Regrets are an inevitable part of life. They come with the territory of breathing and are a part of the unwritten deal we all sign for the right to exist.

Although some contrition can feel enormous – such as the misery born when a relationship breaks down or after committing a far more criminal act – others are forgotten in the blink of an eye.

In terms of the unpredictable game of football, there are a plethora of scenarios that have made or broken careers.

What if your side picked a different player from a certain draft?

What if your star spearhead had kicked straight when it mattered?

What if an ill-timed fart cost your club a flag?

Well, for fans of every creed we have sought to answer the question that has rankled you for years and kept you up at night for far too long.

We can't promise that we won't open old wounds, as let's face it, that is the entire point of the exercise.

From Adelaide to the Bulldogs, from Fitzroy to the Bears, this series will go through every club's biggest 'what if' moments since the dawn of the AFL era in 1990. Here's part one as we look at the Crows' biggest 'what if'...

What if Mark Bickley never farted during half-time of the 1993 preliminary final?

Footy fans, especially those who reside in South Australia, will always remember Mark Bickley as the man who captained the Adelaide Crows to back-to-back premierships in the late 90s.

However, if not for a bout of flatulence in the bowels of the pre-developed MCG, could ‘Bicks' and his murder have earned a medallion earlier?

Though it sounds as though our tongue is through our cheek here, had the midfielder - playing in just his 63rd of 272 AFL games that day - chosen a less corrosive breakfast option, then history, and a pair of trophy cabinets, would have been altered.

As the Crows entered the changerooms for coach Graham Cornes' half-time address during the 1993 preliminary final, they held a commanding 42-point lead over Kevin Sheedy's yet-to-be-lauded ‘Baby Bombers'.

Cornes implored his group which included South Australian veterans such as Greg Anderson, Scott Hodges, Andrew Jarman, Tony McGuinness and captain Chris McDermott to keep their foot on the gas for the remainder of the match.

Yet, before they charged back out, their young teammate took Cornes' address a bit too literally and backed out a silent, but apparently deadly one.

According to David Pittman, one half of Adelaide's ruck partnership that day, Bickley's intestinal evacuation tore through the huddle and mentally sidetracked the previously slick side.

“I think the guys will all attest that ultimately it was Bickley's fart that caused us to capitulate in the second half,” Pittman jested to Fox Sports in 2017.

“It was outrageous. You would try to keep a straight face, but even Graham was trying hard to ignore it, but no one could.

“It was too pungent. The huddle was trying to move as one away from it.”

Engine room dynamos Mark Ricciuto and Nigel Smart respectively added that “everybody could not concentrate” and that “it had an impact”.

Despite this sulphuric side-tracking, one would have thought the Crows' seven-goal lead would be too much for Essendon to overcome in just a half of football.



Since entering the competition ahead of the 1991 season, the Adelaide Crows had only managed to defeat the Dons once from four starts, with no victories coming in Victoria.

The pair's previous clash prior to their prelim' date came in Round 9 at the MCG, with Sheedy's boys clobbering Cornes' to the tune of 46 points.

With this upper hand in mind, the fledgling Crows were sure to be expecting a fightback across the final hour of their first finals series, even before Bickley dropped his guts.

Still, had Cornes' message run unimpeded and Adelaide had managed to post more than just a pair of goals across the third and fourth terms, then momentum would have likely seen them play off against Carlton in the 1993 decider.

And with the Blues finishing less than two percentage points short of the minor premiership that year, and the fact that they had defeated the pride of South Australia by three goals in the semi-final just seven days before Bickley broke wind, the Baggers would have been warm favourites to claim their 16th flag had the pair met in the 1993 AFL Grand Final.

So, to surmise quickly as we adjust our tinfoil hats, had Mark Bickley decided that musical fruit wasn't a viable meal option ahead of a final, Adelaide would have likely upset Essendon before falling flat at the MCG a week later against Carlton.

With this in mind, there would have been no magical Michael Long run and goal, there would have been no Wanganeen-Long Brownlow-Norm Smith double in the International Year of Indigenous People, the ‘Baby Bombers' tag would have been just another piece of unused alliteration, and of course, Carlton would have appeared certain to have another cup in their case.

Even though a butterfly did flap its wings ahead of the third quarter of the 1993 preliminary final, perhaps a message for ‘Bicks' to lay off the beans wouldn't have made that much difference from a Crows' perspective at all.

But for the team from Princes Park, had Bickley opted for dry toast, they would have been more than a whisker – or a fart – closer to leading the league outright with 17 flags.