Coming into his second season as Adelaide coach, how do we judge Matthew Nicks?
The Crows won three games and the wooden spoon last year, with Nicks undergoing a tough initiation into the league.
Brownlow Medallist Gerard Healy will be judging him on how he coaches the team, rather than arbitrary metrics like player development.
“I can’t see them getting out of the bottom six, but it’s a question of whether they can make ground and look as though they’re going north rather than just having another floundering year,” Healy told Sportsday.
“I don’t think you can judge a senior coach on just the development of kids, that’s what the development coaches are for.
“I think you’ve got to judge a senior coach on how he coaches the team and the club. It’s difficult to know how he coaches the club from the outside, but those inside will absolutely know.
“How he’s coaching the team, there’s signs. It’s not necessarily wins because we saw that with Brisbane. They kept winning five games, but their percentage kept improving.
“So there are other mechanisms that can tell you whether Matthew Nicks is taking them forward.
“To me, he’s got three years. He’d want to improve. (They) don’t necessarily need to win a stack more games this year, but they wouldn’t want to get beaten off the park regularly.”
Healy believes Adelaide needs more from its midfield, but rates their young key position stocks.
“Elliott Himmelberg, I think, can be an All-Australian player. I think their couple of young ruckmen aren’t too bad, they’ve got a couple of midfielders coming through, but that’s the area they need to bolster,” he said.
“No (Brad) Crouch, Rory Sloane has a question mark as to where he’s going, Matt Crouch gets a lot of footy, I’m not as big a critic of Matt Crouch as others, I think he does his role pretty well.
“They need a general lift across the board.”
Adelaide hosts Geelong in Round 1 in what will be a huge early test.