After a Showdown shocker, the Adelaide Crows are on track for their worst ever AFL season. But just how bad will it get?

Only two games into season 2020, and it’s already been one to forget for the Crows. A first-up loss to the Swans in Round 1 was compounded by off-field troubles during the COVID shutdown, plus further questions of ‘culture’ after premiership hero Andrew McLeod said he no longer felt welcome at the AFL club.

Then Saturday night happened.

In going down by 75 points to crosstown rivals the Power, the Crows dramatically shifted from $10 in Palmerbet’s ‘least wins’ market for 2020 into $3.25. The loss was their worst ever Showdown performance, as Ken Hinkley’s side smashed their pre-game line of -13.5 points.

One game, lots of damage

The Showdown stats were certainly damning. Port had 104 more disposals yet somehow out-tackled the Crows 61-45. It bring’s Matthew Nicks’ claims of working on defensive footy into stark light. And it appears punters have jumped right off after the performance. After the Round 1 loss to the Swans the Crows had already drifted out to $6 AFL Finals hopes but after Saturday night that figure ballooned out to $9.

Nicks has since said that he won’t hesitate in dropping senior players if he has to. “If we don’t stand up in the contest, we’ll have to make changes…we have to put players in who will do that,” he said. “It will be our older players who we’ll have to move to one side if they don’t get it done.” Nicks said the defensive efforts needed to improve, quickly. “We have a fair bit of work to do around prioritising defence. We played against a side that was outstanding in that area. It may look like it through the TV that their offense is getting them the win, but it’s also about the defence. When you’re not prioritising your defence, it makes you look like you’re not trying.”

Worst ever year?

The Crows’ worst ever season in the AFL is when they finished 14th in 2011. But many are tipping that this season could out-do that lacklustre year. The reason behind Adelaide’s huge shift ($10 into $3.25) in the ‘least wins’ market was not just because of its poor performance. It was also because of the performance of the Gold Coast Suns, who they happen to be playing this week…

Day of reckoning

The Suns’ stunning 44-point win over flag fancies West Coast made people sit up. And it also made punters think that perhaps they’re not the wooden spoon shoe-in everyone thought. The win (despite starting as $5.50 outsiders) saw them move from $1.75 out to $2.30 for the ‘least wins’ in AFL season 2020. And it’s also made them start as marginal $1.85 favourites against Adelaide this weekend – the first time they’ve ever started as favourites against the Crows. While Stuart Dew’s young Suns will want to maintain the momentum of Saturday night’s win, their perhaps far more on the line for the Crows. And with skipper Rory Sloane in doubt, they’ll need to see across the board improvement if they’re to get over the line.