FITZROY will hang onto a piece of VFL/AFL history for at least another year, no matter how unwanted it might be.

HAWKS v CROWS Full match coverage and stats

The 1964 Lions were the last team to endure a winless season, and Adelaide avoided that ignominy by humbling a Hawthorn side that could hardly be further away from its famous flag three-peat. 

08:06 Mins
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Highlights: Hawthorn v Adelaide

The Hawks and Crows clash in round 15

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Rookie Crows coach Matthew Nicks finally celebrated his maiden victory in charge in the process, after overseeing losses in his first 13 games since replacing Don Pyke.

Much has happened since, with Adelaide moving on a number of veterans and not fighting hard to retain others in launching a full-blown rebuild that's received incessant criticism.

00:30 Mins
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McAdam gets 'up and Adam'

Shane McAdam gives the Adelaide faithful something to cheer about early after a super speccy in the forward line

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Out went Eddie Betts, Sam Jacobs, Alex Keath, Hugh Greenwood, Josh Jenkins, Richard Douglas, Cam Ellis-Yolmen and more. In came names such as Ben Keays, Fischer McAsey, Harry Schoenberg and Ben Crocker.

00:50 Mins
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Sneaky Shane after Texan hand

Shane McAdam catches the Hawthorn defenders napping when he runs off the mark for a clever major

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Explaining those departures hasn't always been easy – just ask the Crows' football director and media personality Mark Ricciuto.

However, Nicks' men have been increasingly competitive, even though the results don't necessarily show it, and Tuesday night's 12.11 (83) to 7.6 (48) triumph at Adelaide Oval was just reward.

A mixture of old and new overwhelmed the Hawks, who will miss the finals for the third time in the past four seasons and could yet tumble further than third-last.

Tyson Stengle – effectively Betts' replacement – ignited Adelaide in attack, while the Crouch brothers, Matt and Brad, and burly ruckman Reilly O'Brien helped their side dominate Hawthorn in the clinches.

00:35 Mins
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Tempers flare after this late tackle

Adelaide youngster Harry Schoenberg follows through with his tackle on Tom Scully after appearing to be well over the boundary

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All of that quartet has worn criticism for various reasons in 2020.

Then there's Keays (22 disposals, eight score involvements), the Brisbane discard who was once a high draft pick and is now the bargain-basement recruit exceeding everyone's expectations, while Schoenberg showed promise again.

In a telling moment, former captain Taylor Walker roared in the approving Crows faithful's direction after becoming the fifth Adelaide footballer to kick a second goal for the day.

The Crows never trailed and probably should have won by more after spraying a series of shots in an otherwise dominant opening quarter, which set the tone for an impressive win.

00:42 Mins
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Nicks rises off chair after win sealed

Matthew Nicks lets out some emotion after his inevitable first ever AFL victory is all but in the book

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As for the Hawks, this is the lowest ebb in an awful season that started 3-1, but has been followed by nine defeats in their next 10 matches.

Jack Scrimshaw (22, six intercept possessions) and Chad Wingard (16, two goals) were the best of an underwhelming bunch, with coach Alastair Clarkson again losing his cool at quarter-time.

00:46 Mins
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Frenetic footy rewarded with freakish finish

Jack Gunston somehow manages to conjure this left-foot effort at goal after a delightful step

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Clarkson's dark mood, which was targeted at Luke Breust at the first break, won't have improved by game's end.

Another ex-Tigers small forward is thriving
Saint Dan Butler's re-emergence this year after falling out of favour at Richmond has been a popular storyline. Butler was equal-fifth in the Coleman Medal as a former teammate, Tyson Stengle, put on his own show for Adelaide on Tuesday night. The Tigers didn't want him to go, but Stengle is from South Australia and wanted more senior opportunity. That didn't immediately come last season, when he was stuck behind Eddie Betts and Lachie Murphy. However, Betts' and other veterans' departure at the end of last season created vacancies for the likes of Stengle. The 21-year-old was in the headlines for all the wrong reasons earlier in the year for a drink driving charge, but he's quietly making his mark. The numbers aren't blowing anyone away yet – and there are still some wrinkles in his game – but Stengle does nice things each week that make you take notice. He had five score involvements by half-time against Hawthorn and left Shaun Burgoyne in his wake with a clean pick-up and clever snap for a goal. 

00:56 Mins
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Crafty Crow goalsneaks putting on a show

Lively pair Tyson Stengle and Shane McAdam are inspiring their side after two impressive goal involvements

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'He's broken, Glass'
It turns out Fox Footy commentator Dwayne Russell was being overly dramatic, but he undoubtedly enjoyed rolling those three words out in the first quarter. Chayce Jones – not his lookalike, Jake Kelly – had just crunched Hawk Conor Glass as the Sherrin bounced in front of him and left the Irishman worse for wear and needing to hobble from the field. Jones, too, felt the impact after initially trying to shake it off. There was nothing untoward about the young Crow's hit and the contact wasn't high, with Glass able to return to the ground and play the match out.

00:24 Mins
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Crowd gasps after Crow's hit shatters Glass

Conor Glass is forced to leave the field after being collected by Chayce Jones in a heavy collision

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Horrible Hawks facing major change
Hawthorn led Essendon by 36 points at half-time five days ago, before folding like a deck of cards. That was the Hawks' eighth loss in nine starts, so facing a winless Adelaide with four fewer days' break always looked dangerous. We are witnessing the fall of a great team that still has players remaining from the glory years but bears no resemblance. The refusal to embrace the draft until last year – where the wonderful Will Day was picked up – and the tendency to prioritise experience over youth are finally coming back to bite them. The young players Hawthorn do have don't stack up with most clubs and that's the result of having to constantly unearth gems down the order. No matter how good footy boss Graham Wright and recruiting manager Mark McKenzie are, that's tough for anyone. There's little reason to believe next year will be any better, and the Hawks have calls to make on the likes of Shaun Burgoyne, Ben Stratton, Isaac Smith, Ricky Henderson and Paul Puopolo. We've seen very little of many of the kids out of contract, too, but several of those are unlikely to be on the list in 2021. 

HAWTHORN   1.3       4.3       6.5       7.6 (48)
ADELAIDE      2.4       6.6       9.9      12.11 (83) 

Hawthorn: Gunston 3, Wingard 2, Lewis, Minchington
Adelaide: Fogarty 2, Jones 2, Schoenberg 2, Walker 2, Stengle, Keays, McAdam, Murphy 

Hawthorn: Scrimshaw, Wingard, Scully, Gunston, Mitchell
Adelaide: M.Crouch, B.Crouch, O'Brien, Keays, Stengle, Smith, Brown 

Hawthorn: Nil
Adelaide: Nil