2022 Pocket Profile: Adelaide Crows
The Crows have been a team that have been hitting the draft hard the past few years, that method was changed up somewhat at the end of the 2021 season, with Adelaide bundling up 6 draft picks in order to obtain the services of Jordan Dawson ($550,300 DEF) from Sydney, while also bringing in Josh Rachele ($184,800 MID/FWD) to bolster their forward line and further midfield support in Jake Soligio ($117,300 MID), Zac Taylor ($117,300 MID) and Luke Nankervis ($102,400 MID/FWD).
Two big returns will also be on the cards for Adelaide, with Matt Crouch ($482,000 MID) and Wayne Milera ($271,100 DEF) expected back early in the year from long-term injuries. Both will help add depth to a thin Adelaide side, but there is a question of both how long it will take them to get back into form and who they will push out of last years team.
Rory Laird ($632,600 MID)
He may have lost his defensive eligibility this year, but even just as a midfielder he still looms as a no-brainer selection for 2022. In 2021 he finished 10th overall in total points and 11th in Average Score, while producing only 1 sub 100 point score over his last 15 games (for an average of 123.6 SCPoints). His price has obviously gone up this year, but he remains a fantastic selection if you’re looking for an uber-priced midfield premium, but want to save a bit of cash from the Macrae, Steele, Oliver types.
Harry Schoenberg ($390,200 MID)
While everyone expected the addition of Jackson Hately ($188,700 MID) to make up for the loss of Brad Crouch at the end of 2020, it was actually Harry Schoenberg who took a larger role in the midfield in 2021, upping his disposal average from 11 to 18 and his clearances from 1.6 to 3.1 per game. Over his final 7 games of 2021 he managed to up that to 22.8 disposals and 4.4 clearances per game, highlighted by a 31 disposal, 6 clearance game against Port Adelaide in Round 21.
Brayden Cook ($209,000 MID)
He was a 1st round pick in the 2020 draft, but missed a significant amount of time in the year after shoulder surgery early in the pre-season. It didn’t take him long though to earn his AFL debut, coming in Round 21 against Port Adelaide and he remained in the side for the final 2 games of the season. With Tom Lynch now gone from Adelaide, Cook looks to have the potential to fill a “Connector 2.0” type role for Adelaide. Just for comparisons sake, in Tom Lynch’s 2nd year at Adelaide in 2013 after playing 6 games in the first at the Crows he went from a 43.8 SCPoint average (Cook averaged 48.0 SCPoints in 2021) to average 79.2 SCPoints.
Josh Rachele ($184,800 MID/FWD)
Adelaide used a variety of options as small forwards through the 2021 season including Sam Berry, Ned McHenry, James Rowe and Lachie Murphy, but none of them possess the natural football ability or x-factor around the goals like Rachelle does. He’s more expensive than you’d like, but Nicks showed he’s willing to back in rookie players (Rowe 18 games, Berry, 17 games) if they can fill a team role. With Lachlan Murphy out until early March with a neck injury that opens up a spot for Rachelle to be there for Round 1.
Rory Sloane ($528,000 MID)
I love ya, Rory, but time is not a friend when it comes to football. Heading into his 14th season the soon to be 32 year old has only averaged 100+ for a year once over the past 4, while missing half a season in both 2018 and 2020 in that period due to injuries. He upped his SC average from 87.8 to 97.0 last year, which shows he’s not a total write-off as a player, but he highlights one older Crow who may need to take a step back from the minutes he plays in the midfield in order to allow a youngster like a Harry Schoenberg or Sam Berry further opportunities to develop their game. One who’ll have value in draft leagues, but not as a classic Supercoach selection.