It’s the obvious question that most AFL fans are asking now Adelaide have emerged as a genuine premiership threat.
How good would the Crows be if Patrick Dangerfield had stayed?
Or, to put it another way, how well are they going without him?
The former Crow has taken his game to new heights in 2016, standing alone as Brownlow Medal favourite at odds not dissimilar to the ones enjoyed by winner Nat Fyfe last year.
It’s impossible to say the Crows wouldn’t be a better side without the 26-year-old in it, but it’s not a question anyone at West Lakes is keen to entertain.
“We’ve moved into a different space now,” coach Don Pyke said.
“We’ve got guys who have come in and relished the opportunity that’s been presented.
“To be honest, they’re playing their role and playing it really well. We look forward.”
Pyke is hoping that his team without their former champion can grow into a champion team, and on the evidence of the past two months, they’re well on the way.
The Crows are the league’s form side after notching seven-straight victories including three over finals-bound sides.
There was scarcely a poor performance on the field; even the team’s lowest ball-getters played a role.
Charlie Cameron and Mitch McGovern only had nine touches each but Cameron had seven tackles and McGovern kicked a classy snap when the contest was hot.
McGovern could be the man most to benefit from Dangerfield’s departure, debuting in round one and playing every match this season.
He hasn’t stopped to consider the alternate reality where Dangerfield might have made a different choice.
“We don’t think about it at all,” he said.
“It was a big talking point last year but to the credit of the boys, we’ve filled the spot really well and you can see the benefits on the scoreboard.
“We had 10 individual goalkickers (against Carlton).
“We know we’re a good attacking side … we all chip in.”