Coming off a minor premiership and grand final appearance in 2017, expectations were high for Adelaide in 2018. An opening round loss to Essendon was quickly forgotten with a taste of redemption in week two as the Crows defeated reigning premiers Richmond by 36 points. By Round Seven, Adelaide sat in third place.
Wayward form throughout the middle of the year, kick-started by a five-point Showdown loss, saw a dip down to 11th position. Perhaps in a sign of just how tight the season was, Adelaide defeated Brisbane in Round 18, yet dropped from 11th to 12th. Not even a 104-point demolition of Carlton in Melbourne was enough to break into the eight as Geelong finished one-game ahead of the Crows and the chasing pack.
Adding to the closeness of the year, four sides finished on 12 wins with Adelaide’s percentage, 104.1, the lowest.
Half-back Rory Laird won his first Club Champion Award and second All-Australian nomination. Fellow defender Tom Doedee had a breakout first season to finish second in the NAB AFL Rising Star Award and win Adelaide’s Emerging Talent Award.
Recent arrivals Sam Gibson and Curtly Hampton retired.