Use hurt to in­spire 2018

Sunday Mail - - SPORT - AD­VER­TISER.COM.AU SUN­DAY OC­TO­BER 8 2017

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.

Pic­ture: MICHAEL DODGE

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.

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