Snapshot: Adelaide entered one of its most important pre-seasons in recent memory on the back of a devastating five-point loss to Hawthorn in the preliminary final. Things would get worse though when the decision by Kurt Tippett to leave the club ignited the biggest controversy in its history. Third-party payments made to Tippett saw the club lose its first and second round picks at the 2012 and 2013 NAB AFL Drafts. CEO Steven Trigg and football manager Phil Harper were both suspended from their duties, the club was issued a $300,000 fine and, from the outside, it seemed a difficult thing to concentrate on backing up a remarkable season. However, on the inside, Brenton Sanderson and his players were upbeat and it was business as usual. With the Tippett saga over, the players have been able to knuckle down completely and several have recorded personal best times on the track.
Break: Players break on December 20, returning on January 7.
Draftee watch: Adelaide already knew Sam Siggins was mentally tough and determined, so it's no surprise he has started training so well. At 196cm but only 86kg, he'll need to put a bit of weight on before making an AFL debut but the early signs are good that he'll be able to link with Daniel Talia and Sam Shaw in Adelaide's back six. Rory Atkins looks a talented player. He possesses great skills and offers the Crows versatility with his preferred left foot. He's fitted in well and looks right at home at training.
Burning: Coaches and players would agree that 19-year-old Nick Joyce has been tearing the training track up. A technicality related to Tippett's status saw Joyce delisted so the club could have its required three picks at the NAB AFL Draft. In trying times, the redrafted Joyce has impressed everyone at the club with his dedication and maturity, returning to the side in the best shape of his life. He ran a personal best five-minute run distance and it seems likely he'll make his AFL debut in 2013.
Medical room: Adelaide's list is in good shape. Only a handful of players are currently training on restricted programs, with Luke Thompson (ankle), Bernie Vince (shoulder), Ricky Henderson (finger, (Matthew Jaensch (groin) and Jared Petrenko (shoulder) all running and undertaking skill work. They are all expected to return to full contact training after the Christmas break.
What they say: Despite the interruption of the Tippett investigation, Adelaide is really pleased with how pre-season has started. Next season requires the side to build on the momentum gained in 2012. "After returning to training on November 19, the squad is hard at work attacking the pre-season training program. We are happy with the group’s fitness level and approach towards training." – List manager David Noble.
NAB Cup schedule:
Round one: v Port Adelaide and St Kilda, AAMI Stadium, Sunday, February 17
Round two: v Geelong, Skilled Stadium, Saturday, March 2
Round three: v Carlton, AAMI Stadium, Friday, March 8