Games Won 18
Ladder Position 3
Premiership position: Third in 18-team competition (18 wins, 7 losses). Finished minor round 2nd (17 wins, five losses)
Coach: Brenton Sanderson
Captain: Nathan van Berlo
Brenton Sanderson promised a “quick spike” in performance when he took over as senior coach of the Crows and the team delivered on that promise in 2012.
In Sanderson’s first year at the helm, Adelaide jumped a remarkable 11 spots on the ladder, climbing from 14th place in 2011 to one kick away from a Grand Final berth. The Crows surprised to claim 17 wins from 22 minor round games, including seven from their first eight matches to record the best start in the Club’s history.
The home-and-away season had an equally impressive start. Among the highlights was a tense five-point win against ladder leading Sydney at the SCG in round six. Both Showdown clashes belonged to Adelaide, which enjoyed a 19-point win in round five and a 58-point thumping in round 15.
The second Showdown was Adelaide’s 500th AFL game since 1991. Sam Jacobs dominated with a record 61 hit-outs to win the Showdown Medal and long-serving team manager Barrie Downs was also recognised for reaching his 500-game milestone with the Club.
Big home wins over top eight sides West Coast and Fremantle late in the season ensured Adelaide was right behind ladder-leaders Hawthorn.
The Crows finished second on the ladder at the end of the home-and-away season to claim a home Qualifying Final against Sydney, at AAMI Stadium. But the much-anticipated return to the finals did not start well with Sydney controlling the game to win by 29 points.
The team made amends with a gutsy ten-point Semi-Final win over Fremantle the next week to progress through to the Preliminary Finals for the first time since 2006.
The season ended abruptly, however, with an agonising five-point loss to Hawthorn at the MCG. Adelaide led at the main break, helped by Hawthorn’s inaccuracy, but as they continued to pepper the goals, Hawthorn soon took the lead. Adelaide did not give up, hitting the front late in the fourth term through Graham Johncock. The Hawks responded with two quick goals and despite a late goal to Taylor Walker the Crows ran out of time.
Improvement across the board contributed to the team’s steep upturn in form in 2012.
All-Australian midfielder Patrick Dangerfield, dominant ruck Jacobs, emerging leader Rory Sloane and leading goalkicker Walker were among the young players to enjoy career-best seasons. Jacobs finished fourth in the best-and-fairest and won the coveted Best Team Man award while Walker kicked a career-best 63 goals, despite missing six games. Jacobs, Walker and Brent Reilly were named in the AA squad but missed out on the team.
But reliable onballer Scott Thompson continued his rich vein of form, earning All-Australian selection for the first time and securing back-to-back Club Champion awards. Thompson polled votes in every game to join Andrew McLeod, Mark Ricciuto, Simon Goodwin and Ben Hart as a multiple winner.
Young full-back Daniel Talia also had a breakout year, holding down a key position in defence and being recognised with the AFL’s NAB Rising Star award.
A game plan based on winning contested possession contributed to bigger scores. The Crows kicked 357 goals and 284 behinds in 2012 for a total of 2,426 points – the highest return in a single season to this point in the Club’s history.
Unfortunately, the excitement heading into 2013 waned when the Crows were involved in an AFL contract investigation after Kurt Tippett sought a trade to Sydney.
Adelaide and its chief executive Steven Trigg pleaded guilty to three charges in relation to “conduct prejudicial to the draft” and “conduct in breach of the total player payments provisions” at the hearing at AFL House in Melbourne. The charges stemmed from the contract that Tippett signed with Adelaide in 2009.
The Crows were fined $300,000 for breaching the salary cap and tampering with the draft.
Trigg was fined $50,000 and banned from any club role for six months, while football manager Phil Harper was suspended for two months and his predecessor John Reid, was suspended for six months. Adelaide, which voluntarily handed back its first two picks in the 2012 national draft, was also banned from the first two rounds of the 2013 national draft.
“The club accepts the sanctions from the AFL Commission and accepts that the AFL does not tolerate any breach, intended or unintended,” Adelaide said in a statement shortly after its punishments were handed down.
Awards and Achievements
All Australians: Scott Thompson, Patrick Dangerfield
Best Team Man: Sam Jacobs
Mark Bickley Award: Sam Kerridge
19th Man Award: Patrick Dangerfield
Leading goalkicker: Taylor Walker
Emerging Talent: Brodie Smith
Club Coach’s Award: Rory Sloane
Dr Brian Sando Award: Daniel Talia
Michael Tuck Medal (best on ground in pe-season grand final): Bernie Vince
AFL Rising Star: Daniel Talia
Showdown Medals: Patrick Dangerfield (round five), Sam Jacobs (round 15)
AFC Life Membership: Ben Rutten, Brent Reilly, Steven Trigg, Kevin Whitford, Steve McAvaney, Darryl Carter.
- Two new coaches joined Sanderson’s panel for the 2012 season. Former Melbourne coach Dean Bailey took on a new role as strategy and innovation coach and former Geelong star Darren Milburn became defensive coach. Mark Bickley was appointed senior assistant.
- Greater Western Sydney entered the AFL as the 18th team. Adelaide started slowly in their first clash before winning by 46 points, in round four, but crushed the Giants by 119 points in Sydney in round 16.
- The expansion club did some damage off the field, however, using its recruiting concessions to sign young Crows defender Phil Davis, who played 18 games for the Crows in two years after being their first draft pick (No 10 overall) in the 2008 national draft.
- Adelaide’s inaugural coach Graham Cornes was inducted to the Australian Football Hall of Fame. Cornes, who coached Adelaide for the Club’s first four seasons in the AFL, became the 33rd South Australian to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
In: Tom Lynch (St Kilda), Josh Jenkins (Essendon), Lewis Johnston (Sydney), Brad Crouch (North Ballarat U18), Luke Brown (Norwood), Sam Kerridge (Mildura/Bendigo U18), Mitch Grigg (Norwood), Cam Ellis-Yolmen (Woodville-West Torrens), Nick Joyce (Woodville-West Torrens). Rookies: Ben Dowdell (rookie), Rory Laird (West Adelaide), Tim McIntyre (Sturt), Dylan Orval (Oakleigh U18)
First game players
Tom Lynch, v Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium, 31/3/12 (player debut no 184)
Sam Kerridge, v Hawthorn at MCG, 15/4/12 (185)
Sam Shaw, v GWS at AAMI Stadium, 21/4/12 (186)
Jarryd Lyons, v Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium, 29/4/12 (187)
Josh Jenkins, v Geelong at AAMI Stadium, 12/5/12 (188)
Tim McIntyre, v Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium, 7/7/12 (189)
Luke Brown, v GWS at Skoda Stadium, 15/7/12 (190)
Lewis Johnston, v Fremantle at AAMI Stadium, 11/8/12 (191)
|Club Champion top dozen|
|1: Scott Thompson 112 votes|
2: Patrick Dangerfield 101
3: Rory Sloane 89
4: Sam Jacobs 78
5: Taylor Walker 77
6: Brent Reilly 76
= Nathan van Berlo 76
8: Michael Doughty 72
9: Matthew Wright 68
10: Daniel Talia 66
11: Bernie Vince 63
12: David Mackay 62
(Coaching group allocated votes from 0-8 for each player)
|63 Taylor Walker|
39 Ian Callinan
39 Kurt Tippett
30 Jason Porplyzia
23 Patrick Dangerfield
19 Graham Johncock
19 Rory Sloane
18 Bernie Vince
13 Jared Petrenko
|Brownlow Medal votes|
|25 S. Thompson|
1 Callinan, Tippett, Johncock, Talia
The 2012 squad
Back row (from left): Chris Knights (21), Brodie Smith (33), Andy Otten (22), Sam Shaw (34), Will Young (rookie, 39), Patrick Dangerfield (32), Tom Lynch (27), Taylor Walker (13), Ricky Henderson (45), Rory Sloane (9), Richard Tambling (1), Richard Douglas (26). Third row: Mark Bickley (senior assistant coach), Scott Camporeale (assistant coach), Matthew Jaensch (10), Sam Kerridge (29), Daniel Talia (12), Shaun McKernan (35), Josh Jenkins (20), Kurt Tippett (4), Sam Jacobs (24), Ben Dowdell (rookie, 44)), Luke Thompson, Dylan Orval (rookie), Brad Symes, Aidan Riley, Darren Milburn (assistant coach), Dean Bailey (strategy and innovation coach). Second row: David Mackay (14), Brent Reilly (3), Bernie Vince (17), Graham Johncock (18), Ben Rutten (25), Scott Thompson (5), Brenton Sanderson (senior coach), Nathan van Berlo (captain, 7), Jason Porplyzia (40), Michael Doughty (11), Jared Petrenko (23), Matthew Wright (47), Lewis Johnston (8). Front row: Jarryd Lyons (31, Nick Joyce (42), Luke Brown (16), Brad Crouch (2), Rory Laird (rookie, 46)), Mitch Grigg (38), Sam Martyn (rookie, 41), Tim McIntyre (rookie, 49), Ian Callinan (rookie, 37), Brodie Martin (36), Cam Ellis-Yolmen (28).
The Toyota name was red on the sponsor spots, front and back, on both home and away jumpers, with an embossed silver logo. For the first time the front Toyota spot was not on a white badge background on the main guernsey. Adelaide wore the white away guernsey in the preliminary final loss to Hawthorn.
Jason Porplyzia and Patrick Dangerfield, Scott Thompson and Richard Douglas in the 2012 home jumper; Kurt Tippett and Ben Rutten (away); Ian Callinan and Richard Douglas.