Adelaide bulldozed Richmond by 94 points in Round One to send a statement to the AFL – this team meant business. As the Club’s third season rolled on they earned their place in the eight and fought through to the preliminary final.
Across the first half of the season, Adelaide bounced up and down the ladder until back-to-back wins over Brisbane and Footscray steadied the side. The wins earmarked a run of six wins in seven games and following a 93-point win over St Kilda and a 139-point thrashing of Richmond, Adelaide hit fourth position on the ladder.
But with five games to play the Crows were not safe and two losses sent them out of the top six (at the time just six teams made finals). Adelaide held on, though, and wins over contenders Melbourne and Collingwood secured the first ever finals appearance for the Club.
Just like the Club’s first ever AFL game in 1991, Adelaide defeated Hawthorn in its finals debut – a 15-point win at the MCG. The Crows moved on to face Carlton but with a goalless second term and a final score of 8.20 meant too many missed opportunities proved costly in an 18-point loss.
Adelaide survived due to the finals system at the time and moved into the preliminary final against Essendon, the winner would play in the Grand Final. Adelaide started strong and lead by 42 points at half-time. They could only kick two second-half goals, however, and the Bombers rallied to a thrilling 11-point win. One week later they lifted the premiership trophy.
Adelaide’s star-studded team had five players named All-Australian – Nigel Smart, Ben Hart, Tony McGuinness, Greg Anderson and Tony Modra. McGuinness was the 1994 Club Champion as well.
Modra’s goalkicking exploits are another major highlight of the year. He booted a Club record 129 goals, including 10 during the finals. Gary Ablett Snr claimed that year’s Coleman Medal thanks to a superior regular season tally, 124-119.