AFC Hall of Fame: Malcolm Blight
Malcolm Blight, the coach who guided the Adelaide Crows to back-to-back AFL premierships in 1997 and 1998, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2015.
Not much was missing from the Blight football story when he was named as Adelaide’s new coach at the end of the club’s unsuccessful 1996 season.
Blight’s career highlights included a Magarey Medal at Woodville, a Brownlow Medal at North Melbourne in 1978 and two VFL premierships as a player with the Kangaroos. He also was a century goalkicker in the VFL and SANFL, represented and captained both his home and adopted states, and then coached Geelong into three Grand Finals.
The missing piece was a premiership as a coach but a year after joining Adelaide this box had also been ticked. The Crows stunned the competition with a stirring winning run through September completed by a 31-point Grand Final win over St Kilda.
But Blight says he was not the one ticking the boxes. “I never came here with that goal of ‘I must win the premiership’,” he said after the win. “I thought I could help the Adelaide Football Club and Bill Sanders (chief executive) and John Reid (football manager) wouldn’t leave me alone until I said I’d take the challenge.”
Adelaide and Blight won another flag the following year, making it a total of seven wins from eight finals appearances in two seasons. “To win two flags means you’re freaks and to win three would take a miracle.”
But midway through a less successful 1999 season a drained Blight told the Club he was going to finish at the end of the year: “Malcolm Blight and football is parting company.” Blight’s time with the Crows finished with four losses and 13th spot on the ladder but the words “two-time premiership coach” prevail. “Absolutely no question, easily the best coach I have experienced through my football life,” said Crows chairman Bob Hammond.