ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 05: Reilly O'Brien of the Crows competes with Rory Lobb of the Dockers during the 2019 AFL round 07 match between the Adelaide Crows and the Fremantle Dockers at Adelaide Oval on May 05, 2019 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by James Elsby/AFL Photos/Getty Images)

The Crows finished last, there’s no sugar coating that fact. However, things looked like they could have been much worse at the halfway point of the season.

They sunk as low as to sit 0-13 at one stage and it looked like they were on the brink of a no-win season. But their late season form was not only a saving grace but also a glimmer of hope into the future. They managed to win three on the trot and blood some very exciting youth in the process.

They have started the club’s first proper rebuild on the right path and if the signs toward the end of the 2020 season are the standard and not the exception, they may rise faster than expected.

BEST WIN

Round 15 vs Hawthorn: Easily their best win was their first win. There were genuine concerns the Crows were destined to go through the season winless until they defeated Hawthorn. The Adelaide Oval felt like it was pumping despite the game being mid-week and twilight.

WORST LOSS

Round 9 vs North Melbourne: The Crows were listless and pretty insipid this day, it was a game there fans would have seen as winnable and they were dismantled like witches hats by a team that had struggled all season. A 69-point loss is never good, but it’s worse when it’s against a fellow struggler.

MVP

Rielly O’Brien: The big ruckman was a warrior this season. Tapping down to an inexperienced and shallow midfield group, he worked himself into the ground throughout the season with very little respite. His performance in their maiden win of the season was huge as well.

MOST IMPROVED

Ben Keays: The hard edged midfielder had a break-out season this year. He doesn’t have a lot of polish and finesse but he tries his guts out and got some reward for that effort. Keays was delisted by Brisbane at the end of last season, so it was good to see him stand-up at the level and cement a place in their best 22.

NEEDS TO LIFT

Rory Sloane: This may be a touch harsh, but if the Crows are going to be seriously competitive next season they need their leader to stand up. They have now lost Brad Crouch and their midfield needs its leaders to rise and show the way. This starts with Sloane, who was once one of the truly elite midfielders of the competition and needs to find his best footy once again.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA – AUGUST 11: Rory Sloane of the Crows leaves the field with a suspected eye injury during the round 21 AFL match between the West Coast Eagles and the Adelaide Crows at Optus Stadium on August 11, 2019 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Will Russell/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

INS AND OUTS

Ins

2nd-round pick (36) compensation for Rory Atkins

2nd-round pick (23) compensation for Brad Crouch

Future 4th-round pick for Kyle Hartigan

Future 2nd-round selection and 4th-round selection (Melbourne)

Outs

Brad Crouch (to St Kilda)

Rory Atkins (to Gold Coast)

Kyle Hartigan (to Hawthorn)

2nd-round pick 33 and 3rd-round pick 50 (pick swap with Melbourne)

Jordan Galluci (Delisted)

Myles Poholke (Delisted)

Ben Crocker (Delisted)

Bryce Gibbs (Retired)

2021 CRYSTAL BALL

It will be another tough year for the Crows with finals out of the question. They will continue to blood their youth and get games into as many kids as they can. Their biggest query will be over whether they finish low enough to earn the number one draft pick again, as they may very well miss out on the nation’s best young player this year due to NGA. Bottom three looks likely again.