Isn’t it wonderful, this mythical world where we are injury free. Let’s see if we can make it through the pre-season without a season / career ending training accident. The other two that might see a position change are Laird and Cameron. It will also be interesting to see the management of Scott Thompson – he needs 15 games to get to 300 but will his pace be sufficient for Pyke’s new game plan and the AFL in general? I would have Henderson on the bench purely for his ability to play a variety of roles. Good stuff.

  2. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Well done Henry.

    Let’s hope that Jacobs continues to stand up, any prolonged absence would leave a huge hole.

    Is there room for Eddie, Charlie and Menzel at the same time – seems a little be light for me. Who plays as a defensive forward if we need one?

    Sloane will be important, but will need to be given more protection now that he is #1.

    How do you think Laird would go on the ball if he was given a crack there?

  3. Willow Wilson says

    That is a good summary Henry, I agree with your thoughts on McKay and Grigg, an elite left foot and I really hope he can cement himself in the team. I think Grigg has the skills and size to be Adelaide’s Jordan Lewis, even if he could be 50% of Lewis Adelaide would be a better team.
    In terms of your team I would swap Brown and Laird, Brown to me is more of a traditional stopping back pocket, whereas Laird is an intercept mark and run off half back.
    Exciting times ahead!

  4. Gore will play senior footy this year. I was disappointed to see him leave Geelong.

  5. Surely Otten is back to his best this year?

  6. If Seedsman is in the Crows’ starting 18 then the Crows will be battling to make finals.

  7. I know you cannot fit them all in, but no room for Cam Ellis-Yolmen ?

    He is a ripper, and if he cannot get a game in Adelaide then he is more than welcome at Arden St.

  8. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks Henry depth has certainly improved and provided the Crows don’t have a horrific injury run they are a huge chance winning SANFL flag.Seedsman and Hampton help re depth,Menzel is the class recruit with Gore the unknown.The honesty is how many games,Dangerfield carried the Crows to the line he is a amazing footballer and irreplaceable will be surprised if the Crows make the 8

  9. Good job Henry. I agree with you although like Swish am not sure that Betts, Cameron and Menzel can all play.

    We’ll see how LWOP (Life With Out Daddy) unfolds. It’ll be a major point of interest and anxiety.

  10. *Paddy not Daddy. Who’s your Paddy?

  11. Hmm I think Menzel doesn’t really play purely small so it’s not like we’re running with 3 midgets in there. Think he offers too much in that forward line to be left out.

    Eddie and Charlie both apply good defensive pressure, around 3 tackles per game for each of them. Don’t think I can find pressure acts. Maybe Douglas can be the rotating mid through there to provide a bit more of a defensive game.

    I would have liked to get CEY in there too, think he’d be first in once Thompson retires. Almost impossible to have everyone fit at once so can still see him playing a fair chunk of games next year. His form was really good before his injury, and once Campo took over he fell out of favour big time. Was a mystery. Hampton and Grigg probably 21-22 players in there and hard to have any conviction on those two picks.

    Laird roamed through the midfield a lot in 2015, winning 24.4 disposals per game. He’s so strong, courageous, always looks reasonably composed. Consistent too.

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