This bizarre year has produced results that surprised many. Of all the clubs to be touted as premiership favourites, Adelaide has been the only one to stay on top and continue their winning form all throughout the season.
Here are five reasons why the Crows can take out the premiership this year:
1. Their soft draw
It has been well noted that Adelaide’s run home has many winnable games. A top two spot is essentially assured for the Crows (provided their form doesn’t drop dramatically). A top two spot means that the Crows will have two home finals, a serious advantage seeing as their playing style suits AAMI Stadium so well.
2. Their potent forward line
One of Adelaide’s underrated qualities is the strength and flexibility of their forward line. Of course there’s the much talked about duo of Kurt Tippett and Taylor Walker, who function well together and provide opposition back-men headaches, but what hasn’t been discussed often in the media is the depth of their forward line. Jason Porplyzia has strung together three damaging games in a row and is starting to get back to his best form. Jared Petrenko, Ricky Henderson and Ian Callinan have all wreaked havoc, especially Henderson who kicked six goals against Port Adelaide in Round 15. Even with Tippett’s concussion worries, there are no doubts that Adelaide’s forwards will be difficult to contain and be able to kick a winning score.
3. Depth of midfield
For years it’s been Scott Thompson having to win the midfield battle on his own. This year however, the Crows midfield group has stepped up and become damaging, not only in the middle, but on the scoreboard, too. Bernie Vince returned to his stellar best with four goals and a case of leather poisoning on the weekend. Young guns Rory Sloane and Patrick Dangerfield have had supreme and consistent seasons, both being on the cusp of A-grade. Captain Nathan van Berlo has been his usual unassuming self by leading from the front and making sure the younger brigade are protected by an older body.
4. Versatile ruck division
Ivan Maric was about the same quality ruckman as Will Minson when working with Sam Jacobs in past years. However, now he has moved on, Jacobs has blossomed and even broke the record for most hit-outs in a game. A strong, versatile ruck division has been a key for success in recent years and will be just as imperative this year. Versatility comes from Tippett, Shaun McKernan and Josh Jenkins, the latter of which has really stood up this season. All can pinch hit as well as hit the scoreboard, something that opposition clubs must stop in order to beat the Crows.
5. Gorillas in the backline
The Crows have an offensively-minded group of midfielders and forwards, but down back it is business first and flair second. Ben Rutten is able to shut down the best forwards in the game; this has been the case for quite a while, but now he finally has some help. Daniel Talia and Sam Shaw have really come along this year and are both versatile enough to play on the more aerobic, leading types like Lance Franklin and Nick Riewoldt. Adelaide can and will be able to stop the best contested markers with Graham Johncock and Brent Reilly, who are more than capable of shutting down the small forwards.
The Crows have talent all over the park and coach Brenton Sanderson has a squad capable of playing offensively-minded football without conceding at the same time. Combined with their relatively easy draw and their strong home ground advantage, the Crows can go all the way this year.