Adealide Crows: Australian Rules
team, in the Australian Football League
Red, Navy Blue
Home Ground: Football Park
History: As early as 1981, the AFL (the VFL as it was then known) was interested in having a South Australian side in their competition. Negotions continued for several years. In May 1990, the SANFL told the AFL that it wouldn't be entering a side in the national competition until at least 1993.
Then, in a controversial and suprising move, Port Adelaide (By far the largest and most powerful South Australian side) entered into negotiations with the AFL, about entering a side in the national competition. This caused a massive uproar among the other 8 South Aussie clubs and the SANFL. Eventually, as a comprimise, the Adelaide Crows were created. Port eventually entered the league a few years later, but that's the subject of another node.
The Crows' first season was 1991, and they finished in the middle of the ladder - not bad for a first year side. In their first game, they pulled off a huge win over the eventual premiers, Hawthorn. In this, their first game, they filled Football Park almost to capacity, attracting 45 000 fans. Along with this first win, they had several others over powerful sides. They finished ninth of fifteen teams in 1992.
Adelaide is a sports-obsessed city, even by Australian standards, and the Crows drew large crowds from the beginning and quickly gained the largest membership of any side in the league.
In 1993, the Crows came extremely close to the grand final. Lead by Tony Modra's goalkicking (129 goals for the season), the Crows made it to the smei-final, and after building a sizable lead over the Bombers they let it slip through their hands, losing the match and a grand final berth by a single point.
In 1994 and 1995, the Crows faded away somewhat, finishing eleventh both years. They struggled to win games in Melbourne. Coach Graham Cornes was sacked at the end of the '94 season, and was replaced by Robert Shaw. Shaw had no more success, and was sacked at the end of 1996 in favour of Malcolm Blight.
Blight bought a change in attitude and work ethic to the club, and more importantly he bought success. In their very first year under Blighty, the Crows snuck into the Grand Final after having finished in the bottom half of the final 8. In an historic victory, the Crows beat St Kilda
and took the cup home to Adelaide. (AS well as being only the third time the cup left Victoria
, this was the first time a team won from the bottom half of the final 8 system) The town was torn apart, as Crows fans celebrated, many fans of Port
(1997 was their first year in the big leagues) mourned, as the 'illigitimate bastard child
' of South Australian football robbed them of what could have been their flag
. Or so they say.
After a slow start to the year, the bastards did it again in 1998, this time over the Kangaroos. Andrew McCleod won the Norm Smith Medal for best on ground in both grand final victories.
Blight was all but canonised by grateful Crows fans. The next year, the Crows missed the finals altogether, and he left.
Gary Ayers took over the reigns in 2000, and didn't have much success in his first two years at the club. The Crows did make the finals in 2001, but they cocked up in the last couple of matches, and never really threatened in a year that was domianted by Brisbane and Essendon. The main event for Crows these days is their twice a year grudge match (They call it the 'Showdown') with cross-town rivals Port Adelaide.