Ladder Position: 14th
Adelaide’s 2011 was a doldrums for the club, one of the worst they have faced in many years. Hopes of pushing for finals were quickly dashed by poor performances, including the disastrous loss of Showdown XXX after being well in front early. The result was the resignation of coach Neil Craig after round 18, and the season’s end resulted in the appointment of Geelong assistant Brenton Sanderson as coach for 2012.
Expectations are tough to judge for the Crows. Their squad has been boosted by Brad Crouch, but he’s a 2013 onwards prospect so will have zero impact this year. If they are to challenge, they will need general improvement in order to make a dent in September.
However, they are greatly aided by their 2012 draw. Adelaide play all of GWS, Port Adelaide and Gold Coast twice. While the Showdown is never a guaranteed win, you could safely expect them to at least achieve 4 wins from that group of games. They also face return games against Geelong and Fremantle.
Scott Thompson – The 28-year-old had that stellar 50 possession game and continues to perform extremely well at the top level. Accumulated and is dangerous in disposal as well.
Kurt Tippett – Expect Tippett to be dogged all season by that rumour regarding the trade in his contract. A new coach will hopefully bring about another season like 2009.
Bernie Vince – Vince will look to continue his midfield development and try to take his game to the next level in 2012.
Taylor Walker – Out from the speculation regarding GWS and performing well late in the season. The Crows will surely try to set up the dual-spearhead forward line utilising both Walker and Tippett, and his late 2011 performances encourage the idea.
Sam Jacobs – Now in his second season at the Crows, Jacobs’ establishment as first-choice ruckman is set, but the question now is whether he can challenge for the elite AFL ruck of the level of a Cox or Sandilands.
Daniel Talia – After a strong showing in the second half of 2011, Talia will look to build in 2012 and really establish himself in Adelaide’s backline.
Adelaide’s easy draw will make them appear better off than they probably are. If they manage to turn AAMI Stadium into a fortress once more, it will not be a surprise to see them in the finals hunt and even in September – but not enough to make a real dent.