2023 Team Preview – Adelaide Crows

Written by JimmyDee on February 13 2023

Some pretty ordinary performances for the youngest list in the league last year, and maintaining the second youngest list (by one month) might not prompt optimism among supporters or SuperCoaches. However, a three game winning streak from rounds 18-20 does give rise to some optimism.

The acquisition of slippery goal sneak Isaac Rankine from the Suns will
be a big lift. Add goalscoring players to return after interrupted seasons in Thilthorpe and Rachelle, add the power of Darcy Fogarty, plus the reported gun pre seasons from Elliott Himmelberg and the Texan, should see the Crows score enough to hopefully win their fair share of games.

Scoring from stoppages was usually a factor in their few good wins last year. Conversely, they were bottom six for stoppage score in losses. That needs to turn around and with Sam Berry proving a standout contested player who will improve in year three, this area should get better. Lairdy, Keays, Crouch and Sloane add the experienced nucleus, and the likes of Schoenberg and Soligo should also improve. Expect to see more of Luke Pedlar and the introduction of tackling machine Hugh Bond and the first tall mid recruited in a while, recent acquisition Tyler Brown, to get a decent crack. I believe they all will be better served by a newly invigorated and self confessed more relaxed ruckman, Reilly O’Brien.

Defence may be the achilles heel in that formula however. Will they be able to stop the leaking of goals with an undersized defence? Will their inability to stop scores from turnovers continue to be a telling factor?

Jordan Butts will be a key to stopping the power forwards and Tom Doedee will continue as the interceptor but Nick Murray struggles to play above his height consistently. Mark Keane may find a spot earlier than expected. Wayne Milera is reportedly flying and a return to the back half as a  connector should ease the pressure on the Brodie Smith, Jordan Dawson types and hopefully free up their run and carry games a bit more.

I expect to see a slight improvement this year, not necessarily in games win loss ratio, but in staying in games longer and bedding down the game plan more consistently. However, that aside, SuperCoaches certainly do have some relevant options from this young and hopefully emerging side.


Lock and Load

Jordan Dawson ($603 100)
Gave him a big wrap last year and he didn’t disappoint. 109 ave and looks set to do it again. Will be the Crows main distributor despite the move of Junior Milera to the back half as a permanent role. SC friendly game, kicks 75% of the time and plays on from 81% of kick ins but hits the target with those he doesn’t. Sneaks up to score a goal every couple of games and tackles four times a game. I can’t see too many issues locking him in (he’s in my team) but the Hawks shoved a tag (Finn Maginness) on and restricted him to 80. Or with Milera going back, they play Dawson off the wing where he averages nearly 20 PPG less. However, seamless transition to the Crows last season and should only improve.

Feeling Lucky

Brodie Smith
Running machine with a booming right boot who can kick long goals and averages 531 metres gained per week, with a high of 1019 MG. Kicks the ball 20 of every 26 possessions, mostly efficiently in a SC friendly role but his highs are high and his lows are low. Not at $450k though.

Money Maker

Mark Keane
Keep an eye on the Irishman during the trials. He was recruited to cover the loss of Frampton and Macasey and could be competing for a spot with Nick Murray. Before his sabbatical last year, he averaged 54.8 for the Pies and if he can replicate that he will be worth $300k.


Lock and load

Rory Laird ($703 900)
Gun clearance specialist with 151, who averaged 33 possessions/game last year. Those SC critics of Lairdy say he handballs too much (57%) but most of his pill is gained in a contested manner that racks up the points. Add to that around 32 points/game in tackles plus a lack of taggers hanging off him and it’s not hard to see why he averaged 128. If he can hit the scoreboard more, he would be a permanent captain. Pretty softish early draw and plays four straight at Adelaide oval after R1. If you don’t get him to start, you may run the risk of not be able to afford him later. Another Crow locked and loaded in my side.

Feeling Lucky

Sam Berry ($478 700)
Second year player who increased his average by 40 points to 87 has to be worth a watch as a breakout in his third year. Has seriously increased his workload and is hard as nails averaging 9.5 tackles and nearly 5 clearances per game. But it was post bye when he started to shine where he averaged over 94 in the last ten games and cracked his first three SC tons, including 140 against the Swannies to highlight ceiling potential. Consider.

Rory Sloane ($413 800)
Feeling really luck, then have a quick sqizz at Rory Sloane. Came out of the blocks to score 98 & 100 playing a mixed role last year. Can take a mark and kicks goals playing or drifting forward. Generally averaged around the 97 mark the last five years with a low of 88 in 2020. Priced to average 75, but anywhere around that low of 88 will push his price by $70-80k.  How much will the ACL hold him back early is the question?

Money Makers

Hugh Bond ($117300)
Crows traded back into the draft to nab this Vic Country kid at pick 40. Strong lad (being an ex national rower) with great endurance and upper body strength allowing him to tackle with elite numbers. Averaged 9.5 tackles/game for GWV Rebels on his way to runner up in their B & F
I know everyone is “flying” pre season, but word is , he truly is!

Billy Dowling ($117 300)
SA junior with impressive numbers at junior level, both at the carnival and the SANFL under 18s. Good size and wins the pill on the inside and outside and racks up points at will. Twelve from twelve tons, seven over 140 in the SANFL under 18s with an insane ceiling  of 268. No senior exposure yet but if he manages to get a guernsey, I’d be locking in that potential.


Lock and Load

Reilly O’Brien ($560 500)
You may think lock and load in this year’s ruck pool is a little flippant. Consider this before we assess his stats. He’s been to Europe to sort out his mentality towards his game and the greater good for the team. Has determined that his lack of consistency was due to his internal pressure and says he has that completely under control now and is more relaxed and refreshed. Also has determined to get around the ground more, impact the scoreboard more and have a greater overall impact. Good News, right? *(Maybe, see note on Thilthorpe).

Given that potential upside to a bloke who had scores of 175 and 160 last year on his way to 102 average, you have to take this selection seriously. Had the second most hitouts in the league and 46.4% of them were HTA Also took 51 marks and laid 79 tackles. If he does as he says, those numbers will go north. Fitness was never an issue, so if the mental is fixed, jump on.


Feeling Lucky

Taylor Walker ($499 200)
Coming into season 15, the Texan has had his two highest averages in seasons 13/14, the highest since 2012. I’m not suggesting the big man is, or will be a keeper, but I will throw out a stat for the biggest of gamblers amongst you. Tex started the last two seasons 4/5 tons (on return from suspension) and 5/6 tons to average 100 and 119 in this timeframe. With 36 trades, a fast points grab could get you a leg up on the opposition before a quick trade to a premo or a timely downgrade. Only for the brave!

Wayne Milera ($321 200)
My early pre season intel says he’s back to his dancing best. Great news for the Crows and for SC. At his best he is a skilful and efficient player who can evade tackles and hit the target, the majority by foot. His last two seasons have been interrupted by injury and the mentality that goes with major injuries, but he is back and looking sharp and slated to slot into a half back role, the friendliest of SC roles. Priced at 58, his last full season way back was 8o which would equate to $120k price hike. Back in 2018/2019 where he did miss a few games he had 18 scores of more than 80, showing, I think, his ability to hit $500k + if he stays on the park.

Riley Thilthorpe ($318 800)
Normally not relevant, but Nicksy and the crew have told us that the number two draft pick will used around the ground more this year. This may have a twofold effect. It should increase his scoring considerably and qualify him for the elusive R/F DPP making him imminently more attractive. But, secondly, could have a negative impact on my decision to lock and load Reilly O’Brien, depending on how they use them both. Keep an eye on the trials.

Money Makers

Luke Pedlar ($173 400)
Highly rated as a M/F by the coaches but only managed one game last year in which he scored 45 points. It could have been more but for some serious clangers. Battled shoulder problems but came back into the twos and started playing really well towards the end of the season with 115 point final round and 88 points, 8 tackles and 3 goals against his old side, The Bays. Powerful body and penetrating left foot, will get his chance this year rotating through the forwards though competition will be stiff with the likes of Rankine (possible transition to mids), Rachelle, Murphy, McHenry and McAdam established in the pecking order.

Luke Nankervis ($123 900) M/F; Tyler Brown ($229 200) M/F
Nankervis is a very versatile, fit and skilled player who should get an opportunity if the Crows are serious about their rebuild and putting some time into their emerging players. Scored three tons in the SANFL showcasing the potential. Tyler Brown is widely thought to be a depth player but my mail is they want him in the guts. At 192 cm he presents as their tallest mid, something they have previously lacked. Previous 27 games with the Pies showed he was not fantasy relevant, but if he gets a full time mid gig, could that change?


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17 thoughts on “2023 Team Preview – Adelaide Crows”

  1. Getting more and more keen on Laird but NFI who to omit out of Oliver/Miller at the moment. Can’t be having all 3, too $$$


  2. Great one, Jim.

    Dawson becoming captain a really interesting variable I think. I wasn’t a fan of his role being so fluid, with a wing being a death sentence like you mentioned. But maybe the captaincy gives him a defined role and steps up as that on field general who gets deferred to? We’ll see.

    Also agree on Laird. Doesn’t get his just deserts. Not a soft accumulator; absolutely A grade contested work. Juicy fixture. Has been in all my drafts.

    Just can’t entertain ROB (aka SLOB) after he regressed last year.

    Crows always good with the kids. I’ve had Bond on my MID bench for a while following your advice. Hopefully he and a few others get a gig.


    1. I thought that as soon as I heard the news about Dawson, but didn’t have time to edit due to a bowls carnival over the weekend. My mail on all things Crows not as good as I thought, no-one told me about that (little) bombshell in the lead up either.


  3. Just remember your getting 2 lairds.
    Happy to pay 700k for 240 almost every week.
    Worst case just downgrade to a titch or whomever is on the up and upgrade a midpricer who is failing.


  4. Thanks Abs.

    Thoughts on Max Michalanney ($135K def)? There’s been a bit of buzz around him for a possible round 1 debut. Pick 17 in the draft, looks to be a composed, rebounding type of defender


  5. Hey Chillo, there is that talk but he doesn’t play the rebounding role as much as the interceptor defensive role yet. definitely training beautifully and doing the right team things but I was more prepared to see what role they give him in the first intra club on Friday before being a bit more definitive.


    1. Sorry Jimmy! That’s what happens when I jump on the site too early in the morning.

      Interesting intel on Max, I’ll keep an eye out


    1. Dyanasis,

      Please be advised you have probably contracted Sledgers League virus.

      Isolate yourself, and stay away from any wine cellars.


  6. Awesome stuff Jimmy Dee.

    You really raised the bar with this Crows Preview.

    Outstanding work .

    Laird is firming for me at D1. It’s him or Oliver, who I talked Oliver up in my upcoming Melbourne Preview. I just can’t stump up for both and I honestly still don’t know who will end up in my side. The good news is..

    You may have just talked me around to ROB at R1. ( I can just see GD’s face screw up as I type ! )

    I took a quick look at his early fixture and its quite promising..

    ROB 2023 opponents

    Round 1 to 8

    GWS – Preuss – ?
    RICH -Nankervis – Soldo.
    PTA- Lycett -Dixon
    FREO -Darcy- Jacko
    CARL- Pitto-TDK
    HAW- Meek- Reeves
    COL – Cameron-Cox
    GEE- Stanly -Blitz

    Freo and possibly GWS are his harder fixtures. But….If his head is right ? He should monster some of these lesser guys. He then hits a harder stretch of games. But hopefully all goes well if his confidence is up. I’m not 100% sold just yet but it could work.

    Thanks again Jimmy.


    1. Lol.

      I’ll admit SLOB has a good fixture but at 560k I’d rather kick it up to Tingles or Witts.

      Sticking with the Budget Bros in Lycett and Pitt for now though.


  7. Lycett maybe ?

    Finlayson has had an interrupted preseason, so hopefully Port go with him more of a forward role early. If Lycett is the man with Dixon as the chop out. He could possibly go 90+

    Pitto is way more problematic. He is clearly the better tap ruck , but gives almost nothing around the ground. TDK is in a contract year and is highly sort after. Carlton will want to give him as much Ruck time as possible to keep him happy.
    Pitto is also a HUGE tactical sub risk. When they need more run, TDK will ruck and Pitto will be benched. I can’t see him going over 80.

    At least go Marshall / Lycett.

    Marshall is cheap. If Campbell misses he will kill it. If he does play and Marshall plays a bit forward early Marshall gets dpp and is a Premo Forward for $500K.
    Campbell doesn’t play when they get King back, so long term Marshall should still compete with English / Witts etc for R1 overall.

    Please don’t start Pitto GD !


  8. After a intraclub match, it appears that Rachele and Rankine spent more time in the midfield which looks to be increased over a long period of time.

    Pedlar is looking to become more likely to start in Rd 1 at half forward. He wasn’t outstanding in the intraclub match but spent his time at HF.

    Milera as a 321k FWD was moved to a HB role which might open up a bit more of the forward line. It will be interesting to see what this causes for the team as it may benefit Dawson more to get him up the field.

    Dawson then was taking all the kick outs which is a scoring boost that is wanted to be seen.

    Source: @AaronBryans (ABC Sport)



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