Games Won 8
Ladder Position 14
Premiership position: 14th (8 wins, 14 losses)
Coach: Matthew Nicks
Captain: Rory Sloane
Adelaide’s rebuild showed some signs of progress in season 2022, despite a frustrating mid-season slump.
Eight wins (14th ranking) was only a slight improvement on 2021 (7 wins, 15th) but the main difference was the growth of a number of promising younger Crows at both AFL and SANFL level.
The Crows lost some experience at the end of 2021 with the departure of 2014 Club Champion Daniel Talia, Tom Lynch, David Mackay and Jake Kelly but had success in the trading period – recruiting Jordan Dawson from Sydney – and then secured exciting small forward Josh Rachele with pick six at the national draft. Dawson played 64 AFL games for the Swans after being drafted from SANFL club Sturt at the end of 2015.
And the premiership season started encouragingly, with three wins and a couple of narrow losses from the first six rounds. Five consecutive losses hit hard, however, and fans had to wait until the last month of the season to see the team string together some wins.
Adelaide lost its opening game to Fremantle by one point, taking some shine off the five-goal on debut performance by Rachele. Dockers defender Heath Chapman stopped the Crows scoring from a Ben Keays snap on goal in the last seconds, with a desperate spoil on the goal-line.
Dawson played a starring role in Adelaide’s team highlight of the season, kicking a goal after the siren to secure a remarkable win in the round three home Showdown. Port led by 19 points halfway through the final term before the Crows kicked the next four goals.
After a four-point loss to Essendon, wins against Richmond and the Western Bulldogs, by one point in Ballarat, suggested the Crows were on the rise.
But a 59-point loss to struggling GWS at Adelaide Oval was the first of a five-game losing streak. The only wins between rounds seven and 19 were against lowly West Coast and North Melbourne, who the Crows beat for a second time in the last weeks of the season.
There were some better signs in a five-point loss to Collingwood in round 18 and Adelaide hurt Carlton’s finals hopes with a 29-point win in round 20.
Coach Matthew Nicks said: “We saw improvement in the brand of football we want to play, in the cohesion of our team and the experience of our list, as well as the performance of some individuals who took their game to the next level.”
Rory Laird joined an exclusive club of Crows greats by winning his third Club Champion award.
He polled 118 votes to hold off Dawson (114) in a close count to sit alongside premiership players Mark Ricciuto, Simon Goodwin and Andrew McLeod as a three-time club champion.
Keays finished third, with former captain Taylor Walker and defender Brodie Smith rounding out the top five.
Laird’s win was secured despite missing the first two games of the season with a broken hand. He went on to play every game for the rest of the year, averaging a career best 33 disposals and 8.1 tackles.
Young midfielder Sam Berry clinched the Mark Bickley Emerging Talent Award following a break-out second season in the midfield, leading the AFL for average tackles per game (9.5) per game.
Walker won a Club-record sixth Leading Goalkicker Award with 47 majors and Reilly O’Brien claimed the Phil Walsh Best Team Man award.
Darcy Fogarty kicked only two goals from five AFL games in the first ten rounds but took giant strides by kicking 31 goals in the last 12 rounds and finishing sixth in the best-and-fairest.
Draftee Jake Soligo had a quiet start to his AFL career in the first two rounds but after building form in the SANFL the classy midfielder returned in round nine and finished the AFL season strongly to come tenth in the Club Champion voting.
Adelaide’s 2021 mid-season draft selection Patrick Parnell also showed promise as a small defender later in the season and Josh Worrell made the most of his opportunity in the last four games.
The Crows lost captain Rory Sloane to a season-ending knee injury in round five and winger Paul Seedsman didn’t play any football due to ongoing concussion issues.
Adelaide’s SANFL side returned to the finals and exposed many emerging Crows to a high level of senior competition.
Norwood kicked the last three goals of the preliminary final to defeat the Crows by 11 points at Adelaide Oval.
It was Adelaide’s best season since it entered the SANFL in 2014, with 13 minor round wins securing second spot. Its finals campaign kicked off with an impressive 55-point win over Norwood before two losses to North Adelaide and Norwood, which went on to win the grand final.
Luke Pedlar, Zac Taylor and Luke Nankervis were among the young Crows who shone during the finals.
Ruckman Kieran Strachan’s dominant season was recognised by winning back-to-back Club Champion awards. He averaged 16 disposals, five and 3.6 clearances per game and recorded a monster 56 hit-outs against West Adelaide in round six. Strachan, who played two AFL games, was the runaway winner with 148 votes from runner-up development player Jay Boyle (78) and third-placed Billy Frampton. Boyle took home the Dean Bailey Award for the second consecutive year.
Skipper Matthew Wright became the first Crows SANFL player to be named captain of The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year. Strachan was selected on the interchange bench.
Awards and Achievements
All Australians: –
Phil Walsh Best Team Man: Reilly O’Brien
Payers Trademark award: Rory Laird
Members MVP Award: Jordan Dawson
Leading goalkicker: Taylor Walker
Mark Bickley Emerging Talent Award: Sam Berry
Dr Brian Sando Award: Ben Keays
Adelaide Crows Foundation Community Leadership Award: Tom Doedee
Showdown Medals: Jordan Dawson (round three)
State League Club Champion: Kieran Strachan
Dean Bailey Award: Jay Boyle
- For the first time in Adelaide’s history, all three Crows teams – AFL, AFLW and SANFL – wore an Indigenous guernsey with the same design, by Eastern Arrernte man Pat Caruso.
- Adelaide confirmed Thebarton Oval as it preferred site for its new headquarters, to be used from 2025.
- The Crows commemorated the 25th anniversary of its first AFL premiership with a reunion of 1997 and 1998 premiership players, officials and staff.
- Adelaide announced it was debt free after finishing the 2022 financial year in a strong off-field position. The Crows recorded a statutory profit of $2.63m for the financial year ending October 31. It was a significant step forward after the pandemic-related disruptions of recent seasons, with the Club eradicating borrowings two years ahead of schedule.
In: Jordan Dawson (Sydney), Josh Rachele (Murray U18), Jake Soligo (Eastern U18), Zac Taylor (Calder U18), Luke Nankervis (Sandringham). Rookie: Brett Turner (Glenelg, mid-season draft)
First game players
Jordan Dawson, v Fremantle at Adelaide Oval, 20/3/22 (player debut order 250)
Josh Rachele, v Fremantle at Adelaide Oval, 20/3/22, (251)
Jake Soligo, v Fremantle at Adelaide Oval, 20/3/22, (252)
Patrick Parnell, v West Coast at Adelaide Oval, 4/6/22 (253)
|Club Champion top ten|
|1: Rory Laird 118 votes|
2: Jordan Dawson 114
3: Ben Keays 88
4: Taylor Walker 82
5: Brodie Smith 72
6: Darcy Fogarty 71
7: Shane McAdam 66
= Tom Doedee 66
9: Sam Berry 64
10: Jake Soligo 61
(Every player was rated 1-10 in every game)
|47 Taylor Walker|
33 Darcy Fogarty
23 Shane McAdam
17 Josh Rachele
14 Elliott Himmelberg
13 Ned McHenry
|Brownlow Medal votes|
2 Berry, Fogarty, O’Brien
1 Rachele, Smith
The 2022 squad
Back row (from left): Josh Rachele (8), Harry Schoenberg (26) Paul Seedsman (11), Will Hamill (17), Lachlan Sholl (38), Lachlan Gollant (44), Ben Davis (40), Andrew McPherson (36), Sam Berry (21), Chayce Jones (1), Ned McHenry (25), Lachlan Murphy (4). Third row: Brayden Cook (15), Jordan Dawson (12), Darcy Fogarty (32), Fischer McAsey (3), Billy Frampton (22), Riley Thilthorpe (7), Reilly O’Brien (43), Kieran Strachan (45), Elliott Himmelberg (34), Jordan Butts (41), Jackson Hately (6), Mitch Hinge (20), Josh Worrell (24). Second row: Luke Brown (16), Wayne Milera (30), Matt Crouch (5), Brodie Smith (33), Rory Sloane (captain), 9), Matthew Nicks (senior coach), Taylor Walker (13), Tom Doedee (39), Ben Keays (2), Shane McAdam (23), Rory Laird (29). Front row: James Rowe (31), Jake Soligo (14), Luke Pedlar (10), Luke Nankervis (27), Patrick Parnell (37), Nick Murray (28), Tariek Newchurch (42), Zac Taylor (19), James Borlase (35).
The yellow clash guernsey was removed from the options for the 2022 season. There was a slight change to the red clash jumper, with blue cuffs and some blue on the red collar replacing the gold. It was only worn in three away games. The new Indigenous design was worn four times, home and away. The main jumper had a change to the collar with a blue strip at the front, there were new sponsor patches on the back and no watermarks. This jumper was used 15 times, including five interstate matches.
Rory Laird in the main guernsey; Lachlan Sholl and Josh Rachele; Shane McAdam; Red clash worn by Shane McAdam