Stone the Crows (or at least their recruiting policy)

by Lynda Morphett

These are my ideas on how the Adelaide Footy Club could improve their recruiting (it probably applies to other clubs as well):

Recruiting criteria: Our recruiting criteria perhaps needs revising. (Without seeing it – can’t say for sure!) More focus on skilfulness and decision making ability, and less focus on beep tests, or those with pure athletic ability but constantly cause clangers or maybe possess a nice boy image, but are pretty average footballers!

Interstate clubs difficulties in attracting players: More lobbying the AFL about those potential draftees not wanting to be picked up by interstate clubs.  Rioli was excluded based on his deliberately poor responses to some of the recruiters questions. John Reid (Operations Manager) claimed he was so bad that they couldn’t even understand him at times…?  Surely the AFL needs to be aware that is happening and enforce some repercussions on players who are not willing to play for certain clubs? I didn’t think players had any choice in where they go – that’s suppose to be the reason for a national draft in the first place – not to disadvantage any club. Maybe these players feel they will receive more exposure, or have more of a media profile if they end up playing for Vic clubs.  If that’s the case let’s give SA Club players more media exposure. Or let’s try and push for our own SA Footy Show; or campaign to shows such as The Footy Show that constantly ignore SA players. Also I feel the club’s emphasis is on recruiting far too many interstaters and thus homesickness is of concern later on down the track.

That vital 1st round draft pick: We haven’t always chosen wisely! In particular, our first round pick in my opinion is the most important pick of all. And bar injury, should be ‘a ready to play come Round 1’ type player, especially these days, with all the development, elite competitions and programs conducted by the AFL and feeder competitions.  It seems players are maturing a lot faster these days.

Ready established players: Why always the need to take risks with unknown young ones, especially with round 4, round 5 or rookie picks?  Each year we see quite a few end up delisted after not even playing a single game for the club. The SANFL alone is littered with skilful and talented players that could make an instant impact. Why the need to recruit all young players? I admire those clubs that know how to recruit a mix of recruits, or those that target a particular key established player to really make a impact in the year their recruited, a la Stuart Dew types. Or the Saints – didn’t they have about 11 or so from other AFL clubs? Or Richmond’s recruiting of Robin Nahas. As for Luke Ball – the Crows should definitely recruit him – he could just be the difference in whether we make the grand final or not.

More characters/crowd pullers required: In this age of sanitised footy, there’s nothing like recruiting a player with character. You know the type: guaranteed to be a crowd puller!  Not sure we have one at the moment. Our midfield is full of similar types, or perhaps more accurately, clones! Certainly there should be more of the ‘character’ type players recruited.

Past delistings:  Some delistings have been nothing but mystifying. Just letting good players go for no other reason than to refresh the list? Torney, Hudson and Hart are all examples. In addition many young ones are simply delisted without even playing a game.

Get the recruiting formula right and your almost there!

About Lynda Morphett

Just a quick background on who I am: I am passionate gold member Crow Supporter, 47 years old, I have 3 teenagers raising them as a sole parent, and have always worked in the Public Sector in senior management roles such as Financial Accounting or Project Management. That is up until recently when I decided to take a TVSP Package and return to uni study with a view to changing my career direction into something more creative and meaningful. I have a degree in Accountancy, but have no real passion any more for figures or for the banal and rather ‘full of red tape’ public sector!


  1. As a long suffering Crows supporter, I have always felt disappointed with the Crows recruiting and list management practices. You mentioned the word ‘clones’ or like types, well I’ve often heard media commentators refer to our players as clones, and I must say I concur with that view!

    And no doubt our past first round picks have been disastrous for us. I even question our the wisdom of choosing last year’s first round pick – Phil Davis (who hasn’t even played a game for us yet), when we could have chosen someone much better such as Steele Sidebottom (who ironically was amongst the best players in that semi final we played against Collingwood!) or many others that played so well in season 2009. After all 2008 was reportably a quality draft.

    Yes I, like you, also query our recruiting practices and know we can do a lot better. Until we get this vital formula right we won’t be a serious grand final contender.

    As a side issue, I cannot fully understand why the Crows delisted Tom Lee after only 1 year on our list, there seems to be something more to this.

  2. I would have to disagree with you Lynda. As a crows supporter I am 100% behind are club in their current recruiting and list management. Look at our record we have not missed the finals once (2004) in the last nine years the most succeful home and away finals record of any club over 01-09 period. That wouldn’t have been possible if they have made poor recruitment decisions. As Neil Craig has mentioned the need to delist players such as Torney, Massie and Hart has enabled us to continually bring in new talent to the side. This has been a crucial element to our ongoing success. You only have to look at other clubs which let players go on too long and fail to introduce new blood into the side to see the ramifications this causes.

    Sure we haven’t had a great record for first round picks but this is not helped by never having early picks. Never in our history have we had a pick in the Top 5 and traditionally this has been where the guaranteed stars are located. After that it’s like going to Inglis Easter sales. Especially when you are trying to locate good talls who will not be matured footballers to early to mid 20’s. It’s high risk/high reward game picking the talls sure we had Meesen,Watts & Angwin. But now look a Tippett for example he was selected Pick 32 in 2006 draft. As mentioned a lot of our picks have been speculated in trying to find this type of rare gold (Key Forward), because it was what we had lacked and now we have found one, I feel the plan will now see benefits in the future. It is lot easy in finding small-mid types. Special mention to our recruitment of Vince (pick 32), Knights (pick 56), Mackay (pick 48) these players were not overnight stars but are all capable of being 200 game players for the club.

    Rendall has done a great job since coming to our club, we have recruited an exceptional talent in Dangerfield. The club was 100% on the money in not recruiting mature age players in last years. As this was a crucial draft to pick up the young players before the comprising drafts of Gold Coast and GWS. And I don’t expect any of players we drafted last year to play game time this year if they do it’s a bonus. They need time to develop and learn crows game plans/style.

    And Jeff c’mon a “long suffering Crows supporter” you have to be kidding me, think you need to go have lunch with few dogs, saints and tigers supporters.

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