Broken AFL club’s saviour lands new deal

Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks has been rewarded for his promising start to life at the Crows, earning a two-year contract extension.

The former Port Adelaide and Greater Western Sydney assistant is now locked in with Adelaide until the end of 2024 – testament to the impressive job he's done at the Crows since taking on a colossal task.

When Nicks arrived at the Crows after the 2019 season, the former 175-game Swan took over at a club that had finished 12th and 11th in 2018 and 2019 respectively, after losing the 2017 grand final.

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Matthew Nicks

The Crows also lost six players during the 2019 off-season, many of them key personnel, with Eddie Betts, Sam Jacobs, Josh Jenkins, Hugh Greenwood, Cam Ellis-Yolmen and Alex Keath all departing. In return, the club received just young Port Adelaide forward-ruck Billy Frampton and a smattering of draft picks.

And while Adelaide were dealt the wooden spoon in a three-win season in 2020, they finished 15th in a seven-win campaign in 2021, making progress on their rebuild and surprising many experts.

Nicks also blooded 18 players in the AFL over his first two seasons at the Crows, including rising stars Fischer McAsey, Riley Thilthorpe, Harry Schoenberg, James Rowe and Luke Pedlar.

"The whole club is heading in the right direction and it stems from a willingness to work hard," Nicks said.

"We have brought together the right people, from coaches through to high-performance, medical and welfare staff, to create an environment where our players can reach their potential.

"Last season we showed glimpses of what we would like to produce consistently in the future, and on the whole we saw a young group develop and make some ground on where we're trying to get to.

"There was on-field growth from every player and the new guys we've brought in over the past few weeks are going to make us better.

"The players have come back to training in fantastic condition. They've put their heads down and gone to work in their break, which gives the coaching group and myself great optimism for the future."

Adelaide chief executive Tim Silvers had high praise for Nicks.

"There is genuine buy-in from the players, coaches and staff to the relationships and standards that Matt is driving," Silvers said.

"His leadership style is exactly what we need when you consider the evolution of our playing group, and he is forging a culture underpinned by people having a selfless approach."

The Crows will open their 2022 campaign in a clash with Fremantle at Adelaide Oval on March 20.

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