Games Won 10
Ladder Position 11
Premiership position: 11th (10 wins, 12 losses).
Coach: Don Pyke
Captains: Taylor Walker and Rory Sloane
Returning to the finals was on the agenda for Adelaide midway through the 2019 AFL season but the bounce back did not last.
After winning only once in the first four rounds, Adelaide added seven wins from the next nine games to head into the bye in fourth spot on the ladder. After the break, however, the Crows lost seven of the last nine games of the minor round and dropped out of the eight to finish 11th with a 10-12 record and a percentage of 100.9.
The fallout from another frustrating season, ongoing speculation about the 2018 Gold Coast pre-season camp and an external review was set to be widespread.
Adelaide’s biggest loss after the 2018 season was high-flying forward Mitch McGovern to Carlton. Its biggest recruits came from within with the return of Brad Crouch and Brodie Smith from long-term injuries. Adelaide added small forward Tyson Stengle from Richmond and mature-age forward Shane McAdam from Sturt and had two picks in the top 20 at the national draft.
In round one of the AFL competition Adelaide lost 2018 Rising Star runner-up Tom Doedee to a season-ending knee injury. An underwhelming first month included losses to Hawthorn, Geelong and North Melbourne.
Poor kicking at goal hurt the Crows early but they started to improve their efficiency and were difficult to score against.
Highlights from the first half of the season included Adelaide’s 26-point win over Sydney on the road, celebrating Eddie Betts’ 300th game with a 73-point smashing of Gold Coast (Betts kicked six goals) and beating Port Adelaide by 20 points in the round eight Showdown, when defender Alex Keath won the Showdown Medal.
But Port dominated the next Showdown in round 16, the 57-point loss increasing the pressure on the Crows. Adelaide had a 95-point win the following week against Gold Coast, then lost to Essendon and 16th-placed Carlton, but was still in eighth spot after the round 20 win against St Kilda.
Two more wins from the last three games would have been enough to return to the finals. Darcy Fogarty kicked five goals in a ten-point loss to West Coast in Perth and then Collingwood destroyed Adelaide’s hopes with an 11-goal win at Adelaide Oval before the season finished with another loss to the Western Bulldogs in Ballarat.
After failing to play an AFL game in 2018 following serious groin injuries that required surgery, midfielder Brad Crouch won his first Malcolm Blight Medal. He played every game in a season for the first time since debuting in 2013 and edged out runner-up and co-captain Rory Sloane by just five votes.
Key defender Daniel Talia was the only Crow named in the 40-man All-Australian squad but Adelaide did not have an All-Australian representative for the first time since 2011. Crows Members also voted Talia as Most Valuable Player.
Kyle Hartigan received the Phil Walsh Best Team Man award. Taylor Walker, who kicked his 400th career goal in round 11, was leading goalkicker with 43.
A knee injury to Sam Jacobs gave Reilly O’Brien the opportunity to play 18 AFL games in the ruck while Bryce Gibbs had a frustrating season, playing only 12 AFL games and spending time in the SANFL.
Adelaide’s SANFL side profited from fewer injuries across the squad and reached the preliminary final after claiming 12 wins and a draw in the minor round.
The club’s inaugural SANFL coach Heath Younie returned to the role and the team made a flying start to the season. After losing to Glenelg in round two, Adelaide did not lose another game until round 13 when it lost to Port Adelaide in Port Pirie.
It lost touch with the top two teams later in the minor round to finish third.
The Crows then lost to Port by five goals in the qualifying final at Adelaide Oval but hit back to thrash Norwood by 62 points the following week, first-year player Ned McHenry shining with four goals.
In the preliminary final Adelaide recovered from Glenelg’s fast opening to lead at half-time but was overrun and lost by 27 points. The Tigers went on to claim the premiership.
Patrick Wilson won his second State League Club Champion award and finished second in the Magarey Medal count. Captain Matthew Wright was runner-up in the Club Champion voting, followed by Andy Otten and young rookie defender Jordan Butts.
Penola’s Matt Merrett won the Dean Bailey Award, presented to the best development player. He played 18 SANFL games in defence.
Changes at West Lakes came swiftly after the season finished. Don Pyke resigned after four years as senior coach, assistant coach Scott Camporeale and Head of Football Brett Burton left, there were retirements and several other players were not offered contracts or chose to switch clubs.
The message was clear. A rebuild was needed.
Awards and Achievements
All Australian: –
Phil Walsh Best Team Man: Kyle Hartigan
Players’ Trademark Award: Rory Sloane
Members MVP Award: Daniel Talia
Leading goalkicker: Taylor Walker
Mark Bickley Emerging Talent Award: Chayce Jones
Dr Brian Sando Award: Reilly O’Brien
Crows Children’s Foundation Community Leadership Award: Tom Doedee
Showdown Medal: Alex Keath (round eight)
AFL Goal of the Year: Eddie Betts
State League Club Champion: Patrick Wilson
Dean Bailey Award: Matt Merrett
- Former Crows Board director Bob Foord, who died suddenly in December 2017, was posthumously awarded Life Membership of the Adelaide Football Club. Foord joined the Club on the Investment Committee in 2008 and then joined the Board in 2011. He mentored a number of players over the years.
- There were a number of rule changes in 2019, including mandated starting positions at centre bounces. Each team was required to have six players inside each 50m arc – including one in each goal square – four players in the centre square and two along the wings.
In: Chayce Jones (Launceston), Ned McHenry (Geelong U18), Will Hamill (Dandenong U18), Lachlan Sholl (Calder U18), Shane McAdam (Sturt), Tyson Stengle (Richmond). Rookies: Jordon Butts (Murray U18), Kieran Strachan (Port Melbourne).
Out: Mitch McGovern (Carlton), Kyle Cheney, Harry Dear, Sam Gibson, Curtly Hampton, Matthew Signorello, Jackson Edwards, Ben Jarman, Paul Hunter
First game players
Chayce Jones, v Hawthorn at Adelaide Oval, 23/3/19 (player debut order 224)
Ben Davis, v Geelong at Kardinia Park, 28/6/19 (225)
Tyson Stengle, v Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium, 13/7/19 (226)
|Club Champion top ten|
|1: Brad Crouch 208 votes|
2: Rory Sloane 203
3: Rory Laird 191
4: Matt Crouch 180
5: Brodie Smith 179
6: Daniel Talia 165
7: Taylor Walker 148
8: Rory Atkins 129
9: Alex Keath 127
10: David Mackay 119
(Five coaches cast votes 4-0 for every player)
|43 Taylor Walker|
37 Eddie Betts
22 Josh Jenkins
19 Lachlan Murphy
17 Tom Lynch
|Brownlow Medal votes|
|14 Brad Crouch|
8 Matt Crouch
3 O’Brien, Walker
2 Ellis-Yolmen, Laird
1 Atkins, Fogarty, Smith
The 2019 squad
Back row (from left): Jordan Gallucci (7), Riley Knight (3), Rory Atkins (21), Brad Crouch (2), Brodie Smith (33), Tom Doedee (39), Hugh Greenwood (1), Ben Davis (40), Jake Kelly (8), Wayne Milera (30), David Mackay (14), Luke Brown (16). Third row: Darcy Fogarty (32), Andy Otten (22), Daniel Talia (12), Alex Keath (42), Paul Hunter (37), Kieran Strachan (45), Josh Jenkins (4), Reilly O’Brien (43), Elliott Himmelberg (34), Jordan Butts (41), Kyle Hartigan (15), Cam Ellis-Yolmen (28), Myles Poholke (10). Second row: Paul Seedsman (11), Rory Laird (29), Matt Crouch (5), Tom Lynch (27), Taylor Walker (13), Don Pyke (senior coach), Rory Sloane (9), Richard Douglas (26), Sam Jacobs (24), Eddie Betts (18), Bryce Gibbs (6). Front row: Patrick Wilson (31), Will Hamill (35), Lachlan Sholl (38), Andrew McPherson (36), Lachlan Murphy (44), Tyson Stengle (17), Shane McAdam (23), Ned McHenry (25), Chayce Jones (20).
For the first time since a sponsor name appeared on the back of the jumpers in 1995, major partner Toyota allowed the Crows to offer the position to another sponsor, Optus. Adelaide wore its main jumper in three interstate games against Sydney, Geelong and West Coast.
Rory Sloane and Reilly O’Brien in the 2019 main jumper; Paul Seedsman (long-sleeved white clash); Lachlan Murphy (white); Indigenous Round guernsey front, Eddie Betts, Riley Knight and Wayne Milera celebrate a goal.