It was back in November last year that I sat up and started to take some serious note as to what was possible with the Adelaide Crows in 2023.
Already benefitting from the emergence of Josh Rachele and his exciting play in and around the forward fifty, the Crows managed to extract Izak Rankine from the Gold Coast Suns, adding another dimension to a forward six that was already starting to take shape under Matthew Nicks.
It struck me as a bit of a departure from the way other clubs were building. Look at Hawthorn, as an example. They have used the draft and recruiting to stack their defence first – they say it wins premierships, after all. Drafting Denver Grainger-Barras, Will Day, Josh Ward, and now Cam Mackenzie, they built from the defence through the midfield, pinning their hopes on the development of their tall forwards taken later in previous drafts.
The Crows went the opposite way, and with Rachele in the bag, Darcy Fogarty moving into a prime role, and Taylor Walker back to playing great footy after a 2020 season that had many questioning his capacity to continue playing at the highest level, the addition of Rankine set tongues wagging.
Just how good could he be?
2023 has provided us that answer.
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