Season review: Adelaide

FROM premiers to just two wins in six games, it was a fall from grace for the injury-decimated Adelaide. 

The Crows struggled to get much momentum in their 2020 season, with a revolving door of forced changes due to injury not helping matters. 

Over the next few weeks, womens.afl will look at each of the seasons of the 14 AFLW teams, kicking off proceedings with Adelaide and moving alphabetically from there.

Coach: Matthew Clarke 

Leadership group: Erin Phillips, Chelsea Randall (co-captains), Courtney Cramey, Angela Foley (vice-captains), Sarah Allan, Jess Foley, Marijana Rajcic 

2020 finishing position: Sixth in Conference A, two wins and four losses, 80.4% 

Best win: Adelaide 8.1 (49) defeated Geelong 6.2 (38) in round three

A high-quality, free-flowing affair. The Crows may have been the beneficiary of a few umpiring decisions, but converted their chances and were at their ferocious tackling best, something that just wasn't seen enough in 2020. 

AFLW Match Highlights: Geelong v Adelaide

05:11 Feb 23. 2020. 7:09 PM

The Cats and Crows clash in Round 3 of the AFLW

Best individual performance: There could only be one. Ball-magnet Anne Hatchard set the AFLW record for most disposals in a match with 35 touches in round one against Brisbane. 

Club best and fairest candidates: Sarah Allan, Anne Hatchard, Ebony Marinoff 

NAB AFLW Rising Star nominations: Nil

Debutants: Najwa Allan, Chelsea Biddell, Nicole Campbell, Caitlin Gould, Montana McKinnon, Madison Newman, Jaimi Tabb, Rachelle Martin (injury replacement) 

Most improved: In a lean year for the Crows, the chance to get games into Nikki Gore would have been pleasing. The young midfielder was only able to break through for one match last year, but played all six in 2020, averaging seven disposals and six tackles. 

Gore inches ball past defender who narrowly avoids injury

00:27 Feb 8. 2020. 7:01 PM

Shannon Campbell's defensive effort just not enough as Nikki Gore goals

Star recruit: Does Courtney Gum count? The former Giant was coaxed out of retirement through the draft to play in her home state, lining up in all six games at half-forward, averaging 11 disposals and kicking three goals. 

Unsung hero: Sarah Allan. One of the most dependable full-backs in the competition, Allan is rarely flustered and plays her role on the last line of defence to aplomb. Was ably assisted by Marijana Rajcic this year in defence. 

What worked:

- Led by Anne Hatchard and Ebony Marinoff, Adelaide found plenty of the footy. The Crows were fourth overall for average disposal per match, and fifth for inside 50s. The bare bones are there, just without their injured stars the polish was lacking. 

Watch: Gun Crow breaks 'disposal per minute' record

04:22 Feb 10. 2020. 3:26 PM

Adelaide star Anne Hatchard sets an AFLW record with 35 disposals in quick time

- The impact of draftees. All with the exception of Gum came through the SANFLW competition, and most had telling moments in games. Chelsea Biddell looks to be a very versatile tall, Madison Newman and Jaimi Tabb were busy while Montana McKinnon was strong aerially when she broke into the side. 

What needs improvement:

- A bit of luck with the injury gods. It was a nightmare year for the Crows, losing Chelsea Randall, Hannah Button, Chloe Scheer and Ruth Wallace for the entire season, Courtney Cramey and Deni Varnhagan for five weeks and Erin Phillips for four.

- Cohesion up forward. The Crows only scored 25.3 per cent of the times they went inside 50, only above lowly West Coast. It was a strength in 2019, not so much in 2020. 

Season in a song: Irreplaceable (Beyonce). Our suspicions were confirmed when it turned out the calibre of Chelsea Randall and Erin Phillips could not be replaced while injured.

Early call for 2021: Expect the Crows to bounce right back up into finals contention. With the calibre of players on their list, they can't miss finals for a second year running.

Season rating: 5/10