Rock bottom welcomed Adelaide after four rounds with no wins and some whispers of a wooden spoon. While it was not a sign of a true top-eight push, Adelaide defeated eventual wooden spooners Richmond by 75 points to begin a gradual climb up the ladder.
After 12 rounds, Adelaide had five wins and with an eye on 2005 the Club decided Gary Ayres would not coach the side for another season. The plan was for Ayres to remain at the helm for all of 2004, but he left when he was told it was his last year. Assistant coach Neil Craig replaced him after Round 13 and the change in leadership brought some rejuvenation to the team.
Four wins from the last eight games saw Adelaide sneak out of the bottom four on percentage.
Ranked eighth overall for disposals, Mark Ricciuto was Adelaide’s Malcolm Blight Medallist, and he was named captain of the All-Australian side.
Several core players retired, including Nigel Smart and former North Melbourne forward Wayne Carey.