The lingering tragedy of Phil Walsh’s death in 2015 was not forgotten as a new season began.
Former West Coast Eagles premiership player Don Pyke was named as Adelaide’s new senior coach. He joined the Club having served as an assistant coach at the Eagles. He had also worked under Neil Craig for the Crows during the 2005 and 2006 seasons.
Coming off a seventh-place finish in 2015, expectations were relaxed and a 4-4 start had Adelaide sitting where many expected. That changed as eight consecutive victories saw the Crows fly up the ladder and wins over fellow mid-table sides West Coast and North Melbourne changed the make-up of the top half considerably. Following a 28-point win over Collingwood in Round 17, Adelaide was in second place.
Remarkably, the top half tightened over the final rounds and Adelaide was jostled around despite dropping just two of the final six games, finishing fifth.
Adelaide showed plenty of confidence in the home elimination final, dispatching North Melbourne by 10 goals after leading by just 12 points at the main break. A week later, the Crows were in Sydney tackling the minor premiers. The Swans made a fast start and never relented in a classy 36-point win.
Fan favourite Rory Sloane won his second Malcolm Blight Medal and earned a league-wide reputation as a hard-tackling, contested possession winner. Sloane was joined by Eddie Betts, who booted 75 goals and key defender Daniel Talia in the All-Australian team.
Former captain Nathan van Berlo announced his retirement after 205 appearances. He captained the Club for four seasons and had fought back from a serious Achilles injury in 2014.