Games Won 17
Ladder Position 6
Premiership position: Sixth (17 wins, 7 losses). Finished minor round 5th (16 wins, 6 losses)
Coach: Don Pyke
Captain: Taylor Walker
Season 2016 left everyone involved with Adelaide wanting more.
The Crows showed great promise under new senior coach Don Pyke, armed with an attractive and attacking game style that built on the legacy of Phil Walsh.
Big wins over Port Adelaide, Richmond and Gold Coast proved Adelaide’s potential early in the season, yet narrow losses to North Melbourne, Hawthorn and the Western Bulldogs left the Club clinging to a top-eight spot at the midway mark of the year.
But the Crows then entrenched themselves inside the eight for the rest of the season. Adelaide scored eight straight wins, including a stirring come-from-behind victory over West Coast in Perth and back-to-back wins at the MCG, to storm into top-four contention.
Big wins over Essendon and Brisbane, and then Port, positioned the Crows perfectly leading into the final round of the home and away season, but Adelaide fell agonisingly short of claiming a double chance and slipped to fifth after surprisingly falling to the Eagles at Adelaide Oval.
The Crows crushed North Melbourne in their first ever final at Adelaide Oval. After leading by 12 points at half-time, Adelaide surged to a 62-point win Betts booting six goals.
But the year came to an abrupt end the following week in a disappointing Semi-Final exit against Sydney at the SCG. The Swans led by 37 points at half-time and although Adelaide fought back in the third quarter it eventually went down by six goals.
Pyke, who was an assistant coach at Adelaide under Neil Craig in 2005-06, said: “Good is often the barrier of great. People get comfortable being good. If we, as a club are going to sit back and pat each other on the back and say it has been a really good year, then we will not progress.”
While the finish didn’t go to script, there was still much to celebrate throughout the season.
Having lost star midfielder Patrick Dangerfield to Geelong at the end of the 2015 season, a number of senior players stepped up to maintain high standards to ensure the Cows remained a threat.
Rory Sloane clinched his second Crows Club Champion award and was also named for the first time in the All Australian team, as vice-captain. He also finished runner-up in the AFL Coaches Association Champion Player of the Year, as well as the peer-voted AFL Players’ Association MVP award.
Betts kicked 75 goals, including the Goal of the Year, and won AA selection for the second consecutive season. Talia was also recognised for the second time after another outstanding year in defence. Three other Crows, Rory Laird, Tom Lynch and Josh Jenkins, were named in the squad of 40.
Scott Thompson joined elite company by reaching the exclusive 300-game milestone, and Betts starred with five goals in Showdown XLI in his 250th AFL game. David Mackay (150 games), Talia and Brodie Smith (100) also reached significant milestones.
A number of young Crows also stepped up in 2016. Rory Atkins and Jake Lever played every game, Mitch McGovern, Wayne Milera junior and Reilly O’Brien all made their AFL debuts, while Charlie Cameron and Matt and Brad Crouch cemented their spots in the senior side.
Adelaide’s SANFL team qualified for finals for the first time, in its third season.
The side won 11 games to finish fourth and then won its first two finals against Central District and South Adelaide but went down to Sturt by 35 points in the preliminary final at Adelaide Oval.
Jonathon Beech capped off a strong first season as a Crow by claiming the SANFL Club Champion award from runner-up Mitch Grigg. Success was also driven by a host of other youngsters including Harrison Wigg, Harry Dear and Tom Doedee while rookie pair Hugh Greenwood and Alex Keath impressed after changing codes from basketball and cricket.
The side was captained by Luke Carey, who won the Dean Bailey Award as the best development squad player. From Echunga, Carey played 14 games including the finals.
A 74-point win over 2015 premiers West Adelaide in the opening round was the first of four consecutive wins. Adelaide won its home Showdown against Port Adelaide at Mannum and also took the points against Sturt when they clashed at Thebarton Oval in round 15.
Adelaide then won three of its last four minor round games to secure the side’s maiden SANFL finals berth.
Former Crows AFL captain Nathan van Berlo played his last game for the Club in the preliminary final and was applauded from the field by a guard of honour of Adelaide and Sturt players.
Cam Ellis-Yolmen was named in The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year.
Awards and Achievements
All Australians: Eddie Betts, Daniel Talia, Rory Sloane
Phil Walsh Best Team Man: Eddie Betts
Club Coach’s Award: Rory Sloane
19th Man Award: Rory Sloane
Leading goalkicker: Eddie Betts
Mark Bickley Emerging Talent Award: Jake Lever
Dr Brian Sando Award: David Mackay
Showdown Medals: Tom Lynch (round 2), M Crouch (round 22)
State League Club Champion: Jonathon Beech
Dean Bailey Award: Luke Carey
- Former captain Nathan van Berlo announced his retirement after 205 AFL appearances. He led the Club for four seasons and had fought back from a serious Achilles injury in 2014.
- The success also continued off the field. The Club broke its all-time membership record and reclaimed the crown for the highest average home attendance in the AFL and by any sporting club in the country.
- Adelaide also won the right to South Australia’s first AFL Women’s licence, as one of the eight foundation clubs for the new competition in 2017.
- Adelaide’s first 300-game player, and two-time premiership player, Ben Hart was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame.
In: Dean Gore (Geelong), Paul Seedsman (Collingwood), Curtly Hampton (GWS), Troy Menzel (Carlton), Wayne Milera jnr (Central District), Tom Doedee (Geelong U18). Rookies: Jonathon Beech (West Adelaide), Paul Hunter (Redland), Hugh Greenwood (basketball), Alex Keath (cricket)
First game players
Mitch McGovern, v North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium, 26/3/16 (debut order 206)
Wayne Milera, v North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium, 26/3/2016 (207)
Paul Seedsman, v North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium, 26/3/16 (208)
Reilly O’Brien, v Brisbane Lions at Adelaide Oval, 6/8/16 (209)
|Club Champion top dozen|
|1: Rory Sloane 268 votes|
2: Eddie Betts 249
3: Tom Lynch 215
4: Daniel Talia 192
5: Taylor Walker 185
6: Brodie Smith 183
7: Matt Crouch 180
8: Kyle Hartigan 173
9: Charlie Cameron 168
10: Josh Jenkins 167
11: Rory Laird 165
12: Richard Douglas 164
(Five coaches cast votes 4-0 for every player)
|75 Eddie Betts|
62 Josh Jenkins
47 Taylor Walker
42 Tom Lynch
32 Mitch McGovern
20 Charlie Cameron
19 Richard Douglas
15 Jarryd Lyons
13 Rory Sloane
|Brownlow Medal votes|
7 M Crouch
4 B Crouch
2 Jacobs, Smith, Talia
2016 Life Members
Alex Keath flies for a mark against Sturt in Adelaide’s first SANFL game at Thebarton Oval.
The 2016 squad
Back row (from left): Matthew Jaensch (10), Mitch Grigg (8), Jarryd Lyons (31), Brodie Smith (33), Cam Ellis-Yolmen (28), Mitch McGovern (41), Keenan Ramsey (46), Tom Lynch (27), Sam Shaw (34), Kyle Cheney (25), Curly Hampton (17), Troy Menzel (32). Third row: Charlie Cameron (23), Paul Seedsman (11), Andy Otten (22), Josh Jenkins (4), Paul Hunter (37), Luke Lowden (40), Sam Jacobs (24), Reilly O’Brien (43(, Harry Dear (38), Kyle Hartigan (15), Jake Lever (6), Alex Keath (42), Brad Crouch (2). Second row: Luke Brown (16), Eddie Betts (18), David Mackay (14), Richard Douglas (26), Daniel Talia (12), Taylor Walker (captain, 13), Don Pyke (senior coach), Nathan van Berlo (7), Scott Thompson (5), Rory Sloane (9), Rick Henderson (45), Matt Crouch (44), Rory Laird (29). Front row: Riley Knight (3), Rory Atkins (21), Tom Doedee (39), Hugh Greenwood (20), Harrison Wigg (35), Dean Gore (36), Jono Beech (1), Wayne Milera jnr (31), Jake Kelly (47).
The full hoops returned as Adelaide refreshed its set of jumpers. For the first time since 2005, the bands at the bottom continued around the main jumper. The Crows introduced new yellow and white-based away jumpers with bands of red, yellow and blue across the front middle. The Indigenous Round jumper was designed by artist Susie Betts, the aunt of Eddie Betts. The main guernsey was worn in both finals.
New home guernsey, Rory Atkins; Charlie Cameron and gold away; Rory Laird, Jarryd Lyons and Eddie Betts in the white away jumper; Betts celebrates a goal in the 2016 Indigenous Round jumper