Crows’ AFL rise traced to organic growth

The Adelaide Crows spent the summer being mocked.

They had missed catching a big trade fish – Carlton midfielder Bryce Gibbs – and they had sent seasoned on-baller Jarryd Lyons packing to the Gold Coast.

The external summary of the Crows’ trade period was bleak: they had weakened the key midfield area, rather than strengthen it.

But internally the Crows coined a phrase to sate concerned supporters: organic growth.

The phrase was initially used by Adelaide’s list manager Justin Reid in a radio interview.

“We think we’ve got some organic growth (in the list),” Reid said when explaining the club’s idle trading.

Many scoffed at the term. But now, Reid is entitled to a quiet chuckle himself: he was right.

Organic growth – a less-punchy term would be improvement – has been a hallmark of Adelaide’s stunning season.

The Crows topped the ladder. They are about to host Geelong in a preliminary final on Friday night.

The organic growth of Adelaide’s midfield can’t be denied.

Matt Crouch is an All-Australian at the age of 22. His older brother Brad has stamped himself as a genuine star.

The Crouch brothers’ experienced midfield colleagues – Rory Sloane and Richard Douglas – have enhanced their status.

Former basketballer Hugh Greenwood has emerged as a vital cog in Adelaide’s on-ball brigade in his first AFL season.

“They have taken great strides, which is fantastic,” Crows coach Don Pyke said of his midfielders on the eve of the preliminary final.

“And as I said at the start of the season, we as coaches are here to try and make all of our players get better otherwise we’re not doing our job.

“To the credit to the guys who have worked closely with the midfield group, they have done a fantastic job.

“And the midfield guys have embraced the opportunity.

“Sometimes you don’t know what people are capable of until they are given an opportunity.”

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