Honest Craig made right decision

Adelaide coach Neil Craig following the club’s worst losing performance in Round 18, against St Kilda, losing by 103 points.

On Monday, Neil Craig fronted the media to announce his resignation as coach of Adelaide Crows beside the club’s CEO Steven Trigg.

As he has done throughout his tenure at West Lakes, he spoke professionally, honestly and gracefully.

Craig has been at Adelaide a long time, having been appointed as fitness coach in the premiership years of 1997-98 under coaching great Malcolm Blight.

He served willingly under his predecessor Gary Ayres from 2000-04, before officially replacing Ayres as the senior man in charge from 2005.

Due to his distinct and valuable insight in sports science, Craig was able to build an Adelaide team that was structured, well drilled, extremely fit and highly disciplined.

His coaching record was one of the best in the competition.

Neil Craig’s coaching record
Appointed coach round 14, 2004 (replaced Gary Ayres)
Coached 166 games
Won 92 lost 74
Winning percentage 55%
Contested 5 finals series in 7 years
Best finish 3rd in 2006
Worst finish 11th in 2010

Unfortunately, 13 wins in his last two years in charge hurt Craig and has ultimately led to his resignation.

His last game as coach though, was the final straw.

The Crows kicked just three goals in last Friday night’s crunch game against St Kilda, humiliated by 103 points, their worst result in their history and since their introduction in the AFL in 1991.

His right hand man, dual Adelaide premiership skipper Mark Bickley takes over for the remainder of the season to prove his rights for the job next year.

Bickley, along with another former skipper in Simon Goodwin, also enters the coaching race for the job at West Lakes.

Goodwin is fresh out of the game and is currently at assistant coach at Essendon, where he is highly regarded and has been given rave reviews with how he conducts himself and coaches the Essendon midfield.

Other South Australian coaching prospects include former Crow Nathan Bassett, who is coaching Norwood in the SANFL, and current West Coast Eagle assistant Scott Burns.

All of Bickley, Goodwin, Bassett and Burns are all local South Australians and logical choices but the Crows should look outside their home state when deciding on their coach for 2012.

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