Many had already tipped Adelaide to struggle this season – but their worst might still be to come.
Having shown little appetite for the contest in a record 75-point bashing by the Port Adelaide, the Crows are off to the Gold Coast hub for three weeks where they face the Suns, Brisbane and Fremantle.
Hub life isn’t easy, just ask West Coast after their shock loss to Gold Coast.
Adam Simpson refused to blame the hub, where players are subjected to strict isolation protocols, but there’s no denying it’s another disruption, in a season of disruptions, that rookie coach Matthew Nicks has to deal with.
Kane Cornes described Saturday night’s drubbing as potentially the lowest ebb in the club’s history on the AFL’s website.
The Power champ delights in sinking the slipper into his old rivals at every opportunity, but he’s probably not far off the mark this time.
A new low awaits if the resurgent Suns send the Crows to 0-3 with a defeat that would confirm their cellar dweller status.
Club great Andrew McLeod has made headlines with his criticism of Adelaide’s culture recently, but Nicks has far more pressing concerns.
The Crows have been hit by a perfect storm at just the wrong time.
Nicks’ task of replacing a tired game plan with his own and rejuvenating a battle weary line-up, that has undergone significant upheaval, would have been tricky enough without having his players snatched away after round one.
And now they’re off to base at the Palm Meadows Resort in south-east Queensland.
They’ll be away from their families and the comforting surrounds of their West Lakes headquarters where Nicks would likely have preferred to bunker down as he tries to stabilise a season that is quickly getting away from him.
While the Crows have a playing list in transition and lost Jake Kelly early and Rory Sloane late against Port, there’s still an expectation of better performances.
If the hub has a silver lining it is that it could give Nicks some breathing space outside the Adelaide bubble as he attempts to regroup.
But if they don’t log at least one win from the three-week trip the prospect of the first wooden spoon in the club’s proud 29-year history looms large.