Throughout the 22 round season Adelaide only sat in the eight twice prior to Round 20, but they made it count at the right time. An 0-3 start included a pair of heavy losses against Sydney and Port Adelaide before the Crows hit the winner’s list in some close games.
Mid-season wins over Richmond, Brisbane and Geelong kept the year alive before several inconsistent patches would have had fans feeling nervous – then ecstatic. It is important to note Adelaide’s win over Brisbane was the last loss the Lions suffered in 2001; they won 16 straight to claim the premiership. Late wins over top eight bound Hawthorn and Carlton lifted the Crows alongside their Victorian counterparts at the death and not even a final round loss to Fremantle could knock the Club out. A case of the Collywobbles for the Magpies also helped secure a place in the top half.
Adelaide entered an elimination final against Carlton with confidence, they had beaten them by 53 points just one month ago. But this time it was one-way traffic as a wayward Adelaide slumped to a 68-point loss and a quick exit from finals.
The form of Andrew McLeod lifted the Club during rough patches, the Club Champion earned his place in the All-Australian squad and a second-place finish in the Brownlow Medal. He polled 21 votes to finish two votes behind Brisbane’s Jason Akermanis. The Lion snatched the medal with a best-on-ground performance in Round 21. McLeod had six best-on-ground games during his season.