Games Won 14
Ladder Position 6
Premiership position: 6th (14 wins, 9 losses). Finished minor round 7th (13 wins, 8 losses)
Coach: Phil Walsh (rounds 1-13), Scott Camporeale (round 15-semi-final)
Captain: Taylor Walker
Winning or losing, even playing a game, wasn’t so important in the heartbreaking 2015 season.
July 3 was the Club’s saddest, most shocking day.
Walsh only coached the Crows in 12 premiership games but his impact on the whole club was astonishing. He had walked into the Adelaide Football Club in October 2014 as a first-time senior coach but with a clear vision. After 32 years of football involvement including 15 years as an AFL assistant coach, he knew exactly how he wanted the football team to work and play.
Elite standards. Team first.
A sickening training accident involving veteran Brent Reilly shocked the club in February. Reilly, who had played his 200th game the previous season, was rushed to hospital and needed surgery to repair a fractured skull. He spent three days in intensive care and three months later announced his retirement.
Adelaide’s first game of the premiership season was almost too good to be true. New captain Taylor Walker, chosen by Walsh, kicked six goals and was best afield in a 77-point win over 2014 preliminary finalist North Melbourne at Adelaide Oval. Further wins against Collingwood and Melbourne built a 3-0 start but losses to the Western Bulldogs and then Port Adelaide underlined the tough battles ahead in the race to the finals.
In April, Adelaide honoured eight of its greatest contributors of the first 25 years with induction into the Club’s inaugural Hall of Fame. Two-time AFL premiership coach Malcolm Blight, players Andrew McLeod, Simon Goodwin, Tony Modra, Ben Hart and Mark Ricciuto, and administrators Bob Hammond and Bill Sanders were revealed as the first inductees.
For the first time, Greater Western Sydney finished on top of the Crows in round eight. Away wins against Carlton and Brisbane, flanked by home losses to Fremantle and Hawthorn, had Adelaide in the top eight with seven wins from 12 games.
Then, suddenly, everything changed. Adelaide’s clash with Geelong was cancelled by the AFL, with both sides sharing the premiership points. Fans and players rallied together in support but after the tearful exit from the ground following the hefty loss to West Coast in round 15, it was difficult to predict how the rest of the season would play out.
Amazingly, however, the last two months of the club’s 25th season featured some of its finest moments, under interim coach Scott Camporeale.
It started with a tense three-point win over the Power in their home showdown, when Scott Thompson won the once-off Phillip Walsh Medal as best afield. There was also an exciting Friday night win against Richmond and the stunning eight-goal opening term against West Coast on the way to confirming a place in the finals for the first time since 2012 .
How about the breathtaking finish to the seven-point elimination final win against the Western Bulldogs at the MCG? It will be remembered as one of the club’s greatest finals performances.
Within four minutes of the first bounce the Bulldogs had kicked three goals. But the Crows replied with a run of five of their own, including three to Eddie Betts (who finished with five).
Adelaide’s lead was 11 points at the last change and then the Bulldogs kicked four of the first five goals of the final term to lead by eight. A behind and 50 metre goal to Walker tied the scores late in the last quarter. Betts kicked a rushed point to regain the lead. And then after a stoppage at half-back the ball went to Walker, who won the contest, bounced down the wing and had the poise to pass inside to Charlie Cameron, who kicked the last goal of the night.
Adelaide’s AFL season closed the following week at the hands of eventual premiers Hawthorn, who raced to a 50-point lead early in the second term before winning by 74. But for the players to find the strength and courage to play on, finish inside the top eight and then play two finals at the MCG was a remarkable achievement.
Camporeale said: “Deep down, even though we didn’t cover it off every day, Phil (Walsh) was definitely with them.”
Patrick Dangerfield claimed his first Malcolm Blight Medal in his eighth and final season with the Adelaide Football Club. It was a bittersweet breakthrough for the departing Dangerfield, who finished runner up to Scott Thompson in the 2012 Club Champion count and third in each of the previous two seasons. Dangerfield was the only player to poll in every game to finish well clear of runner-up Rory Laird, while Betts claimed third place ahead of Sam Jacobs.
Betts and Dangerfield were selected in the 2015 All Australian team. It was Dangerfield’s third All Australian honour in four years and it was a case of fourth-time lucky for Betts, who kicked 63 goals. The goalsneak was nominated in 2011, 2012 and 2014 but missed selection in the final 22. Betts also won the AFL goal of the year. Walker and Laird were included in the squad of 40 but were overlooked for selection in the final 22.
Walker stood tall in his first season as captain, kicking 59 goals and coming fifth in the Club Champion voting, just ahead of Rory Sloane who missed five games through fractured cheekbones.
Adelaide’s SANFL side didn’t win until round nine but won eight of its last 11 games to finished seventh.
Captain Ian Callinan again led the way for the SANFL side, winning his second Crows Club Champion award ahead of young ruck Reilly O’Brien and James Podsiadly, who kicked nine and 11 goals in his last two games before announcing his retirement. Callinan also retired to return to his home state Tasmania.
Adelaide’s slow start included back-to-back power black-outs at Glenelg and Noarlunga. The Anzac Day eve game at the Bay finished in dramatic fashion with the club’s first draw in the SANFL. The Tigers led by 20 points at three-quarter time but Adelaide kicked the first three goals of the last quarter to tie the scores at the 12-minute mark. The stadium was suddenly plunged into darkness and after 30 minutes the scores were deemed final.
Incredibly, the lights again went out the next Saturday night before the game against South at Noarlunga Oval. A faulty light tower forced the game to be rescheduled to the following day.
The Mid-North town of Balaklava hosted Adelaide’s only SANFL home game of the year in round seven. All gate takings from the match were donated to the Country Fire Service Foundation and the Adelaide Plains Football League in honour of fallen local fireman Lieutenant Andrew Harrison.
While the day was a success off the field, the Crows couldn’t hold off a fast-finishing Port Adelaide and remained without a win at the halfway mark of the season.
The breakthrough came just one week later against Sturt at Unley. The SANFL Crows kicked 22.8 (140) to record the team’s highest score but this total would be bettered several times by the end of the minor round. First wins over Port Adelaide, West Adelaide and Norwood followed and the club’s 101-point win over North Adelaide in round 14 set up a charge at the finals.
The only loss in the remaining six rounds was to the Eagles (by four points) in round 17 but Adelaide finished one win short of a finals berth.
The Crows introduced 14 players to League football for the first time and fielded 19 development players from local and country clubs.
Matthew Spencely won the Dean Bailey Award as the best development player. He played every game and finished fourth in the best-and-fairest behind Callinan, O’Brien and Podsiadly and ahead of fellow development player Luke Carey.
Callinan represented South Australia and kicked two goals in its 45-point loss to Western Australia in Perth. SA was coached by inaugural Crows AFL coach Graham Cornes.
Awards and Achievements
All Australians: Eddie Betts, Patrick Dangerfield
Best Team Man: James Podsiadly
Mark Bickley Emerging Talent Award: Matt Crouch
19th Man Award: Rory Laird
Leading goalkicker: Eddie Betts
Club Coach’s Award: Rory Sloane
Dr Brian Sando Award: Jake Lever
Showdown Medal (Phillip Walsh Medal): Scott Thompson (round 16)
State League Club Champion: Ian Callinan
Dean Bailey Award: Matthew Spencely
- Former Crows chairman Bob Hammond was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame.
- Former Crows players Mark Ricciuto and Rod Jameson were elected to the AFC Board as members-voted directors. Ricciuto had been added to the board midway through 2014.
- Adelaide produced its own weekly television program, The Crows Show, aired each weekend on Channel 7.
- Betts and Dangerfield represented Australia in the International Series in Ireland at the end of the season.
In: Kyle Cheney (Hawthorn), Luke Lowden (Hawthorn), Jake Lever (Calder U18), Harrison Wigg (North Adelaide), Mitch McGovern (Claremont), Harry Dear (Sandringham U18), Reilly O’Brien (rookie, Calder/Coburg), Keenan Ramsey (rookie, Port Adelaide Magpies), Anthony Wilson (rookie, Norwood).
First game players
Kyle Cheney, v North Melbourne at Adelaide Oval, 5/4/15 (player debut 201)
Jake Kelly, v Melbourne at Adelaide Oval, 20/4/15 (202)
Jake Lever, v Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium, 9/5/15 (203)
Riley Knight, v West Coast at Subiaco Oval, 11/7/15 (204)
Rory Atkins, v Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval, 19/7/15 (205)
AFC Hall of Fame
|Club Champion top dozen|
|1: Patrick Dangerfield 315 votes|
2: Rory Laird 289
3: Eddie Betts 278
4: Sam Jacobs 254
5: Taylor Walker 210
6: Rory Sloane 209
7: Scott Thompson 202
8: Daniel Talia 184
9: Tom Lynch 179
10: Charlie Cameron 168
11: Josh Jenkins 164
12: Brodie Smith 154
(The five coaches rated each player 0-5)
|63 Eddie Betts|
59 Taylor Walker
46 Josh Jenkins
32 Tom Lynch
29 Charlie Cameron
21 Patrick Dangerfield
11 Rory Sloane
|Brownlow Medal votes|
12 S Thompson
2 Lynch, Laird
The 2015 squad
Back row (from left): Brodie Martin (36), Matthew Jaensch (10), Jarryd Lyons (31), Mitch Grigg (8), Kyle Cheney (25), Mitch McGovern (41), Brodie Smith (33), Tom Lynch (27), Ricky Henderson (45), Sam Kerridge (17), Brad Crouch (2), Sam Shaw (34). Third row: Eddie Betts (18), Riley Knight (39), Andy Otten (22), Josh Jenkins (4), Reilly O’Brien (43), Jack Osborn (30), Sam Jacobs (24), Luke Lowden (40), Harry Dear (38), Kyle Hartigan (15), Sam Siggins (20), James Podsiadly (1), Keenan Ramsey (46). Second row: David Mackay 914), Richard Douglas (26), Daniel Talia (12), Patrick Dangerfield (32), Taylor Walker (captain, 13), Phil Walsh (senior coach), Nathan van Berlo (7), Rory Sloane (9), Scott Thompson (5), Brent Reilly (3), Matthew Wright (11). Front row: Rory Atkins (21), Jake Kelly (47), Anthony Wilson (42) Rory Laird (29), Harrison Wigg (35), Matt Crouch (44), Jake Lever (6), Charlie Cameron (23), Cam Ellis-Yolmen (28), Luke Brown (16).
BLK took over as the supplier for the 2015 season. There was a new white-based away/clash guernsey featuring claw marks on the front and back. To recognise the Club’s 25th season there was a logo above the numbers on the home and away jumpers and the Crows wore a one-off jumper similar to the 2004 heritage round guernsey in round 12 against Hawthorn. Adelaide wore a new Indigenous jumper for round nine. After the death of senior coach Phil Walsh in July 2015, the initials PW were added to the back of the collar in his memory. The white away jumper was worn in both finals.
The 2015 main jumper, Charlie Cameron; Sam Jacobs, the new away guernsey; Rory Laird, Indigenous Round jumper; initials PW on the back collar of Riley Knight’s jumper; One-off jumper to celebrate 25 seasons.