THE EXTENT of what Adelaide and Jake Kelly lost in their gut-wrenching Grand Final defeat finally "dawned" on the defender on a routine trip home over Christmas.

A post-season overseas holiday provided a temporary distraction for Kelly, but a return to his former Melbourne home lifted the lid on his emotions.

His father Craig was part of Collingwood's drought-breaking 1990 premiership side, and the high-powered player agent's medallion from that day takes pride of place in the family home.

"I saw my old man's premiership medal when I walked downstairs to the car each time, so every time I looked at that it dawned on me I wasn't a premiership player," Kelly told Fiveaa.

"We had a great opportunity to all become one, but we didn't, and little things like Richmond being on TV or Facebook or social media – whatever it may be – are the ones that really get me personally."

Kelly revealed the Crows underwent a rigorous review of the Grand Final on their pre-season return and is hopeful that will drive them towards redemption.

"We had a really strong feedback session where we put everything on the table and put some really good goals in place for where we need to improve," he said.

"We had multiple reviews where we looked at different aspects of the game, and some were more driven by coaches and some were more player-driven.

"That's where we want to get as a club. We want to be a player-driven club, where players take responsibility for their own careers."

Adelaide will have a new-look defence in 2018, with Jake Lever successfully requesting a trade to Melbourne and Brodie Smith likely to miss the season after a knee reconstruction.

Alex Keath's and untried Tom Doedee's battle to win Lever's old position is well documented, but third-year livewire Wayne Milera might be the answer in Smith's absence.

The 20-year-old has played on the wing and up forward in his first two seasons in the AFL.

"Brodie Smith's going to miss the majority of the year with his ACL, so there's another opportunity for someone," Kelly said.

"Wayne Milera's been training really well (and) training down back, so he might be the one to step into Brodie Smith's role."