Milestone with Crows creeps up on Craig - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Milestone with Crows creeps up on Craig

By Daniel Brettig 17/04/2009 07:10:20 PM Comments (0)

There can be no better compliment paid to Neil Craig than to say it is hardly a surprise that on Saturday he will become the Adelaide Football Club's longest serving senior coach.

Craig's 108th game, against Geelong at AAMI Stadium, takes him past predecessor Gary Ayres' torrid tenure, having also outlasted Graham Cornes, Robert Shaw and the Crows' only premiership coach, Malcolm Blight.

And far from nearing the end, Craig is now embarking on a new era with a highly promising squad that has been expertly re-shaped by Adelaide's list management over the past two years.

The milestone has crept up on Craig, since he does not plan to be leaving any time soon.

"It had to be identified to me and I haven't really thought about it in terms of longevity," he said on Friday.

"It's more about getting an opportunity to contribute to the football club and whilst you're here you do the best you can.

"People make decisions on you whether good, bad or indifferent and how long you stay.

"I've enjoyed every moment of it and consider it a great honour to be able to coach the Adelaide Football Club."

For highlights and lowlights Craig glances ruefully back at 2008, where the promise of a stirring win in the early season showdown against Port Adelaide was erased by a horribly flat display against Collingwood in a home elimination final.

Craig is keenly aware of the imbalance between his outstanding record as a regular season coach (64-36) and his less than mediocre ledger in finals (2-5).

But it has not diverted him from a holistic approach to coaching that was handed down to him from the late, great Jack Oatey.

"I'm a greater believer that people play the way they live and that's why, as a club, I'd like to think we do spend a lot of time in our selection of people, because our environment is not for everyone," Craig said.

"We do spend a lot of time picking certain types of character and we have an obligation, not only to train them in the football side of things, but the character side of things.

"It probably comes from the previous environments I played in which were Norwood, Sturt and North Adelaide, which if you look back on they've all got a Jack Oatey influence.

"There's no doubt the Oatey family have been a huge, probably the number one, influence on me."

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