The four-step plan to rebuild the Adelaide Crows

The Crows are looking as bad as any team can look at the bottom.

It seems as though the players are scared of the ball and the club is more worried about their off-field image than the necessary rebuild.

Adelaide are going to the past with lifetime member and club legend Mark Riccuito on the board, which has opened up a can of worms regarding some of the off-field issues for the club, such as that infamous camp and player relationships with the board members.

The Crows are going backwards in 2020. This is my four-step plan to rebuild the team on the field and off it.

Matthew Nicks, Senior Coach of the Crows

(Photo by James Elsby/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Step 1: trade for picks
Trade Bryce Gibbs, Rory Sloane and one or both of the Crouch brothers. If the club wants to rebuild, it must do a full rebuild, not just a one-player job. Get rid of those who look past their prime and have the potential to cause conflict for the club.

Trading likes of Sloane and Gibbs, for example, will help get better picks in the upcoming draft. It might also be able to secure swap deals, as both players are highly rated in the AFL.

Trading Gibbs will also the club move past certain angst, like that now-infamous tweet from a couple of weeks ago that caused a storm in a teacup. This will position the Crows with good picks for Gibbs. If he goes to Carlton, they may be able to get a draft pick and a player.

Trading current captain Rory Sloane can help the side get a fresh start. Even though he might want to stay for the long-term pain, this will not benefit the club’s future. It might be risky, but if you want to get a rebuild right, this is what you need to.

If Sloane leaves, there is the suggestion he would go to Geelong to link up with mates Patrick Dangerfield and Josh Jenkins, but the Cats would have to give the Crows both draft picks and players. This could be a great way to maximise this deal.

As for the Crouch brothers, who both want to go back to Melbourne, could go to one of the big Melbourne clubs like Collingwood or Richmond be a destination? Who would give the Crows serious compensation for like-for-like draft picks and players?

Step 2: An external review of the board
This is quite a straightforward step. Any struggling sporting team needs to undertake a review to improve, and the Crows are no different. One way to do this would be an independent review of the off-field issues and into the on-field downfall. This review could help the club grow and build into a challenge against archenemy Port Adelaide.

Simply reviewing last season won’t be enough given the side couldn’t move past the 2018 preseason camp and various beefs with management, so a proper external review by non-football people this is a must.

A review will clear the air in the boardroom. As we know, this has worked in other sports, with Cricket Australia’s Argus review resulting in the national team moving No. 5 in the world rankings to No. 1 in just two and a half years.

It would help the club understand where it’s at on a business level and also on the field. Undertaking a review could help the club find its new direction.

Bryce Gibbs

Bryce Gibbs. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Step 3: Get back to playing attacking football
The Crows have been too defensive this year. The side have not been able to kick forward and kick goals. It’s like they’re just a swarm of defenders. As we saw on Saturday afternoon against the Eagles, in which Adelaide kicked a score of only 34, they are one of the lowest offensive teams for the year.

With a total of just 249 points over the six rounds to date, clearly the young forward line cannot complete against quality defenders, making scoring tricky.

To make matters worse, the absence of Taylor Walker has not helped the offence and structure. They’re struggling to gain any confidence without their best player in the side – he’s someone who leads the forward line in the goal-kicking department.

At the moment the only bright spot in this rebuild is Brodie Smith, who looked good against the Eagles with 31 touches. It looks like he’ll be a bright player, but he’ll need his forwards to kick goals if they want to win games.

My question is: where is the offence? Also, where is Darcy Fogarty? A small forward who has a big presence for a young player, he’s played well in previous seasons, including with a five-goal haul against the Eagles last year. He looks good at AFL level, so why wouldn’t you play him now?

The Crows will need to draft a similar player – they should even try to get Western Bulldogs academy player Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, who will be the No. 1 pick if the Bulldogs pass on him at this year’s draft. It seems unlikely according to reports, though you never know. He has been compared to Lance Franklin in the way he plays as a forward. They need to convince him and get him across to the Crows.

We have seen in many past drafts that mistakes have cost clubs. Look at Richmond, for example – they passed up on Lance Franklin for Richard Tambling. These decisions can cost clubs, and Adelaide will need to take a risk if they do not want Tex Walker growing tired of carrying the forward line when he returns from injury.

Step 4: Go to the draft and draft big
The more draft picks, the better for the club. I know you will say 18 years old is not the answer for the Crows, but look at Sam Walsh, Matt Rowell and Cam Ranyer. They’ve all lived up to the expectations and have helped turn around their clubs.

Adelaide’s next picks in the draft, if they pick them well, will help the side go through the full rebuild it needs to return to playing great footy. If they follow the Carlton or Gold Coast model, which are both working well at the moment, this could be a great example of how a full rebuild should be executed.

In addition to this, drafting players who can play attacking football will create a new style for the Crows. They should look for midfielders, a key fullback to replace Daniel Talia and two key forwards like Tex Walker and Eddie Betts, a combination that has worked well in the past.

Look to the Gold Coast Suns and draft multiple players in key positions, which is helping that Queensland side improve and creating great chemistry and an attacking game style. It’s built them a competitive team and delivered match wins. Following this plan could make the Crows competitive in the upcoming season and could see them return to the top eight rapidly.

This is the four-step plan to rebuild the Crows. Any Adelaide fans reading this, give me your thoughts on whether or not it could work.

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