Adelaide enjoyed a successful pre-season by winning the Wizard Home Loans Cup against Collingwood. During the regular season the good form continued, Adelaide was just one of three teams that did not drop out of the top half during the campaign.
A 56-point win over Fremantle was the best start and consistent form meant the top four was always up for grabs. However, Adelaide was hanging around the middle of the table as one of the best sides on 24 points come Round 11.
Wins over Victorian opposition proved to be decisive as the likes of Richmond, Essendon, Carlton and Melbourne were knocked over and Adelaide rose to fourth. By Round 19, the Crows were second with St Kilda, Sydney and West Coast the latest victims. Chasing Port Adelaide proved to be too much, though, and the Power held bragging rights on top as a Showdown loss in the final round consigned Adelaide to sixth.
The confidence returned in the elimination final against the Eagles and the Crows moved on to a Brisbane side chasing a three-peat. They were classy at home, winners by 42 points, ending Adelaide’s season.
Mark Ricciuto was named Club Champion and All-Australian before he was rewarded with the greatest honour an individual can receive in the AFL – the Brownlow Medal. He won in a remarkable three-way tie alongside Adam Goodes (Sydney) and Nathan Buckley (Collingwood) on 22 votes, ahead of Ben Cousins (West Coast), Gavin Wanganeen (Port Adelaide) and Shane Crawford (Hawthorn) on 21 votes.
He polled 14 votes in six games at one stage in a thrilling count, while teammate Andrew McLeod also enjoyed a successful count to finish 10th. With 18 votes, all of McLeod’s votes came from best on ground performances.
Former captain Mark Bickley retired from the AFL.