Neil Craig stands down as Adelaide coach

7News Adelaide, Yahoo!7 July 25, 2011, 3:04 pm

Craig speaks to the team during the break as they play St Kilda, on Friday July 22.

Neil Craig has stepped down as the Crows coach today, Adelaide Football Club has announced.

The move is effective immediately.

Neil Craig has coached the Crows since 2004, when he took over in Round 14 as caretaker coach, later moving into the role in his own right.

“It’s time. To continue would hurt the Club, given the negativity and distraction that my own role has become. We have clearly underperformed this year and as senior coach, I take the responsibility for that," Craig said today.

Adelaide have won just four games this year and are set to record their poorest season since joining the AFL in 1991.

Third year assistant and former Premiership Captain, Mark Bickley will take over as the caretaker, Senior Coach role for the rest of the season.

Craig took Adelaide to the finals in five of his six full seasons in charge but never contested a grand final - his best result was a third placing in 2006.

He coached Adelaide in 166 games for 92 wins and 74 losses, but won just nine games last year when missing the finals for the first time.

Craig's contract was to expire at the end of the season but, in January, he was placed on to the club's staff.

The move was designed to ensure Craig could remain with the club in some capacity when his coaching career ended, if both parties deemed it appropriate.

Craig will take an unspecified period of leave before both the club and he determine his future.

Bickley, who captained Adelaide to premierships in 1997 and 1998, had been an assistant coach to Craig since 2009.

Bickley will coach Adelaide in his own right for the first time on Sunday when the Crows, languishing in 14th position, meet local rivals Port Adelaide, currently last on the ladder.

Crows' chairman, Rob Chapman, said Craig made the decision with integrity.

“I can’t speak highly enough of Neil. He’s made an extraordinary contribution to our Club since 1997; and more particularly since taking over as coach midway through 2004.

“He has led the way in bettering the culture of our football team, and has driven standards and professionalism that has earned respect throughout the competition. And he has been an incredible role model in terms of the respect he’s shown for his Club and the game generally,"

The decision follows the Crows' horrific 103-point loss to St Kilda at Etihad Stadium, Friday night.

“Despite the disappointing results of late, Neil led us to five finals series, and re-established the List and the team to a strong and respected position," Chapman said.

  • Who do you think should replace Neil Craig permanently? Is Mark Bickley the man for the job? Tell us what you think in the comments box below.


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  1. CLARK KENT07:26am Tuesday 26th July 2011 ESTReport Abuse

    They are just a bad team.

  2. Shane12:16am Tuesday 26th July 2011 ESTReport Abuse

    We had our only minor premiership under Neil Craig, the article is inaccurate. He did alot of good we could've won 2-3 flags under him it just wasnt to be. I think he ran out of ideas and was to stubborn to change the "game plan" and didnt experiment enough. He was a good coach but i think it probably was time for change.

  3. John K12:01am Tuesday 26th July 2011 ESTReport Abuse

    So the Crows play the Power this coming weekend....I`m wondering if both teams are playing for "The Fat Rats Clacker Trophy", cause thats all it deserves is the fat rats clacker !!!

  4. k09:07pm Monday 25th July 2011 ESTReport Abuse

    the next coach needs someone from a different culture,someone to install in the players that aggressive approach that has clearly been missing since tambling got one week for an overly aggressive attack on an opponent and craig said its not how we want our players to play the game,they have only won one game since that,and it funny that the one game they did win was where they played that attack on the opponent,next coach,scotty burns freemantle assistant,or nathan basset,who was fearless and uncomprimising

  5. Des F07:47pm Monday 25th July 2011 ESTReport Abuse

    Mark Bickley can't do any worse

  6. helen07:25pm Monday 25th July 2011 ESTReport Abuse

    watch all the broken jaws in the remaining rounds thats all he will be able to teach them

  7. ian06:20pm Monday 25th July 2011 ESTReport Abuse

    get mick moulthouse

  8. leanne05:55pm Monday 25th July 2011 ESTReport Abuse

    Really dont see why he should resign after taking this club to finals 5 out of 7 seasons,especially since a lot of their aging stars have retired in the last 2 years.Like worsfold at the eagles he is a good coach who needs time to rebuild

  9. Grant05:39pm Monday 25th July 2011 ESTReport Abuse

    Not happy! With Neil Craig as coach as an Eagles supporter I knew we'd always be made to look good. Seriously though I think there's quite a few Adelaide players who should also be resigning as it wasn't just the coach that failed. Football in SA is in turmoil and time to look outside SA for some answers because whilst I never doubt the ability of players South Aussie born and bred I'm sorry to say the attitude of the clubs here is they are medium sized fish in a very little pond and what does Mark Bickley know of the AFL other than The Adelaide Football Club. We have a born and bred coach in Perth but even he had to do his apprenticeship in coaching away from West Coast to get a more seasoned view.

  10. ADRIAN05:36pm Monday 25th July 2011 ESTReport Abuse

    A coach is only as good as his players.