259-game Adelaide veteran Brodie Smith has expressed his displeasure in seeing his axing to the SANFL "celebrated on social media", with the Crows defender only wanting to help the club return to finals contention.

Smith was one of three players dropped by coach Matthew Nicks ahead of Saturday's clash with the Swans as trio Izak Rankine, Nick Murray and Brayden Cook return from injury.

The senior backman is set to play his first game at the state league level since 2018 - an appearance he made in his return from a serious knee injury sustained the year prior.

Smith, a one-time All-Australian, has struggled to have the same impact in 2024 as years gone by, being one of several Crows underperforming amid the club's fading finals chances given their 4-1-8 record.

Speaking to 10 News Adelaide, Smith admitted his form hasn't been at the desired level, but noted vitriolic comments from Crows fans online have only soured the situation further.

"It's almost being celebrated on social media which does hurt," Smith said.

"I'm only out there trying to do my best and help these young guys out. To see some of the stuff online... some of it's almost getting a bit hateful, which is sad to see.

"The frustrations only at myself. My game has been there, but it needs to be up there if I want to stay in the side. I've been okay but I'm not impacting games the way I want to.

Brodie Smith during the AFL match between Essendon and Adelaide, Round 4, 2022 (Photo by Cameron Grimes / Zero Digital Media

"I've always said working with these young guys that sooner or later they're going to take my spot and that means I've done a good job in helping them. That moment has arrived."

"The team hasn't been where we want it to be. As a leader you want to step up and help drive [the turnaround]. Unfortunatley I haven't been doing that."

Outside of his injury-impacted 2018 campaign, Smith hasn't played fewer than 14 games in a single season prior to this year. A staple at half-back at West Lakes for over a decade, the veteran defender now faces an uncertain future given his place on the periphery at selection and status as a free agent.

Smith is one of several veterans Crows who could be in their final season with the club, with Adelaide's all-time leading goalkicker Taylor Walker also unsigned beyond this year and struggling to reach the same form as recent seasons.

The Crows will host ladder leaders Sydney at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night as they look to snap a two-game losing run.

Adelaide Oval