Adelaide in SANFL
The Adelaide Football Club first entered a team in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) in 2014.
The decision to allow the Crows to have a dedicated reserve team competing in the local competition instead of having their listed players spread across all the clubs was ratified by the SANFL in 2013, after lengthy negotiations.
Conditions of entry included playing all games “away” and an annual $400,000 licence fee.
Adelaide’s plan to develop a State League team for the Crows gained momentum when Brenton Sanderson arrived at the Club as Senior Coach at the end of 2011. But the issues facing Crows-listed players not required to play at AFL level had often been debated throughout the Club’s history.
Heath Younie was the inaugural coach of the Crows in the SANFL. A former SANFL star with North Adelaide, Younie had experience as a player in three different State leagues (VFL, SANFL and WAFL) and had been working in the Crows development coaching team.
Ian Callinan – a four-time SANFL Premiership player with Central District – was the club’s first SANFL captain and assistant development coach, taking on the role after playing 32 AFL games for the Crows as a mature age recruit.
The SANFL Crows – wearing a guernsey designed and voted for by fans – made their debut against North Adelaide at Prospect Oval on April 6, 2014. Adelaide secured its first win in the second game against Central District.
Adelaide’s SANFL side reached the finals for the first time in 2016, advancing to the preliminary final but knocked out by eventual premier Sturt. Three seasons later it again reached the preliminary final, this time losing to Glenelg.
The Crows Development Squad, involving community players from across the State, has provided valuable support and depth for the SANFL team.
Lachlan Murphy, who moved from Melbourne to Adelaide to join the 2017 development squad, was the first to progress to an AFL list when the Crows picked the small forward at the 2018 rookie draft. He made his AFL debut that season and was then elevated to the primary list.
Tom Hutchesson (GWS Giants) and Jy Farrar (Gold Coast) have also been drafted from the squad and many development players have moved back into the SANFL system with other clubs.
Each season the best development squad player is recognised with the Dean Bailey Award, in honour of the former Senior Assistant Coach, who died in March 2014.
First SANFL game 2014
|YEAR||COACH||RANK||CAPTAIN||CLUB CHAMPION||LEADING GOALKICKER|
|2014||Heath Younie||8th||Ian Callinan||Ian Callinan||Ian Callinan (27)|
|2015||Heath Younie||7th||Ian Callinan||Ian Callinan||James Podsiadly (46)|
|2016||Heath Younie||3rd||Luke Carey||Jonathon Beech||Harry Dear (37)|
|2017||Ryan O’Keefe||8th||Hugh Greenwood, Alex Keath||Scott Thompson||Troy Menzel (24)|
|2018||Ryan O’Keefe||10th||Alex Keath, Tom Doedee, Cam Ellis-Yolmen, Reilly O’Brien, Paul Hunter||Patrick Wilson||Ben Davis (22)|
|2019||Heath Younie||3rd||Matthew Wright||Patrick Wilson||Tyson Stengle (36)|
|2020||Did not play in SANFL due to COVID 19|
|2021||Michael Godden||Matthew Wright||Kieran Strachan|
Dean Bailey Award winners (development players)
2014 – Michael O’Malley
2015 – Matthew Spencely
2016 – Luke Carey
2017 – Lachlan Murphy
2018 – Corey Davey
2019 – Matt Merrett
2021 – Jay Boyle