Adelaide Crows: more of the same in 2010

5 March 2010

Written by: Matt de Neef

Adelaide has a wonderful knack of producing the goods when everyone seems to doubt them. Almost unnoticed, the Crows have made the finals in eight of the last nine seasons. And in 2009, they once again defied the critics in such convincing style.

2009 review: The Crows produced an impressive – at times breathtaking – year, finishing fifth at the end of the home-and-away season. Even better, they won a final and pushed Collingwood to its very limits the next week. The amount of confidence and experience the Crows gained from last year’s finals series was invaluable and will only benefit them in the long run.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Adelaide’s 2009 season was how it developed a forward line that can now kick a winning score. Since the departure of star full-forward Tony Modra a decade ago, Adelaide had been criticised for not having a potent forward line and relying too heavily on its outstanding defence to restrict the opposition to low scores. Enter Kurt Tippett.

The big man became a revelation at full-forward. He booted 55 goals and along with small forwards Jason Porplyzia and Chris Knights, combined to kick 155 goals between them and create many headaches for opposition defences. Tippett is Adelaide’s most important player and they are thrilled to have been able to persuade the potential star to stay in Adelaide instead of joining the new Gold Coast Football Club.

Despite their age, veterans Andrew McLeod, Tyson Edwards and captain Simon Goodwin continued to produce outstanding football, with the latter earning All-Australian selection for the fifth time. But the emergence of young midfielders Bernie Vince – who won last year’s Best and Fairest – and David MacKay certainly impressed the coaching staff and has given Crows fans something to look forward to in future years.

Player to watch in 2010: According to some football commentators, Patrick Dangerfield is about to take the football world by storm. And the scary fact is he is still only 19.

Approaching his third season in the AFL, the talk coming out of Adelaide about Dangerfield’s pre-season is all positive. He has bulked up significantly and has been working very hard to improve his fitness. Dangerfield played as a small forward last year and showed a good sense for the goals. But if Neil Craig decides to play him more through the midfield this year, expect Dangerfield to win a lot of footy and to take his game to a new level.

What to expect in 2010: More of the same from last year.

They don’t look like a top-four side on paper, but sides above them will certainly be challenged. They will go into this season knowing that they can trust their forward line to kick big scores. If Taylor Walker – a highly rated junior – can break into the team and perform consistently at the top level, the Crows will be hard to stop. They are such a complete team and tick all the boxes in terms of the personnel required to win a flag.

Their major downfall is their inability to perform during finals. Yes they’ve made finals eight out of the last nine seasons, but none of those have included a grand final appearance. Few would be surprised if the Crows were able to win one or two finals, but don’t expect them to go too much further.

Final ladder position: 7th

Ben Waterworth is in his second year of a Bachelor of Journalism. You can read more of his work at his blog, A short sport thought.