Adelaide football director Mark Ricciuto in 2019. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

MARK Ricciuto must remove himself from the board of Adelaide.

Ricciuto may be the greatest ever Crows player, but his time as Crows football director has coincided with the club being plunged into the darkest days of its 30-year AFL life. 

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His implausible decision on Wednesday morning on Adelaide Triple M to make public the salaries of big name ex-Crows players who couldn’t exit his club quickly enough for reasons other than money was the work of a person clearly out of answers for the carnage that has infiltrated his club under his watch since late 2017. 

To attempt to justify those actions as being "honest" with the public doesn’t wash, either. 


You don't get to pick and choose when you are publicly "honest" as a football club director, and many people at other clubs were left wondering why Ricciuto omitted the actual perfect punchline to his own story telling – the hefty price, both wage and national draft picks, spent by his club on recruiting Bryce Gibbs during the mass exodus of others. 

Even in the COVID-19 shutdown period, the Crows generated embarrassing headlines through mismanagement, with the unauthorised Barossa training camp and severe public criticisms levelled by two-time Crows' Norm Smith medallist Andrew McLeod the types of incidents not experienced by stable operations.

But Ricciuto's tirade on Wednesday morning was next level when it came to self-inflicted brand damage. Coming four days after his team had been embarrassed in the 48th Showdown clash against Port Adelaide, Ricciuto provided a unique moment in AFL history – a board member of a club publicly talking about official salaries of players.


The players Ricciuto referenced are both furious and yet strangely relieved that the world got to witness the type of attitude they were subjected to when at the Crows – not just by Ricciuto but others, including former coach Don Pyke and ex-football department manager Brett Burton. 

Ricciuto's revelations of the money that some of the exited Crows – Jake Lever, Mitch McGovern, Charlie Cameron, Josh Jenkins, Eddie Betts, Paddy Dangerfield, Hugh Greenwood and Alex Keath were the eight players referenced on Triple M – was bad enough. 

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But certain phrases, including "very happy for him to go" (Jenkins), "comfortable" (to lose McGovern), "very comfortable" in losing Lever, and "it was our call … he's not in our next premiership side" (Greenwood) were condescending.

Of the exits, Cameron, McGovern, Betts and Jenkins were contracted Crows at the time of their departures. 


Greenwood is 28. Wonder how that makes Daniel Talia and Brodie Smith feel. They're both 28, too.

So many exits and just one addition in those years – Gibbs, and even that deal came 12 months after the player wanted to return to his home city. The Crows panicked in the 2017 Telstra AFL Trade Period and used two first-round draft picks for Gibbs, a year after they had baulked at a trade for Gibbs when Ricciuto said giving two first-round picks would be "irresponsible". Gibbs is contracted for 2021, played a lot of SANFL footy last year and was left out of the round two Crows team last week. 

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Ricciuto almost threw away the line on Wednesday morning that the Crows were paying Betts and Jenkins respectively at the Blues and Cats as though it was a masterstroke in list management. 

Also, let's not forget that other significant players in Jack Gunston, Kurt Tippett and Sam Jacobs have also sought to leave Adelaide. 

Cameron choosing to leave the Crows just days after the loss to Richmond in the 2017 Grand Final was the beginning of the seemingly uncontrollable turmoil that has beset the Crows all the way through to Ricciuto's words on radio on Wednesday. 


The infamous camp on the Gold Coast between the 2017 Grand Final loss and the start of 2018 was the main reason some of those players Ricciuto referenced have chosen to leave. 

The manner in which private information of players was so crudely relayed by people working for the Crows to the consultant group which ran that camp, and then inexplicably used against each individual in a misplaced pursuit of breaking that individual down to the point of despair, in the misguided belief it would make him better, will never be forgiven by some. 

Some players might still go public with details of specific programs at that camp which would leave most people sickened.

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You have to feel for Matthew Nicks this week. Zero and two to start his coaching career at the Crows, he now has to lead his side all the way back to the Gold Coast to be based in an AFL hub. 

The players still at the Crows remain friends with those who have left. 

That's the biggest problem caused by Ricciuto this week – those still on the Crows list have little faith that the people running their club are truly cognisant of the damage caused since 2017, and what needs to be done in order to properly move on.