25/04/2024
Jordan Dawson in action. Picture: Daniel Cohen

Jordan Dawson in action. Picture: Daniel Cohen

The Crows are set to stand on unfinished business in 2024 as a plethora of young talent and a stable core of veterans lead their search for their first finals appearance since 2017.

2023 Overview

Perhaps one of the biggest what-ifs in recent memory, an anticlimactic conclusion to 2023 left the Adelaide Crows dumbfounded. However, as hard as it may be to leave the score review blunder in the past, it is necessary to do so in order for Adelaide to reach new heights this season.

2023 was an overall improvement for the Crows, taking their win tally to 11 after totalling only eight in 2022. Impressively, the leaguewide team totals for average points for, goals, tackles, and hit outs were all lead by the Crows.

A season full of highs and lows, Adelaide’s biggest win was a 122-point shellacking of the West Coast Eagles whilst their largest margin of defeat was only 45 points versus the Bulldogs in Ballarat.

Two heartbreaking losses to the eventual premiers Collingwood, by one and two point margins respectively, proved that a gritty Adelaide squad could go toe-to-toe with the competition’s best. Whilst two convincing Showdown performances handed the Crows the bragging rights over their fiercest rivals.

A roller-coaster of a season all culminated in Round 23, where a one-point loss to the Swans at Adelaide Oval officially eliminated their finals aspirations. Whether their elimination was fair or not is irrelevant now, as 2024 is finals or bust for a Crows team that has run out of excuses.

Off-Season Changes

In: Chris Burgess, Daniel Curtin, Charlie Edwards, Oscar Ryan, Karl Gallagher

Out: Tom Doedee, Shane McAdam, Paul Seedsman, Fischer McAsey, Jackson Hately, Tyler Brown, Andrew McPherson, Tariek Newchurch,

Ex-Sun Chris Burgess will further bolster the Crows tall forward stocks, as a fresh start is set to unleash the 28-year-old .

“I’ve always wanted to probably come back to Adelaide, but playing for the Crows is definitely a dream come true.”

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Meanwhile, highly touted left-footer Daniel Curtin is set to bring his poise and versatility to the Crows back six. However, big expectations will be on the youngster early as the Crows traded up to select him eighth overall.

Additionally, Charlie Edwards, pick 21, and Oscar Ryan, pick 27, will provide depth to a squad already overflown with high-end young talent.

The departure of Tom Doedee (Brisbane Lions), and Shane McAdam (Melbourne Demons) may sting, but with departure comes opportunity, and their roles in the side are certain to be filled.

Fixture (All ACDT)

Round 1 Saturday, MAR 16 GOLD COAST SUNSHERITAGE BANK STADIUM 7.40PM
Round 2 Friday, MAR 22 GEELONG CATSADELAIDE OVAL 7.10PM
Round 3 Friday, MAR 29 FREMANTLEOPTUS STADIUM 6.50PM
Round 4 Thursday, APR 4 MELBOURNE- ADELAIDE OVAL (GATHER ROUND) 7.10PM
Round 5 Saturday, APR 13 CARLTONMARVEL STADIUM 4.05PM
Round 6 Friday, APR 19 ESSENDONADELAIDE OVAL 7.10PM
Round 7 Saturday, APR 27 NORTH MELBOURNEBLUNDSTONE ARENA 1.15PM
Round 8 Thursday, MAY 2 PORT ADELAIDEADELAIDE OVAL 7.00PM
Round 9 Sunday, MAY 12 BRISBANE LIONSADELAIDE OVAL 3.30PM
Round 10 Saturday, MAY 18 COLLINGWOODMCG 1.15PM
Round 11 Sunday, MAY 26 WEST COAST EAGLESADELAIDE OVAL 4.10PM
Round 12 Saturday, JUN 1 HAWTHORN MCG 1.15PM
Round 13 Thursday, JUN 6 RICHMONDADELAIDE OVAL 7.00PM
Round 14 Saturday, JUN 15 SYDNEY SWANSADELAIDE OVAL 7.00PM
Round 15 Bye
Round 16 GWS GIANTS ADELAIDE OVAL TBC
Round 17 BRISBANE LIONS- THE GABBA TBC
Round 18 ST KILDA- ADELAIDE OVAL TBC
Round 19 ESSENDONMARVEL STADIUM TBC
Round 20 HAWTHORNADELAIDE OVAL TBC
Round 21 GEELONG CATSGMHBA STADIUM TBC
Round 22 WESTERN BULLDOGS- ADELAIDE OVAL TBC
Round 23 PORT ADELAIDE ADELAIDE OVAL (A) TBC
Round 24 SYDNEY SWANS- SCG TBC

The Adelaide Oval was certainly a fortress in 2023, as the Crows won nine of their 13 matches at the venue.

Several chances to further bolster their dominance at home present themselves as Adelaide is blessed to have a flurry of early primetime fixtures at AO, including the Gather Round opener versus Melbourne, and a Thursday Night Showdown.

Road trips to Geelong, Sydney, and Perth will undoubtedly prove challenging as the Crows will look to build on their 2-8 away record last season. Trips north to Gold Coast in Round 1, and Brisbane in Round 17 will test a young squad, as will Carlton at Marvel and Collingwood at the MCG.

Looking Forward to 2024:

In his second year as captain, Jordan Dawson did it all, taking home his first Malcolm Blight Medal as well as All-Australian honours. Dawson led from the front, driving the midfield all year long averaging 27.1 disposals and 6.7 tackles, including 35 and 12 versus the Pies.

Meanwhile, ex-captain Taylor Walker also had career best season, narrowly finishing second in the Coleman Medal race with 76 goals. Additionally, Walker also earned his first All-Australian jacket in a season highlighted by bags of ten and nine versus West Coast on separate occasions.

Joining Walker as the pinnacles of Adelaide’s attack, tall forward duo Darcy Fogarty and Riley Thilthorpe are set to take their game to new heights in 2024.

Looking the goods on the track, Fogarty slotted 34 goals last season whilst Thilthorpe had 18 and will certainly be key contributors to their clubs finals push.

The engine room is set to be driven by ball magnet Rory Laird whose 29 disposal average ranked elite amongst midfielders.

Meanwhile, Laird is set to be joined by Matt Crouch who’s newfound opportunity has propelled him back to old form.

The consistency of mid-forward Ben Keays and ruck Reilly O’Brien is essential to the Crows success as they look to solidify themselves as some of the league’s premiums at their position.

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Izak Rankine and Josh Rachele are the Crows two X-factor players that have the ability to turn the game on its head. Both players are still young with their best football ahead of them, and more midfield time is set to turn heads.

A tall defensive unit that was tested and deprived due to injury will be back to full health and looking to cause headaches for opposing forwards.

The Crows defence isn’t necessarily highlighted by any big names, but nonetheless the likes of Jordon Butts, Mitch Hinge, and Nick Murray headline their ninth ranked defence.

Unexpectedly thrown into the deep end, young key backs Josh Worrell, Luke Nankervis, and James Borlase held their own and showed glimpses of their strengths throughout the year.

Whilst other youngsters Max Michalanney, Jake Soligo, Patrick Parnell, and Luke Pedlar will hope to solidify their best-22 positions and announce themselves as stars of the future.

Coach Matthew Nicks is heading into 2024 will simple expectations, to play finals, and with a contract extension in the air he will be hopeful to start off strong.

Uniting the playing group and coaching them to their first finals series since 2017 is not negotiable, so will the Crows be up for it?

Prediction: 4th

It is seriously overdue for the Crows to take the genuine next step and this is the year they do it. A Brownlow-esque season from skipper Jordan Dawson and an array of young guns taking a huge leap into AFL stardom will propel Adelaide to secure the double-chance.

Seeking revenge for last years season-ending antics, the Crows are set to be a dominant force at home and take it to the competition’s best week in and week out.

Many expect a top eight berth at least, but Adelaide have all the pieces to become the competition’s newest, fun to watch, close match heroes.

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