Coach – Don Pyke
Points For – 8th
Points Against – 12th
Top 5 Best and Fairest
2018 Rising Star Noms
Ins – Shane McAdam, Tyson Stengle, Chayce Jones, Ned McHenry, William Hamill, Lachlan Sholl, Keiran Strachan, Paul Hunter, Jordan Butts
Outs – Kyle Cheney, Harry Dear, Jackson Edwards, Sam Gibson, Curtley Hampton, Paul Hunter, Ben Jarman, Mitch McGovern, Matthew Signorello
I don’t think anyone expected last year’s plunge down the ladder from the Crows, they had looked the best team of 2017 with the exception of the grand final and then they had their preseason camp and everything went to hell in a handbasket. I don’t know which stories that came out are true but clearly the impact wasn’t quite what they hoped. Then it becomes about how much of last years disaster was due to talent, how much was due to injuries and how much was motivation.
The backline looks ok on paper, They have solid talls although probably not with the level of depth you would hope for. Doedee looked like a ridiculous draft reach a couple of years ago and then looked every part the AFL footballer last year. He was assured and whilst not at Lever’s standard, he certainly made the loss of him easier to take. Laird from half back was really solid and Talia is as reliable a backman as you would want.
The midfield is an interesting one. I am not sure they have the level of pure talent as other teams but they have worked together really well previously. The Crouch boys and Sloane are good when the heat is on. They have to hope Sloanes body still has a lot of footy in it after he smashed them at contract negotiations, 5 years for a player who looked beaten up last year is insane. They will have plans for Fogarty to move towards the middle at some stage and they have Gibbs and Seedsman who both deliver the ball well.
The forward line reads well. Lynch, Walker and Jenkins are as good a threesome of talls as anywhere but last year they just didn’t work. They looked slow and the ball coming in was predictable and when it was brought to ground, it was usually rebounded out. Betts is a superstar but I feel last year, he has lost a yard of pace and he didn’t look as dangerous. They need Gallucci to improve and someone like Greenwood to bring manic pressure. They may prove me wrong but the forward line looks a little like a liability to me.
Jacobs is a good first ruck but looks pretty shallow after that. Their forward structure relies on Jenkins running back towards goals and he isn’t much chop in the ruck. They need Jacobs to stay fit. The coach was given last year but Adelaide don’t have a history of putting faith in coaches who don’t make the finals on a regular basis. Another year like last year and the pressure will certainly be on Pyke.
Injuries are a part of football and it does seem like Adelaide had more than their share last year but there is clearly more to it than that. Mismanagement of the issues around their preseason camp and the mixed messages was crazy to watch. Also everyone talks about the Gold Coast exodus of players but Adelaide continually lose serious talent and it is rarely mentioned. Dangerfield, Cameron, Davis, Gunston, Lever and McGovern are all pretty recent and some seriously good players. I find it hard to make a seriously compelling argument for them to bounce back in a serious way this year. I think 10th to 12th is about the mark for mine.