In 1997 and 1998 the Adelaide Crows astoundingly won back to back Premierships to open their silverware cabinet. The late nineties well and truly were the glory days for a proud club, and two famous victories over a strong rival at the time saw Adelaide end up in these matches on the last day in September twice over.
In not just 1997, but 1998 as well, Adelaide faced off against a favoured Western Bulldogs team, a side that on both occasions was tipped to place in the big dance, and both times was beaten by a star-studded Crows line up. 1997 is of course the most famous of these matches, with Tony Liberatore’s last quarter point the most infamous behind in the history of football.
Liberatore celebrated as did the entirety of the Dogs side and fans, before being silenced when the goal umpire only moved one hand. Often forgotten when talking about 1997 is relatively unknown nearly-hero James Cook, who kicked six goals for the Dogs in a solo performance that nearly claimed the match.
That point cost the Dogs a chance at glory, they would lose by just two points that day, and if it really was a goal you’ve got to feel bad for them. In fairness to the Crows however, they stormed home, kicking 4.6 in the last term and keeping the Dogs goalless. It had been the Bulldog’s match to lose all game, leading by more than five goals at half time, the Dogs had been impressive throughout, before an enormous final term and stellar performances from Darren Jarman, Andrew McLeod and Ben Hart helped the inaccurate Crows to a famous win.
1997 Preliminary Final
Western Bulldogs- 13.13 (91)
Adelaide Crows- 12.21 (93)
1998 was a completely different story, having once again finished above the Crows on the ladder, the Bulldogs were again favourites to win, but cautious with the previous season’s defeat hanging over them. In the end, the Bulldogs were never in the contest, as Adelaide opened up a lead early and piled on goals. Adelaide’s lowest score in any quarter was 33 points in the third, having already been 34 points up at half time. There was to be no come back for the Bulldogs, who were badly beaten by 68 points in a thrashing.
Adelaide would go on to win another upset the next week, knocking off flag favourites North Melbourne to claim their second Premiership. Brilliant displays from Andrew McLeod with seven goals and Matthew Robran with six launched the Crow’s attack, with Shaun Rehn, Peter Vardy and Simon Goodwin all having great games.
1998 Preliminary Final
Western Bulldogs- 13.15 (93)
Adelaide Crows- 24.17 (161)
Looking ahead to this week’s contest, the Dogs are once again the favourites and look in ripping form. Contrastingly the Crows have been poor and looked out of sorts. Although the Dogs seem like easy victors from a fan’s perspective, they did in 1997 and 1998 as well. Hopefully we’ll see a great contest on the eve of finals action.
What are your favourite memories of these two glorious days in Crows history? Be sure to join the conversation online by liking us on Facebook.