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Adelaide Football Club - Crows History Locker

2023 AFL

Games Won 11

Ladder Position 10

Premiership position: 10th (11 wins, 12 losses)
Coach: Matthew Nicks
Captain: Jordan Dawson

Adelaide continued its rise up the premiership table in 2023 but finished the season ruing missed opportunities and a controversial end to its last home game.

The Crows finished tenth with 11 wins from 23 games after a decision not to call for a goal review late in round 23 against Sydney probably cost the Crows a chance to play for a top eight finish in the last minor round.

The competition’s heaviest scorer, Adelaide remained a challenger late in the season despite a series of serious injuries to defenders Tom Doedee, Jordan Butts and Nick Murray, and winger Chayce Jones.

The Crows lost five games by a goal or less, including both games against eventual premiers Collingwood. Two Showdown wins against Port Adelaide were highlights but Adelaide squandered some strong starts in several games and also staged some remarkable comebacks from poor positions.

Jordan Dawson, recruited by the Crows at the end of 2021, took over as captain after Rory Sloane stepped down from the role to focus on his return from a knee reconstruction.

Adelaide added exciting forward Izak Rankine to its squad by trading a first round pick to Gold Coast. It also drafted father-son eligible Max Michalanney, the son of former Norwood star Jim Michalanney.

Both impressed in their Crows AFL debuts in the opening round against GWS but it was a frustrating start for Adelaide, which led by 28 points at half-time before the Giants added 11 goals to four in the second half to win by 16 points.  

Adelaide’s first home game for 2023 started badly, with Richmond leading by 45 points at half-time. The Crows sliced the margin to one point in the last term before the Tigers booted the final five goals of the game. 

It was Adelaide’s turn to kick away in Showdown 53. The Power led 84-80 at the 11-minute mark of the last quarter before the Crows booted the last six goals to win by 31 points. Dawson, switched into the midfield, won his second Showdown Medal.

After a solid win against Fremantle, Adelaide launched the AFL’s new SA-based Gather Round with a stunning Thursday night win against Carlton. The Crows kicked eight of the first nine goals before easing to a 56-point win.

Adelaide’s fourth consecutive win was its first in Launceston since 2005 but it trailed Hawthorn by nine points late in the last term until goals from Rankine and Darcy Fogarty secured the points.

Adelaide’s first heartbreaking loss to Collingwood, by one point, came after it led by 22 points early in the last quarter. The Crows then lost to Geelong at Kardinia Park before returning to the top eight with a 52-point win against St Kilda at Adelaide Oval.

After a poor performance in Ballarat against the Western Bulldogs, Adelaide broke Brisbane’s winning streak in round 11 but then lost a fluctuating game against Gold Coast in Darwin. The Crows led by 35 points midway through the second term, the Suns kicked nine consecutive goals to lead by 21 points, Adelaide responded to recapture the lead early in the final term and then the Suns rallied to win by 25 points. Intercept defender Doedee ruptured an ACL early in the game.

Taylor Walker celebrated his 250th AFL game by kicking a career-high ten goals in Adelaide’s record-breaking 122-point demolition of West Coast before the bye.

Adelaide’s first appearance at the MCG in 2023 had a flat start, with Collingwood leading by 33 points just before half-time. But the Crows hit back in style by adding seven goals to none in the third quarter, turning a 27-point half-time deficit into a 13-point three-quarter time lead. Collingwood regained some control in the last term but Walker’s fifth goal cut the margin to one point with three minutes left. The Magpies held on to win by two points.

After hammering North Melbourne by 11 goals in round 16, Adelaide was unable to recover from Essendon’s blazing start at Marvel Stadium and then allowed GWS to boot all five goals of a gripping last term after it led by 17 points at the last break.

Back at the MCG in round 19, Adelaide staged another stirring comeback against Melbourne but lost by four points and also lost Murray to a knee injury.

Walker booted a Showdown-equalling record of seven goals in Adelaide’s 47-point win against Port. He won the Showdown Medal after one of the best performances of his career, days after the 33-year-old signed a new deal for 2024. Irishman Mark Keane, a late addition to Adelaide’s rookie list during the pre-season, made his AFL debut for the Club.

A 28-point win against Gold Coast was followed by another tight finish, Adelaide falling six points short of Brisbane at the Gabba.

But the Crows’ finals hopes ended in round 23 with a demoralising one-point loss to Sydney at Adelaide Oval. The Swans led by 44 points late in the second quarter but Adelaide stormed home in the final term. Ben Keays celebrated kicking a goal to give the Crows the lead with 60 seconds to go but his shot was judged to have grazed the goalpost. The AFL later apologised for the error but the result could not be overturned.

Adelaide’s season ended with a win in Perth. Adelaide shook off West Coast by kicking the last eight goals of the game and Walker kicked nine goals to briefly take the lead in the Coleman Medal race.

Dawson played every game and capped an incredible first year as Crows captain by winning his first Malcolm Blight Medal.

The 26-year-old, who also claimed All-Australian honours for the first time in 2023, polled 132 votes to be crowned Adelaide’s Club Champion from three-time winner Rory Laird, who was runner-up with 115 votes. Dawson’s career-best season coincided with his permanent move into the midfield, which led to him averaging 27 disposals, three clearances and six tackles a game. Laird and Dawson both polled 20 votes in the Brownlow Medal.

Fellow first-time All-Australian Walker finished third with 98 votes after kicking a career-high 76 goals. He was voted as the Members’ most valuable player.

Rankine and defender Mitch Hinge both polled 92 votes to round out the top five. Rankine kicked 36 goals from 20 games in his first season with the Crows.

Matt Crouch revived his Crows AFL career late in the season, earning another contract after a series of strong performances in the midfield.  

Teenage defender Michalanney won the Mark Bickley Emerging Talent award after playing 22 games in his impressive debut season.

Paul Seedsman retired at the end of the season after battling ongoing concussion-related symptoms for two years. He played 83 games for the Crows after 49 games at Collingwood.

Adelaide’s SANFL side reached another preliminary final but did not advance to its first grand final.

The Crows finished the minor round in third place after winning 13 of the 18 games. They defeated Sturt in the qualifying final but lost to Glenelg in the second semi-final and were knocked out the following week by Sturt. Glenelg beat Sturt in the grand final.

Captain Matthew Wright played his 300th game of senior football in the last game and then announced his retirement.

Midfielder Jackson Hately claimed Adelaide’s 2023 SANFL Best and Fairest award. He received 111 votes, ahead of Tyler Brown (102) and Sam Berry, who finished third with 101 votes. Will Hamill was fourth (96) and two-time winner Kieran Strachan (91) was next. Lachlan Gollant was the leading goalkicker with 42 and finished sixth in the best-and-fairest.

Harry Schoenberg and Hately, Gollant and Strachan were named in The Advertiser SANFL 2023 Team of the Year.

Utility Blayne O’Loughlin claimed the Dean Bailey Award. From North Adelaide, O’Loughlin signed with Adelaide’s State League side as part of the SANFL Rookie Program. O’Loughlin, a nephew of former Sydney 300-gamer and AFL Indigenous Team of the Century star Michael O’Loughlin, played 15 SANFL games with the Crows, including the three finals.

Awards and Achievements

All Australians: Taylor Walker, Jordan Dawson

Phil Walsh Best Team Man: Reilly O’Brien

Players Trademark award: Jordan Dawson

Members MVP Award: Taylor Walker

Leading goalkicker: Taylor Walker

Mark Bickley Emerging Talent Award: Max Michalanney

Dr Brian Sando Award: Andrew McPherson

Adelaide Crows Foundation Community Leadership Award: Reilly O’Brien

Showdown Medals: Jordan Dawson (round three), Taylor Walker (round 20)

State League Club Champion: Jackson Hately

Dean Bailey Award: Blayne O’Loughlin

Other news

  • Thebarton Oval remained the focus of Adelaide’s planning for a new headquarters. In October it was announced that the State Government would contribute $15 million to the project, plus $10 million for the Oval precinct.
  • Former Crows coach Neil Craig was announced as the winner of the 2023 Neale Daniher AFL Coaches Association Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • Rory Sloane became the tenth Crow to play 250 AFL games the Club, in round 18.

List changes

In: Izak Rankine (Gold Coast), Max Michalanney (Norwood), Billy Dowling (North Adelaide), Hugh Bond (GWV Rebels). Rookies: Tyler Brown (Collingwood, Pre-season Supplemental selection), Mark Keane (Collingwood, Pre-season Supplemental selection).

Out: Luke Brown (retired), Billy Frampton (Collingwood), Ben Davis, James Rowe, Brett Turner, Fischer McAsey.

First game players

Tyler Brown, v GWS at Sydney Showgrounds, 19/3/23 (player debut order 254)

Max Michalanney, v GWS at Sydney Showgrounds, 19/3/23 (255)

Izak Rankine, v GWS at Sydney Showgrounds, 19/3/23 (256)

Luke Nankervis, v Melbourne at the MCG, 23/7/23 (257)

Mark Keane, v Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval, 29/7/23 (258)

James Borlase, v Gold Coast at Adelaide Oval, 5/8/23 (259)

Related links

Club Champion top ten
1: Jordan Dawson 132 votes
2: Rory Laird 115
3: Taylor Walker 98
4: Izak Rankine 92
= Mitch Hinge 92
6: Lachlan Murphy 91
7: Brodie Smith 87
8: Chayce Jones 80
= Ben Keays 80
10: Wayne Milera 79

(Every player was rated 0-10 in every game by the coaches)
Leading goalkickers
76 Taylor Walker
36 Izak Rankine
34 Darcy Fogarty
25 Luke Pedlar
23 Josh Rachele
22 Ben Keays
18 Riley Thilthorpe
Brownlow Medal votes
20 Dawson
20 Laird
16 Walker
7 Rankine
3 Fogarty, O’Brien
2 Keays, Sloane, Thilthorpe,
1 Soligo, Smith

The 2023 squad

Back row (from left): Lachlan Murphy (4), Ned McHenry (25), Sam Berry (3), Andrew McPherson (36), Will Hamill (17), Tyler Brown (21), Lachlan Gollant (44), Jackson Hately (6), Max Michalanney (16), Lachlan Sholl (38), Chayce Jones (1). Third row: Izak Rankine (22), Harry Schoenberg (26), Luke Pedlar (10), Mitch Hinge (20), Mark Keane (48), Riley Thilthorpe (7), Reilly O’Brien (43), Kieran Strachan (45), Jordan Butts (41), Elliott Himmelberg (34), Nick Murray (28), Josh Worrell (24), Darcy Fogarty (32). Second row: Rory Laird (29), Matt Crouch (5), Shane McAdam (23), Brodie Smith (33), Jordan Dawson (captain, 12), Rory Sloane (9), Taylor Walker (13), Tom Doedee (39), Ben Keays (2), Wayne Milera (30). Front row: Hugh Bond (40), Billy Dowling (31), Zac Taylor (19), Jake Soligo (14), Josh Rachele (8), Patrick Parnell (37), Luke Nankervis (27), Tariek Newchurch (42), Brayden Cook (15).

2023 Jumpers

Adelaide unveiled a limited-edition guernsey for the AFL’s new Gather Round against Carlton at Adelaide Oval, showcasing a retro version of the Crows logo. It was also worn against Brisbane in round 22. The 2023 Indigenous Crows guernsey style, used by the AFL, AFLW and SANFL teams, was designed by Anmatyerr educator and artist April Napangardi Campbell from the Ti Tree community in the Northern Territory. Campbell is AFLW premiership player Danielle Ponter’s aunty. It was worn twice in the AFL, in rounds 10 and 11.

Nick Murray, Rory Sloane and Brodie Smith in the main guernsey; Izak Rankine in away clash jumper; Luke Pedlar wearing the Indigenous guernsey; Gather Round guernsey worn by Wayne Milera and Jordan Dawson.