Brisbane general manager of football David Noble celebrates a Lions win with Rohan Bewick.
Brisbane general manager of football David Noble celebrates a Lions win with Rohan Bewick. Adam Trafford/AFL Media

Noble wants Lions to soar like inspirational Crows

BRISBANE football boss David Noble hopes Adelaide's success can inspire his Lions to great heights.

The Crows will contest today's AFL grand final at the MCG, having overcome the kind of adversity that would have left weaker clubs reeling.

Before heading north to Brisbane, Noble spent a decade at West Lakes as assistant coach, list manager and most recently head of football.

In that time the Tasmanian and one-time Fitzroy player saw a host of big names such as Nathan Bock (Gold Coast), Phil Davis (GWS), Jack Gunston (Hawthorn), Kurt Tippett (Sydney) and Patrick Dangerfield (Geelong) all defect interstate.

Tippett's move to the Swans led a league investigation over salary cap breaching and draft tampering, and, in turn, saw the Crows stripped of their top two picks in the 2012 draft.

But the most significant - and heartbreaking - losses came when assistant coach Dean Bailey passed away with lung cancer in 2014, and then senior coach Phil Walsh was killed midway through the 2015 season.

The Crows had every right to be on their knees. Instead they have been galvanised and will challenge Richmond for the right to hold their first premiership cup since 1998.

Noble has been overseeing the Lions' rebuild over the past 12 months alongside head coach Chris Fagan after their own period of setbacks, such as player departures and coach sackings.

"I think the thing for me, for our guys, is you shouldn't put a glass ceiling on it," Noble said from Brisbane Airport where he was preparing for his flight to watch his old team on the biggest stage.

"The exciting thing is that you can get there, regardless of the type of adversity ... you can actually get there."


MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 29:  Crows captain Taylor Walker and Tigers captain Trent Cotchin pose with the AFL Premiership trophy during the 2017 AFL Grand Final Parade on September 29, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT: Rival captains, Adelaide's Taylor Walker (left) and Richmond's Trent Cotchin, with the premiership cup in Melbourne yesterday. Quinn Rooney

Noble was assistant coach to Neil Craig at Adelaide from 2005-10, before heading up list development and strategy from 2011-13 and then head of football from 2014-16.

After helping make the decision to appoint Walsh for the 2015 season, Noble played his part in ensuring Don Pyke was his permanent successor.

Pyke has carried on Walsh's legacy built around hard work while putting his own mark on the side.

Noble said his thoughts of Walsh were "never too far away".

"There's no doubt that through those sorts of adversity and difficulty ... it tends to strip all the hype, all the elitism away from your environment," he said. "That's what really bonds you.

"All the airs and graces that go with it, footy clubs are great environments of support. They are like a community ... everyone looks out for each other and everyone grows together."

Noble will be cheering on the Crows today at the 'G before getting back to work as a Lion.

"It's great for the (Adelaide) organisation as a whole. It's worked really hard over a sustained period of time now," he said.

"Lots of good people and some great players they've got there. They are a very close club.

"I've been very excited for them the last few weeks, and pleased to see them continue on that journey that we started.

"It's funny, I've found myself more as a fan on the outside."

Armed with the No.1 pick in the November national draft, Noble will stay on in Melbourne to attend the four-day AFL Draft Combine from Tuesday before turning his attention to the trade and free agency periods, starting Friday.

High on the Lions' agenda will be enticing four-time premiership Hawk Luke Hodge out of retirement to mentor their young players - and help them on their own journey towards footy's holy grail.