In a nutshell

The biggest disappointment of the season. Touted as a serious premiership contender, the Crows had a failed pre-season camp, lots of hamstring injuries and dropped their bundle mid-way through the year.

What we said in the pre-season 

The Crows were tipped to challenge for the flag after losing last year's Grand Final. Marquee recruit Bryce Gibbs was a solid addition to the Crows' midfield, but veteran Sam Gibson couldn't establish himself in the Crows' best 22 after being troubled with a hamstring injury at the start of the season. Defender Tom Doedee was predicted to be a big chance to be the NAB AFL Rising Star following the departure of Jake Lever to Melbourne.

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What worked

Big-name free agent commits
Star midfielder Rory Sloane resisted overtures from Victoria to sign a five-year contract extension with the Crows. 

Doedee, Milera shine in new-look backline
Tom Doedee was outstanding as Jake Lever's replacement as an intercept-marking defender. Wayne Milera also found his home across half-back to cover for the injured Brodie Smith. 

Greenwood gets better and better
Former US College basketballer Hugh Greenwood was strong in the midfield, but was also dangerous when used in attack.

What failed

Disastrous pre-season camp
The Crows were on the back foot after their controversial pre-season camp on the Gold Coast that divided the playing group. The club parted ways with Collective Mind midway through the season. 

Hamstring injuries mount up
The club's medical staff were kept on their toes with a multitude of hamstring injuries, leading to questions about how players were handled. 

Walker, Betts have difficult seasons
Crows skipper Taylor Walker and All Australian small forward Eddie Betts struggled with injuries and didn't perform at their best.

Overall rating


After making the Grand Final last year, missing the top eight this time is a fail in anyone's language.

The coach

It was a difficult year for Crows coach Don Pyke as he dealt with injuries to key players, especially in the first half of the season. Pyke tried a few things, using a tagger at times and throwing midfielders forward. He's in no danger of losing his job having signed a three-year extension in January until 2021.

Don Pyke had a tough 2018. Picture: AFL Photos

The leaders 

Crows skipper Taylor Walker injured his foot in February and never got going after that. He took a few weeks off in the middle of the season, but never looked entirely comfortable. Walker's leadership came under question, and there will be suggestions whether Sloane takes over next year, or at least becomes a co-captain.


Rory Laird: The small defender is a ball-magnet in the back half of the ground. He gets the Crows going through the middle of the ground and reads the play extremely well.

Surprise packet

Tom Doedee: After not playing any senior games in his two previous years on the list, Doedee became a regular in the backline as Jake Lever's replacement. Excelled as an intercept-marking defender.

Get excited

Wayne Milera: Looks like he's found his spot at half-back having shown glimpses of his immense potential as a half-forward and winger. The 2015 No.11 overall pick attacks the ball and hits targets beautifully by foot out of defence.


Eddie Betts: The mercurial small forward had his lowest goal return since joining the Crows having struggled with form and injury. Turns 32 in November and doesn't take many set shots from outside 40m. Still produced a couple of goal and mark of the year contenders, so don't write him off.

Best win

Round 20: Adelaide 13.18 (96) d Port Adelaide 14.9 (93)
The Crows rallied late courtesy of Josh Jenkins' controversial goal that appeared to graze the goal post to claim bragging rights over cross-town rival Port Adelaide. Matt Crouch had a game-high 35 disposals.

Best individual performance

Rory Laird. Round two v Richmond
The All Australian defender had a brilliant start to the season, having a game-high 42 disposals, including 29 kicks, and seven inside 50s in the Crows' 36-point win against the reigning premiers in the Grand Final rematch at Adelaide Oval.

Low point

The 91-point drubbing at the hands of Melbourne in Alice Springs exposed the Crows' depth and showed the true cost of their injury woes, the majority of them soft-tissue injuries.

The big questions

Are the Crows still in the premiership window, or do they need to go back to the drawing board?

Can the Crows move up the draft board and secure South Australian talents Jack Lukosius and/or Izak Rankine?

Will Taylor Walker remain Crows captain next year, or will he share the captaincy with Rory Sloane?

Season in a song

Mind Games, John Lennon

Who's done?

Retirements: Curtly Hampton, Sam Gibson

Delistings: Harry Dear, Jackson Edwards, Ben Jarman

Unsigned free agents: Andy Otten

How should they approach trade and draft period?

The Crows should see what they can get for forward Mitch McGovern, who has requested to be traded despite having two years to run on his contract. He could be used to move up the draft board to try and secure Jack Lukosius or Izak Rankine.

Early call for 2019

The Crows are capable of bouncing back quickly and returning to be a top-four side.

Crows fans: what's your season verdict?

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