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Adelaide Football Club - Crows History Locker


Games Won 8

Ladder Position 12

Premiership position: 12th in 16-team competition (8 wins, 14 losses).
Coach: Gary Ayres (until round 13), Neil Craig (rounds 14-22)
Captain: Mark Ricciuto

Adelaide’s swift fall from top eight calculations fast-tracked the end of the Gary Ayres era during the 2004 season.

Four losses to start the minor round and only four wins in the first 13 matches led to a change of senior coach, Ayres stepping down after he was told by the Club that he would not be offered a new contract.

Assistant coach Neil Craig took over from round 14 on an interim basis and after a six-week audition was officially appointed to the senior coach position on August 12. The Crows won four games under Craig to finish in 12th spot, missing the finals for the first time since 2000.

Adelaide was savaged by injuries. Simon Goodwin played ten games because of a serious groin injury, Ben Hart (back, hamstring) appeared in only six games, Mark Stevens (knee, groin) played three games and Brett Burton (groin) missed nine games.

Wayne Carey injured in neck in round 12 and did not play again, and Nigel Smart battled a foot injury early in the year and spent some time in the SANFL before retiring and then playing his 278th AFL game in round 13.

Adelaide completed the pre-season challenge series with a win against Port Adelaide in Kadina but the premiership season started badly, the Crows losing to the Kangaroos by 75 points in the opening round at AAMI Stadium.

Subsequent losses to Brisbane, Fremantle and St Kilda increased the pressure on all at West Lakes. After Adelaide broke through with a 75-point win over Richmond, there was a frustrating mix of good and bad in the next two months.

The Crows upset Port Adelaide in Showdown XV, Mark Ricciuto and Matthew Clarke starring in the 32-point win in McLeod’s 200th AFL game.

After a big home loss to Essendon in round eight, Adelaide jumped to a 31-point lead early in the second term at Telstra Dome but lost by three points.

Then, in round 11, Adelaide led Carlton by 25 points at three-quarter-time but the Blues kicked seven goals in the final term and hit the front when Brendan Fevola goaled from 50m out in the western pocket. Graham Johncock had a difficult chance to win the game from deep in the pocket with 30 seconds to play but his kick drifted to the right.

Carey hurt his neck the next game against West Coast in Perth and later announced his retirement, having played 28 games and kicked 56 goals for the Crows. Two-time premiership player Smart retired before round 13 but played in the 32-point win over the Western Bulldogs, which turned out to be Ayres’ last game in charge.

Adelaide crushed Melbourne by 72 points at AAMI Stadium to give Craig an ideal start to his coaching tenure. But narrow losses to Sydney and Fremantle were followed by a record 141-point loss to Brisbane in round 17, after the Lions kicked 21 goals in the second half. It was a new low point but Mark Ricciuto recalled: “There was no point in Craigy being angry at that point, because he had just taken over. He knew that he had inherited a group of footballers who were probably low on confidence and had underachieved.”

The next week the Crows kicked 0.10 in the first half against the Kangaroos, who only managed 1.8 to the same stage. Adelaide eventually won the low-scoring clash by seven points.

There were some good signs in wins against Richmond and Geelong but the minor round ended with a 25-point loss to eventual premiers Port.

Ricciuto continued to be Adelaide’s stand-out performer.  He won a third Club Champion award, was named captain of the All-Australian side, and was runner-up to West Coast’s Chris Judd in the Brownlow Medal count. Ricciuto received 23 votes – one more than when he won in 2003 – but finished seven behind Judd.

Tyson Stenglein was Club Champion runner-up, with new Life Member Tyson Edwards in third place. Scott Welsh kicked 36 goals in 16 games to be the Leading Goalkicker. His injury-interrupted season featured bags of seven and eight goals in rounds 13 and 14.

Ben Rutten was one young Crow to benefit from late season opportunities, impressing in the full back role.

Other news

  • Inaugural Board director Bob Campbell retired at the end of the year after 14 years of service, including three as chairman. Former CEO Bill Sanders replaced him as chairman at the end of 2003.
  • Adelaide honoured the original Crows at the Heritage Round game against the Kangaroos. The first players of 1991 and coach Graham Cornes were presented to the crowd and the players wore a heritage guernsey that listed the names of every player who had represented the Crows in the first 13 seasons.
  • Adelaide reported an operating surplus of $1,174,112 and provided an extra $270,000 to SANFL clubs to subsidise positions for technical development officers.

Awards and Achievements

All Australians: Mark Ricciuto (captain)

Best Team Man: Matthew Clarke

Coach’s Award: Mark Ricciuto

Members MVP: Tyson Edwards

Emerging Talent award: Ben Rutten

Leading goalkicker: Scott Welsh

Past Players and Officials Player of the Year: Mark Ricciuto

Showdown Medal: Mark Ricciuto (round seven)

AFC Life Membership: Tyson Edwards

List changes

In: Scott Stevens (Sydney), Fergus Watts (Sandringham U18), Ben Hudson (Werribee), Joshua Krueger (Glenelg), Hayden Skipworth (elevated rookie). Rookies: Tim Hazell (Hawthorn), Rowan Andrews (Clarence), Brad Dabrowski (Woodville-West Torrens),

Out: Mark Bickley, Andrew Crowell, Ben Marsh (Richmond), Ben Nelson, Daniel Schell, Matthew Smith.

First game players

Scott Stevens, v Brisbane at AAMI Stadium, 3/4/04 (player debut order 138)

Ben Hudson, v Fremantle at Subiaco, 11/4/04 (139)

Luke Jericho, v St Kilda at AAMI Stadium, 17/4/04 (140)

Nathan Bock, v Richmond at Telstra Dome, 23/4/04 (141)

Fergus Watts, v Western Bulldogs at AAMI Stadium, 20/6/04 (142)

Related links

Club Champion top dozen
1: Mark Ricciuto 159 votes
2: Tyson Stenglein 146
3: Tyson Edwards 145
4: Andrew McLeod 144
5: Graham Johncock 119
6: Ken McGregor 115
7: Matthew Clarke 100
8: Nathan Bassett 98
= Trent Hentschel 98
10: Brett Burton 82
11: Scott Welsh 82
12: Michael Doughty 81
(4,3,2,1 by each of the five coaches)
Leading goalkickers
36 Scott Welsh
27 Wayne Carey
21 Graham Johncock
18 Tyson Edwards
17 Mark Ricciuto
15 Trent Hentschel
13 Andrew McLeod
Brownlow Medal votes
23 Ricciuto
6 Edwards
5 Welsh
3 Stenglein, Skipworth
2 McLeod, Clarke, Goodwin
1 Bassett, McGregor, Doughty, Johncock, Massie, Carey
2004 Club Champion Mark Ricciuto

Life Members

2004 Board: Back row (from left): Andrew Payze, Paul Rofe, Alan Sheppard, John Sutton. Front row: Steven Trigg (CEO), Bill Sanders (chairman), Peter Hurley (deputy), Bob Campbell.

The 2004 squad

Back row (from left): Scott Welsh (17), Tim Hazell (rookie, 42), Nathan Bassett (8), Ken McGregor (16), Trent Hentschel (37), Nathan Bock (44), Aidan Parker (rookie, 29), Matthew Smith (1), Luke Jericho (30), Jason Torney (15), Martin Mattner (39). Third row: Darren Jarman (assistant coach), Neil Craig (assistant coach), Rowan Andrews (rookie, 43), Josh Krueger (31), Fergus Watts (6), Wayne Carey (2), Matthew Clarke (4), Rhett Biglands (35), Ben Hudson (13), Brad Dabrowski (rookie, 41), Scott Stevens (27), Ben Rutten (25), Ian Perrie (22), James Begley (28), Peter Curran (assistant coach), Mark Mickan (assistant coach). Second row: Mark Stevens (19), Nigel Smart (7), Tyson Stenglein (20), Simon Goodwin (36), Mark Ricciuto (captain, 32), Gary Ayres (senior coach), Ben Hart (34), Andrew McLeod, Brett Burton (24), Brent Reilly (33), Tyson Edwards (9). Front row: Michael Doughty (11), Chris Ladhams (40), Matthew Bode (10), James Gallagher (21), Jacob Schuback (38), Kris Massie (3), Hayden Skipworth (14), Ronnie Burns (5), Robert Shirley (12), Graham Johncock (18).

2004 Jumpers

There was another collar change in 2004 with the Russell Athletic logo moving to below the collar block. Adelaide wore its first “heritage round” jumper, featuring the Club’s crest on the front, in round 18 against North Melbourne,

The 2004 front (Andrew McLeod, Mark Ricciuto, Nigel Smart); Luke Jericho and Ken McGregor (16) in the away jumper; Simon Goodwin celebrates in the club’s first heritage ,jumper.