Games Won 13
Ladder Position 7
Premiership position: 7th in 16-team competition (13 wins, 10 losses). Finished minor round 5th (13 wins, nine losses)
Coach: Neil Craig
Captain: Simon Goodwin
The bookends to Adelaide’s 2008 season were black and white, literally.
In February the Crows travelled to Dubai to crush Collingwood on a converted polo pitch in the NAB Cup and they finished against the same team at AAMI Stadium, a 31-point elimination final loss ending Adelaide’s September dreams.
Between these distinct points it was a year of development, on and off the field.
The pre-season with an overseas twist was mainly positive. Adelaide exposed some younger players to the competition and reached the NAB Cup grand final, losing to St Kilda by five points at AAMI Stadium.
Adelaide’s strong form was perhaps a slight surprise, having made major list changes in the off-season. For the first time since 1992 Mark Ricciuto was not part of the Crows squad. The retired 2003 Brownlow Medallist was one of 13 list changes. Others to depart at the end of 2007 included four-time leading goalkicker Scott Welsh, Ian Perrie, Martin Mattner, Ben Hudson and Matthew Bode. Additionally, ruck Rhett Biglands was unavailable after injuring a knee in the 2006 preliminary final and then requiring a second knee reconstruction early in 2008.
Patrick Dangerfield was the headline early selection among seven national draft picks but did not move to Adelaide from near Geelong, staying home to complete Year 12 studies. He did make his AFL debut, however, late in the season.
The first half of the season provide a mix of results – from the three-point loss to the Western Bulldogs in round one when Nathan Bock missed a 45-metre shot on goal on the siren, to the heroic Showdown win in round three and round seven win over North Melbourne, in front of the 1998 premiership players.
By the halfway mark Adelaide had eight wins in the bank but it then endured a five-game losing streak that threatened to send the team into a spiral.
Adelaide pulled out of the nose-dive by thumping Sydney at the SCG and then won four of the last five. The last round victory against the Bulldogs briefly moved Adelaide into fourth spot but St Kilda’s big win over Essendon the next day dropped Adelaide down to fifth and into a challenging elimination final at AAMI Stadium.
The Crows trailed by 19 points at one stage in the first quarter, then hit back to lead by two goals at half-time. Collingwood pulled away again in the third term, and although Adelaide closed to within seven points midway through the final term, the visitors kicked the last four goals of the match. Scott Stevens was Adelaide’s best, kicking a career-high six goals.
It was an abrupt end to the year after the Crows looked well placed to challenge the top teams in their fourth consecutive season of finals.
Bock took all before him in 2008 and established himself as the competition’s premier centre half back. He had 35 disposals and 16 marks against Hawthorn in Round 12, when he kept Lance Franklin to one goal, and it was no surprise when he was named in the All Australian team and won the 2008 Crows Club Champion award.
Brett Burton was Adelaide’s leading goalkicker with 34 but the Crows missed his spark after he ruptured his ACL against Collingwood in round 15.
In his first official year as captain Simon Goodwin was again a fantastic contributor. He began in blistering form, kicking seven goals against West Coast in round two. Despite struggling with a back injury for a large part of the season, Goodwin finished second in the club champion count.
A career best year saw Michael Doughty collect the Best Team Man award, and he finished fifth in the best and fairest.
2008 was a breakout season for Porplyzia, who booted 32 goals in 18 games, including a match-winning and brave bag of five against the Swans in round 17. Porplyzia’s sore shoulder became an issue in the latter half of the season, continually popping in and out of the socket during games, training and even at home. The 23-year-old battled through the pain to play a significant role in getting the Crows to the finals but was forced to pull out before the elimination final against Collingwood.
Kurt Tippett and David Mackay, both injured for most of their first year at the Crows, were among eight players to debut for the Club in 2008.
Andrew McLeod became the third Crow (after Ben Hart and Mark Ricciuto) to play 300 AFL games, reaching the milestone in Round 19 against Richmond. But some Crows favourites – Nathan Bassett, Rhett Biglands and Ken McGregor – retired at the end of the season. Bassett played his 200th AFL game in round 13 and McGregor celebrated 150 games in round five.
Awards and Achievements
All Australian: Nathan Bock
Best Team Man: Michael Doughty
Mark Bickley Award: David Mackay
Members MVP: Nathan Bock
Leading goalkicker: Brett Burton
Emerging Talent: Kurt Tippett
Club Coach’s Award: Richard Douglas
Showdown Medal: Bernie Vince (round three).
- Andrew McLeod, Simon Goodwin, Graham Johncock, Ben Rutten, Nathan Bock and Brett Burton played for the Dream Team against Victoria at the MCG in the Australian Football Hall of Fame tribute match. Victoria won by 17 points.
- At the end of the year Bill Sanders retired from the Board, completing 17 years of official service. He was the Club’s first general manager from late in 1990 until the end of 2001, joined the AFC Board in 2003, and then served as chairman from 2004 until the end of 2008.
- Adelaide’s win against Essendon in round 20 was the first time the Crows had beaten the Bombers in Melbourne.
- Bock and Scott Thompson represented Australia in the International Series against Ireland. Tests were played in Perth and Melbourne.
- Early in the season Adelaide confirmed its plans for a major training facility redevelopment at AAMI Stadium, to be completed for the 2010 pre-season.
- The Crows renewed their major partnership with Toyota for a further three years.
In: Brad Symes (Port Adelaide), Brad Moran (North Melbourne), Patrick Dangerfield (Geelong U18), Andy Otten (Oakleigh U18), Jarrhan Jacky (Subiaco), Myke Cook (Sandringham U18), Tony Armstrong (Calder U18), Aaron Kite (Calder U18), Taylor Walker (NSW Scholarship upgrade, Broken Hill). Rookies: Ed Curnow (Geelong U18), Brodie Martin (Sturt), James Moss (Central District), Jared Petrenko (Woodville-West Torrens).
Out: Mark Ricciuto (retired), Ben Hudson (Western Bulldogs), Martin Mattner (Sydney), John Meesen (Melbourne), Scott Welsh (Western Bulldogs), Matthew Bode, John Hinge, Ian Perrie, Darren Pfeiffer, Jason Torney, Andrew McIntyre (rookie), James Turner (rookie), Rhys Archard (rookie).
First game players
David Mackay, v Western Bulldogs at Telstra Stadium, 23/3/08 (debut order 155)
Brad Symes, v Western Bulldogs at Telstra Stadium, 23/3/08 (156)
Kurt Tippett, v Western Bulldogs at Telstra Stadium, 23/3/08 (157)
Jarrhan Jacky, v Fremantle at AAMI Stadium, 19/4/08 (158)
James Sellar, v North Melbourne at AAMI Stadium, 3/5/08 (159)
Andy Otten, v Hawthorn at AAMI Stadium, 14/6/08 (160)
Brad Moran, v Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium, 20/7/08 (161)
Patrick Dangerfield, v St Kilda at Telstra Stadium, 24/8/08 (162)
|Club Champion top dozen|
|1: Nathan Bock 162 votes|
2: Simon Goodwin 151
3: Scott Thompson 147
4: Tyson Edwards 137
5: Michael Doughty 135
6: Nathan van Berlo 130
7: Robert Shirley 118
8: Scott Stevens 116
9: Jason Porplyzia 115
10: Andrew McLeod 114
11: Graham Johncock 110
12: Nathan Bassett 107
(Each coach allocated votes from 0-4 for every player)
|34 Brett Burton|
33 Simon Goodwin
32 Jason Porplyzia
22 Richard Douglas
20 Scott Stevens
19 Tyson Edwards
16 Scott Thompson
15 Bernie Vince
|Brownlow Medal votes|
|15 S. Thompson|
6 van Berlo
4 Burton, Knights, McLeod
2 Gill, Rutten, Griffen
2008 Life Members
The 2008 squad
Back row (from left): Jason Porplyzia (locker number 40), Richard Douglas (26), Luke Jericho (30), Ken McGregor (16), Taylor Walker (13), Bernie Vince (17), Kris Massie (3), Andy Otten (22), Chris Knights (21), Scott Thompson (5), Robert Shirley (12), Andrew McLeod (23), Bryce Campbell (31). Third row: David Noble (assistant coach), Peter Jonas (assistant coach), Aaron Kite (28), Nick Gill (1), Trent Hentschel (37), Ivan Maric (20), Kurt Tippett (4), Rhett Biglands (35), Jonathon Griffin (6), Brad Moran (2), James Sellar (29), Scott Stevens (27), Nathan Bock (44), Ben Hart (assistant coach), Paul Hamilton (assistant coach). Second row: Graham Johncock (18), Brad Symes (15), Tyson Edwards (9), Nathan Bassett (8), Simon Goodwin (captain, 36), Neil Craig (senior coach), Ben Rutten (25), Brett Burton (24), Nathan van Berlo (7), Brent Reilly (33), Michael Doughty (11). Front row: Greg Gallman (34), David Mackay (14), James Moss (rookie, 43), Tony Armstrong (38), Brodie Martin (rookie, 41), Myke Cook (39), Jarrhan Jacky (10), Jared Petrenko (rookie, 42), Ed Curnow (rookie, 45), Patrick Dangerfield (19).
Adelaide introduced a new away jumper in 2008, based on the design used for the Club’s first pre-season guernsey in 1996. A key factor behind the change was that the AFL deemed the previous main away guernsey clashed with seven AFL clubs. The new away jumper was first worn in the opening round of the season against the Western Bulldogs and the Crows also kept the red clash jumper for three away games.
Home front and Jonathon Griffin, Nathan van Berlo; new away jumper front and back; Graham Johncock and Ben Rutten in the red clash jumper.