Games Won 8
Ladder Position 13
Premiership position: 13th in 16-team competition (8 wins, 14 losses)
Coach: Malcolm Blight
Captain: Mark Bickley
After winning consecutive AFL flags, the party did not continue for Adelaide in 1999.
“You win two in a row and you are freaks, three and it’s a miracle,” coach Malcolm Blight said after the 1998 grand final.
But the Crows won only eight games, plunged to 13th spot (16-team competition), had a shocking run with injuries and lost their premiership coach Blight in a sudden fall from the amazing highs of the previous two years.
Adelaide fans also had to cope with the absence of the club’s most exciting player of the first eight seasons. Full forward Tony Modra was traded to Fremantle after kicking 440 goals for the Crows in 118 AFL games. He had been dropped during the 1998 finals after missing the 1997 grand final with a knee injury sustained in the preliminary final.
Shaun Rehn’s season-ending knee injury in a pre-season game at Football Park in February rocked the Crows and then ruck colleague Ben Marsh also needed a knee reconstruction after the opening round.
Premiership players Peter Caven, Shane Ellen, Peter Vardy, Kane Johnson, David Pittman, Matthew Robran, Rod Jameson, Andrew Eccles and Troy Bond were among others to miss large chunks of the season.
Adelaide lost the opening game to the Western Bulldogs by 13 points at Football Park but a 28-point win over Port in the round six Showdown gave it a 4-2 start and the Club appeared to be well-placed for another September campaign.
Five consecutive losses, however, sent the club into a spin. After the round 15 loss to Carlton at Princes Park a “burnt out” Blight announced he would retire at the end of the season. The following round Adelaide led the Bulldogs by 40 points at three-quarter-time but lost by two points.
Blight used 180cm Trent Ormond-Allen in the ruck when Adelaide defeated St Kilda by 33 points in round 18 but losses to Brisbane, Sydney, Port Adelaide and North Melbourne completed the season. In Blight’s last game as coach – and with original Crows Matthew Liptak and Jameson playing their last games – the Kangaroos were ruthless in a 76-point win at Football Park.
Chairman Bob Hammond said: “We had come off two unbelievably successful years, and not to be able to perform at that level regularly was frustrating, it depressed Malcolm, I don’t think he would deny that. He felt he had done everything in his power to maintain that level of performance.”
Ben Hart claimed his first Club Champion trophy and therefore was the inaugural winner of the new Malcolm Blight Medal. He was also named in the All-Australian team for the third time. Andrew McLeod was runner-up and Nigel Smart finished third.
Mark Stevens, fourth in the Club Champion voting and winner of the Best Team Man award, was another consistent performer despite filling gaps at both ends of the ground.
Brett Burton, Adelaide’s first pick at the 1998 national draft, thrilled footy fans in his first AFL season by taking a series of spectacular marks and kicking 25 goals. He was runner-up to Adam Goodes in the AFL Rising Star award and his marking was listed as one of the “ten big events of ’99” in the AFL Record.
Darren Jarman took some time to build fitness but then kicked a career-best 58 goals and at the other end Nathan Bassett was solid at full back to finish sixth in the best-and-fairest but broke his leg in the last game.
- Crows Tyson Edwards, Ben Hart, Brett James, David Pittman, Mark Ricciuto, Matthew Robran and Nigel Smart represented South Australia in its last State-of-Origin game. SA, coached by Graham Cornes, lost to Victoria by 54 points at the MCG. Hart, Ricciuto, Rehn and Smart also represented Australia against Ireland in the International Rules series.
- Adelaide’s retained surplus was $546,300 after the Club paid $1.97 million to the SANFL for the sub-licence fee.
- For the first time, Adelaide wore a different away guernsey in 1999.
- A new two-storey administration block at the northern end of the Crows’ training facility opened at the end of 1998. It featured a new “Crowmania” store.
- Football Park celebrated its 25th anniversary.
Awards and Achievements
All Australians: Ben Hart
Best Team Man: Mark Stevens
Coach’s Award: Ben Hart
Members MVP: Ben Hart
Emerging Talent award: Brett Burton
Leading goalkicker: Darren Jarman
In: Brett Burton (Woodville-West Torrens), Tyson Stenglein (Subiaco), David Gallagher (Sandringham U18), Bryan Beinke (Port Magpies), Lucas Herbert (North Adelaide), Clint Kirey (East Fremantle), Ken McGregor (Woodville-West Torrens), Brodie Atkinson (Sturt), Darryl Wintle (North Adelaide), Stuart Bown (Norwood), Matthew Golding (Glenelg, promoted off rookie list during season), Dean Howard (West Adelaide, promoted off rookie list during season), Jarrod Twitt (Sturt), Scott Mathews (Woodville-West Torrens).
First game players
Brodie Atkinson, v Western Bulldogs at Football Park, 27/3/99 (debut order No 97)
Brett Burton, v Western Bulldogs at Football Park, 27/3/99 (98)
David Gallagher, v Western Bulldogs at Football Park, 27/3/99 (99)
Lucas Herbert, v Western Bulldogs at Football Park, 27/3/99 (100)
Bryan Beinke, v Hawthorn at Waverley Park, 3/4/99 (101)
Darryl Wintle, v Hawthorn at Waverley Park, 3/4/99 (102)
Matthew Golding, v Sydney at Football Park, 25/4/99 (103)
Tyson Stenglein, v West Coast at Subiaco Oval, 16/5/99 (104)
Dean Howard, v Essendon at Football Park, 4/6/99 (105)
Ken McGregor, v Geelong at Football Park, 4/7/99 (106)
|Club Champion top dozen|
|1: Ben Hart 364 votes |
2: Andrew McLeod 240
3: Nigel Smart 216
4: Mark Stevens 213
5: Mark Ricciuto 179
6: Nathan Bassett 178
7: Brett Burton 173
8: Darren Jarman 168
9: Kym Koster 159
10: Mark Bickley 153
11: Brett James 128
12: Simon Goodwin 125
(Five members of the match committee selected the five best each game and rated them out of ten)
|58 Darren Jarman|
25 Brett Burton
21 Andrew McLeod
20 Tyson Edwards
16 Peter Vardy
14 Matthew Robran
13 James Thiessen
|Brownlow Medal votes|
|7 McLeod, Smart|
3 Johnson, Koster, Robran, M. Stevens
2 Bickley, Burton, Edwards, Gallagher, Hart, Jarman, Liptak
1 Jameson, Ricciuto
1999 Life Members
The 1999 squad
Back row (from left): Ben Hart (34), Shane Ellen (13), Ken McGregor (16), Lucas Herbert (1), David Pittman (15), Shaun Rehn (52), Ben Marsh (31), Ian Downsborough (17), Ian Perrie (22), Mark Stevens (19). Third row: Brett Burton (24), Simon Goodwin (36), Andrew Eccles (33), Tyson Stenglein (20), Peter Caven (44), Matthew Robran (10), Nathan Bassett (8), Kane Johnson (28), Rod Jameson (35), Bryan Beinke (25), Darren Jarman (3). Second row: Brett James (11), Tyson Edwards (9), Kym Koster (5), Andrew McLeod (23), Matthew Liptak (27), Peter Vardy (30), Brodie Atkinson (2), Trent Ormond-Allen (21), Clint Kirey (42), Troy Bond (18). Front row: Darryl Wintle (46), James Thiessen (29), Matt Connell (14), Malcolm Blight (coach), Mark Bickley (captain), Nigel Smart (7), Darel Hart (assistant coach), Mark Ricciuto (32), Lance Picioane (4), David Gallagher (38), Simon Tregenza (12). Not in photo (rookies): Stuart Bown (41), Matthew Golding (37), Dean Howard (45), Scott Mathews (43), Linden Stevens (39), Jarrod Twitt (40).
After eight seasons with the one jumper style for premiership season home and away games, Adelaide introduced its first away guernsey in 1999. It featured more red on the front, thinner hoops covered by a version of the Crows logo, and red numbers on a shield. The new jumper was first worn against Hawthorn in round two, breaking a run of 186 premiership games for Adelaide’s main jumper. The basic style of the away jumper lasted seven seasons. It was not worn in the 1999 pre-season series, with the Club seeking maximum exposure for its release before its debut. This was the last season of “sportswool” fabric.
Troy Bond in 1999; Darren Jarman; Matthew Robran’s away jumper; James Thiessen and Brett Burton.