Adam Goodes of the Sydney Swans during the 2015 AFL Finals Series in the qualifying final at Domain Stadium between the Fremantle Dockers and Sydney in Perth on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015. Fremantle won the match 69-60.
Adam Goodes of the Sydney Swans during the 2015 AFL Finals Series in the qualifying final at Domain Stadium between the Fremantle Dockers and Sydney in Perth on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015. Fremantle won the match 69-60. AAP Image - Tony McDonough

Have the Crows got their man?

NEITHER party would admit it, but back in 2002 Terry Wallace was all but signed and sealed to coach the Sydney Swans the following year.

That is until Paul Roos won support of the players and fans while acting as interim coach, leading the side to six wins in 10 games, including the last four in a row.

The Adelaide Crows are facing a similar situation in 2015, caretaker coach Scott Camporeale making it almost impossible to be overlooked by the club's board when it comes to naming its main man for 2016.

The circumstances in which they were forced to step in, however, are not comparable.

Roos took over from Rodney Eade after the latter had considered enough was enough with his side having lost six straight games and was out of the finals race by round 12.

Camporeale had the unenviable task of replacing the late Phil Walsh.

The South Australian, who played 252 games for Carlton and Essendon, has not only carried on Walsh's coaching philosophies, but has also galvanised the playing group after it endured the most shocking of circumstances.

While their bravery could not be questioned, the signs were not good when the Crows ran out for their first game after their coach's tragic death in July.

Emotionally drained, they suffered a 66-point loss to West Coast and slipped out of the top eight.

At the time you couldn't help but wonder then how they were going to run out the year.

But with a steely resolve, they have gone on to win seven of their past nine games, smashing the Eagles in their return bout in round 22 and now overcoming the Bulldogs in an epic elimination final in Melbourne.

Some may say it's been driven more by the players themselves, others by the influence of coaching director John Worsfold, but surely Camporeale is doing more than just moving some magnets around.

He appears cool, calm and collected, and every bit the deep thinker that former Blues captain Steve Kernahan described him as, and no longer just the likable larrikin.

A part of Neil Craig's coaching team and then Brenton Sanderson's, Camporeale was apparently almost moved on when 'Sando' was sacked.

But, like his team, he endures. Keeps on keeping on.

Everyone but Hawthorn supporters will be behind Adelaide on Friday night, hoping the fairytale can continue into a preliminary final the following Friday against Fremantle.

Camporeale, though, might just have done enough to already secure the position of senior coach, long-term.

It was thought back in July if he could lead the Crows to finals and actually won one, his chances would be strong.

The players clearly love him, and no doubt the fans do too.

The Adelaide board is due to appoint Walsh's successor next month after the grand final.

The Crows might even be there.

Camporeale was himself part of an incredible finals series with the Blues in 1999, when they came from sixth to reach the big one.

Would it be the ultimate feel-good story in the history of the competition?


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