2023 sees Adelaide enter their fourth season under senior coach Matthew Nicks, who is yet to register a winnings season throughout the club's planned rebuild.

The Crows' wins tally has only ascended since Nicks' first season at the helm however, with that trajectory expected to continue on its current tangent as the South Australian club looks to take the next step toward finals football.

Adelaide enter the new season as the second youngest and second least experienced squad in the competition, but that'll be no excuse for the blue, red and gold side to remain among the bottom third of the ladder.

An exciting new addition to their attack, coupled with another pre-season under the belts of their emerging young stars, will have Crows fans excited and optimistic for what's to come this year.

Ins: Hugh Bond, Tyler BrownBilly Dowling, Mark Keane, Max Michalanney, Izak Rankine

Outs: Luke Brown (retired), Ben Davis (delisted), Billy Frampton (Collingwood Magpies), Fischer McAsey (retired), James Rowe (delisted), Brett Turner (delisted)

Here we assess their squad for 2023 and name their Best 23-man side ahead of the season's start.


Adelaide's defensive third has struggled to find consistency both on-field and with selection across Matthew Nicks' three-year tenure with the Crows.

Medium-sized interceptor Tom Doedee has looked to be their constant on the last line and has now managed two full seasons at AFL level after playing just 10 games between 2019-2020 due to injury.

Doedee has begun to hold a supporting role to key defender Jordon Butts, who continues to go from strength to strength when locking horns with the competition's best tall forwards.

Nick Murray will be their secondary tall defender, while Andrew McPherson will be hoping to break back into the senior side after a luckless run with injury.

Adelaide v Port Adelaide - 2021 AFL Community Series
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 07: Nick Murray of the Adelaide Crows and Charlie Dixon of Port Adelaide during the 2021 AAMI Community Series match between the Adelaide Crows and the Port Adelaide Power at Flinders University Stadium on March 7, 2021 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Sarah Reed/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Veteran Brodie Smith will again be the Crows' rearguard mentor as he enters his 12th season at the club, offering run and carry out of the defensive third.

Chayce Jones will be Adelaide's hard-nosed flank option in defence, while Wayne Milera will have his fingers and toes crossed that his body can hold up to the rigours of AFL football.

SSP recruit Mark Keane will add to the selection frustration at West Lakes after returning from Ireland, while father-son draftee Max Michalanney will press his case for an debut early into his rookie season.


Adelaide's midfield will again rely on their top trio of ball-winners to lead from the front.

Sherrin agent Rory Laird will continue to be their main facilitator through the middle of the field, with the 29-year-old cracking the 650-disposal mark for just the third time in his career last year.

Sidekick Ben Keays started yesteryear in fine form to show his true mettle and midfield acumen, going as far to rival Laird as Matthew Nick's No.1 onballer.

The former Lion will be hoping to recapture the form that had him well-placed to begin 2022 and maintain that level of physicality for longer periods this season.

Jordan Dawson effortlessly slotted into the midfield rotations in his first season with the Crows and will again be pivotal in giving Nicks some flexibility through the middle of the field.

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

The defensive-minded midfielder is set to be utilised at the centre-bounce stoppages, on the wing and through the defensive half in his second season with Adelaide.

Tackling machine Sam Berry will look to emulate the role Laird held in his earliest seasons as a midfielder as the club's brick wall in the middle.

The emerging onballer's presence on the defensive side of midfield gives both Laird and Keays the ability to attack and roam freely.

The Crows aren't short on depth options in midfield, with Jake Soligo, Harry Schoenberg and Jackson Hately all being handed centre-bounce attendances in 2022.

Mitch Hinge will look to lock down a wing spot this season, a role held with Paul Seedsman sidelined in 2022, while recruit Tyler Brown, Ned McHenry, Lachlan Sholl and Patrick Parnell also tussle for opportunities at senior level.

2017 Malcolm Blight Medal winner Matt Crouch is a curious case for the Crows after being dropped from the senior side on several occasions last year.

Both injuries and form have prevented Crouch from returning to his best football in recent seasons, with the one-time All-Australian seen to be on the fringes of Nicks' planning.

Reilly O'Brien will assume the first-string ruck duties as he continues to build his case as one of the best tap talls in the competition.


The Crows might be home to the most exciting forward pack in the competition, a title they could've claimed prior to the acquisition of small forward Izak Rankine from the Suns.

Rankine will inject pace, poise and pressure into Matthew Nicks' front third with his return to South Australia, hoping to go a step above his strong 2022 campaign on the Gold Coast.

The West Adelaide product joins fellow top 10 draft selections Josh Rachele and Riley Thilthorpe in building a fierce and youthful attacking contingent at West Lakes, with Rachele to work closely with Rankine to create a lethal one-two small forward punch.

High-flyer Shane McAdam is the third smaller-framed prong in attack, with the tenacious forward to continue to complement his taller teammates in the forward 50.

Taylor Walker will again be the veteran voice in attack, looking to show age is just a number after booting a club-high 47 goals in 2022.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - MAY 16: Darcy Fogarty of the Crows kicks a goal during the 2021 AFL Round 09 match between the West Coast Eagles and the Adelaide Crows at Optus Stadium on May 16, 2021 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Will Russell/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Darcy Fogarty was a standout for Adelaide in the back-half of last season, booting 31 goals in 12 games, a run that included at least one goal in a dozen straight matches to end the year.

The aforementioned Thilthorpe will look to cement his place in the forward third of the field while pinch-hitting in the ruck to support O'Brien.

The Crows will call on a handful of midfielders to rotate through the forward arc, while Elliott Himmelberg, Lachlan Murphy, Luke Pedlar and Lachlan Golant will act as reinforcements.

Best 23

FB: Tom Doedee, Jordon Butts, Wayne Milera
HB: Chayce Jones, Nick Murray, Brodie Smith
C: Jordan Dawson, Sam Berry, Mitch Hinge
HF: Jake Soligo, Taylor Walker, Shane McAdam
FF: Izak Rankine, Darcy Fogarty, Josh Rachele
FOL: Reilly O'Brien, Rory Laird, Ben Keays
I/C: Rory Sloane, Riley Thilthorpe, Ned McHenry, Harry Schoenberg
SUB: Jackson Hately

Emerg: Patrick Parnell, Matt Crouch, Lachlan Sholl

We've picked our side, now it's time for you to pick yours with our PICK YOUR TEAM page.