Use hurt to inspire 2018
LOAD up and strike again in 2018, or reload for another attack in three years’ time?
That is the question the Crows must answer right now.
The fallout at the Adelaide Football Club has begun following their grand final loss and, while the pain is far from over, they need an immediate plan of action.
They must look at the playing group. Factor in what it looks like in 2018 and make a couple of very tough calls.
Is their premiership window still open or has it closed, given the losses of Scott Thompson (retired), Jake Lever and Charlie Cameron (trade) and the longterm injury to vital defender Brodie Smith?
Honesty inside this club is needed. Brutal honesty.
Serious thought must be given to the question of whether it is time to pounce again or to take one step back to hopefully take two steps forward in the not-too-distant future.
Here’s what we know already.
Thompson has said his farewells. Lever has, too.
Cameron is next, while Smith will be missing for most of the 2018 season, if not all of it after a knee reconstruction. Others will follow. Off-field, the movement is similar.
Assistant coaches David Teague and Matthew Bode have both gone to Carlton.
Josh Francou replaces Teague after his stint at Sydney.
None of the changes to the playing list should surprise.
Players wanted more freedom to move clubs. They wanted more money. Their wishes were granted, so there is no point complaining.
If you want the good, then accept the consequences. Every decision has consequences. This is a crucial time for the Crows.
The rumours of dissension on field during the grand final will not go away.
Where there is smoke, there is fire.
Taylor Walker’s spray at Lever after the announcement of his departure does not do the culture of this club any favours.
The new world for the AFL is here. It has been for some time now. So as a leader, embrace it or suffer the consequences.
If clubs are going to drop players from finals because they are leaving or unsigned, that is fraught with danger and there will be a lot of teams looking for replacements from now on.
Player movement is here to stay and it’s only going to increase.
We’ve been saying this for the past few years.
The game has changed. The players wanted it. So move on!
Adelaide must be careful at this point and make sure it continues to be seen as a destination club.
Good players will only go to a place where they feel secure and where players are respected and treated well.
One unhappy voice can create big problems. Especially when it’s a respected voice. An admired voice.
Sydney has become a destination club and it has Paul Roos and John Longmire to thank for it.
Hawthorn is, too, and why Matt Crouch Brad Crouch Josh Jenkins Jake Kelly Rory Sloane Paul Seedsman Daniel Talia Taylor Walker Kyle Hartigan Luke Brown Eddie Betts Hugh Greenwood Rory Atkins Andy Otten Sam Jacobs Richard Douglas Tom Lynch Rory Laird Wayne Milera Mitch McGovern David Mackay Jake Lever Charlie Cameron Myles Poholke Elliott Himmelberg Matthew Signorello Tom Doedee Ben Davis Harrison Wigg Riley Knight Jordan Gallucci Curtly Hampton Riley O’Brien Alex Keath Jono Beech LONG TERM INJURED Brodie Smith Cam Ellis-Yolmen Kyle Cheney Harry Dear Troy Menzel Dean Gore Scott Thompson wouldn’t it be one? Richmond is once again, so too is Collingwood despite its recent tough times, and Melbourne is as well, thanks again to Roos. St Kilda is becoming one, Essendon is once again. And Geelong, of course.
Brisbane and Gold Coast are not, although the Lions are on the brink of restoring their image.
As far as player trading goes, Greater Western Sydney is still more retirement village than destination.
West Coast and Fremantle remain compromised by distance.
North Melbourne is rebuilding , Carlton is too. The Western Bulldogs have had their day, as big as it was.
The Crows and the Power must be proud of who and what they are and protect it at all costs.
In Ken they trust and the players flock to Alberton.
Tom Rockliff (from Brisbane) is the latest - a club captain and best and fairest winner.
Stevie Motlop (Geelong) is another. The family connection to SA footy goes back to the early 80s.
The Crows must not miss the boat here.
Club culture. Team spirit. Finals. Premierships. Adelaide Oval.
Their list of benefits is long. It only takes one blemish to ruin it.
Adelaide used just 31 players in 2017 after using a mere 29 the season before.
On the surface, it looks like a good stat. It isn’t.
The Crows have simply not exposed enough players to top-level football.
They are delaying the inevitable - and that will lead to unavoidable pain.
Sometimes a strength is a weakness when you dig a little deeper, and the Crows’ decision not to expose more players to senior football is a mistake that will come back to bite them.
Richmond trialled 38 this year — in a premiership year.
The Bulldogs played 39 a season earlier.
Hawthorn 33, 34 and 35 in their three-peat from 2013 to 2015.
It is a lesson Adelaide can learn from.
MUST KEEP TRADE MUST FIND OUT TO BE DECIDED GONE RETIRED OUCH: Adelaide Crows vice-captain Rory Sloane and captain Taylor Walker react after the AFL grand final loss to Richmond.