AFL Round 11: The Dons v Tyson Edwards’ receding hairline

by Rod Oaten

Two things wrong with this game, the Dons are playing at the ground behind Spencer Street Railway Station and they are playing an interstate team, called Adelaide.

This footy ground is like a giant fish bowl even more so when it started to drizzle and they closed the roof. Not my ideal arena. Fancy playing our winter game in the rain! My second issue is teams from outside Victoria. Adelaide Football Club was foisted upon our game along with West Coast a few years ago. These two teams were created by monied power brokers that had disastrous ramifications for the local SANFL and WAFL. Sydney and Brisbane in all their various guises had lots of loopy owners who were bailed out, and continue to be, by the AFL. And then we got Port Adelaide and Fremantle, at least these clubs had history. But Port Adelaide has teal on their jumper, a colour that should only be worn by ducks and Fremantle an amalgamated dream team looks like they got a group of demented economic rationalists to design their various away strips. And now we are to get two new teams, The Gold Coast Metre Maids and the West Sydney Timbersharks. No doubt the boffins at the AFL will have great jumpers designed that include such colours as puce, pale vermilion and lime green.

We are told we have to have a larger national league to beat off the

competition from croquet, European handball, hurley and American grid iron, but I’m yet to be convinced.

Now, I have decided not to go today, I will stay home after a couple of

late nights and listen to the game on 3LO, sorry ABC 774. Out of the

blue, a cousin rings up with two tickets for the game, so a quick rearrangement of plans sees Cousin David and I on the 96 tram . I am not feeling very confident about this game, but then again that’s just me. Scott Lucas is back in the ones after a few weeks running around such country ovals as Stawell and Bendigo. Hope the loud and noisy crowd doesn’t worry him too much. Brent Prismall is fronting up for his first game with the Dons and my brother-in-law, a complete Geelong tragic, is not at all happy. He reckons he is an out and out champion and Geelong should have kept him.

It didn’t take us too long to get into the ground and we found our seats just as the umpires walked out in their own colourful uniforms, but don’t get me started on that issue. The Dons are very hard at it early in the game and score a couple of handy goals but Adelaide have a happy knack of kicking into the forward line and their forwards are even more accurate than the Dons. Every time we get a bit of a lead, bloody Adelaide nail another goal so by half time is Essendon 10.4 to Adelaide 9.0. Now if there is such a thing as a Football God, Adelaide should be 5.4 or better still 0.9.

After half time it’s more of the same. Essendon kick a goal and get 10 points ahead, then Adelaide kick another impossible goal. We seem to be losing the drive out of the centre, and a bloke called Tyson Edwards, whose receding hair line has fascinated me for years, and playing his 300th game, is having a cracking game. When Paddy Ryder goes off for a rest, it’s downhill for the Dons. Brett Stanton is limping, not a good sign, and Jobe Watson is looking a bit tired. Still at 3/4 time we are 8 points up. What magic can the brains trust dream up?

With that many coaches and advisors I’m sure they will have the answers for us loyal supporters.

Last quarter and my worst fears are soon realised. The Adelaide mob are too good in the centre bounces and our skills aren’t up to it. Too many misdirected handpasses and kicks. Adelaide‘s goal kicking is phenomenal, not that the Dons are bad, but there is no comparison between the two. Early in the final quarter we lose the lead and although the boys in black and red didn’t stop giving their all, the accuracy of Adelaide just proved too good on this high-scoring day.

The Dons got great value from Lovett, Lonergan,Houli, Ryder and Watson. Prismall should benefit from his run and it was good to see Scott Lucas kick a few. Tippett was unstoppable and incredibly accurate and Knights proved more than a handful for the Essendon defenders. The Adelaide crew carried Tyson Edwards off, not I suspect because it was his 300th game, but because he was he’d had so many kicks he couldn’t walk off with his team mates.

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