It was perhaps one of the tightest seasons throughout the table with some distinct battles forming. After 11 rounds Adelaide was one of four teams tied on 32 points alongside Brisbane, Port Adelaide and Collingwood – undoubtedly three of the best teams at the time. Four teams on 24 points trailed the top quartet while another four teams sat outside the eight on 20.
Adelaide lost three consecutive games to drop back to the chasing pack, with a win in Round 15 saving the Crows from dropping to eighth. That win, against St Kilda, put the Club back on track and during a five-game winning streak defeated fellow finals hopefuls Geelong and Essendon.
While the chance for a top two finish had bolted – with Port Adelaide ultimately clinching first – Adelaide finished strongly in third place. A daunting trip to Brisbane ended in a 71-point thumping in a sign of what was to come for the Lions.
Due to some unfortunate rules at the time the MCG had to host one game a week during the finals and with Port Adelaide also hosting a semi-final, Adelaide’s home game was moved to the ‘G against Melbourne. In a wild game, Adelaide led by 40 points at quarter time before the Demons fought back with 15 goals in two quarters for a 22-point lead at three-quarter time. With 11 individual goalkickers Adelaide responded with a six-goals-to-one fourth term, securing a narrow win.
The Crows returned to the MCG against Collingwood and at half-time only six points separated the pair. Collingwood’s defence proved to be the difference, however, and the Magpies ground out a 28-point win. They moved on to the grand final where Brisbane made history with a third consecutive premiership.
Defender Ben Hart won his second Club Champion Award and earned his fourth All-Australian selection in a dominant year across half-back. His All-Australian nod came a decade after his first. Captain Mark Ricciuto joined him in the team as well.