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Adelaide Football Club - Crows History Locker

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 third game against Central District.

Ian Callinan provided great leadership to the SANFL squad

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.

Honour Board

First SANFL game 2014

2014Heath Younie8thIan CallinanIan CallinanIan Callinan (27)
2015Heath Younie7thIan CallinanIan CallinanJames Podsiadly (46)
2016Heath Younie3rdLuke CareyJonathon BeechHarry Dear (37)
2017Ryan O’Keefe8thHugh Greenwood, Alex KeathScott ThompsonTroy Menzel (24)
2018Ryan O’Keefe10thAlex Keath, Cam Ellis-Yolmen, Reilly O’Brien, Paul Hunter, Damon HillPatrick WilsonBen Davis (22)
2019Heath Younie3rdMatthew WrightPatrick WilsonTyson Stengle (36)
2020Did not play in SANFL due to COVID 19
2021Michael Godden8thMatthew WrightKieran StrachanBilly Frampton (24)
2022Michael Godden3rdMatthew WrightKieran StrachanMatthew Wright (35)
2023Michael Godden3rdMatthew WrightJackson HatelyLachlan Gollant (42)

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

2022 – Jay Boyle

2023 – Blayne O’Loughlin

Matthew Spencely won the Dean Bailey Award in 2015