Games Won 17
Ladder Position 3
Premiership position: 3rd (17 wins, 7 losses). 2nd after minor round (16 wins, 6 losses).
Coach: Neil Craig
Captain: Mark Ricciuto
Another dominant home-and-away season by Adelaide ended prematurely at the preliminary final in season 2006.
Despite losing the pre-season NAB Cup grand final, the Crows appeared to be the team to beat for much of the premiership season. Adelaide won 14 of the first 16 rounds and its two losses were by a combined total of five points.
But a shock 82-point loss to West Coast in round 17 dented confidence and a terrible run of injuries and sickness hit the Crows as it stumbled into the finals in second spot.
Even so, Adelaide advanced to a home preliminary final. But minor premier West Coast charged into the grand final, leaving the Crows ruing another lost opportunity.
After the rapid rise up the ladder in 2005, there were few list changes for the 2006 campaign. But promising key forward Fergus Watts, who kicked ten goals in one of the SANFL finals with the Eagles, asked to be traded to St Kilda after not playing an AFL game in his second season.
Adelaide reached the NAB Cup Grand Final with wins against Port, Hawthorn and Melbourne. It controlled most of the decider to lead by 13 points at the last break but Geelong made the most of its chances to win by eight points. Robert Shirley had a shot at a “super goal” from outside the 50m arc late in the game but hit the goal post. Under the pre-season rules, there was no score because the ball rebounded back into play.
Adelaide started the regular season in fine form, with Mark Ricciuto booting six goals in a 34-point win over Collingwood at Telstra Dome.
Ben Hart became the first Crow to play 300 AFL games in round two, when the Crows fought back from a 27-point deficit at three quarter-time against West Coast to briefly snatch the lead before the Eagles won by two points.
In the next 14 rounds Adelaide lost only once – to Richmond by three points in round eight – and banked some powerful wins against the Western Bulldogs (by 77 points), Port (50), Kangaroos (56), Carlton (64), Geelong (95) and Essendon (138), when Trent Hentschel kicked eight goals in Andrew McLeod’s 250th AFL game, and the Crows kicked a record 30.8 (188).
Ricciuto booted five goals in his 300th AFL game in a 72-point win against the Kangaroos in round 16. Adelaide wore a new heritage guernsey featuring the colours of all ten SANFL teams from 1990, when the Crows were formed.
But then the Crows travelled to Perth. Losing to West Coast was not the surprising part but the margin and the way the Eagles dominated the midfield and cut through Adelaide’s defence was alarming.
Adelaide won the next week against Collingwood but then lost to Fremantle, the Western Bulldogs and Port before finishing the minor round with a 58-point win over Melbourne.
Key players, including the club’s three leading goalkickers, were sidelined through this period. McLeod tried to play through a foot problem but then needed surgery, had an infection, and missed four games across seven rounds; Brett Burton tore a hamstring tendon in round 18 and did not return until the preliminary final; Ricciuto was hit by a serious mystery illness (parvovirus) and did not play after round 20; Hart missed the last month with an Achilles problem after breaking his arm mid-season; and Hentschel wrecked a knee in the round 21 Showdown.
Chris Knights (quad), Ken McGregor (hamstring), Luke Jericho (shoulder) and Hayden Skipworth (hamstring) were others missing late in the season.
Adelaide’s 2005 leading goalkicker Scott Welsh and Nathan Bock returned late in the year after injuries but the side was forced to plug gaps.
Fremantle travelled to Adelaide for the first week of finals searching for its tenth consecutive win and appeared on track when it kicked the first four goals of the qualifying final.
But the Crows slowly fought back into the contest and trailed by four points at the last break after a brace of Bock goals. From there, Adelaide held the Dockers scoreless and won by 30 points, then Ricciuto, McLeod, Burton and Hart were among the injured players wearing club suits in the team song.
Two weeks later Adelaide made a bright start against West Coast in the preliminary final. Burton and McLeod returned and were influential early as the Crows led 21-4 at quarter-time and then 40-18 at half-time, although they lost Rhett Biglands to a serious knee injury during the second quarter.
The game turned sharply after the break. West Coast took over the midfield through Ben Cousins, Dean Cox, Daniel Kerr and Chris Judd and with a quarter to play, the margin was eight points in Adelaide’s favour. But West Coast again dominated the next 15 minutes, hit the front for the first time and was 16 points clear before the Crows could reply.
Just when it seemed over, Adelaide made a late surge. Bock goaled twice, his second difficult kick from wide in the outer forward pocket cutting the gap to four points. But West Coast won a free at the next centre bounce, held possession and kicked a goal after the siren.
A week later the Eagles won the 2006 AFL Premiership with a one-point win over Sydney.
Goodwin joined Ricciuto as the only three-time winners of Adelaide’s Club Champion award, adding 2006 to the 2005 and 2000 awards. Tyson Edwards was runner-up, for the third time.
Goodwin also was named Best Team Man and was one of three Crows named in the 2006 All-Australian team. Andrew McLeod and Nathan Bassett joined him, with back pocket Bassett enjoying one of the best seasons of his career.
Graham Johncock finished third in the Club Champion voting and polled heavily in both finals. He toured Ireland with the Australian International Rules team.
Ricciuto, forced to play as a permanent forward after battling leg injuries through the pre-season, led the club’s goalkicking with 44 in 17 games.
The Emerging Talent award went to Jason Porplyzia, who kicked three goals in his AFL debut in round five and played 11 games, including both finals. Porplyzia had been redrafted by the Crows two years after being cut from the rookie list.
Two-time Club Champion Hart was not offered another contract, ending an outstanding career that started when he was the youngest player listed by Adelaide in its first season (1991) in the AFL.
- Adelaide signed its first New South Wales scholarship player – Taylor Walker, from Broken Hill.
- Hayden Skipworth won the Jack Oatey Medal as best-on-ground in the SANFL grand final, helping Woodville-West Torrens to the premiership. But he was delisted by the Crows at the end of the season.
- Popular Property Steward Rex Leahy retired after 16 years with the Crows. Head trainer Gary Goudge, who had been at the Crows since its inception, also retired.
- The Club generated an operating surplus of $1,674,634 for 2006.
Awards and Achievements
All Australians: Simon Goodwin, Andrew McLeod, Nathan Bassett
Best Team Man: Simon Goodwin
Mark Bickley Award: Nathan van Berlo
Members MVP: Tyson Edwards
Leading goalkicker: Mark Ricciuto
Club Coach’s Award: Matthew Bode
Emerging Talent Award: Jason Porplyzia
Showdown Medal: Tyson Edwards (round six).
Michael Tuck Medal (pre-season grand final): Simon Goodwin
AFL Coaches Association Player of Year: Simon Goodwin (joint winner with Sydney’s Adam Goodes)
In: Richard Douglas (Calder U18), Darren Pfeiffer (Norwood), Bernie Vince (Woodville-West Torrens), Alan Obst (Central District), Jason Porplyzia (West Adelaide). Rookies: Brad Sugars (Glenelg), Adrian Bonaddio (Oakleigh U18/Port Melbourne), Sam Elliott (South Adelaide), Tom Redden (Glenelg).
Out: Fergus Watts (St Kilda), Chris Ladhams, Jacob Schuback, James Begley, Joshua Krueger, Matthew Smith, Rowan Andrews (rookie), Ryan Nye (rookie).
First game players
Bernie Vince, v Collingwood at Telstra Dome, 3/4/06 (debut order 146)
Jason Porplyzia, v Western Bulldogs at AAMI Stadium, 29/4/06 (147)
Ivan Maric, v Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium, 6/5/06 (148)
Richard Douglas, v Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium, 27/8/06 (149)
|Club Champion top dozen|
|1: Simon Goodwin 194 votes|
2: Tyson Edwards 158
3: Graham Johncock 156
4: Andrew McLeod 144
5: Nathan Bassett 142
6: Matthew Bode 128
7: Robert Shirley 126
8: Ben Rutten 125
9: Michael Doughty 114
10: Brett Burton 112
11: Marty Mattner 106
12: Brent Reilly 103
(4,3,2,1 by the four coaches)
|44 Mark Ricciuto|
42 Trent Hentschel
41 Brett Burton
32 Matthew Bode
22 Scott Thompson
21 Ken McGregor
20 Rhett Biglands
15 Tyson Edwards
|Brownlow Medal votes|
10 Burton, Goodwin
7 McLeod, Thompson
3 Bassett, Biglands
2 Massie, McGregor, Perrie
1 Bode, Doughty
2006 Life Members
The 2006 squad
Back row (from left): John Hinge (38), Brett Burton (24), Scott Welsh (17), Kris Massie (3), Nathan Bock (44), Ken McGregor (16), Luke Jericho (30), Martin Mattner (39), Robert Shirley (12), Brent Reilly (33), Bernie Vince (28), Darren Pfeiffer (19), Scott Thompson (5). Third row: David Noble (assistant coach), Chad Gibson (29), Trent Hentschel (37), Adrian Bonaddio (rookie, 41), Ben Hudson (13), John Meesen (2), Jonathon Griffin (6), Rhett Biglands (35), Matthew Clarke (4), Ivan Maric (20), Scott Stevens (27), Alan Obst (1), Ian Perrie (22), Paul Hamilton (assistant coach), Don Pyke (assistant coach). Second row: Michael Doughty (11), Nathan Bassett (8), Ben Rutten (25), Andrew McLeod (23), Mark Ricciuto (captain, 32), Neil Craig (senior coach), Ben Hart (34), Simon Goodwin (36), Tyson Edwards (9), Jason Torney (15), Graham Johncock (18). Front row: Nathan van Berlo (7), Matthew Bode (10), Hayden Skipworth (14), Sam Elliott (rookie, 42), Richard Douglas (26), Chris Knights (21), Brad Sugars (rookie, 31), Jason Porplyzia (40), Tom Redden (rookie, 43).
Adidas returned to partner the Crows in 2006 and there were some major changes to the jumpers. Blue side panels were added to the home jumper, splitting the lower hoops, and the gold sleeve cuff was also removed. Blue replaced red on the top panel of the away jumper, the front bands were thicker, the Crow was bigger, the number was gold with a white outline and the shield was removed from the back. Adelaide also launched a new predominantly red “clash” guernsey for use when required. For the heritage round Adelaide wore a jumper with the Club crest on the front (as it did in 2004) but the front also featured all the colours of the ten SANFL clubs from 1990, when the Crows were formed.
2006 home jumper front; Tyson Edwards; updated away jumper, Rhett Biglands; Edwards, Matthew Bode and Hayden Skipworth in the new red clash jumper; Scott Thompson wears the 2006 heritage jumper.