AFL 1998 – Twenty Years On: Adelaide Crows (1st)

Those of who that may think that this series is merely a long and elaborate way of reminding everybody that the Crows had a stellar brace of unlikely premierships in 1997/98 are on the money disrespecting my motives and I’m sprung highly offended.


Andrew Eccles, James Thiessen, Peter Vardy, Mark Ricciuto, Mark Stevens and Ben Marsh all contacted me after last year’s article, imploring me to do it again for the 1998 season.


Early in the 1998 season, even finals looked unlikely, requiring an 8-3 finish to the season to gain a September slot. The old style Final Eight finals roster further helped their cause. The rest is magnetically etched onto VHS tapes gathering dust in the bleak suburban wasteland hopeful loungerooms of Adelaide (excluding the LeFevre Peninsula).


Some of these players later left seeking more salubrious and/or less stifling enviroments. Mods looked the goods in the green, purple, red, white etc of Fremantle, Lance Picioane left no forwarding address while Ben Marsh left no impression at Punt Road but Clay Sampson did somewhat better.


Kane Johnson thrived as a Tiger, Andrew Eccles not so as a Blue. Shaun Rehn became a yeoman ruckman in the brown and gold. Mick Malthouse liked Chad Rintoul’s work as both an Eagle and a Magpie.


The Crows were about to commence a decades long domination of the AFL, guided by the steady and predictable hand of Malcolm Blight who would go on to become the greatest coach of the modern era. Or so the legion of apricot slice eating SA football experts thought. How wrong we they were. There are some that reckon that Nathan Bassett is a better coach than Simon Goodwin. Will we ever find out?


I’m not expecting any responses like this one on Brett James, but there must be some wacky tales out there about Trent Ormond-Allen, Sarge Perrie or Tim Cook that you’ve been sitting on since the last time SA produced a multi-game test batsman. Bonus points are awarded if Matty Liptak did your hip replacement or Aaron Keating gave you some fixed interest tips. Quadruple points if Sgt Shane Ellen defected the HQ that you’d just purchased from Mark Riccuito Motors (LMVD 3232).


Let us know in the box below.





AFL Debuts 1998: Nathan Bassett, Sudjai Cook, Ben Marsh, Ian Perrie, Lance Picioane, Linden Stevens


Kept Under Wraps 1998: Tim Davis, Greg Dempsey, Ashley Fernee, Tom Gilligan, Steven Hall, Barry Standfield


Never Heard of Him: Steven Hall


Delisted at end of 1998: Tim Cook, Greg Dempsey, Ashley Fernee, Tom Gilligan, Aaron Keating, Nick Laidlaw, Clay Sampson, Barry Standfield, Linden Stevens, Sudjai Cook


Traded at end of 1998: Tony Modra (to Fremantle), Chad Rintoul (to West Coast)


Retired at end of 1998: nil


Thanks to , ,


The entire 1998 club series is available here


The Almanac has lots more Adelaide stories here



Read about The Women’s Footy Almanac 2018 HERE.

Copies of The Women’s Footy Almanac 2018 are available for sale via our online store.

About Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt

Saw my first SANFL game in 1967 - Dogs v Peckers. Have only ever seen the Dogs win 1 final in the flesh (1972 1st Semi) Mediocre forward pocket for the AUFC Blacks (1982-89) Life member - Ormond Netball Club -That's me on the right


  1. No way was Andrew Eccles 96 kgs.

    Steven Hall went on to have a distinguished career at WWT and coaching Henley.

    Imagine delisting 10 and trading two at the end of a back to back premierships! Different times.

  2. Well done, Swish. A great effort of stamina (and no little madness).

    You sir, are a true ‘Knacker!

  3. Great work again Swish.

    Although a year earlier we went to the Showgrounds the day after the grand final. Aaron Keating took the stage and evoked Muhammad Ali saying, “I am here. You are here.” That was it.

    I’ve not heard him speak since.

  4. Great work, Swishter!
    For us Kangaroos, this truly was the one that got away.

  5. And 12 players out the door after a flag?
    Amazing! That must be some sort of record.

  6. That’s the remarkable thing about those premiership years – the disparity between the players that ended up playing a LOT of football (McLeod, Edwards, Ricciuto, Hart, Smart) and those who played in a premiership but ended up playing comparatively little AFL footy (Keating, Thiessen, Eccles, Marsh, Sampson, Ellenx2, Rintoul). Not sure if that shows Blight made silk purses or unnecessarily burnt careers. Possibly both.

  7. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks all, especially for those list management observations.

    The Pre Season Draft that preceded 1999 found homes for fourteen players – it’s gone the way of the dodo now. The Saints rookie listed two blokes called Gowans. Not sure if they went on with it.

  8. Mark Duffett says

    Dave, that observation reinforces my suspicion that the appellation ‘premiership player’ is a touch overused as a yardstick of player quality.

  9. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    As a dual A9 AUFC premiership player, I resemble that remark, Duffett

  10. Barry Standfield, ex teammate of Shane Ellen. didn’t have the impact of him though.

    Look forward to the 1969 carnival teams.


  11. Mark Duffett says

    Never mind Swish, I have to wear that along with my Salisbury Under 9s undefeated premiers trophy too

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